Ravi Shastri will play a crucial role, as Team India once again start a hectic schedule this week with an ODI series against the West Indies. The former all-rounder will continue as Team India director, a position he took up after India were thrashed 3-1 in the Test series in England. Shastri was part of the team management for the ODIs versus England which India won 3-1. He spoke to the Press in Mumbai on Monday. Excerpts: (Shastri Backs Duncan Fletcher)
Q: What were your first thoughts when you were appointed team director?
A: Things happened quickly...the state of the team was in a condition that I felt bad. But I believed in them. I knew if work ethics improved, things could change. My assignment was till the end of the England ODIs but the boys and Board insisted that I continue and I was ready. Good to see all the boys are positive.
Q: Who's the boss of the team?
A: Captain is the boss but who cares about the boss? Winning is important.
Q: Then what's your job?
A: I have seen more cricket than I have played. I told the boys to ask me whatever they wanted and I am there to help.
Q: Will you watch domestic cricket too?
A: Will keep an eye. A big season is coming up and there are gaps in the international calendar. People should come and watch domestic cricket.
Q: Why do we lose in Tests overseas?
A: Only South Africa is doing well. Previously, West Indies and Australia did well. Everybody gets hammered outside. India's win at Lord's was historic. The team showed courage. We should invest in the future and realise our talent. South Africa do well because they take 20 wickets. India have to take 20 wickets and have to look at this in a positive manner. India have done amazingly well in past too and this is a team which will bring results.
Q: A young England team beat us in Tests. Why?
A: James Anderson and Stuart Broad's experience made the difference. They bowled really well. We played spineless cricket in the last three Tests. But you have to gut it out... it's a land of opportunity.
Q: Should India have different teams for different formats?
A: All the boys want to play all the formats.
Q: Is there a need to change captain?
A: We need to take 20 wickets. A captain can't do anything. Injured bowlers hampered our chances of winning (in England). Dhoni is handicapped by bowlers. Give him experience and he will deliver.
Q: Even Virat Kohli is out of form...
A: It has happened to the best in world. Anderson exploited Virat's flaws. Anderson was fabulous but Virat will bounce back..
Q: Why couldn't Duncan Fletcher spot Virat's batting flaws?
A: Too much cricket did not allow time to introspect. Virat's problem was that he had to face two good bowlers. Duncan has done a good job with the Indian team but with foreign coaches communication is the biggest problem.
Q: Should IPL persist with all its controversies?
A: This year it was controversy free. You have to put timely corrective measures. It is Ian Botham's problem if he thinks IPL is bad for cricket.