Less than two years after leaving the commentary box to take over as Team Director of the Indian team following their 1-3 Test series defeat in the English summer of 2014, Ravi Shastri found himself out of favour for the head coach's post which went to Anil Kumble yesterday.
Ravi Shastri found himself out of favour for Team India's head coach post. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Kumble, India's most successful Test bowler with 619 wickets, was the more illustrious of the two candidates, but was it fair to Shastri, who played shepherd for two years? The jury is out. Not one to hide his feelings, Shastri told mid-day yesterday when asked whether he was disappointed: "Yes, for the work put in, and results produced in the last 18 months. But if it (tenure) was for only one year then, not really. "It's time to move on and do what you do best. I must say I had the ultimate experience with a young and happening side."
Like his India captaincy stint in 1988 (when he won the only Test he led in, and captained India to a one-day triumph in Sharjah), Shastri impressed as Team India Director. India beat a formidable England side in the one-day series as soon as he took over in 2014. He then motivated India to win seven games in a row at the 2015 ICC World Cup before they lost to eventual champions Australia. And after a series win in Sri Lanka and a near-whitewash of South Africa in the home Test series, India didn't suffer a defeat till the World T20 semi-finals earlier this year. The blemish was a home ODI series loss to South Africa.
Back to commentary
He will now view things from the commentary box again. It will be far easier from that position. Recently, he told this writer that being with the team is the hardest thing he has done and comparing it to the stress of commentary will result in a no-contest. "I just arrived at the ground for commentary and did my thing. It was a stroll," he said after an IPL game in Mumbai. Yesterday, he was gracious in disappointment. "I wish Anil and the team all the luck," he said at the very start of the conversation.