A difference of opinion cannot be construed as conflict, said India head coach Ravi Shastri as he sought to play down the speculation of a rift between captain Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma. Shastri, who had also rubbished the reports of the alleged rift between the two senior players earlier, was asked about the subject again. Ever since the World Cup, speculations of an alleged rift between skipper Virat Kohli and vice skipper Rohit Sharma has been doing rounds on the media. Despite Kohli himself addressing the issue and clarifying that there was no such thing, the rumours have continued to do rounds.
"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," Shastri said. "You have got to have discussions and someone might then think of a fresh strategy which has to be encouraged. So you have to give the guys the opportunity to express themselves and then decide what is best. 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.
Ahead of the team's departure to the Caribbean, Kohli too had dismissed the reports of a rift. Shastri, who was reappointed last month till the 2021 World Cup, argued that Rohit would not have scored five hundreds in the World Cup if there were serious differences between him and Kohli. Ravi Shastri had earlier said the team wouldn't have been so consistent in their performance if there was a rift in place. Both the head coach and the skipper have repeatedly provided clarification on the allegations of the rift between Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
"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 complimented 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 the 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. Look at how we have performed in T20, one-dayers and Tests and even in the big ICC tournaments, it is unbelievable," he added.
"As selection committee, we haven't met after the conclusion of the West Indies tour. We will definitely take this (Rohit as an opener) point into consideration when we all meet and discuss it," said Prasad, a former India wicketkeeper. "KL (Rahul) is definitely a great talent. Of course, he is going through a bit of a tough time in Test cricket. We are definitely concerned about his form. He needs to spend more time on the wicket and regain his touch and form," he said.