London: Ravi Shastri, appointed team director (a first in Indian cricket) for the one-day series and the solitary T20I, spoke to The Telegraph shortly after the Board’s announcement, on Tuesday.
Shastri is a former India captain and cricket manager.
Q So, you’re the Super Boss now...
A (Laughs) Nahin... There’s no Super Boss... I’d like the Indian team to be the Super Boss.
But head coach Duncan Fletcher will report to you...
While that’s settled, who will have the final say in matters of team selection — you or captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni?
The captain has his role and I’ve been given a job as well. Please, it’s not about one person being a kind of Super Boss.
When did the Board seek your consent?
Late on Monday evening... Secretary Sanjay Patel called me up and, then, Shivlal Yadav (interim president, non-IPL) also spoke to me.
For the Board, you’re the go-to man whenever there’s a crisis... After Greg Chappell’s resignation in 2007, you’d been requested to don the cricket manager’s cap on the tour of Bangladesh...
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’.
Would you be game for a longer tenure?
This appointment is for a limted period and nothing more. As you know, I have commitments.
The World Cup is less than six months away...
It’s the now that we’re talking about. Moreover, I live in the present.
When do you join the team?
Not today, which should have been the last day of the Test series... In a couple of days... Of course, before that, I’ll meet the boys at some point.
What do you intend telling Dhoni?
I’d first like to know what Dhoni has in mind, what his thoughts are. That’s important.
You’ll be under pressure to help in quickly turning things around...
Don’t expect a miracle in 15-odd days.
What exactly do you intend doing?
I’ll be there to show the right path. Winning or losing isn’t that important, playing good cricket is. Win or lose, the brand of cricket must definitely be good.
I’d like a happy dressing room, so I’ll do what’s needed to create that environment.
You’re expected to bring in freshness...
Like I’ve said, don’t expect miracles.
Wasn’t India’s performance in the Test series shameful?
I was left very disappointed. The team is young and I saw both sides of the coin... The greatest Test win (at Lord’s) and spineless batting in the last two Tests. However, I’m not angry.
Today, then, is it a matter of lacking confidence?
From the outside, yes... But let me meet the boys first. Ten players are common to both teams... I’d like to have a word with them before saying anything more.
The final one... You’ve been featuring in Sky’s hit show, Verdict, in the evenings (with Bob Willis, Charles Colville and a guest)... What about that?
It ended with the Test series. I’m glad it was so well received. (Adds laughing) Now, look out for the verdict in the dressing room!