Ravi Shastri declared that Indian cricket is in good hands, and the National team is doing well across all three formats of the game because of the systems put in place by the BCCI and the administrators.
Delivering the fifth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at the Bombay Gymkhana on Friday, on ‘The Current Cricket Scenario’, the former India all-rounder and captain touched upon the three main themes closely connected with Indian cricket these days: administration, the Decision Review System (DRS) and M.S. Dhoni.
He also spoke glowingly on the functioning of the Board, especially its presidents over the last eight years, Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar and N. Srinivasan.
Shastri credited Pawar with the success of the IPL. “The IPL is big and it attracts a lot of attention. One reason for the success of the IPL is that Pawar gave Lalit Modi a free hand.
“He (Pawar) had the vision that a product like this (IPL) would take off. So, I don’t like sweeping statements being made that politicians and sports don’t go hand in hand,” Shastri said.
He described Pawar’s successor Manohar as a no-nonsense man.
“He saw only black and white, and no gray area. He has to be one of the best presidents the BCCI has had. He was a man of few words, and was totally in control when running the show.
“He and the current president (N. Srinivasan, who was then secretary) made a very good pair.’’
Shastri went on to call Srinivasan a terrific administrator. “He is a genuine cricket and sports lover. He has contributed to the game immensely.
“I have been asked in recent times if the president of the BCCI should resign because of what’s happening.
“If I were BCCI president, or captain of the Indian team, or a political leader with a series of like episodes, (there is) no way I will quit.
“This game has taught me not to pass the buck, but to (take responsibility), and put the house in order. Indian cricket is in good hands and is doing well across all three formats of the game because of the system put in place.
“The BCCI is not perfect, though. It should have a good PR arm, and communicate well with the media. Look at the other sports bodies in this country; they are all at conflict.”
On the DRS debate, Shastri said: “The (stand of the) BCCI, and mine, has been vindicated. Three years ago there was (insinuation that) the things I said (against the DRS) were because I was under contract with the BCCI. I still stand by what I said three years ago.
“I am not against technology, but it must deliver better and consistent results. When players and umpires are inconsistent, they are dropped. Why is a technology inconsistent for four years (forced) down our throats?
“The DRS should be taken out of the players’ (control). The technology was meant to take the howler out of the game. It has not.”
Finally, Shastri lavished praise on Dhoni, saying he would go down as one of the greatest cricketers in the annals of Indian cricket.