New Delhi: Ravi Shastri considers his 18-month stint as the Indian cricket team's Director the "most cherished and memorable phase" of his life but does not want to comment on whether he would seek a contract renewal.
"I have no doubt in my mind that these are the best 18 months that I have spent during my association with Indian cricket as a player and then as a Team Director. It has been the most memorable phase of my life if I just look back at what we achieved as a team during this phase. Credit to the boys for making it special," Shastri said.
Asked if he would apply for the chief coach's post for which BCCI will be advertising, Shastri gave a typical tongue-in-cheek reply.
"I will only apply for accreditation of the IPL final," Shastri quipped.
Shastri took over as the Team Director after India's 1-3 Test series defeat against England in August 2014 and was there till the end of ICC World T20, earlier this year.
"Yes, I have had success as a player. I fondly remember 1985 World Championship of Cricket, 1983 World Cup and proud of those but this phase as the Team Director was special. Look at some of the performances during this phase.
"We beat England in England in ODIs. (For the) first time a team whitewashed Australia in any format (3-0 in T20s) Down Under, winning a Test series in Sri Lanka after 22 years, beating South Africa in a Test series at home after a decade.
When you take over, you set the bar high but you do not know as to what all you can achieve," Shastri said.
So what has been the most special out of these bilateral series wins? Is it the Sri Lanka Test series or the 3-0 T20 series win in Australia, Shastri said: "That's for you people to decide as I would not like to get into comparisons."
Asked if he spoke to the BCCI officials and gave the roadmap ahead for this young Indian team, Shastri gave a very open-ended reply: "I have spoken to them long back. I have given them my feedback. Beyond that, I won't say anything."
He has seen Virat Kohli evolve as India's premier batsman during this phase and for Shastri, the four centuries in Australia will remain a pinnacle of glory for the immensely talented Indian Test captain.
"Four centuries in four Tests in Australia. You can't beat that. He has been brilliant in IPL. Four centuries and nearly 1000 runs in IPL is fantastic but nothing can beat four Test hundreds Down Under," Shastri said.
"An international batsman's peak time is between 28 and 32 and he is just going up. He will achieve much more as the peak is yet to come."
The former India captain is also not ready to join the debate on whether Kohli should be the Indian captain in limited-overs cricket.
"Eventually, he will captain India across all formats. He is only 27 now so he has plenty of time."
Asked who have been the most improved players during his tenure with the Indian team, Shastri said: "I believe all of them made improvements but Ajinkya (Rahane), Shikhar (Dhawan) and (Ravi) Ashwin are the three names that I can tell you."...