Ravi Shastri bats

Smooth like Shaz: when needed, Shastri could step up and lead the charge, but he was just as comfortable playing second fiddle

© PA Photos
35

Hate to Love

The fly in the ointment

To love him, to hate him or to feel something in between? When it comes to Ravi Shastri, all three results are possible

Prem Panicker

The first time I really noticed Ravi Shastri was via a scorecard I pored over on June 19, 1983. A day earlier, Kapil Dev had authored a cricketing miracle in Tunbridge Wells against Zimbabwe. My dad, my uncle and I were parsing the scorecard to get a handle on how the game had played out.

We habitually disagreed on everything cricket, but the family quorum was unanimous on one point - Ravi Shastri, who had scored one run off six balls and given away seven runs in his only over, was a waste of good food.

Our judgement was vindicated - he didn't play another game in that World Cup. My sister, who had a poster of Shastri on her bedroom wall - with two unsightly slits in the middle from when she had ripped it out of a magazine without regard to the staples - lost interest.

The Benson & Hedges World Championship, two years later, reinforced our visceral dislike. When he scored 2 and 13 in the first two games, we nodded in agreement with common consensus - he was in the team only because of Sunil Gavaskar. When he scored 51 against Australia, we contrasted the 94 balls he faced against Kris Srikkanth's innings of 93 off 115 - now that's how you do it. In the final against Pakistan, we vented in disgust as he used up nearly half the innings to stodge his way to 63 not out, mostly by flicking the ball off his hips, while at the other end Srikkanth buccaneered his way to 67 off just 77.

My sister "ooh-ed" in delight as she watched Shastri collect the keys to the Audi that marked his coronation as the Champion of Champions. We three "aah-ed" in disgust. Dad thought Srikkanth should have got it; my uncle advocated Laxman Sivaramakrishnan; and I made an impassioned case for the charismatic Sadanand Viswanath. Anyone but Shastri, really. He is selfish, we agreed. Limited. Boring. Can't bat. Can't bowl. And in the outfield, god, by the time he condescends to bend down from that great height…

Five years later I was a young editor at Mid-Day and Harsha Bhogle was our man in England. Shastri had responded to Graham Gooch's monumental 333 in the Lord's Test with a century of his own, but was shaded by Mohammad Azharuddin's electric 121 off just 111 balls. Then, in the third Test, Shastri batted for nine-plus hours, faced 436 balls, and scored 187.

There was more to his play than that single note, just as there was more to his batting than the utilitarian push off the hips, enshrined in lore as the chapati shot

It was a monument to true grit. So? Do you like grit in your eye?

"Watching Shastri bat is like admiring the Qutub Minar: tall, timeless, solid," Bhogle wrote then. "You admire it for the virtues, not for its style."

I clipped that piece and mailed it to Dad. I remember the response, in his laboured cursive: "Have you seen the Qutub Minar? You can look at it for all of two minutes. After that, it's just this thing that's there… "

In the mental gallery of cricketers I have followed, first as fan and then as reporter, that remark captions the image of Ravi Shastri - "just this thing that's there". Who in hell admires something simply because it exists?

And yet, even as I attempt to distil my atavistic dislike into words, a contrarian highlights reel plays out in the back of the mind. It starts with a 19-year-old landing in New Zealand on February 20, 1981 - one day before the first Test against Geoff Howarth's side. His debut series, which began with a maiden to the New Zealand captain, saw him shade the likes of Richard Hadlee, Lance Cairns and Kapil as the highest wicket-taker on either side.

In the space of the next 18 months his grit - that word again - saw him climb up the batting ladder from No. 10, through every single position, all the way up to No. 1. He joined forces with Mohinder Amarnath to save the first Test of the 1984-85 tour of Pakistan, and followed it up with a century, part of a 200-run partnership with Sandeep Patil, in the next. Back home, he scored what was only the second ODI century by an Indian, after Kapil's iconic 175 not out against Zimbabwe. And he followed up that century against Australia, in Indore, with another hundred two months later, against England in Cuttack.

His 142 in Bombay set up a Test win against England; his encore was another century in the third Test, in Calcutta, that anchored a record-setting 214-run partnership with Azharuddin. He batted on all the five days of that Test, his 111 taking him the better part of seven and a half hours.

Champion of Champions at the World Championship of Cricket in 1985. Really now?

