The reports of a rift between two India stalwarts, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, grabbed maximum eyeballs when Ravi Shastri was associated with the Men in Blue as head coach.
Back then, Shastri had dismissed all such speculations made by the media, but now former India fielding coach R Sridhar has revealed a different side of the Virat versus Rohit saga.
In his book, ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team’, Sridhar narrated that day when Shastri called Virat and Rohit to his room during the 2019 India tour of the West Indies.
“After the 2019 World Cup, there was a lot of bad press about what allegedly happened in the dressing room during our campaign and following our loss to New Zealand in the semifinal. We were informed that there was a Rohit camp and a Virat camp, that someone had unfollowed another on social media – stuff that could be unsettling if you allowed it to fester,” Sridhar wrote in his book.
“We landed in the United States (US) some 10 days after the World Cup for a T20 series against West Indies in Lauderhill. One of the first things Ravi did on arrival was to call Virat and Rohit to his room and impress upon them that for Indian cricket to be healthy, they needed to be on the same page. ‘Whatever happened on social media, that’s all fine, but you two are the most senior cricketers so this must stop,’ Ravi said in his typical non-nonsense manner. ‘I want you to put all this behind and get together for us to move forward’”.
Thus, Shastri became the peacemaker while Virat and Rohit set their reset button. Since then, the rapport between the top two Indian stars has improved significantly.
“You could see that things started to get better after that. Ravi’s action was swift, simple and decisive. It was just getting both the guys together, sitting them down and making them talk. Ravi didn’t waste any time in doing so. That he felt encouraged to call the white-ball captain and his deputy to clearly state his mind is indicative of the kind of atmosphere we had facilitated. That Virat and Rohit saw reason in Ravi’s stance and immediately got down to business was the mutilate tribute to our culture ‘one for all, all for one, but team above all’,” stated Sridhar.
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