“Look Virat, You Have To Respect MS,” Shastri Told Virat When He Wanted Dhoni’s Captaincy
The Indian cricket team was the favourites to win the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 but it ended up suffering a humiliating defeat in the semi-finals against England and it resulted in a huge uproar against the skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid. Many Indian cricket fans and former cricketers were of the opinion that the Indian cricket team needs a new and young skipper as Rohit Sharma is already 35 yrs old and it was clearly visible that he was having problem in handling the pressure of all the three formats.
After the T20 World Cup, Rohit Sharma hasn’t played any T20I match for the country and since then, the stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya has been leading the Indian T20I team. Though there are reports which suggest that the BCCI and selectors are thinking of appointing Hardik Pandya as the new skipper of the Indian T20 team, nothing has been said officially in this regard by the board. However, this is increasing confusion as Hardik Pandya’s behaviour and few of his statements are hinting that he has already accepted himself as the new T20 skipper and on the other hand, Rohit Sharma has given the statement that he hasn’t decided anything regarding his future in T20.
Such situations can create problems because it may result in the creation of two power centers in the team which is harmful for the squad. The transition should always be smooth in the team otherwise environment of the dressing room gets spoiled. R Sridhar, the former fielding coach of the Indian cricket team, has talked about an interesting incident in relation to transition in his book, ‘Coaching Beyond- My days with the Indian cricket team’ which is written by R Kaushik.
R Sridhar talked about the times when MS Dhoni was the skipper of the Indian team and Virat Kohli was getting groomed for the role of skipper after Dhoni would decide to give up captaincy. In 2014-15, MS Dhoni took the decision of retiring from test cricket and Virat Kohli was appointed as the test team skipper. After Virat Kohli started leading India in test matches, there was a little bit of impatience regarding the timing of MS Dhoni leaving the white-ball captaincy and on few occasions, Virat Kohli made statements which hinted that he was eager to take up captaincy in ODIs and T20I as well.
R Sridhar stated that this situation was handled very smartly by the then head coach Ravi Shastri who called Virat Kohli one evening and told him that Mahi had given Virat captaincy in test cricket and he would do the same in the white ball cricket as well when the time would be right for it. R Sridhar further said that Ravi Shastri told Virat Kohli to respect MS Dhoni, no matter whatever was happening because if he did not give respect to Mahi, then tomorrow when he (Virat) would become the skipper, his team members would not respect him. Ravi Shastri further told Kohli that captaincy would come to him and he did not need to run behind it.
R Sridhar wrote that Virat Kohli understood it pretty well and this resulted in Dhoni and Kohli sharing a good bond. In 2017, MS Dhoni gave up his white-ball captaincy, Virat took over from there and led the team till 2022 when he gave up his T20I captaincy. Though Kohli wanted to lead the team in ODIs, the BCCI replaced him with Rohit Sharma and after some time, Virat Kohli gave up his test captaincy as well.
The board should come out clean in regard to captaincy of the Indian T20I team so that there is no confusion in the minds of players and cricket lovers. What do you say?