Champion of Champions at the World Championship of Cricket in 1985. Really now? © Getty Images

Those highlights sum up the quintessential Shastri - a monochromatic player whose monumental presence at one end allowed the stars the freedom to shine at the other. But there was more to his play than that single note, just as there was more to his batting than the utilitarian push off the hips, enshrined in lore as the chapati shot. In a Ranji Trophy game in early 1985, he scored his first 100 off just 80 balls and then raced to his double-century in a further 43, including the storied over off left-arm spinner Tilak Raj that disappeared for six consecutive sixes. It was the fastest double-century in first-class cricket then; it remains the joint-fastest till date - who woulda thunk, huh? In the final of the 50th year of the Ranji Trophy, in 1985, he took a match-winning 4 for 91 and 8 for 91 to go with a fighting 76 in the second innings to earn Bombay their 30th title.

"I can get plenty of first violinists," ace conductor Leonard Bernstein once said. "But to find one who can play second violin with enthusiasm - that's the problem. Yet if there is no one to play second fiddle there is no harmony."

When he had to, Shastri could step up and lead the orchestra. But he was an equally committed second fiddle - to Srikkanth, Gavaskar, Viswanath, Vengsarkar, Azharuddin and Tendulkar among others with the bat; to the likes of Siva and Maninder Singh with the ball.

The highlights reel spins its way to Bridgetown 1989, where Shastri was at the receiving end of one of the greatest sledges ever. It was on a venomous Kensington Oval track, against an attack led by Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, abetted by Ian Bishop, the most recent addition to the overstocked arsenal of brutal pace. Facing a 56-run deficit in the first innings, Shastri came out to bat with India 0 for 1 (Sidhu). Marshall, in the midst of a masterclass in the lethal beauty that is true pace, produced a ripper that bored into Shastri's groin. The fielders crowded around Shastri as he writhed on the ground. Desmond Haynes bent low and, in a voice of infinite concern, said "Ravi, that girl you were to date tonight, can I have her number? You are no use to her now, maan!"

We habitually disagreed on everything cricket, but the family quorum was unanimous on one point - Ravi Shastri was a waste of good food

Shastri laughed as he writhed in agony. And then he got back on his feet and played one of the most defiant knocks by an Indian, ever - an epic that lasted close to seven and a half hours, in which his first 17 runs took nearly three hours, even as Arun Lal, Vengsarkar, Azharuddin, Manjrekar and Kapil were scythed down at the other end. He took everything the pace quartet could throw at him, and ended with a Man-of-the-Match century in a lost cause.

The reel winds down in a soft whirr of nostalgia, and the rational part of me recognises that enduring legends have been constructed of less compelling material. Perhaps if he had walked off into the sunset after that last Test, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in December 1992… Perhaps if he had left me to savour the memories, to miss him a little on the innumerable occasions when the team could have done with a bit of his doggedness, his grit, his guts… Perhaps then, in the light of the rear-view mirror, admiration would have been unalloyed.

But no, he came right back, an over-loud presence in the commentary box spraying a limited set of stock phrases, like so many tracer bullets, all over the action. And he reminded me of what he used to do on the cricket field - make very little go a very long way. A rare and valuable quality, no doubt - and I admire hate the man for it.

Illogical, yes. Irrational, certainly. But that is how it is, and I cannot explain why. The closest I can get is to recall the English poet Tom Brown. Caught in some schoolboy mischief by John Fell, dean of Christ Church college in Oxford, and challenged to extemporaneously translate a famous Martial epigram to avoid expulsion, Brown produced this:

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell
The reason why, I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

That's my problem - the reason why, I cannot tell. Maybe if this argument were to go right down to the wire…

Prem Panicker is a journalist and the editor of Peepli.org

 

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LOGIN TO POST YOUR COMMENTS

  • POSTED BY apradhi on | October 19, 2016, 5:13 GMT

    Shastri's cool head took India to a near win in the dying moments of the tied test match in Madras against Australia.

  • POSTED BY Satish Krishnan on | October 14, 2016, 4:28 GMT

    @PremPanicker,

    Wonderful to see you write a cricket article again. I was a regular on your live cricket commentary at rediff in the late 90s. I was a cricket crazed enthusiast who could not get enough of your updates, while I adjusted to life in the US.

    Completely agree with you on Shastri. Where do we begin? Oh, boy! I hold him singularly responsible for India losing games they should have won in the 92 World Cup. His "go slow" approach @ a 50% strike rate had a lot to do with India not winning the first game against England and then subsequently against Australia (despite pyrotechnics from Azhar and surprisingly, Manjrekar).

