From a left-arm spinner to a batting all-rounder, from a cricket commentator to the head coach of the Indian cricket team, in a way, life has come to a full circle for Ravi Shastri. The flamboyant former cricketer has taken myriad roles since he stopped being an active player.
Known for his charisma and wit, Ravi Shastri has swooned generations with this enthralling commentary. So much so that it is impossible to think of cricket commentary and Ravi Shastri separately.
Right from the beginning of his career, Shastri has managed to stay in the limelight. His interesting life story is peppered with everything- achievements, drama, and controversies.
Ravi Shastri Biography
Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri
Date of Birth
27 May 1962
25 November 1981
21 February 1981
Slow Left-arm Orthodox
Shastri comes from a Mangalorean family, but he was born and brought up in Mumbai. Though Shastri didn’t come from a typical sporting family, he had a cousin who captained the Indian women’s swimming team.
He was introduced to cricket in his school, Don Bosco High School, Matunga. He quickly took a liking for the game, and soon it became his passion. Shastri captained his school team and won the Giles Shield in 1977. His coach, B.D.Desai, was a strong influence for him.
After his matriculation, Shastri decided to pursue Commerce from R.A. Podar College. The strong cricketing culture here propelled him in the right direction. He was just 17 and still in junior college when he represented Bombay in the Ranji Trophy, making him the youngest player than to play for Bombay.
Shastri was included in the Under-19 team for the 1980-81 season. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled. Shastri couldn’t do any magic with the bat during his initial Ranji seasons, but he made notable bowling scores. It was during Ranji Trophy 1984-85 that Shastri displayed his immense talent and helped his team win the title. The tournament was all the more special as Shastri established himself as a fine all-rounder.
So blessed to wear India colours again at Basin Reserve where I made my debut in 1981.
Thank you for the love and support ? ?? pic.twitter.com/iB53YxfaY5
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) February 2, 2019
He continued scoring more and more runs and establishing himself as a batsman in the next few years. From 1987 to 1991, Shastri played for the County Club Glamorgan.
Also Read: Best Debut By Indian Cricketers
International Cricket Career
In 1981, Shastri made his Test debut against New Zealand. He started his career as a 10th position batsman but soon moved up to the position of an opening batsman. The year 1984 was a special year for Shastri. He displayed immense class when India toured Pakistan. His leadership quality was also visible to all during this period. Shastri led the Under-25 team to a stunning win against the touring England team.
He also found a lot of success as an opening one-day batsman. Shastri also opened two matches of the 1983 World Cup.
The World Championship of Cricket tournament in Australia was an important milestone for Shastri. He made 182 runs and took 8 wickets and was declared the man of the series, titled as “The Champion of Champions” for his feat. In the same year, Shastri became the vice-captain for the first time. It was during the Rothman’s Cup in Sharjah.
Shastri captained the Indian test team for the first time in 1987 when then-captain Dilip Vengsarkar fractured his arm. Unfortunately, Shastri couldn’t make his mark as a captain. After a couple of tournament failures and other controversies, Shastri was back to being a vice-captain.
The man behind the commentary when
India won 2011 World Cup
India won 2007 WT20
Sachin ODI 200
Yuvi’s Six 6’s
Happy Birthday Ravi Shastri
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 27, 2017
The next few years weren’t very significant, performance-wise for Shastri. Another breakthrough was the 1990 England tour. He made a stellar score of 187 at Oval stadium. He continued his dream run with a score of 217 in the Irani Trophy. Though India couldn’t win the tournament, Shastri’s performance was much appreciated.
A knee injury started affecting his game soon after. Hence, Shastri decided to retire at the age of 30. Throughout his Test career, Shastri made 3830 runs and took 151 wickets.
Also Read: Best Indian Coaches We’ve Ever Had
Ravi Shastri as a Witty Commentator
— Firstpost (@firstpost) April 22, 2016
Shastri found a lot of success as a cricket commentator. He made his debut as a commentator with the World Masters Tournament held in Mumbai in March 1995. Later, he worked for numerous channels and continued bowling other his audiences with his trademark wit and charm. In 20018, Shastri became the official commentator for the Indian Premier League.
Here are some of his rib-tickling quotes-
“Harbhajan Singh is a compulsive hooker.”
“He flashes and flashes hard!”
“Make no mistake about it, this is a pressure cooker situation.”
“It’s not an idli, it’s not a dosa, it’s not a medu vada, it’s not a rava dosa.. it is UTHAPPA!”
These are meant to be enjoyed with a pinch of humour!
The Head Coach of Indian National Cricket Team
From 2014-2016, Shastri served as India’s team director. After the rift between then Head Coach, Anil Kumble, and captain Virat Kohli, Kumble resigned and the search for a new Head Coach began.
Shastri was chosen as the Head Coach by the Cricket Advisory Committee. Saurav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, and Sachin Tendulkar are the members of this committee. Shastri earns a handsome salary of Rs. 8 crores for the job.
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“His contribution ever since we started building this team is making people believe that they belong there. We all went through a tough time in 2014 (the England tour) and for me to able to come out of that, and Shikhar (Dhawan) in the 2015 World Cup, he can vouch for that… He knows how to get the best out of the players. It is mostly about man-management at this level and Ravibhai has done that brilliantly,” Captain Kohli told The Telegraph.
Ravi Shastri Personal Life
Shastri was dating Bollywood actress Amrita Singh in the late 1980s. The duo was engaged as well and posed together for the cover of the Cine Blitz magazine in November 1986. However, things fizzled out soon.
In the year 1990, Shastri married Ritu Singh. The couple was blessed with a daughter, Aleka, in 2008. Unfortunately, after 22 years of marriage, Shastri filed for a divorce in 2012. There were rumours of him dating actress Nimrit Kaur. However, they were denied by both of them.
Interesting Facts about Ravi Shastri
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- Shastri made his television debut with a series called “That’s Cricket.” It was a cricket coaching series aired on Doordarshan channel.
- Shastri’s favourite shot, a flick off his pads became popular as the chapati shot.
- Ravi Shastri was the Celebrity Torchbearer at the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay.
- In 2003, Shastri collaborated with Rediffusion DY&R to establish an agency- Showdiff Worldwide. The agency is involved in talent management and support.
- Shastri is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.
Batting and fielding averages
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 25, 2019
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 11, 2019
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 2, 2019
Blast from the past. 1987. On my right the best and most dominating batsman I have ever seen and on my left the best lefty batter I played against. Daaddas both. @ivivianrichards pic.twitter.com/fftnSDM8Br
— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) May 25, 2018
Together with current captain Virat Kohli, Shastri has formed a formidable duo. A lot of innovations and changes are seen in the team. Whether as the inspiring head coach or the commentator with a booming voice, Shastri has secured a place in the hearts of all Indian cricket fans.
He has had ups and downs in his career, has faced some niggling injuries, handled failures, and found a lot of success as well. Truly an incredible journey indeed. Success never came easily for Shastri and he has time and again stressed on the importance of hard work in his career.
Shastri spoke about criticism and contrastive criticism in an interview with The Telegraph,
“You expect it. I am one of those that if it is constructive, then fine. If I find it is agenda-driven, I don’t care who the individual is, then I will throw a punch back straightaway. I mean it. I don’t care if he is a legend or a normal person. If I feel I have to punch back I will.”
Never to mince words, Shastri has followed this policy in all aspects of his life. In the world of diplomatically correct individuals, it is refreshing to see someone who isn’t scared of speaking his mind!
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