The anecdote shared by R Sridhar comes from his book and happened in 2014 during West Indies tour of India.
MS Dhoni remains famous for his ‘Captain Cool’ reputation. However, the ex-India skipper did have moments where he lost his temper with the team or one memorable occasion, the umpires. Former India fielding coach R Sridhar details in his book ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days With The Indian Cricket Team’ that Dhoni was furious with his teammates one time and did not hesitate in making it known.
The incident happened during the West Indies series of 2014. India had lost the first ODI by a mammoth 124 runs and were trailing the four match series. In the second ODI, played in Delhi, India did win but struggled in the field. According to Sridhar, MS Dhoni “was furious at what he perceived to be lack of effort and dipping fitness standards” and did not mince his words.
In the Delhi ODI, India were stumbling at 74/3 after the top order departed early. Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina’s 105-run partnership helped India claw back into the game. Dhoni also scored a half-century, taking India’s total to 263/7.
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When it was time for the West Indies to bat, the Dwayne Bravo-led unit started off well. Indian bowlers were unable to gain the upper hand, and the visitors were soon cruising at 170/3 in 35.3 overs. However, after the dismissal of Marlon Samuels, the West Indies collapsed like a deck of cards and were all out for 215.
India won the encounter by 48 runs. Mohammed Shami was awarded the Player of the Match for his four-fer. The spinner gave away just 36 runs in 9.3 overs and dismissed Dwayne Smith, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo and Ravi Rampaul.
While the Men in Blue were ecstatic at having levelled the series 1-1, Dhoni did not feel the same. After the match, he stated, “I feel quite a few things are missing. We have to pull our socks up. We have not played to our potential. This game is a crucial eye opener for us. We are on the winning side, but we could have lost this.”
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Back in the dressing room, Dhoni did not waste any time admonishing his teammates. “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 wrote.
As for the series, the five-ODI series was shortened to four after the third contest was cancelled due to cyclone Hudhud. West Indies abandoned the tour after the fourth ODI due to a dispute between the team and their cricket board. At that time, India were leading the four-game series 2-1.
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