“Dhoni finishes it off in style India lifts the World Cup after 28 years,” screamed Ravi Shastri, and the entire nation went into a frenzy. More than a decade has passed, but those words haven’t lost an iota of its impact.
By the time cricket on television became a common phenomenon, Shastri had already hung up his boots. The dizzy highlights on the internet don’t tell you a lot about his batting exploits. This will continue to remain an overriding memory of Ravi Shastri for gazillions of cricket fans, even though his credentials as a cricket and head coach are not any less.
Under his watchful eye, India reached unprecedented heights, and became a global force to reckon with. Shastri, however, is way more than these achievements. His unrestrained persona is a source of eternal delight for meme-makers, and his words carry a note of levity—here’s a man who is not afraid to embrace his real self.
Not everyone is comfortable with being a butt of all jokes. In a job where every action and word is dissected from every possible angle, people become hyper-conscious of their image. This is where Shastri’s attitude is refreshing.
Last year, when India demolished England inside two days in Ahmedabad, veteran journalist Shobha De shared a meme. “You thought I’d stay in Dry State For Five Days,” read the caption. Ravi Shastri was quick to notice and replied: “Love the banter! Feels good to bring some smiles in these tough times Raising hands.”
Cricketers and coaches are not very good with words. Most of them usually deal in cliches, casually throwing around management jargon to explain complex scenarios. But not Ravi Shastri, who is quite blunt in his assessment.
After India defeated South Africa in 2019, the host Sanjay Manjrekar asked him to explain the difference between “this team and the team that you took charge five years ago.” What Shastri said remains the most epic line ever uttered by a head coach in the presser:
“Bhaad me gaya pitch (to hell with the pitches),” Shastri said. “We need to take 20 wickets and it doesn’t matter if it’s Mumbai, Auckland, Melbourne, anywhere. Once we have taken those 20 wickets, our batting, once it gets going it’s like a smooth-running Ferrari.”
When Shastri was asked about his constant trolling on social media, he said: ” They do it to have fun, it’s at my expense, but okay, have a laugh yaar. How does it matter? When you post that kind of memes, how many people have a laugh? so many get happy, you enjoy that stuff.”
While drinking beer has always been an important ritual of the game, Indian cricket stars often maintain a safe distance from alcoholic beverages as it often warrants unwanted criticism.
Shastri, however, doesn’t seem to be the man to lose sleep over public opinions. He has always admitted his love for alcohol. When the lockdown was eased last year, Shastri’s first priority was to stack up beers for himself.
On the Caribbean tour of 2019, he posted a series of pictures that sparked a meme-fest on Twitter. After India secured the series, Shastri was seen chilling at the beachside with a glass of punch in one hand.
Other than cricket and alcohol, Shastri surely knows a lot about reggae music. On the same tour, he posted a tour diary of the Bob Marley museum and was heard humming “Buffalo Soldier” with a local. Towards the end of the video, Shastri mentions some other great artists like Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Gregory Isaacs.
The larger-than-life character Ravi Shastri turns 60th birthday today, and we think he is best defined by his Twitter bio that reads “Happy hours always,”