The cricketer-turned-commentator also placed the intense on-field rivalry between India and Australia just a rung below that India-Pakistan duel.
     
He was speaking at a function here last evening organized by the Australian Trade Commission to elicit business around the 2015 Cricket World Cup which the country is co-hosting with Trans-Tasman neighbours New Zealand.
     
"I studied in English convent school so English manners were pretty good, but (I thought) enough of England. You wanted to get out to Australia perform in their zone, play hard, play fair and play to win and to do that you got to be hard yourself," he said.
     
"One thing about Australia, they will hag you, give you enough on the cricket field, but if you can stand up and play and get runs there's mutual respect which helped me a lot right from my young age. After that when you went on to play West Indies, went on to play the strongest teams with the best pace attack in the world you were not intimidated. You were up for a fight, you wanted to compete.
     
"You go and ask the young team of the '90s who really learnt how to fight and compete, the Gangulys, the Dravids, the Tendulkars. They were that era of players. It happened because of Australia," said Shastri.
     
"India-Pak is the fabric, but outside that it's India-Australia (rivalry which brings out the) best cricket. The following that India-Aus cricket has is unmatched because of the competition, if you forget India-Pakistan that goes a long way back."
     
Former Australia pacer Shaun Tait, who played for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, agreed with Shastri and said the current lot of Indian players were not afraid of anyone, which may have been the case earlier.

(Agencies)

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