'You bore me, Aur Khatarnak Fashion Mein Out ho ja': How Ravi Shastri brightened up a despondent Rishabh pants during the Sydney Test


Whenever Indian players talk about Ravi Shastri's coaching style, they emphasize the term 'man management'. The former all-rounder failed to win an ICC trophy during his seven-year tenure but inspired his team to create history on several occasions.

One such memorable incident was India's last tour of Australia. The Test series began with the Indian team's debacle in Adelaide where they were bundled out for 36 in the second innings, eventually losing the day-night affair by 8 wickets.

Virat Kohli had to return home on paternity leave while the Australian media wrote off the visitors, giving them no chance to fight back. But under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane, the team bounced back in Melbourne with a 3-wicket win and became the first team to beat Australia at the Gabba in 30 years after drawing the third Test in Sydney.

In the third Test, the Australians set India a mammoth target of 427, but were frustrated by the stubborn duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari, as their unbeaten 62-run partnership helped India match null.

Before joining forces, Rishabh Pant had the Australian bowlers dancing to his tunes with a 97-run knock that included three sixes and 12 fours.

Had he been there till the end, India could have taken the lead in Sydney itself. But he was caught by Pat Cummins as he tried to convince Nathan Lyon to get his hundred with a six.

Recalling the incident, former Indian head coach Shastri revealed how he comforted a dejected Pant who was sitting all alone in the dressing room after throwing away his wicket.

Speaking to Ashwin on the latter's YouTube show, 'Kutti Stories with Ash', Shastri said that he has his own way of dealing with every individual.

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“If I tell him not to play [that particular shot] that's against his nature. He could play it even more. I told him I was bored, you were coping the same way,” Shastri said.

“It was to Nathan Lyon in Sydney when he batted brilliantly and got out on 97. He hit one up there, came back [to the dressing room] and was seated. And then the second new ball was taken and Pujji [Cheteshwar Pujara] reached seven limits.

“So when I went to the bathroom, he was still sitting in the locker room by himself with his towels. I looked at him and said: Pujji scores all your points. At seven o'clock he was hit. Yes. It’s Pujji, he hit seven boundaries in half an hour,” Shastri said.

“Then I said, 'You're boring me yaar, back off.' You only get away with it, noand out in a dangerous way [get out more bizarrely]. And he said, 'That's what happened'.

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  • “Their state of mind is completely different from that of others. I can't go to Pujji and tell him to do a reverse sweep. I have to ask him to continue. And this he showed during several tours,” Shastri added.

    After missing a hundred in Sydney, Pant played again in the final innings of the final Test in Brisbane. He scored an unbeaten 89 off 138 balls, helping India successfully chase down 328 with three wickets remaining and breach the Australian fortress.

    Aakash Biswas

    A cricket enthusiast whose dreams of playing for India paved the way for a competition

    first publication: May 14, 2024, 07:19 IST

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