Fielding Coach R Sridhar reveals how Virat Kohli called him at midnight to discuss ‘Mission Melbourne’

36 will be the special number for Indian cricket for years to come. As the number has been associated with the debacle of Indian cricket team at Adelaide where several experts/pundits clearly stated that Indian team will lose the series by 4-0. But the game of cricket is also an unpredictable game and recently the series was concluded at  Gabba where the visitors won the series by 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy twice back to back on Australian soil will make all those cricket experts/pundits think twice before predicting early in any series in future.

Recently Indian spinner R Ashwin on his youtube channel invited fielding coach R Sridhar to relieve all the memories and plans that they have executed to defeat Australia in their backyard. R Sridhar also revealed an interesting incident where regular skipper Kohli messaged him at midnight to the fielding’s coach shock ahead of second Test at Melbourne.

Sridhar further added that Kohli said that he would join the discussion on ‘Mission Melbourne’. Sridhar also revealed that Ravi Shastri emphatically declared that the Indian side should wear the number 36 like a badge.

“It was midnight, around 12.30 am, the night we lost the Adelaide Test. Virat Kohli messaged me: ‘What are you doing?’ I was shocked. I thought ‘why is he messaging at this time?’ I told him ‘head coach (Ravi Shastri), myself, Bharat Arun and Vikram Rathour are sitting together’. He said, ‘I’ll also join you’. I said, ‘no problem, come over.’

“He came there and all of us started discussing. That’s where ‘Mission Melbourne’ began. Shastri made a point there: ‘This 36, wear it like a badge! This 36 is what will make this team great’,” said Sridhar. Sridhar also recalled that Kohli and Rahane had a discussion as to what would be the way forward.

It was combined decision by Rahane, Kohli, Shastri and other support staff decided that in absence of Kohli ahead of second Test at Melbourne will be replaced by Ravindra Jadeja in order to strengthen their bowling which Sridhar concluded by saying that the move was masterstroke.

“We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we’d have to take. Then Virat called Ajinkya the next morning and we had a very good discussion. After a 36 all-out, usually, teams would strengthen their batting. But Ravi Shastri, Virat, and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling. That’s how we replaced Virat with Ravindra Jadeja, and it was a masterstroke,” concluded Sridhar.