Former India fielding coach R Sridhar recently released a book titled 'Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team'.
The book is filled with plenty of fascinating anecdotes and startling revelations, which gives the fans a sneak peek into the Indian dressing room.
In a shocking revelation, Sridhar has disclosed that ex-India head coach Ravi Shastri was left fuming at MS Dhoni for his slow knock in an ODI match against England in 2018.
During the 2018 tour of England, India defeated England 2-1 in the three-match T20I series and started the three-ODI series with a win. However, the Virat Kohli-led side had lost the second ODI by a big margin of 86 runs.
Chasing 323 to win, the visitors were struggling at 140/4 when Dhoni arrived in the middle. Instead of playing with a good strike rate to stay in the chase, the former wicketkeeper-batter scored 37 off 59 balls as India’s innings folded for 236 in 50 overs.
Recalling the second ODI, Sridhar said Shastri cared less about the outcome but more about Dhoni's approach in the chase.
"We were in the hunt when Virat and Suresh Raina were batting, but as we lost wickets, MS was left with only the bowlers for company going into the last 10 overs. Uncharacteristically, he shut shop, and even though our required rate in the last 10 was nearly 13 an over, we only managed some 20 runs in the next six overs. That was the innings when MS got to 10,000 ODI runs a very significant milestone. We were all thrilled for him, but we also wanted to know why he hadn't made even a token attempt at the target," Sridhar wrote in his book.
Dhoni’s knock included only two boundaries and he was dismissed in the 47th over of India’s innings.
"Ravi, meanwhile, was seething. He was furious not because we lost by 86 runs, but how we lost the game, how we went down without putting up a fight. We didn't go for the target, we didn't go down throwing a punch, we just went down tamely. The head coach wasn't going to let that one sail harmlessly by," Sridhar added.
"The decider was in Headingley, and we had a team meeting the previous day. The entire squad was in attendance, including all members of the support staff, and I knew Ravi was going to make a strong point. He was at his loudest and fiercest as he said, 'No matter who you may be, there should not be another occasion when we lose a match not trying to win it. It will not happen under my watch. And if anyone does it, that will be the last bloody game of cricket they will play under my watch. You can lose a cricket game, no shame in that, but you will not lose like this,” he further said.
Sridhar revealed that Shastri did not address Dhoni during his fierce pep talk but he made sure to maintain eye contact with the former India captain.
"MS was sitting right there in the front, and while Ravi's words were meant for the team, his eyes were trained on MS. To the former skipper's great credit, he didn't flinch, he never broke eye contact with Ravi. He didn't look here and there or fidget because one of his many admirable qualities is his ability to take the knocks, especially when he knows in his heart of hearts that he deserves them," the former India fielding coach stated.
India also lost the third ODI by eight wickets and ended up conceding the series 2-1.