Mumbai: There might be intense speculation over Sachin Tendulkar's imminent retirement, but his one-time India team-mate Ravi Shastri feels the champion batsman is not quitting any time soon and is hopeful that he would play at Lord's ground next year when the national team visits England.
"He [Tendulkar] will not quit the game so soon as you all keep saying. He would continue to play and you will see him at Lord's next year too," said the 51-year-old Shastri to a question after he delivered the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at the Bombay Gymkhana on Friday.
There have been suggestions that the 40-year-old Tendulkar, who is two shy of completing 200 Test appearances, would call it a day after reaching that landmark during the hastily arranged two-Test series against West Indies at home by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
But the words of Shastri, considered to be very close to Tendulkar, put to rest the speculation that the senior batsman, who has compiled an incredible 100 international centuries and has retired from ODIs, will quit the game altogether after playing his 200th Test at home.
The former allrounder also put the blame on the communication gap between the respective cricket boards after the BCCI effectively cut short the Indian team's scheduled visit to South Africa later this year by pencilling in the short series at home against the West Indies.
"The problem was in communication but there will be some cricket played (by India) in South Africa," said the cricketer-turned-broadcaster, who was part of the triumphant Indian World Cup and World Championship winning squads in 1983 and 1985.
India were to tour South Africa from November, but with the series against the West Indies, comprising a warm-up three-day game followed by two Tests and three ODIs scheduled during that period, the team's visit to South Africa is unlikely to begin until December.
Shastri also feels India's consistent stand against the controversial Decision Review System (DRS) has been vindicated by the spate of wrong decisions during the recent Ashes series in England.
"India's stand on DRS is vindicated. Three years ago when I opposed DRS, it was said I had a contract with the BCCI. I stand by even now what I said then," said Shastri.
Shastri said he was not opposed to technology, but wanted it to be used sparingly, as it is not perfect. "You can use technology sparingly like in tennis where there are only three referrals. If a player is inconsistent, or an umpire is inconsistent, they are dropped. Why is this not applied to technology?" he said.
Instead of the host cricket board paying for use of technological instruments like the costly Hotspot and Hawk Eye, the ICC should find sponsors to underwrite their use, he said.
"DRS is also against the spirit of the game which teaches the player not to question an umpiring decision. I know what our players think about technology, what works and what doesn't," added Shastri.
He also came out in full support of the beleaguered BCCI, which is facing a lot of flak in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal that rocked this year's IPL.
He also praised former presidents Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar as well as embattled incumbent N Srinivasan as excellent administrators.
"Administration is a different ball game (to playing or comnmentating). Indian cricket has consistently ranked in the top three in all formats over the last ten years. See the state of other sports administered in India," he said.
He dismissed the "conflict of interest" charge against BCCI president Srinivasan who owns IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
"There is conflict in all walks of life. And no player is complaining about the Board," he retorted when asked about this much-debated issue.