'MS was furious, ripped the team to shreds' - R Sridhar recounts Dhoni's moment of anger at his players
MS Dhoni is renowned for being a pillar of calmness on the field in the most intense circumstances. But India's ex-fielding coach R Sridhar recalled one instance when even the icy cool legendary former skipper lost it and vent out his anger on the players.
The reason being a dip in fielding standards that Dhoni's young brigade was undergoing, an issue that he wanted to correct before the 2015 World Cup. Sridhar, who had just joined the team in 2014, recalled a fixture in October that year versus the West Indies that triggered the beast out of the angel.
MS Dhoni, Sridhar reminisced in his book - Coaching Beyond’, wasn't one bit amused by the fielding on display during the Delhi ODI that his team just about won and the captain minced no words in letting his players know where they had messed up.
A man for the process over results, Dhoni "ripped the team to shreds" during a post-match dressing room chat, stressed Sridhar in his famed book, and from there began a phase where the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and the rest returned to their best in the outfield and excelled on the fielding front at the World Cup in Australia.
R Sridhar recounts MS Dhoni's 'furious' conversation with players
"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," Sridhar writes in his book.
"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," he added.
Dhoni had expressed his dissatisfaction over India's effort in the field during the post-match presentation, where he was visibly upset despite India managing to pull off a victory - a trait that has persisted about the man over the years. He pursues perfection and wants to tick off all the boxes.
Later when the team got together in the dressing room, Dhoni let his players and Sridhar know the kind of fielding culture he hoping to reestablish within the Indian set-up, having previously also given fitness and fielding the priority within his selection hierarchy.
"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," Sridhar recalled.