Ravi Shastri is no Mad Hatter.
What he said:
“When the moment is important, Ravi Shastri is the last one to back away. So if you’re asking if my hat is in the ring, it is in there. Maybe three hats!”
Ravi Shastri’s tenure as Team India director has ended. He and his team— Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar—have done a creditable job following Duncan Fletcher’s departure.
When asked if he’d be up for the job of the new team coach, the former left-arm spinner and right-hand bat responded:
“I have had a discussion much earlier with the Board on as to where things should go, and how. At the end of the day, they are my employers. They are the ones who are going to make the decision. So whatever I have grasped in these 18 months, I have let them know.
See, it is a very challenging job. It has been a very enjoyable job. It is a very important moment in Indian cricket.When the moment is important, Ravi Shastri is the last one to back away. So if you’re asking if my hat is in the ring, it is in there. Maybe three hats!”
Talking about Team India’s performance, Shastri is against change for its own sake.
“Look at our performances in the last 18 months. We are ranked 2, 2 and 1 in the three formats. And that can’t happen if you have people within the system who are not interested in the game. If, by any chance, it was the other way around, you would have heard from me straight.”
“I want to cut across barriers and come straight to the point, which is communication and trust. For me, that was the first nail I had to put in. I always believed they were a terrific side. They were low on confidence and they were probably not approaching the game in the right way, the way it should be played when you consider the talent they have.
Those were the two areas you had to focus on, and you kept things simple. You said, let’s hit those areas first, let’s get the trust, let’s get the communication going. Let’s get the work ethic better, where there’s no shortcut. It might take time, it might take three to four months before we are back to winning ways. And then you know things will fall in place. But what I saw was a transformation that was quite immediate. I didn’t expect that. But then again, it’s why I jumped in, because I knew there was huge talent there.”
What he really meant:
“I’m all for continuing as team coach. My record speaks for myself. And I’m always up for the challenge. It’s certainly something I enjoy doing more than commentating!”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Speaking of myself in the third person, now, that’s something I never did on the microphone. And I’m all for three hats: Commentator, Manager and Team Coach. To hell with conflict of interest , I’m Superman!”