The Champion of Champions! India had won the Benson & Hedges Trophy in 1985 in Australia and Ravi Shastri was the most valuable cricketer in that tournament. Now, Shastri is the Team Director for Team India in the ongoing World Cup 2015. When he was told about that tournament 30 years before, he was elated to go back to the night of March 10, 1985 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground!
Q: So, how is Audy Shastri now?
A: Fine! That was a great moment. Even when I go to MCG now, I remember that day. Those moments during the match, after the match and everything on that March 10.
Q: And the Champion of Champions trophy with the Audy car. Do you have that car?
A: Whenever in Mumbai, I drive Audy.
Q: That Audy which you got 30 years ago?
A: No no, every two-three years, they send me the latest model. And I drive that.
Q: But what happened to that Audy car which was given to you on that night in the MCG and your teammates were on a victory lap riding on that car?
A: That really I do not know. What I know is, when we reached Mumbai winning the trophy, they had sent me a brand new Audy car to my home. Now I am one of their ambassadors. The mileage they got from that 1985 event made them truly happy. And the relationship continues.
Q: And you had let people from Bollywood to have a ride on that car, too…
A: Yes, that time it was a big status symbol. Whenever I used to drive the car in Mumbai, people said, ‘See, Ravi Shastri is going.’ People could recognise me because of the car. But I could not be there in Mumbai for most of the days. The condition of the car used to deteriorate staying inside the garage. So I let them use it.
Q: But now, there must be too many Audys in Mumbai?
A: That’s true. The Indians are now quite habituated with foreign cars. But those were the days when you did not see a foreign brand car in the roads of Mumbai.
Q: In that tournament, before the final, you had a competitor in Kapil Dev for the Champion of Champions trophy. But Kapil did not get the chance to bat since you opened the innings and remained not out on 63!
A: Well, we had only one target, that was to be the champions. And we gave our best for that. If I can remember correctly, with Krish Srikkantth, we had more than hundred runs for the first wicket partnership. That opening partnership threw the Pakistanis out of the final. So, I was not at all surprised when my name was announced as the Champion of Champions. It was really a splendid victory.