Former India captain MS Dhoni is known for his cool head and demeanor which enabled him to lead the Men in Blue for a decade with amazing success. However, the Indian team’s former fielding coach R Sridhar, in his autobiography, has revealed the other angrier side of the Indian skipper.
This one instance of MS Dhoni losing his cool on his own team members, but inside the dressing room, was shared by Sridhar in his book ‘Coaching Beyond’. He reveals that the usually level-headed Dhoni was seething in anger at his players and gave them a dressing down of epic proportions despite India winning the encounter.
"Getting back to my early days with the Indian team... following MS' inputs, we began to get out fielding house in order with the World Cup in mind. We were playing West Indies at the Feroz Shah Kotla in October 2014 - a match we won comfortably but where we were absolutely shoddy on the field. MS was furious at what he perceived to be lack of effort and dipping fitness standards," Sridhar wrote in his book ‘Coaching Beyond’.
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The series Sridhar talks about is the infamous 2014 West Indies tour of India. The tour which initially comprised five ODIs, three Tests, and one T20I, was reduced to four one-day internationals after the third match was canceled due to cyclone Hudhud.
Then during the toss in the 4th ODI, the then-West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo revealed that the team was abandoning the rest of the tour due to a pay dispute between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board.
The match about which Sridhar writes in his book is the second ODI which was played in Delhi. India posted 263/7 in 50 overs with Dhoni making 51* and Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina made 62 each. In reply, West Indies were 170/2 at one stage but then collapsed to lose eight wickets for 45 runs and got bowled out for 215.
Dhoni had said after the match: "I feel quite a few things are missing. We have to pull our socks up. We have not played to our potential. This game is a crucial eye opener for us. We are on the winning side, but we could have lost this."
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Sridhar then recalls an angry MS Dhoni giving the team a dressing down and even went to say that players who didn’t meet certain fitness standards will not be going to the ICC World Cup 2015.
"In the dressing room, he ripped the team to shreds and gave them an ultimatum, making it clear that if they didn't meet certain standards in fielding and fitness, they would not make the World Cup cut, no matter what name they answer to. That showed me the kind of fielding culture he was looking to establish in white-ball cricket," he added.
MS Dhoni was the captain of the Indian side from 2007-2017, winning the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, and is the only captain to win all the three ICC white-ball trophies.