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‘If criticism is agenda-driven, I will throw a punch back at critic’

‘If criticism is agenda-driven, I will throw a punch back at critic’
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Ravi Shastri is not known to pull back punches and the India head coach has made it clear that he wouldnt change his ways if he feels that criticism...

Melbourne: Ravi Shastri is not known to pull back punches and the India head coach has made it clear that he wouldn’t change his ways if he feels that criticism directed at the national team is “agenda-driven”.

Speaking to ‘The Daily Telegraph’, Shastri also complimented Virat Kohli, describing the skipper as someone who comes “closest to Vivian Richards” in the manner he bats. On the criticism, there was no direct reference to the critics he considers agenda-driven.

“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,” Shastri told former England captain Michael Vaughan, who was interviewing him for the newspaper.

The most recent criticism against the team came from the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, who had questioned the team combination and training methods after India’s defeat in the Perth Test, which according to Shastri, was akin to “firing blanks” sitting million miles away.

India’s greatest opener then responded by saying that it were these blanks that pushed the team into doing well at Melbourne. When asked to compare Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, Shastri said the Mumbai maestro was “more composed” and in a zone while Kohli is more “in your face”.

“Yesterday someone asked me if there are any similarities between Sachin (Tendulkar) and Virat. I said there were plenty. Let’s start with work ethic,” he said.

“It is doing the hard yards, looking ugly in the nets and sacrificing important things for your cricket. It is staying in the zone. No excuses. No pointing fingers at others. If you make a mistake, then own up. They do that,” Shastri added.

He then cited the difference. “Virat can be in your face. He is the closest a player has come to Vivian Richards in the way he bats. That ‘in your face” approach with fast bowlers and any opponent.

He is also prepared to do hard work and be ugly. That is part of his batting he learned in England,” said the Indian coach.

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