Reiterating his stance on scrapping the International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy, former Team India director Ravi Shastri said such tournaments dilute the bigger events like the World Cups in different formats of the game….writes Tridib Baparnash
The former India all-rounder said the Champions Trophy, which is scheduled in England and Wales from June 1 to 18, is only an overdose of cricket for the audience and equally hard on the players.
“It’s definitely an overdose of cricket for both the cricketers and the audience. It’s hard on the players as well. I believe in retaining quality rather than quantity. By having so many tournaments, it’s important that you don’t dilute the main event, which is the World Cup,” Shastri said after launching the new Audi A3 Sedan luxury car.
“Having such tournaments was ok in the past when there was no T20 cricket. Now you have got a 50-over World Cup, a World T20, Champions Trophy, Test Championship — how many champions do you want in a single sport?”
“If you ask me about the last 10-12 World Cups (winners), I will tell you, (but) you ask me the last three Champions Trophy winners, I don’t know. The last one (in England in 2013) I will tell, because India won,” he added.
The 54-year-old also spoke at length on his long association with the brand, when he was presented the Audi 100 after India clinched the World Championship of Cricket in 1985 beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.
“When I see it, it still gives me goosebumps. This is nostalgic, it’s almost 32 years ago but she still looks spanking and beautiful. It brings those memories of the whole team sitting on top of the car when we had won the World Championship of Cricket in 1985… that is something that lingers on as long as you live,” he said.
Commenting on the recently-concluded India-Australia Test series, where off-field banters from either side took the front seat, Shastri said: “It was a tough series where both the teams played it hard. But at the end of the day, I would say the better team won.”
“It’s a high voltage series and you can expect such barbs from either side. So tempers will definitely go through the roof but at the end of all, it ended well for India.”
With the Indian team basking in the glory of a successful home season, where the Virat Kohli-led outfit won 10 of the 13 Tests, Shastri has no hesitations in backing the team to win in overseas conditions.
India will play three Tests in Sri Lanka in July before the high-octane three-Test series against the South Africans later this year.
“You have got to win Test overseas. You have got the team, the fast bowlers who can bowl in any conditions. You got a bowling unit that can take 20 wickets, which is the most important thing,” he said.
“You take 20 wickets, put enough runs on the board and you give yourself a chance of winning,” Shastri said on being asked about the key to success in overseas conditions.
Backing his recent jibe at the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to double the amount in the central contracts as “peanuts”, the Mumbaikar said the No.1-ranked team deserved more than what the board had announced.
He, however, hailed the BCCI’s attempt to double the amount but expected another hike in the near future.
“Of course, I think its (BCCI contract amount) is too less. Because what the pool gets for and what the players do is a lot. When you compare it to other countries, it’s only good reason to believe they deserve more and I am sure the BCCI have addressed it well by doubling the amount.”
“I believe the cricketers deserve more and I am sure the BCCI will address it. They deserve it for playing the highest format of the game and are the No.1 team in the world. But I still think there is room for improvement and I am sure it will happen in the near future,” he added.
Last month the BCCI doubled the retainers’ annual fee for all contracted players to Rs 2 crore, Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh, respectively for the three graded categories A, B and C.
The board also enhanced the match fees to Rs 15 lakh, Rs 6 lakh and Rs 3 lakh per Test match, One-day International (ODI) and T20 International, respectively.