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | October 13, 2016, 15:37 GMT

    Shastri has a top class century in West Indies playing against Marshal and co with Marshal at his very best; Sunil Gavaskar failed miserably in that series just before WC83. Shastry had a double century in Australia. India lost 4 tests out of 5 in that series just before WC92. He had 2 brilliant centuries in Pakistan against high class pace and spin. In England too he scored centuries. Shastri was a top test batsman. He was a brilliant bowler but he didn't try hard enough. He captained India to a test win against the mighty West Indies in Chennai. He always looked confident inspiring confidence. If you stop there he is a great man. I hate great cricketers get into commentary box. Also ignore his ODIs.

  • POSTED BY Jigar_Shah on | October 13, 2016, 7:38 GMT

    Shastri was my hero growing up in the 80's. We used to emulate his trademark stance, butts pushed out to the right and then his tall figure leaning on the bat as if his life dependent on it. I wonder why he never used longer bats. But one thing is for sure, when he hit the ball it stayed hit and went a long way. I used to go to watch some of the famous Ranji matches including a memorable final between Delhi and Mumbai and remember Shastri taking lot of wickets in both innings. Prem you rightly said that he should have not extended his career on the field. The latest incident related to coaching it has left a bad taste in my mouth about Shastri the person.

  • POSTED BY cantwaittosee on | October 13, 2016, 4:59 GMT

    Shastri was good. There was time, 85 -88, when Shastri was the pillar of Indian team. He always performed. Especially in one dayers. Some of his partnerships with Kapil and Vengsarkar were nerve wrecking and match winning ones. His performance in the tied test and his six will live in memory forever. And who can forget when he and Maninder bundled out Pakistan for 87 in Sharjah chasing 125. But somehow, after Gavaskar retired, his performances started falling off. He was never the same player. And once Viv Richards hit him for 3 sixes in an over in a one dayer in India, he never regained his touch. But Shastri was a very intelligent, shrewd cricketer. He should have been made the captain instead of Vengsarkar and Srikkanth. Perhaps, He was the best captain India never had.

  • POSTED BY dprasath on | October 12, 2016, 11:25 GMT

    To me, Ravi is an over rated player, he never looked like a batsman. He had spoiled the team spirit in many one day matches by scoring poorly or other way we could say it as hanging around ???. When I am out of mood, I always watch his game in you tube and have a good laugh. I always wondered was he played cricket or something else. Oh Yeh! Back in 1984-85 Benson and hedges champion trophy he played only to get Audi Car. Look at the way he played that series eaten plenty of balls to score his runs. Then Srikanth, Kapil were in that list who deserved to win that Audi who had played supremely in that series than Ravi.

  • POSTED BY Karthi_2K11 on | October 12, 2016, 11:05 GMT

    If that '70s show belonged to Bombay in the Ranji Trophy (with 7 titles), then the '80s could have very well have belonged to the Delhi team (5 titles), barring a one -man wrecking crew - namely, Ravi Shastri ! The star-studded likes of Raman Lamba, Chetan Chauhan, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma, KP Bhaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Kirti Azad, Surinder Khanna, Madan Lal, Vivek Razdan, Atul Wassan, & Maninder Singh; some of whom played for India regularly- were stopped in their tracks on 3 separate occasions, in the finals, by the Bombay team of that time, which had, in in its ranks; Sunil Gavaskar, Lalchand Rajput, Ravi Shastri, Karsan Ghavri, Kiran More, Dilip Vengsarkar, Balwinder Sandhu, Chandrakant Pandit, & R Kulkarni. In those days, the national team members would play domestic tournaments regularly. So, it was a fierce, healthy & ultimately, competitive rivalry between the 2 sides, which stopped the '80 from being a run-away success for Delhi; thanks in no small part, to Ravi Shastri !

  • POSTED BY sewd on | October 12, 2016, 6:24 GMT

    Shastri was my favorite cricketer growing up when everyone around me seemed to hate him. He was also the only guy who used to be booed by his home team during Ranji trophy matches at the Wankhede. The menfolk used to give various reasons about his lack of cricketing abilities but what I suspect then and now was that his popularity with the fairer sex did not go down well with most of the cricket lovers. Shastri then and now enjoyed being the 'villain', he used to feed off from it. He was arguably one of India's best captain in domestic cricket, the only Test match he captained, he led India won a comprehensive victory against the might west Indies (courtesy Narendra Hiwani) He was in your face cricketer with a cerebral brain far outmatching his physical abilities. I would love to know what the Delhi cricketers thought of him during the epic Ranji clashes of the Eighties & early Nineties. The only jarring note I have with him is his refusals to criticize the BCCI .

