Shastri slams DRS, says it's against spirit of the game
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri threw his weight firmly behind the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s refusal to accept the Decision Review System while also dismissing the conflict of interest charge against board president N Srinivasan, saying it is in all walks of life.
Delivering the annual Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture, at the Bombay Gymkhana, in Mumbai, on Friday, Shastri declared ‘India's stand on DRS is vindicated’.
“Three years ago,” he said, “when I opposed DRS it was said I had a contract with the BCCI. I stand by even now what I said then," hastening to add that he is not opposed to technology, but wants it to be used sparingly as it is not perfect.
"You can use technology sparingly like in tennis where there are only three referrals. If a player is inconsistent, or an umpire is inconsistent, they are dropped. Why is this not applied to technology?" added the 51-year-old ex-cricketer-turned-commentator.
Image: Ravi Shashtri
Photographs: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
'DRS is also against the spirit of the game'
Instead of the host cricket board paying for use of technological instruments, like the costly Hotspot and Hawk Eye, Shastri said the ICC should find sponsors to underwrite the costs.
"DRS is also against the spirit of the game which teaches the player not to question an umpiring decision. I know what our players think about technology, what works and what doesn't," he said.
He also backed the beleaguered BCCI, which is facing a lot of flak in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal that rocked this year's IPL, and praised former presidents Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar as well as embattled incumbent N Srinivasan as excellent administrators.
"Administration is a different ball game [to playing or commentary]. Indian cricket has consistently ranked in the top three in all formats over the last ten years. See the state of other sports administered in India," he said.
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
'There is conflict in all walks of life'
He dismissed the "conflict of interest" charge against BCCI president Srinivasan, who owns IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
"There is conflict in all walks of life. And no player is complaining about the Board," he retorted, when asked about the much-debated issue.
He said had he been in Srinivasan’s place he too wouldn't have resigned.
"A lot of people have asked me that what I would have done had I been in his (Srinivasan) position? I also would not have resigned," Shastri said.
Elaborating, he added, "What Srinivasan has done (by stepping aside) is that he has taken the responsibility to get the house in order.
“Srinivasan is a terrific administrator. He is a genuine cricket and sports lover who has contributed a lot for the BCCI."
Shastri, who considers being part of the triumphant Indian squads of 1983 (World Cup) and 1985 (World Championship) as the high points in his career, hailed current captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as among the best the country has produced.
"He is quiet, hungry and a man of steel at all times. Even when India were beaten in England and Australia, his body language remained the same. I knew it was only a matter of some change of guard to see the Indian team bounce back again.
"He wanted the Indian ODI side to field well and, with some youngsters in, the current side is the best fielding unit.
"I knew that given the opportunity he can take India places again, and that's what he's done," said Shastri.
Image: N Srinivasan
'Indian cricket is in very safe hands'
Shastri was referring to India's comprehensive 4-0 Test series whitewash of Australia at home and its victorious runs in the subsequent ICC Champions Trophy in England and tri-series in the West Indies.
"India has won three World Cups in the last thirty years. There have been several great players during this time. This is one sport India has excelled in. The Indian team is always in the top three in all forms over the last ten years. That's a tribute to the system.
"Indian cricket is in very safe hands."
A member of IPL's governing council, Shastri also praised Pawar, for laying the ground for the T20 tournament that has become a huge money spinner for BCCI and its affiliates, and sacked former IPL chairman Lalit Modi, for making it a huge success in the first two years itself.
"In the last six years IPL has become huge and attracts lot of attention. There will be that underbelly [chance of corruption]; I don't say BCCI is perfect. There is scope for improvement. There should be a proper PR (public relations) in place and a proper communication in place," he stated.
Image: Indian team