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Shastri to ‘coach’ SA
Ravi Shastri

Durban, June 7 (PTI): In a bid to make the national players media savvy, the South African cricket team is hiring the services of former India captain Ravi Shastri ahead of the series against England.

Shastri, who now works as a television commentator (and is also a columnist for The Telegraph), will arrive in South Africa next week to help coach young captain Graeme Smith’s wards the finer points of press relation.

Smith, for whom the England tour will be the first major assignment since taking over the reign of captaincy from Shaun Pollock after the World Cup, knows very well what awaits them during the series.

“That’s why we won’t leave any stone unturned to ensure we’re properly prepared for what awaits us. Ravi can tell us what to expect from the point of view of a player and the media,” Smith was quoted as saying by a South African website.

Smith made it clear he would like his team’s relationship with the South African media to improve.

During the World Cup, the relation between the local media and the South Africans had strained a lot following the hosts’ first-round exit.

Smith also admitted that he was a bit nervous about the future series.

“We are a little afraid of what lies in store for us in England. We know we’re not going there as favourites. It’s not a coincidence that we haven’t been able to win a series there since we were readmitted.

“As captain it’s a great incentive to try to lead the team to victory,” said Smith.

‘It’ll be different’

Our Special Correspondent in Calcutta adds: Shastri, who is immensely pleased at being invited to South Africa, told The Telegraph: “It’s going to be a very different experience and, honestly, I should enjoy every minute…”.

According to Shastri, he is supposed to hold a one-day ‘clinic’ in Johannesburg next Friday and, being the pro that he is, will reach there a couple of days before his date with the South Africans.

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