  • POSTED BY Unnikuttan on | October 12, 2016, 5:18 GMT

    Prem - delighted to see your column here.

    I vividly remember as an 8 year old the picture of Ravi (Champion of Champions) and the team on his Audi doing the victory round @ MCG. There was a WILLS book that came out after the Tournament. Wasnt that when Siva came to the stage?

  • POSTED BY shekar46789 on | October 12, 2016, 5:04 GMT

    Really odd article. Too much self aggrandizement of the type "see how witty I am," and little analysis of Shastri the cricketer. If you really wanted to insult the man do so with forthrightness and honesty. If you want to praise him - do the same. A proper criticism, I imagine would include both. Ironically, your article does have some of that but it is buried in your own self bombast. Yes, I too can enjoy a nice turn of phrase or a witty comment - but you work too hard and that is a shame.

  • POSTED BY SupportTestCricket on | October 12, 2016, 4:49 GMT

    All you can remember is his cussedness! An abiding memory is the semi-final match against New Zealand in the B & H World Championship mentioned in the article. He was one of the forerunner for the Audi car and come what may he would not budge without scoring that half century that would help him getting nearer that prize! India almost lost that match as he would not push the scoring rate and kept encouraging his partner, Azhar, to hit out against the bowling! Thank God, Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev batted out of their skins and got the game for India. It would be an interesting to see how many balls he took to score that half century!

    From the players who have played for India, he would easily get the prize for the getting the best out of his limited talent!

  • POSTED BY cricfan16351355 on | October 12, 2016, 3:56 GMT

    If one was growing up from mid 70s to mid 80s and that too in erstwhile Bombay, the trio of Gavaskar-Vengsarkar -Shastri loomed large in discussions be it in the street,maidan or local trains. One was the powerful,technically correct ,diminutive world famous opener,other a classy,elegant but reticent stroke player and the third was obdurate but handsome gangling player who made girls swoon. Shastri had the unpleasant task of being asked to open overseas .He did that admirably .People dont hesitate to mention that Gavaskar's presence was responsible for Shastri getting such a long rope. Shastri was your blood and sweat player. His Centuries in POS,Oval and Sydeny were all made with grit,determination and against quality bowling attacks.Cut him some slack.

  • POSTED BY DesiBadger on | October 12, 2016, 3:42 GMT

    Part 3 of the poem:

    Against Marshall and Co he was miserably tangled His bat, limbs and head would all be weirdly angled But he knew on a thread his career dangled So with the luck of the devil- my hopes, he strangled!

    And indeed, when finally Ravi Shastri was dropped Indian cricket awakened,the run of losses stopped And every hard earned win effectively topped The joy for the fact that the bubble finally popped!

  • POSTED BY DesiBadger on | October 12, 2016, 3:41 GMT

    Part 2 of the Poem:

    And if he bowled when we had to get some one out You could rest assured that it would be a rout Then all we could do was to sit back and pout And pray that they would kick Shastri out!

    Working on statistics was the nature of his game To perfection he did this, without an ounce of shame Like he did in OZ , eight five, when I could name Quite a few others who deserved his ticket to fame.

    Watching him play fast bowers could drive some one mad For you could drive a truck between bat and pad And many a wise man would say, "Hey, this chap is bad Why didn't they play instead, some strapping young lad?"

    All he could play was the "chappati" shot Hooks, drives, cuts, pulls etc?- Defenitely not! At fishing outside off, he was the best of the lot A disgrace he was at a test batting slot!

    [To be continued]

  • POSTED BY DesiBadger on | October 12, 2016, 3:38 GMT

    Here is a poem I penned on Ravi Shastri in the heat of passion in the early nineties. Actually, I like him as a commentator and have warmed to him over the years, but thought I would post it anyway to capture my feelings at the time:

    I remember many a long and dready day When all I could do was sit back and pray That soon, I would see that glorious day When our Desi selectors put Shastri away!

    He came close enough time and again And time and again I got my hopes up in vain And, by god, it became such a pain For Shastri in there meant there was nothing to gain.

    For Shastri, the 'batsman' had no class, no grace Technique and guts?- he didn't have a trace And at the slightest mention of the word pace Ravi Shankar Shastri would be out of the race!

