After being appointed Team India director for the ODI series starting in Bristol on August 25, Ravi Shastri said he was more on a “fact-finding” mission than teaching batting techniques to a beleaguered outfit. Shastri, a noted TV commentator, was asked to step in as head of India’s coaching staff by the BCCI on Tuesday. The Board’s reaction came in the wake of India’s horrible 3-1 Test defeat in England.
On his role Shastri said, “My brief is to work with Duncan Fletcher and find out why a team that posted a splendid victory at Lord’s collapsed in the last three matches. Like the BCCI, I too am eager to find out what went wrong and how it can be set right.”
When asked if he would consider taking up the job full-time, the former Indian all-rounder was quick not to speculate.
In 2007, Shastri stepped in as stop-gap coach when India toured Bangladesh. It was not the best of times for the national side. Greg Chappell had just quit as coach after India’s unceremonious first-round exit in the 2007 World Cup. Shastri did well to keep the team together and the fact that Bangladesh were the underdogs, helped matters.
“It’s an honour if the country wants you to do something. It’s by playing for India that I’ve become what I am. It’s because of the Board as well. Both in 2007 and now, I gladly said ‘yes’,” said Shastri, who was approached by BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel and the interim president Shivlal Yadav. The news of Shastri’s appointment was broken to captain MS Dhoni and Fletcher around midnight on Tuesday.
While this step taken by the BCCI seems to signal a change in the Team India management, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar does not think that Shastri will be able to make an impact right away. Shastri, too, doesn’t see an immediate turnaround although the Indians are expected to play the ODIs better than the Tests. “Don’t expect a miracle in 15-odd days,” said. The former Indian all-rounder.