Virat Kohli was desperate for ODI captaincy in 2016 before then head coach Ravi Shastri asked him to “respect” MS Dhoni’s prudence and wait for the mantle to be passed on to him, former fielding coach R Sridhar revealed in his new book.
In his book ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days With Indian Cricket Team’, co-authored by veteran journalist R Kaushik, Sridhar spoke extensively about communication which he felt was the hallmark of the coaching staff during his time with the Indian team.
“As far as the coaching group is concerned, one of the non-negotiables is being honest about developing a culture where you can look each player in the eye and tell him the truth, no matter how bitter or unpalatable that might be,” Sridhar wrote in his book.
On page 42 of the chapter ‘Cracking The Communication Code’, Sridhar recollected an incident from former Kohli’s early days when he was already leading the Test squad but was captain-in-waiting as far as the white ball squad was concerned.
“There was a time in 2016 when Virat was very eager to be the captain of the white-ball team too. He said a few things that showed he was looking for the captaincy,” Sridhar narrated.
“One evening, Ravi called him and said, ‘Look, Virat, MS gave it (the captaincy) to you in red-ball cricket. You have to respect him. He will give it to you in limited-overs cricket, too, when the time is right. Unless you respect him now, tomorrow when you are the captain, you won’t get the respect from your team’,” Sridhar said.
According to Sridhar, Shastri in no uncertain terms told Kohli to wait till Dhoni hands it over to him in limited-overs cricket.
“Respect him (Dhoni) now, irrespective of what is going on. It will come to you, you don’t have to run behind it.’” Shastri told Kohli.
“To his credit, Virat took the advice on board. Eventually, in a year’s time, he got the white-ball captaincy too.”
Terming Shastri as a “fabulous communicator who talks straight and doesn’t mince words,” Sridhar also wrote that the former head coach did the proverbial dirty job of informing players when they were dropped.
“He is (was) the one who passes on the tough messages-calls pertaining to being dropped from the XI to the players concerned.” The book was published by Rupa.
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