There were rumours of a rift between Kohli and Rohit following India’s unceremonious semi-final exit from the 2019 ODI World Cup, and had intensified again in late 2021, when Kohli was sacked as the skipper of the Indian team.
Over the years, veterans Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been the most integral duo of the Indian cricket team, across all formats. Not only have the two have grown in stature as reputed cricketers since their debuts, but also they have stitched some formidable match-winning partnerships, which they have been synonymous for.
However, not everything was perfect between the two all the time. There were rumours of a rift between Kohli and Rohit following India’s unceremonious semi-final exit from the 2019 ODI World Cup, and had intensified again in late 2021, when Kohli was sacked as the skipper of the Indian team.
R Sridhar, ex-fielding coach of Team India, revealed in his book Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team, how former head coach Ravi Shastri’s intervention into the matter helped ease down the situation between the two.
“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 the 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,” the 52-year-old explained.
Things between the duo significantly improved once Shastri intervened, and could be seen celebrating the team’s success on a regular basis, with Rohit even lifting Kohli after India’s win over rivals Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match in Melbourne last year.
“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 ultimate tribute to our culture ‘one for all, all for one, but team above all’,” added Sridhar.
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