Ravi Shastri is a man who has always found ways to remain closely associated with cricket. After retiring as a player, the former India all-rounder has been a part of India’s support staff for 7 long years, most recently as the head coach. However, Shastri has admitted that attempts were made to ensure that he didn’t get the job in 2017.
Shastri was in the running to become India’s head coach in 2016 before Anil Kumble was handed the job. Shastri was already working with the Indian team as the ‘team director’ and had guided the boys to some notable achievements both at home and away. However, rather than formally appointing Shastri as the head coach, the board decided to hand Kumble the responsibility.
“There was this bolt from the blue. In less than two years after I was asked set aside my broadcast career, leave everything else and join the team, I suddenly found myself out for no reason. I had sown the seeds and the fruits were beginning to show and out of nowhere I came to know I was being replaced. Nobody told me why,” he told the Times of India in an interview.
On being asked with the decision hurt, Shastri didn’t hide behind his feelings and said: “Yes, more than anything, it hurt because of the manner in which it was done. For all that I had contributed, just on one word from the BCCI, there were better ways to let me know ‘Oh look we don’t want you, we don’t like you. We want somebody else’ – if that was the case. Anyway, I went back to do what I do best – which is television. Around nine months passed, and I didn’t even have a clue that there was anything wrong inside the team. I mean, what could’ve been wrong? I was told there was a real problem and I said – how can there be a problem in nine months? The team that I had left was in such a good space. How the hell in nine months could something go that drastically wrong?”
After Kumble resigned from the role following India’s defeat to Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final, it was Shastri who took up the job. Shastri even revealed that some people in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) tried their best to prevent him from taking the role.
“During my second stint, I came after a huge controversy. And it was literally egg on the faces of those who wanted me away. They opted for someone and nine months later, they came back to the very guy they threw out. And I’m not pointing any fingers at people (BCCI) in general. Specific people. I must say an attempt was made to ensure I don’t get the job. But such is life,” he explained.