India and Australia are gearing up for yet another highly competitive edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, starting on February 9 in Nagpur. The hosts are currently the defending champions after retaining the prestigious trophy two times in a row. However, India’s historic victory in the last edition of the Border Gavaskar Trophy in Australia raised the bar of the bilateral contest between the top two quality teams.
As both the teams and cricket fraternity from both countries are all set to kick-start the contest, former India’s fielding coach has made an interesting revelation involving Ravi Shastri, Shardul Thakur and India’s historic win at Sydney Cricket Ground. In his new book ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team’ R Sridhar revealed how Shardul Thakur disobeyed India’s head coach Ravi Shastri during a crucial stage of the match. Sridhar revealed an interesting conversation between Ravi Shastri, and Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin, who were batting in the middle at that stage.
“Vihari and Ashwin came in at team, and while we converged to congratulate and encourage them, a tactical call was also made. Vihari pulled his hamstring and was not able to play Lyon convincingly because his movements were restricted. He could not put in quicks. So, it was decided that Ashwin, at home against Lyon, would take on the off-spinner and Vihari would negotiate the three-pronged pace attack,” Sridhar wrote.
The former fielding coach further mentioned that after having stuck to their respective ends of the bargain, the batters took a single and changed their ends.
“Vihari was exposed to Lyon and Ashwin to the fast men. A couple of singles later, the situation was unaltered, and Ravi was starting to lose his shirt. He summoned substitute Shardul Thakur and told him, ‘Listen to me very carefully and repeat this to them: No matter what happens, Vihari will handle the fast bowlers, and Ashwin will play Lyon. No singles, no change of ends, period. Got it?’ Shardul smiled coyly and said, ‘Yes, sir’, and charged to the middle with a bottle of water for Ashwin,” he added.
However, it was after the match only the real picture was revealed to everyone when Shardul Thakur admitted to Ravi Shastri that he didn’t tell the batters what he said, instead telling them to continue to bat as they are already doing.
“Shardul said to batters, ‘They are saying many things, but you guys don’t worry. You are batting well, just continue doing the same things. He didn’t pass on Ravi’s message; instead, he told the batters exactly what they wanted to hear at that time,” revealed Sridhar.