Anil Kumble may have beaten him to India coach’s job but Ravi Shastri stays proud of his stint as the team director. The former all-rounder and India cricket captain brushes aside conspiracy theories and says he’s already looking ahead. Nothing surprises me, nothing is permanent in life, changes are bound to happen, sometimes sooner. I am happy. It’s about being honest with your job and I have given my 100%. It is time to move on and there is plenty you can do.
It’s been an unbelievable 18 months of my life. The India team held the top ranking in Tests and we were at the top in T20s in this span. Someone asked me if ‘you could have done better’, I said ‘we have overachieved’. After all, we are only human. This will be the best experience of my life. It has enriched my knowledge, taken me into the modern era of the game… how players think. For that kind of experience, you have to be there, it’s something which can’t be told. When I started, the one-day game had just started. It took off after the 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship win in Australia. Now a player comes in knowing he has to adapt to all three formats of the game. It’s a faster game the whole pace is faster, even though Test cricket is the pinnacle. There is tremendous emphasis on fielding. I am a guy who is above all this. My job was to fill the application form and appear for the interview and presentation. What happened, I don’t know and am not affected by it. It is for other people to know. I know the boys have done well. I felt with another year-and-a-half I would have helped them into a really good space. They are already in a good space, it could have been better. Anil (Kumble) has got a really good side and I have wished him all the best. He had called up immediately after his appointment. He said he would like to speak to me (about the team). Anil has been a champion cricketer, and I said anytime. I wished him well. Keep the consistency going. It is a really good side with some champion cricketers and two great captains in Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni who have great respect for each other. What I had said was Dhoni should look at where he will be after four years. If he sees himself playing (at the World Cup) then fine or they (BCCI) might need to groom someone. If they are looking at a replacement, they have someone ready in Kohli. Dhoni is one of the greatest cricketers of all time and it was a privilege sharing the dressing room with him.