R Sridhar reveals chat between Dhoni and Kohli during 2014 Adelaide Test
R Sridhar, the former India fielding coach, recently released his book Coaching Beyond: My Days With The Indian Cricket Team and the cricketing world has been hooked on his words ever since. In his book, Sridhar has detailed some interesting incidents about the Indian dressing room about which there was little knowledge. Now the internet’s attention has been captured by another anecdote in his autobiography.
The former fielding coach started with a conversation between MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli during India’s tour of Australia as part of the Border Gavaskar Trophy in 2014-15. Sridhar revealed how Dhoni decided to hand over the reins of the Indian Test team to Kohli during the tour and retire from the format. A conversation between the two before the final day of the Adelaide Test, the first of the series, was detailed by the coach.
India looked down a huge total in the last innings of the Adelaide Test. Dhoni, who did not play in the match, tried to convince Kohli to aim for a draw and not go into an attacking mode if Australia declared the innings. Kohli was the stand-in captain for the encounter.
Sridhar wrote that Kohli told him what Dhoni suggested. “Look, Virat, you can chase this total, (said Dhoni). You are that kind of player and we all know it but as a captain you will also have to think about what the others. Are the batsmen capable of playing so positively and trying to chase 360 on the last day of a Test match? While taking decisions, you will have to consider the strength of the entire team,” noted Sridhar.
He added that while Kohli saw some merit in Dhoni’s advice, he was unwilling to compromise on his approach. He replied to the wicketkeeper-batsman that the team can only know whether he is capable of the feat or not, after he has attempted it. “We’ve never chased 360 on the last day of a Test match because we haven’t tried it. Let’s try to give it a chance. Unless we try, how will we know how good we are?” Kohli said as quoted by Sridhar’s book.
Finally, India were given a target of 364 on the final day of the match. Kohli bagged his second ton of the Test. But after his and Murali Vijay’s dismissal, the Indian team could not manage to sustain their momentum. They lost the match by 48 runs.
“Despite Virat’s second Test hundred, we went down by 48 runs, but for me that match was the beginning of where the Indian Test team is today. That was the moment we as a team knew this was how we were going to play Test cricket,” Sridhar wrote.
Under Kohli’s leadership, India played 68 Tests and won 40 of them. The star batsman remains the most successful Test captain of the country. Kohli resigned from his post as the Test captain after India’s series defeat against South Africa in 2022.
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