Kolkata, May 22: Former India team director Ravi Shastri is at pains understand to why Bengal has not produced a pool of top class cricketers in the post-Sourav Ganguly era despite so much interest for the sport in the region.
Bengal captain and premier batsman Manoj Tiwary went unsold at the Indian Premier League auction, as only two players from the state -- Wriddhiman Saha and Ashok Dinda -- were seen making steady progress in the cash-rich T20 tournament.
"Despite so much of interest, I am surprised that Bengal are not producing many top class cricketers," the former India captain told a news conference during a promotional event today.
"Interest and passion here is unparalleled. With so much interest, there ought to be more cricketers."
"When I used to come here as a kid, I used to be amazed by the greenery around the Eden. There's so much of space to play cricket (here). Eden Gardens is one of the greatest grounds. But its the people of Kolkata who make Eden what it is."
The 53-year-old further showered praise on Virat Kohli who is in the form of his life with four centuries in the ongoing IPL -- most by a player in a single T20 tournament.
"Virat has hit a purple patch. Terrific batting. If he goes on like this, it will only keep on serving Indian cricket and be beneficial to it. The kind of batting on offer from him, he will make you stand up and applaud."
Asked about vacant India coach post, Shastri kept mum and said, "BCCI are in the process of taking a decision. Once they take a decision, we can then look into it."
According to reports, Shastri is apparently miffed by his portrayal of a 'womaniser' in Mohammed Azharuddin's biopic 'Azhar' and the dashing Indian former allrounder said he had no intention of watching such movies.
"I do not have time to watch such movies," he said.