    [To be continued]

  • POSTED BY Sarvi on | October 12, 2016, 3:34 GMT

    Shastri used to be a handy hitter in the middle order during the mid eighties. There were many ODIs in that period during which he involved with some enthralling partnerships with Kapil dev and lower order while chasing or setting targets. After Sunny's retirement he made sure that India did not have to worry about at-least one opener for the next 4 years. With the brittle knee he scored a double hundred in 1992 Sydney test and nearly bowled India to Victory on the last day only to be denied by Allan Border and lack of other spin support. During 1992 tour of South Africa which proved to be his last tour I remember him playing a Crucial Cameo down the order in Centurion ODI to seal a tense chase but in the test series he became painfully defensive.In the hindsight (admitted by Shastri himself) had he skipped the 1991-92 tour of Australia and the World cup and properly treated his knees he could have extended his career for another 3 to 4 years.

  • POSTED BY Sammy Sh on | October 12, 2016, 2:51 GMT

    I second the opinion of Prem Panicker; with as much solidity of my own, as I can get!!!

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | October 12, 2016, 1:47 GMT

    Shastri & Tony Greig's later avatars as globe-trotting commentators, their commentating "personas" (in Shastri's case, his recent coaching stint)have blurred/distorted their playing field exploits. Shaz's significant all-round records in both ODIs/ Tests tend to be underrated/overlooked.Career was cut short by 30; was on course to have a 5000 runs & 250 Test wickets record. His cussed, blunting-of-attacks(typically Bombay khadoos style)opening batting & very good record overseas(100s in all pace-wicket/pace-attack dominated countries including Pak) is indeed praiseworthy in'80s when pace /quick bowlers were a potent threat. He was right when he stated, that he invariably opened when touring while being pushed to middle-order in India. He played his assigned roles well though at times did not deserve to play ODIs. Prabhakar rightly filled his role from '90s on. Shaz's success as Test opener against pace after beginning at no.10 is actually one of the watermark stories of cricket.

  • POSTED BY Tests-are-best.Bounderno:6 on | October 12, 2016, 0:07 GMT

    Wonderful article, witty and factual, a gifted writer. Shastri was indeed an enigmatic cricketer as evidenced by the enjoyable comments below. I was fortunate enough to be at Lord's when Gooch scored his 333 and Ravi a century; happy memories. Thank you Espncricinfo.

  • POSTED BY Leggie on | October 11, 2016, 17:51 GMT

    The first time I took notice of Shastri, the batsman, was when he was promoted ahead of Kapil Dev and Madan Lal against England in the first Test of the 1982 series. It was rather surprising to me because, here was a No.10 promoted to 6 or 7 and it defied logic too since he had not done anything extraordinary before that. But what remains fresh in my memory was how he played a very calm and cool innings and looked like a genuine #6. I think he scored 30 odd runs, and occupied the crease for over two hours. I then thought that this guys is a fantastic tailender who could be promoted on and off. But then, he made regular strides, and when he finally scored a century in Pakistan in one of India's dreaded tours, I finally realized that he was truly a genuine batsman. His successes thereafter as a batsman were quite amazing. As a left arm spinner, he was fantastic too. I still recall Shastri setting up Geoff Marsh and having him clean bowled on the last day of a dead wicket. He was special.

  • POSTED BY babu5584 on | October 11, 2016, 13:43 GMT

    If an international cricketer has 10 years career, He must have something in him which made him an international player. Shastri was boring to watch in all three aspects as an all rounder , but he could have filled the gap. My memories are still afresh with 85-B&H world series cup and Tied test match against Australia . He is gritty but not aggressive in his approach. Indian cricket team selection has some reservations for captains - till date . Few people cant make it to the team despite having decent first class record as in case of Shivalkar, amol majumdar - is this because captains had favorites in mind ?... Who knows had they got opportunity at the right time, they might have been proved as world class players??? I see Indian captains romance with team selection for longtime. Gavaskar-shastri,Sachin-kambli,Ganguly-Yuvi, Dhoni-RPSingh were best examples. past is past..But now, if Virat makes a combo with dhawan --problem persists.. we have a very Gud bench strength.

  • POSTED BY simpleton on | October 11, 2016, 13:13 GMT

    India vs Australia: 3rd Test, Kolkata, At the end of third day's play, Dravid and Laxman were at the crease:

    "It is possible for India to wipe out that deficit, then put another 250 on the board, and really push the Aussies against the wall, in the fourth innings. It is also possible for me to walk on water, and then convert a jugful of that same water into sparkling champagne."

