India in England 2014 August 20, 2014

'My role is to oversee everything' - Shastri


Former India allrounder Ravi Shastri, the newly appointed team director for the ODI series in England, has said that though he will be in charge of the team, head coach Duncan Fletcher has not been sidelined.

"My role is to oversee everything. All of them report to me," Shastri told ESPNcricinfo in an interview where he expanded on his role. The decision by the BCCI to bring in Shastri along with the three Indian assistants - Sanjay Bangar (batting), B Arun (bowling) and R Sridhar (fielding) - and "give a break" to fielding coach Trevor Penney and bowling coach Joe Dawes ignited speculation about Fletcher's future.

But Shastri emphasised that Fletcher would not be sidelined. "Absolutely not. He stays as the head coach. And these two (Bangar and Arun) will be his assistants. I am there to oversee."

Immediately after the BCCI made public his appointment on Tuesday morning, Shastri went to the team hotel in London where he had a two-hour chat with both MS Dhoni and Fletcher to chalk out plans for the five-match ODI series which starts in Bristol on Monday. "We had a chat about where things are at the moment and how things have to be addressed. And how important communication will be."

Shastri has been blunt in his assessments in the wake of India's 3-1 defeat against England in the five-match Test series. Although he picked inexperience as the deciding factor behind India's defeat he described the team's performance as "spineless". "On this tour I saw India's greatest ever overseas win I have seen. I know it because I have never seen a track like that and with this kind of inexperienced side, for them to pull it off... Then I also saw some spineless cricket over the last three Tests matches. Spineless means stomach for a fight. People would have accepted 3-1 if there was a little more fight."

Shastri said that it was painful to watch batsmen not learning from their mistakes during the series. "My only disappointment was players at times making the same mistake," Shastri said. "That disappointed me. Everyone makes a mistake, but you want to try something different."

In his newspaper column, published the day after the Oval defeat, Shastri wrote: "Five sessions and not five days have been enough to nail them. But move on we must. Sit back and watch if these glam boys are ready for penance." Asked who exactly were his targets, Shastri revealed it was the top-order pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli.

"I was hard on Pujara and Kohli specifically because they came here with big reputations. And they have been brought down to earth with their techniques being found out against the moving ball. And there is nothing wrong in that, it has happened to the biggest players. Now the true test of their character will be: how they bounce back. I have absolutely no doubt that not only will they bounce back, they will excel very, very soon."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 25, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    Every one do comment on the Indian pitches and relates the failure of batsmen to Indian Pitches. If that is the correct reason, why does India won at Lords when conditions are tailor made to Suit England? Is the Wanderers pitch too easy against Steyn, Philander, Morkel where Kohli, Pujara had Centuries. My dear Friends it is all application of one self and the fighting spirit. and by the way batting on 4th and 5th day in Indian Pitches is as tough as batting on 1st day on a Green top in English Conditions.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    How come, many fans are forgetting that Irfan had been unfit for quite some time, and is finding it difficult to find a place even in the Baroda team, quite frequently. I agree that Irfan was our best hope for a fast bowling alrounder. Alas, those days and those hopes have vanished quite some time ago. Yes, it is a shame.

    While admitting that he wasn't handled well, I should also add that he didn't handle his own decline well either. I distinctly remember Wasim expressing his willingness to help out Irfan, and also saying that the lad "is not approaching him for help".

  • Santhosh on August 22, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    How many of you noticed this, when India have got a such a good talent in bowling department, we lost some of the players, BCCI should take care of the players, No 1. what about Irfan pathan when he started his career in test cricket he used to swing the balls both side.. how badly India missing him, If the coaches had back up Pathan he could have made a huge difference in English conditions India missed him very badly.. No 2. If India has to win in overseas they have to use the fast bowlers differently,, In England conditions, Irfan, bhuvi, Ishant, Aaron, if India had played 4 fast bowlers then they can easily wrap up english batsmen.. Now past is past.. Now India is going to down under in December, i would like to see Umesh yadav, Varun Aaron, Ishant sharma/ MOHAMMED SHAMI.. so this could be the best bowling line up for Indian

  • Tahir on August 22, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    Fletcher has been more of a rubber stamp. He was hired to know secrets about english tactics but it did not work. Board in fact wants to keep close eye on the indian players and find the reasons for dismal display. That is why shastri is in. India need chappel who disciplined them a lot. Foriegn coaches have a lesson to learn from Fletcher's debacle as indian coach.

  • Jay on August 22, 2014, 0:29 GMT

    In my vision, I see the BCCI going full throttle with limited overs cricket and shutting India out of the test arena. That does not mean India will cease playing test cricket. As the world's most powerful cricket nation, they will continue to 'participate' in test cricket playing the occasional series every 2 years once. But going forward, ODIs and T20s will be their forte. India should focus on winning every major ODI and T20 tournaments from here on as it is very clear that test cricket is not for them. The Indian boys love aggressive cricket scoring at a brisk pace and intimidating the opposition. I for one would be most happy to see the BCCI take such measures.

  • Tahir on August 21, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    @ Samdanh: Ganguly was part of fab4 plus he had zaheer, bhajji and kumble while Kapil had very useful bunch of all rounders who were world beaters on their day. Dhoni also had fab4 +uvi, zaheer, raina but now he is left with this bunch of players. A leader is as good as his men. He can use his aces better, provided he has them.

  • Tahir on August 21, 2014, 21:48 GMT

    Before thinking big about india chances in the upcoming odi series, we have to take into account that they lost both asia cup and icc 2020 outside indian conditions in asia just recently. Even the UAE leg of IPL was different from India leg for indian batters in particular. Furthermore, their best player from BD series (binny) has been declared a mediocre player in england by all the expert and even by the indian fans.

  • Anthony on August 21, 2014, 19:24 GMT

    With the best will in the world, Ravi Shastri will find it difficult to knock this team into shape. The main problem appears to be in the batting. These are batsmen who have been brought up on flat pitches with low slow bounce designed to be batsmen's paradises producing high scores all in the cause of spectator entertainment. Their Test batting averages are also inflated and misleading because of the absence of DRS resulting in longer stays at the crease via the old reliance where a doubtful decision is always ruled by the umpire in favour of/ or for the benefit of the batsman. Sorry, have I inadvertently and unintentionally stumbled upon the definition of flat track bullies?

  • Tahir on August 21, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    @Nampally: With the quality of batters and bowlers that India have Dhoni cant win even if inida play batsmen till seven or play six bowlers. Changing, captain coach etc. is not the solution of the current indian problems. Whole approach from the game admins from india has to change. Test selection should be based on regular domestic cricket and not at all just on IPL. Test losing cyndrome has spread to home soil as well with the way england won in india.

  • Anurag on August 21, 2014, 17:51 GMT

    Very good comments @criccitizen. I completely agree.

  • No featured comments at the moment.