NEW DELHI: Having lost out to Anil Kumble in the race to become Team India head coach, former team director Ravi Shastri is understandably a disappointed man. Back in the country after a vacation in Bangkok, Shastri spoke about the disappointment , the coach selection process and his time with the team. Excerpts:
How disappointed are you after missing out on the job of India coach?
My disappointment was there for a day and that is all. And it happened last week. I have moved on.
Do you think that the board wasn’t ready to give you an extension and that’s why the process of selecting a new coach was undertaken?
That is BCCI ‘s headache, not mine.
Do you think the appointment of Anil Kumble was pre-meditated?
Again, I am no one to answer that. My job was to prepare a team. I was able to do it with the best of ability. Right now, India are among the top two teams in world cricket in all formats.
Was the interview process was transparent?
My job was to give an interview, which I had given. What happened inside is not my lookout.
How do you look back at your tenure as team director?
I had a dream run with the team for 18 months. In the next three years, we are in the process of achieving more. I am also happy that the talented team was able to achieve quite a lot of things during my tenure. Starting from becoming the No. 1 Test team in the world to doing well in ODIs and T20s in England and Australia, we played good cricket. We need to be consistent with bowling a bit and with Anil Kumble at the helm, I am sure our bowling will improve in the days to come. As far as I am concerned, it was indeed a memorable journey. I don’t have any regrets.
Why do you think Sourav Ganguly walked out while you were being interviewed? What’s the issue between you two?
All I can say is that Ganguly wasn’t there when I was interviewed and you should ask what problem Ganguly has with me instead of asking me.
What was the basic component of your presentation in the interview?
First of all, I wasn’t giving any interview for the job of a CEO. I had very good discussion with Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Jagdale and VVS Laxman about the future of Indian cricket. We also spoke about the good things that happened during my tenure as the team director. I think that our overseas performances were good. Most importantly, the boys responded well and they are hungry for success. We are not No. 1 in Test cricket today only because we haven’t played the format for last six months.
Will you be available for Indian cricketers if they come to you for some guidance?
Your thought on MS Dhoni’s captaincy in the shorter formats?
Dhoni is one of the greatest cricketers of our times. The way he still runs 100 metres, he is still the best in the team. I think he still has three to four years of cricket left in him. However, somewhere down the line and depending on the frequency of whichever format is being played regularly, you may have to look at Virat Kohli captaining India in all formats. But it’s a call for the selectors. I also feel Dhoni would be a lot more relaxed like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid without the burden of captaincy at some point.
Will you be going to the West Indies as commentator?
Not as a commentator. I would be in the West Indies towards the end of July to celebrate Gary Sobers’ 80th birthday.