"India's best travelling team in last 15 years," said Ravi Shastri. "Let people be the judge," retorted the Committee of Administrators when the national cricket coach spoke of the criticism that his team faces, a top BCCI official has said.
At a recent meeting between the team management and the CoA in Hyderabad, Shastri reiterated his much-publicised comments that drew sharp reactions from former cricketers such as Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly.
"Ravi initially started off by saying that the Indian media always criticises its own players and how this is one of the best ever teams in the last 15 years," an official present in the meeting told PTI.
Shastri's reference to criticism was related to a verbal altercation that Kohli had with a journalist in England after the team lost the Test series 1-3. The skipper, when questioned about Shastri's comment in England, asked for the journalist's view on it. When the scribe said he wasn't quite convinced about the coach's assertion, Kohli snapped back, "That's your opinion, thank you."
"When Ravi went on about how great this current team is, one of the CoA members just cut him short," the official recollected.
"The CoA member told him, 'Let's stick to the agenda of the meeting and discuss Australia tour policies. You don't decide if the team is the best travelling side in the world. Let people be the judge'," the official said.
Shastri and Kohli were told that the Indian team is being provided each and every facility that it has sought and its performances on the field should match that input.
"One of the senior members attending the meeting told the Kohli-Shastri duo that there is nothing wrong if BCCI wants them to perform well overseas. The official told them, 'You have been given everything -- from hefty central contracts to practice facilities, support staff, whatever you guys have wanted, so it's only fair that your performances are put in perspective'."
Another official present in the meeting felt that the two seemed prepared and had an understanding of the subjects they wanted to take up with the CoA. "Ajinkya (Rahane) as usual was pretty quiet for most of the part and Rohit (Sharma) joined a bit late as he was coming from Mumbai. Rohit was only speaking when spoken too," recollected the official.
It was a meeting that was attended by CoA chief Vinod Rai, Diana Edulji, CEO Rahul Johri, IPL COO Hemang Amin, GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim along with Kohli, Shastri, Rohit, Rahane and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.
Kohli courted controversy on Wednesday when he asked fans who didn't like Indian players to leave the country in a promotional video. The BCCI brass, it is learnt, is not happy with the statement but are undecided whether to haul up Kohli for the comment while interacting with fans on his newly-launched app.
"It was a very stupid comment to make. He should have been more careful. He must understand that the kind of money he is earning is because Indian fans have invested in this game. But again the comment was made on his private forum or business initiative. He hasn't used a BCCI platform so that's also an issue," the senior official said