New Delhi: Former cricket captain and now team director Ravi Shastri said he had plenty of one-on-one chats to lift the Indian cricketers bounce back in style and win the ODI series after suffering a humiliating 1-3 loss in the Tests in England.
"I had a plenty of one-on-one chats. Not sessions. I was not afraid to speak to a guy individually. Ground, bus, bar, dressing room, while eating - we were talking cricket," Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com Tuesday.
"Communication is important. The advantage I had was I had watched these boys a lot. I told them I have watched more cricket than I have played. I have learned more about cricket after I stopped playing."
Shastri doesn't want to think too much about his future with the Indian team.
"One step at a time. I was doing commentary during the Oval Test. This is my first, proper off-day. I got a call immediately after the Oval Test asking me take over. Then your whole mind goes into a tailspin because you are supposed to suddenly do something different and massive," he said.
"My job was to be with the team for the ODI series. They have won it. I want to let that sink. I will return to India and then think about the future," he added.
Shastri was appointed the team director after the Indian team's humiliating 1-3 loss in the Test series in England, triggering rumours that coach Duncan Fletcher could be on his way out. Shastri's presence did a world of good as the team bounced back in style to beat England by a similar margin in the ODIs.
Asked if he achieved his target, Shastri said: "Absolutely. I got more than I would have expected. I say that only because of England's record at home, not many sides have thrashed them 3-0 in a four-ODI series. It is a big achievement: From what they were mentally after the Test series defeat, and then to respond in that fashion made me feel proud."
Shastri said one of his primary tasks was to liven up the dressing room.
"I had to make it (dressing room) a place where the boys wanted to enjoy themselves. I was very clear when I said I am doing this job because I believe in them. And that was enough. As I got talking to them one on one, things started falling in place," he said.
Shastri also focused on the out-of-form Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan.
"About Virat, you knew it was due (the half-century in the Edgbaston Twenty20). The reason he did not perform earlier was a combination of mental and technical issues. You cannot get out to the same bowler in the same fashion five to six times. So, there is an issue."
"He has to accept there is something wrong, otherwise you cannot get out. And that had to be addressed, which we did. There are certain issues Virat understands he needs to work on, which he has been doing. Similar case with Shikhar [Dhawan]."
"Shikhar batted magnificently - you would have seen the difference in him in the last three matches. He was technically and overall more fluent and confident. Mentally, they were down after the Test series, but my job was to make them free. The good thing about this entire team was the willingness to listen and learn. No one works harder than these boys - they push themselves to the limit," he said.
Shastri said his stint with the team during the 2007 Bangladesh tour, in the aftermath of the first round exit from the World Cup, stood him in good stead in England.
"When I first worked as a consultant with the Indian team during the 2007 Bangladesh tour, (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni was a key player already. Hence both of us know each other well. Our job was to make his life easier after the Test series. Our job was to take the pressure off him. Our job was to communicate more with the players, make them at ease, and give them the confidence," he said.
Asked if he agrees with Dhoni calling the England series a "good" tour overall, Shastri said: "He is not far from the truth. One of the things I had told the boys was, the reason I am here is you have shown me two things on this tour: First was India's greatest ever Test win, at Lord's during the second Test. I mean it. It was phenomenal."
Shastri also said that he had blasted the team, saying they have played "spineless cricket" in the last three Tests.
"I also told them in the final three Tests you played spineless cricket. So, for me a good team cannot be a bad team in two weeks. It cannot. It is a learning curve. Then to beat England in the ODI series the way India did was very good. And don't forget, this is only the second time India have won a bilateral ODI series in England," he said.