    Guess who wrote this?

  • POSTED BY raki101 on | October 11, 2016, 13:11 GMT

    I still remember the Benson and hedges champion of the champion tournament in Australia where Shastri played a pivotal role and won that AUDI. He played vital role in all the games and took some three wickets and scored a wonderful 50 chasing some 180 odd in the finals against Pakistan. India had one of the best all-round teams in the mid eights. He was a sturdy batsman and a good bowler.

  • POSTED BY Rajpan54 on | October 11, 2016, 12:28 GMT

    Shastri was the "khadoos" (grim??) Bombay (before it became Mumbai) player epitomised. We Bombay supporters always admired him for that...Period.

  • POSTED BY tappee74 on | October 11, 2016, 12:22 GMT

    The material unveils a stuttering start which had the best of,let me say metamorphosis.The disgust of almost nothingness blossomed into radiance and marked worthiness. But before I step further, I must confess to the artistry of this great column. It reminds me of great English writings from an unmistakable line of scholarly minds, whose articulation never failed to attract the human imagination. Ravi Shastri entry to test cricket was not too savory,but time revealed the quality of one of India's more talented player. He made a difference,along side stars like Gavaskas,Vishwanauth,Vensarkar and others, he had something to prove. After eighty test, he has to his credit, 11 hundreds which includes a top score of 206,12 fifties and an average of nearly 36. This to my mind with 151 test wickets,4 ODI centuries,18 fifties and 129 ODI wickets is remarkable.Ravi Shastri's perseverance has demonstrated the infinite class which resides in every human.

  • POSTED BY KirGop on | October 11, 2016, 12:16 GMT

    Wonderful article that captured the feelings of a generation. The one fact the author committed was the riot that Shastri's WC92 inning caused. His house was pelted with stones and there was a riot in India for an inning played in Australia.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | October 11, 2016, 12:00 GMT

    One of my teachers insisted on having the 1991-1992 Aus v Ind tour playing during our class time. I still remember Shastri lobbing Warne into the stands on his way to a double-ton, and Warne onto some unflattering debut figures. Always liked him from that point on, although I understand that maybe having some distance from Indian cricket means I can enjoy my memories of Shastri The Cricketer, rather than endure Shastri the Commentator/Coach/Manager!

  • POSTED BY jw76 on | October 11, 2016, 10:56 GMT

    I met him several times some years ago, as a virtual 'nobody,' and found Ravi Shastri a very friendly, helpful, likeable human being.

  • POSTED BY murli786 on | October 11, 2016, 10:05 GMT

    Prem, very thoughtful analysis. Being part of your generation, i can understand the ''hate'', the fans had towards Shastri. But he had a ''arrogant'' spirit that was way beyond those times. Keep writing man. You have some talent. Hey; sorry if i have to veer away from cricket. I need to tell this to Prem... i have read your translated version of the book Randamuzham and it has been the best, in fact way above the official English version.

  • POSTED BY murli786 on | October 11, 2016, 9:59 GMT

    Thanks for that wonderful masterpiece. The only grouse i would hold against you is that you use some expressions wherein i need to refer to the online dictionary. Content wise; you just nail it. I have been your fan since rediff days and i remember your online commentary during the 2003 World Cup. As regarding this, you have summed it up beautifully. I remember the 83 World Cup and the Benson & Hedges games. I remember the way he pocketed the keys of the Audi after the spin with the boys around the ground. He had an air of arrogance and as many of those times, i felt Shastri had a ''show off'' personality. I held this for a long time until Ganguly came along and showed its fine to tread on the border of arrogance as long as we win. Today's generation loves it and supports Kohli to the hilt. I may not be wrong if i say that Shastri was the first one to stand up, look in the eye of the opposition and wouldnt mind ruffling a few feathers. thanks for the article Prem.

  • POSTED BY Venkatesh Venkatesh on | October 11, 2016, 6:48 GMT

    Ravi Shastri played brilliantly in 1985 Benson and Hedges cup apart from that there was nothing to remember about significant contribution but what I still remember his ready made words like tracer bullet quite often and he speaks louder than rocket blast from lunching pad .

  • POSTED BY Narendra Kv on | October 11, 2016, 6:06 GMT

    An absolutely fantastic piece. He possibly put my feelings about the man in such a beautiful manner.