Virat Kohli Always Insisted That Fielding is Non-Negotiable: R Sridhar

Ex-India fielding coach R Sridhar with Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri.

As cricket became more modern, one aspect soon became non-negotiable. Fielding.

  • Last Updated:November 23, 2021, 15:48 IST

R Sridhar had a task cut out when he joined the team as a fielding coach. They had a disastrous outing in England where they went on to lose the five-game series 1-4. The series not only saw some poor batting but mediocre fielding as well. The slip cordon went onto drop many catches and the team bore the brunt of it. “The immediate challenge was to improve the slip catching. We were a very good fielding team in white-ball cricket even at that time. So it was easy for me to get things moving in white-ball (formats), but the red ball was a challenge. And in the shorter format, the challenge was to reduce the gap between the good and bad days,” Sridhar told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat. “For starters, our slip catch conversion rate was about 64-67% across various conditions. Today, it stands at 83-84%,” he added.

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As cricket became more modern, one aspect soon became non-negotiable. Fielding. The best teams fielded well and captains like Virat Kohli knew this. Sridhar recalled how Ravi Shastri and Kohli both made it very clear that they want the best from their fielders. “When I had joined, MS (Dhoni) was the captain and all that I needed to do was have a chat with him in regards to his vision and where he wants every player to be. Once I knew what his vision was and where his team should be for 2015 (ODI) World Cup—although I was not sure whether I’ll be there myself—I started working on those lines. So it was not about my vision, it was about Dhoni’s vision. And when Virat (Kohli) took over, it was about his vision. My job was to energize the skills of the team and marry them to the vision of the leaders. Ravi (Shastri, head coach) always made it a point to mention that he wanted the 11 best fielders on the park. And Virat always insisted that fielding is non-negotiable.”

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Sridhar served Indian cricket very well during his stay. One knows for sure, it was his effort behind the scene that made India a great fielding side and the team will continue to reap what he sowed during his stay.

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