India and Australia are all set to sq. off within the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on 9 February in Nagpur. Whenever individuals speak about this well-known bilateral red-ball sequence between the 2 sides, India’s gutsy win at Gabba and a commendable draw within the Sydney will ceaselessly be remembered as among the many finest video games. In the 2020-21 sequence, which the Men in Blue received 2-1, the heroic efforts of Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari helped them to draw the Sydney Test.
Now, an fascinating inside story of the Indian dressing room from the competition has been revealed within the autobiography of ex-fielding coach R Sridhar – ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team.’ According to Sridhar, aside from Ashwin and Vihari, Shardul Thakur had an immense contribution to the draw though he was a substitute.
A lot of distinguished gamers suffered accidents earlier than and during the conflict, making the duty much more troublesome for the guests. Wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, who was additionally injured, got here out to bat after taking a painkiller and performed an distinctive knock of 97 runs off 118 deliveries. His 148-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara constructed a very good basis for the fourth-innings chase. However, the Indian unit ultimately landed in a difficult scenario as they’d to chase down 127 runs within the closing session with solely two batters – Ashwin and Vihari on the center. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was additionally there within the lineup however his batting remained doubtful as he was affected by a thumb damage.
Unfortunately, Ashwin and Vihari had been enjoying with again and hamstring accidents respectively. Thus, it was fairly troublesome for Vihari to face spinners like Nathan Lyon due to his restricted motion. On the opposite hand, the veteran Indian spinner was struggling towards the fiery tempo assaults of the Aussies. According to Sridhar’s e-book, then-head coach Ravi Shastri was conscious of the problems and selected a method to do away with the scenario. During the Tea break, he requested Vihari to face the quick bowlers, whereas Ashwin was given the duty of Lyon.
Sridhar defined, “Vihari and Ashwin came in at tea, and while we converged to congratulate and encourage them, a tactical call was also made. It was decided that Ashwin, at home against Lyon, would take on the off-spinner and Vihari would negotiate the three-pronged pace attack.”
However, after some profitable overs, each batters began to lose their persistence and commenced rotating strikes unnecessarily. It caught the eye of Shastri who despatched Shardul Thakur to the sector during the drinks break with a message that Ashwin and Vihari wanted to stick to the plan, “no matter what happens.”
Sridhar recalled that Shastri had requested Shardul if he had forwarded the message, and the bowler had responded within the affirmative on the time. However, it was ultimately found that Shardul had truly gone towards Shastri’s directions and lied to him. Sridhar believed that the quick bowler both misheard the directions or avoided interfering with the batters as a result of they’d simply accomplished a 259-ball “blockathon.”
However, Thakur’s plan labored out nicely as Ashwin and Vihari remained unbeaten until the tip. Lauding the bowler’s judgement, Sridhar wrote, “Hats off to him! He didn’t pass on Ravi’s message. Instead, he told the batters exactly what they wanted to hear at that time. Perhaps he realized that passing on the instructions, however steeped in logic they might be, could disrupt the flow of the batters and the zone they were in, so he passed on a message he thought was the best under the circumstances.”