Mumbai: Any series between India and Australia over the past few years has been full of sledging wars and it seems the tradition will continue this time again when the Virat Kohli-led side visit down under for a long tour this winter.
On the perception that Shastri is Kohli's "yes" man, the captain said: "About saying yes all the time, that is the most weird thing that I have heard". There hasn't been anyone who said no to me more than him in Indian cricket, honestly. He is one guy I can speak to and can get an honest opinion. "I've made the most changes to my game listening to him [Shastri] than anyone else in the past".
"The contribution that he [Shastri] has brought to the table ever since we started building this team is making people believe they belong at this level and I can vouch for it", he said. I can vouch for it because at a time when we all went through a really hard time in England in 2014 for me, and for a lot of other players, Shikhar Dhawan in 2015 as well, to be able to come out of that shell, to bring the best out of the players, he is the most important factor. Shikhar in the 2015 World Cup as well, he can vouch for that.
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India play no further ODIs for the rest of this year, but they end 2018 joint-third among the teams that have featured the most players. "That can only be achieved if individuals go and take responsibility", Kohli said to a group of reporters. Because we understand that for the top order, it can get hard when guys are bowling a good spell and it's really tough. "Because in ODI and T20s we have played really good cricket".
Talking specifics about the batting unit, apart from wholesome improvement, Kohli felt that there is room for improvement particularly in contributions from the lower order. Our guys are surely capable too to do a similar kind of job but I don't want to focus on that. "If they can get going they can change the course of the whole game or a whole series". "That's something we need to tighten up on, especially after England", says the skipper. A lot of people think that we don't understand what needs to be done. "But, when on the field, it becomes a different ballgame". That is what we are working towards because he finishes one day, I finish playing one day but Indian cricket stays here and we are contributing towards that. Or no one can tell me what decisions I make every ball I play because out there, I'm alone.
Kohli said everyone can say whatever they want, but for his team, everything has been organic, and not fake. Any series against Australia will have its heated moments and the last two series have been intense to say the least.