Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri

Kolkata: Former India skipper Ravi Shastri has hailed International Cricket Council (ICC) for choosing the beleaguered BCCI supremo N Srinivasan as its first chairman.

“If you want my answer, It’s a very good choice,” the cricketer turned commentator said on Srinivasan being appointed ICC chairman despite the Supreme Court stripping off  the Chennai heavyweight’s powers as the BCCI chief pending probe into alleged corruption in the IPL.

“I don’t think you should jump the gun. There’s an inquiry going on, let that happen. Meanwhile the Supreme Court has said there’s no reason why Srinivasan can’t go and become the ICC chairman,” Shastri said at a promotional programme last evening.

Opinions may vary but the former all-rounder was of firm belief that Twenty20 was the ‘injection’ cricket needed.

“It was the injection the game needed to evolve. We’re very lucky to have got three faculties in a game of cricket. There is a place for all three formats. This is the only sport that has a place for three formats. It won’t happen in any other sport. I think T20 cricket was extremely important,” he said.

Shastri differed in the notion that present day youngsters are lured only to IPL ignoring Test cricket.

“It’s a misconception that everyone wants to just play the IPL. There might be a few who would be eyeing only IPL, but majority of the youngsters want to play for India and in Tests.

“The tournament has a lot of positives. I’ve seen more people wanting to follow the sport, more viewers, youngsters, families at the ground. At the end of the day it’s cricketing skills,” opined Shastri.

“Look at the standard of fielding, the quality of catches taken in this year’s IPL, even the running between the wickets. It’s fabulous.

“All these skills will help you in the five-day game as well; a brilliant run out may change the course of the Test match. There are a lot of positives that have come out of it. Ideally a player would want to play all three but if he’s stuck with one then so be it,” Shastri said.

Going down the memory lane, Shastri said India could have won the 1987 World Cup had they managed to sneak through the semifinals against England and played at the Eden Gardens.

“I’ve one regret that we could not beat England in Mumbai. If we could overcome that hurdle then with the huge fan support that the Eden Gardens have to offer we would have surely lifted the Trophy in 1987,” Shastri lamented about 35-run loss to England at the Wankhede.

Showering more praise on the Eden crowd, Shastri said the city held a special place for him as it was here they could overcome a string of defeats against the Windies after their historic 1983 triumph.

Recollecting their five-match ODI series against the Windies in 1987-88, Shastri said: “It was just after the New Year (in 1988) and we could finally beat them for the first time since our win in the final of the World Cup.

“The atmosphere was electrifying with one lakh fans packed up in the stands, I still remember the day vividly,” Shastri said.

On a different note, Shastri said Maria Sharapova should not be blamed for not knowing Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar but he added the Russian tennis star would surely have got to know by now.

“I’m not surprised to be honest. A lot has been made about it but anyone who follows cricket or any country that has cricket  part of its discipline, if a sportsman from that country had said he did not know Tendulkar then you would not like it.”

“The country from where Maria Sharapova comes from I don’t think they ever heard of cricket, she’s grown up only playing tennis. She lives in a part of the world where there’s not much of cricket. She keeps shuttling between the US and Russia.

You can’t really blame her but I’m sure she now knows who Sachin Tendulkar is,” Shastri said referring to the social media outrage after Sharapova’s innocuous comments.

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