Team India fielding coach R. Sridhar is still struggling to get over the “huge disappointment” of losing to New Zealand in the semifinal of the 2019 World Cup.
“Given the terrific journey, we had to reach the semifinal. I am yet to get over from that loss,” said Sridhar in an exclusive chat with Sportstar .
Without going into any debate of sorts about finisher M.S. Dhoni walking out to bat at No.7 in the semifinal, Sridhar felt that India fought back remarkably after the early setback in the first 10 overs to take the match to the final overs.
“As long as MS was there, we thought we were always in the game. But, once he got run out, unfortunately in those tense moments, it was all over. We were absolutely devastated once he got out. For we knew it was a matter of three sixes from Dhoni and he had already got one by then,” the former Hyderabad left-arm spinner said.
Despite India's exit from the World Cup, the Virat Kohli-led side had a good run in the league stage and the fielding coach said that the mood in the camp was 'positive'.
“The mood was very positive before the semis. I tell you this has been a great World Cup given the way the players put their body on the line right through the tournament,” he said.
“Honestly, I am not looking at an excuse when I refer to the semifinal going into the reserve day because of rains on the match day. For, there was lot to offer for new ball not the second morning because it was cloudy, cold.
But, it happens to any team and we have to move on,” added Sridhar, who is with Indian team for five years now including 2015 World Cup.
Sridhar was part of the Indian coaching set-up during the 2015 World Cup also and when asked about the difference between the two World Cups, he said, “The crowds in England were just fantastic. It was good in Australia too. But the festive atmosphere in the stands in England was different.
The kind of support we got, we felt at home and it was great playing in front of them,” he said gently reminding that he takes pride in being only non-Test player to coach an Indian team for so long.
On overall fielding standards of the Indian team, Sridhar insisted that the conversion rate in terms of catching is exceptional with Jadeja being outstanding as were Virat and others.
“Well, personally, I will be looking at the forthcoming West Indies tour as the last assignment before the current contract ends. I am grateful to Ravi (head coach), MS (Dhoni), Virat and Arun (bowling coach) for their great support,” he said.
Reflecting on his best moments in the World Cup, Sridhar said, "Rohit’s century against South Africa and his record five hundreds in the World Cup was amazing. Then, chasing down 350-plus against Australia in the league match was something special, so was beating Pakistan in Manchester.
"The way Kuldeep got Pakistan’s Babar Azam bowled was a beauty, Jadeja’s catch to send back England’s Jason Joy, I believe to be the catch of tournament. And, who can forget the bowling of Bumrah, who was stunning right through, and the four-wicket hauls of Shami too."
His present contract with the Indian team will be expiring after the West Indies tour and Sridhar said that he is not thinking too far ahead.
“Since we qualify for selection as support staff, we need not apply. Anyhow, I am taking things as they come and not too think too far ahead,” Sridhar said.