Indian national cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri has once again downplayed the rumours of an alleged rift between skipper Virat Kohli and his ODI deputy Rohit Sharma, saying that "difference of opinion" cannot be construed as conflict. In an interview with the Gulf News, Shastri, who had dismissed the rumours earlier, was again asked to comment on the issue.
"In a side when you have 15 players there will always be times when there will be opinions that will be different. That is what is needed. I don't want everyone toeing the same line," he told the Gulf News.
He said that to make a fresh strategy discussions must be encouraged and give the guys the opportunity to express themselves. "Sometimes it might be the junior most player in the team who may come up with a strategy which we hadn't even thought of and we need to bring that to the table. So these should not be seen as a conflict," he added.
After team India's ouster from the 2019 ICC World Cup, several reports had claimed that the dressing room atmoshphere of team India was not healthy and skipper Kohli had a rift with his deputy Rohit Sharma. However, Kohli dismissed such reports during a press conference ahead of the team's departure to the Caribbean.
Shastri, who was last month re-appointed as team India's head coach till the 2021 World Cup, argued that Rohit would not have performed the way he did in the World Cup if there were serious differences between him and Kohli.
"Listen, I have been around the dressing room for the last five years. I have seen how the boys have played and how they have complemented the team and know their work ethics. I feel it is absolute nonsense.
"If that was the case why would Rohit get five hundreds in the World Cup? Why would Virat do what he is doing? How would they have partnerships together?" Shastri asked.
Asked if the rumours affected the team spirit in any way, Shastri said, "When a team is playing in this fashion over five years it is important that you get behind the team and be positive rather than try and create any trouble. This kind of consistency I have not seen any time.
"We have a legacy like the West Indies did in Eighties and Australia did in the turn of the century. This team too has an opportunity to leave that kind of legacy and they are already doing it," he added.