I got the job by mistake, but Dravid has come through the system: Shastri
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said that Rahul Dravid is the right person to succeed him as India's head coach.
Shastri gave up the team India job just after their T20 World Cup 2021 in which his team ended up getting knocked out of the tournament in the group stage despite being a title contender.
After he vacated the position, Dravid was named his successor. Speaking on SKY Sports, for whom Shastri will now commentate the full English summer, he said that Dravid came out through the system and is probably more deserving than himself.
"No better person to take over after me than Rahul. I got that job [of India's head coach] by mistake which I told Rahul. I was in the commentary box; I was asked to go there and I did my bit. But Rahul is a guy who has come through the system, he has done the hard yards. He has been the coach of the U-19 team and he has taken over this Indian team and I think he will enjoy it once the team starts responding to what he says," said Shastri in a conversation with Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton on Sky Sports.
Shastri spoke about the need to have a thick skin in such a job and said that the last thing he bothered about was the media.
"The last thing I was worried about was media. If the boys performed, media will react the way you want. If you don't do well, they have a right to smash you and if you do well, you will get the accolades," he said.
"Our job was very simple, what the media did not like about Indian cricket. The fact was that we were bullies at home and we didn't play great cricket when we were overseas. So the job for me with the team was to prove them wrong. So, how are you going to do it? You sit with the team, you sit with Virat and say that we are going to take 20 wickets. As simple as that, take the pitch out of the equation," he further added on the matter.
Under Shastri's reign, India stepped up their overseas record in Test cricket, winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy twice in Australia in 2018/19 and 2020/21 apart from leading 2-1 in the series against England, taking the side to new highs in Test cricket, holding the top spot in the rankings as well.
"I think it was very rewarding, it can be a thankless job because you are judged everyday of your life by 1.4 billion (people) only. There is no hiding away from it, there is nothing to hide behind. You face the bullet, performances matter day in and day out. You got to win."
"The expectations are big, but the way the boys responded, when I look back at my tenure, those seven years when I was there, I am proud that I had a team that responded in the fashion they did. When I did take over, they were not playing the best of cricket as those rankings will show but towards the end of it, they were right up there in all formats of the game," beamed Shastri.
The tenure of Dravid has had unexpected challenges, with the coach having to deal with separate teams under several different captains. Key Indian players have been left injured in the run-up to the T20 World Cup. The head coach has indicated that he will decide the initial squad for the world tournament after the England white-ball series, but it is yet to be seen how many Indian players manage to stay fit at that time.