Ravi Shastri has cricket on his mind.
What he said:
“I’ve watched more cricket than I’ve played. So there’s enough in this upper-storey here (pointing to his forehead) that can be used before I forget it.”
Ravi Shastri eases into his new role as Team Director. The cricketer-turned-commentator believes that he can contribute not just from his playing experience but from observing as well.
“I have already started talking to them [the selection committee] and we have no issues on that. My job is not to select an Indian cricket team, it is their job, but my job is to at least communicate with them and see on what lines they are [thinking] so that we both are on the same page. Probably discuss talent, discuss what would be the kind of team you need in Australia.
See, combinations are very important. You have got to identify your strengths and see who are the right people to manage those roles and areas of your strengths. That importantly comes up with the team. Prime importance, I believe, will always be given to current form. I think form is very important.
My job is to communicate with whoever is there and I will not take a step back. At the moment, I have been communicating with all the five.”
“My job [as director] is to ensure that everything is in order. It’s not just about communicating with the players. It’s also about giving your views, your inputs as a former player, and as a broadcaster. I’ve watched more cricket than I’ve played. So there’s enough in this upper-storey here (pointing to his forehead) that can be used before I forget it. That’s what I tell the players. Don’t be afraid to ask me questions, because there’s enough there for me to be able to contribute. Yes, obviously you’ll have to have a dialogue with the selectors as to where they’re coming from and what their train of thought is. What we feel as part of the Indian cricket team, so that there’s healthy communication and you get something that’s best for the Indian cricket team.”
On working with Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni:
“Absolutely, he is brilliant. He is a seasoned campaigner. He has over 100 Test matches as a coach for various teams. The good thing is Fletch and me go a long way back. We know each other. I captained the U-25 team against Zimbabwe in 1984 when he was the captain of Zimbabwe. He has got a fabulous track record. It is how we use the knowledge that he has in the best possible way and communicate with the players.
The boss is the captain on the cricket field. I am in charge of the coaching staff. That’s put into place. My job is to oversee things and see things go all right. Who cares who’s the boss? At the end of the day, you win and to hell with it, yaar. Jisko boss banna hai bano. [Whoever wants to be the boss, let him do so].”
What Shastri really meant:
“Now that I’m director I’ll be able to force the players to work on my freely provided suggestions from the commentary box. Theory becomes practice, eh?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Now this is what I call life coming full circle: From player to commentator to super-super coach!”