It has been a long time since former India fielding coach R Sridhar parted ways with the Indian cricket team. But the 52-year-old has managed to stay relevant in the fraternity with the interesting stories he has revealed in his book ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team’. Sridhar has revealed hundreds of stories that took place behind the scenes. In one such story, the former fielding coach has talked about an interesting chat between former India head coach Ravi Shastri and pacer Mohammed Shami.
Sridhar has revealed how Shastri fuelled hunger in Mohammed Shami’s belly to take more wickets through his interesting choice of words. The 52-year-old, in his book, also mentioned Shami’s response to that taunt-cum-advice from Shastri. Narrating the incident, Sridhar writes that Shastri taunted Shami about his plate full of rice and mutton curry during the lunch break of the third Test between India and South Africa in 2018.
“We lost Cape Town. We couldn’t chase down 208 which was ridiculous. Then we lost Centurion, another match we should have won and where we could have been 2-0 up or at worse 1-1. We had already surrendered the series when we went to Johannesburg,” Sridhar writes.
“Shami didn’t turn up in the first innings — he went for 46 runs from 12 overs, and on the fourth day, he was again reasonably inconspicuous till tea, by which time South Africa appeared on course for victory. Needing 241, they had reached 136/3 when the lads trooped in for tea break.
“Shami looked disinterested as he came back in, and as he did for lunch, he had piled up his plate with rice and mutton curry. During the first interval, Ravi lashed out at Shami after taking a glance at the bowler’s plate. ‘Bloody hell, will you satiate your hunger here itself or will you save some of it for wickets too?'”
“‘Haan, haan, yahan bhi kha lunga, udhar bhi kha lunga (Yes, yes, I will eat here and I will feast there too)’” wrote Sridhar about Shami’s response.
Later, as the pacer bagged a five-wicket haul and propelled India to a 63-run win, Shami took a dig at Shastri and others by making a sarcastic comment.
“Post-tea, he was unplayable. He blasted through the middle and lower order to finish with five for 28, and we ended up winning by a comfortable 63-run margin. As he sauntered back into the changing room, he grinned wickedly. ‘Haan, mereko aur gussa dilao aap log. Merko gaali do. Utna gussa nahi dilate jitna dilaana chahiye. (Yes, please make me angry. You people should curse me. You don’t make me as angry as you should).”