India’s fielding coach R Sridhar has revealed that it was Ravi Shastri who insisted on the players being accompanied by their family members in Australia.
The Indian team, led by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, staged a remarkable turnaround after suffering a batting debacle in the first Test in Adelaide. After clinching the Boxing Day clash and pulling off a gritty draw in Sydney, the visitors breached Australia’s fortress — The Gabba — to register a three-wicket victory in Brisbane and retaining the Border Gavaskar Trophy. It was also Australia’s first loss at the venue since 1988.
Before the start of the series, there was a lot of speculation on whether the Indian players would be allowed to bring their family members to Australia. In a chat with Ravi Ashwin, Sridhar revealed that Shastri was reluctant to travel Down Under if families were not allowed to accompany the Indian players.
“Do you know something? When we were quarantined in Dubai, before the last 48 hours, they suddenly announced that the families will not be allowed. So before the Australian tour even started, they started their sledging — their off-the-field sledging. We had calls during night time.”
“And then there was time difference as well and we had to co-ordinate between Dubai, India and Australia. Sorry families not allowed, the Australian government is strict on this. There were total of 7 players who had brought their families and kids. How to convey this to them? Then came Ravi Shastri into the scene. He then set up a zoom meeting since all of us were in our rooms in quarantine in Dubai.”
“He said ”If families are not allowed, then we would not be going to Australia as well. Do whatever you can. That’s the news from the centre”. And then he added ”no one knows Australia better than me. I have been going there for the last 40 years.
How one should behave or bargain with them, I know”. He gave his usual sigh after that. He literally made sure that BCCI listened to what he said. Australian government worked overnight during the weekend to get the permission,” Sridhar said.
Ashwin also spoke about the strict quarantine rules being imposed on the touring party.
“Before even 2021 began, we had an incident in Melbourne. When they called us to Australia, how did they invite us? You are already stuck in a three-and-a-half-month bubble here. You are here now, here we have a soft bubble. If you are quarantined once for 14 days, you can go out for coffee, you can have lunch,” said the tweaker.