India's new coach Ravi Shastri will allow players to have fun as long as they put in the hard work, signalling a more relaxed approach to his taskmaster predecessor Anil Kumble.
"As long as there's a level of commitment, the hard yards are being put in and results are showing, why shouldn't there be fun?" Shastri told the Times of India in an interview released Thursday that could reassure captain Virat Kohli.
Shastri, 55, took over as India's chief coach this week after spin great Kumble quit last month saying his relationship with Kohli had become untenable.
Kumble lasted just a year in the post, amid reports that Kohli resented his style and wanted Shastri brought in.
India is the world's number one Test side and its players are used to being treated like stars.
Shastri insisted that contrary to his reputation, he could be authoritarian if needed.
"But there's no point in showing authority when it's not required and there's a sense of bonding that works better," the former India all-rounder said in the interview.
Shastri, a popular TV commentator, enjoyed a stellar 11-year career, accumulating 6,938 runs and 280 wickets from 80 Tests and 150 one-day internationals.
He was also known for his flamboyant image, attracting media attention for his alleged affairs and late-night partying.
His first assignment starts with India's tour of Sri Lanka this month.
"It's not about 'tutoring' them about everything and telling them what and what not to do. There's very little coaching at the highest level," he said.
"It's about fine-tuning and mentoring, about effective communication."