'I have the experience to contribute' - Shastri
Ravi Shastri, who has been appointed cricket manager for the tour of Bangladesh, admitted that the BCCI's offer took him by surprise but said it was a good chance to contribute and felt he had the experience to do so.
Shastri, a television anchor with ESPN-Star Sports, confirmed his appointment on Saturday after settling his other contractual obligations. Later in the day the BCCI announced the appointment - on an interim basis for the tour beginning early next month - at a press conference after the working committee meeting.
"It did surprise me but, having said that, if you look at the state of Indian cricket at the moment, I thought it was a good time to put your hand up and asked to be counted," Shastri said in an interview to ESPN. "For the years you have played the game and the years you have been part of the media, I do believe I have the experience to contribute."
However, Shastri reiterated that he will be available only for the Bangladesh tour. "No, it is just for Bangladesh and I am very clear about that in my mind and that will also give the Board the breathing space for a couple of months to identify the right kind of people, they need for the tour of England," Shastri told the television channel CNN-IBN.
When asked about the sudden dip in form for the Indian side, Shastri believed that there was no need to panic as yet, and that the team has the ability to bounce back soon. "You are not going to change the team overnight and I do not believe this Indian team can be bad in seven days," he said. "I don't think this good Indian team can be a very good team in 14 days."
Shastri also welcomed the BCCI's decision to extend its working relationship with Greg Chappell, former coach, by offering him the post as director of the National Cricket Academy. Chappell made a presentation in the meeting suggesting measures to improve Indian cricket, which impressed Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president.
"His presentation was outstanding," Shastri said. "I am so happy that BCCI has offered Chappell a role in Indian cricket. The man has tremendous knowledge. He might not be happy with the way things have gone for the last year and half to two years. But I still believe he has still a lot to offer for Indian cricket."
Shastri was among seven former captains invited by the BCCI in Mumbai on Friday to suggest changes in the Indian cricket structure following India's early exit from the World Cup and coach Chappell's resignation. At that meeting, it was believed that he was the unanimous choice to succeed Chappell, given his good rapport with the Indian players. Shastri is also part of the Cricket Advisory committee set up by Pawar, which comprises seven former Indian captains.