'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.'
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.
"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 told Gulf News.
"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 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.
"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 complemented 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.