Ravi Shastri, the former India allrounder who had served as team director for almost two years leading up to Anil Kumble's appointment as coach, has said he was "very disappointed" not to get the head coach's job himself. He said Sourav Ganguly, one of the members of the cricket advisory committee which played a key role in choosing the coach, was not present when the rest of the committee interviewed him.
"Well, actually he wasn't there," he told the Indian Express, when asked about his interaction with Ganguly during his interview. Shastri was being interviewed via Skype - he was in Thailand while committee member VVS Laxman and chief coordinator Sanjay Jagdale were in Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar, also a member of the committee, tuned into the interview via Skype from London. Ganguly, though, was away at a Cricket Association of Bengal meeting.
His interactions with the rest of the committee went well, though, Shastri said. "Meeting was great. Some great questions from VVS, Sachin and Sanjay. I put my way forward for the team. They wanted to know how do I plan to do well in all formats, how we should look at fast bowlers, and things of that sort."
But former India legspinner Kumble was named coach earlier this week. Shastri said he was disappointed to miss out since the team had done so well under his guidance as team director. "I was very disappointed. Disappointment because the hard work the entire unit had put in in the last 18 months. To see where they were when the support staff and I took over and to where they reached in 18 months makes me feel proud.
"They got up, threw punches and ended up where they were. No. 1 in Test cricket, No. 1 in T20, No. 2 in ODI [at various points during Shastri's tenure]. You can't ask for more. Even I didn't' expect such a transformation in 18 months with this young team. I feel really proud.
"I was honest, worked hard along with the support staff, and the players were fantastic. During those months, with the BCCI being hammered in the court and media for various reasons, cricket was the shining light. People really took to watching the way the Indian team was playing."
Under Shastri, who had taken over as team director in August 2014, India made it to semi-finals of successive global events - the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World T20, and also climbed to No. 1 on the Test rankings for a period of eight weeks until Australia took over in February 2016. In this period, India also won their first limited-overs bilateral series in Australia, whitewashing the hosts 3-0 in a T20 series. Shastri was assisted by Sanjay Bangar (batting coach), B Arun (bowling) and R Sridhar (fielding). All their contracts expired at the end of the 2016 World T20, prompting the search for a new coach. Bangar had coached the team in the interim, in Zimbabwe.
Shastri told the Hindu that Kumble had already spoken with him, and he hoped the team moved forward under him. "He [Kumble] called up yesterday [Thursday]. He has a great team, he said that. I wish him all the luck.
"The team is right up there in all formats. Now is the time to take one step forward, especially after the [upcoming] tour of the West Indies; there is a lot of cricket at home [after the West Indies tour], you have to cash in on the home advantage. It would be great if he can take it forward."
India tour the West Indies in July and August, before returning for a home season consisting of a record 13 Tests against New Zealand, England, Australia and Bangladesh.