'Kohli messaged around 12:30 am, the night we were bowled out for 36': India fielding coach reveals 'mission Melbourne'
- The India fielding coach said Kohli had messaged him around 12:30 at night after India suffered a humiliating loss in Adelaide to discuss the plans for the next Test in Melbourne.
Virat Kohli might have left for India on paternity leave after the first Test in Adelaide but before leaving he was part of the core group which prepared the plan for a comeback in the next Test against Australia in Melbourne. In fielding coach R Sridhar’s words, ‘Mission Melbourne’.
During a conversation with off spinner R Ashwin on the latter's Youtube channel, Sridhar said Kohli had messaged him around 12:30 am after India suffered a humiliating loss in Adelaide to discuss the plans for the next Test in Melbourne.
“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’,” Sridhar said.
He further threw light on how the decision to replace Kohli with Ravindra Jadeja was arrived at.
“We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we’d have to take. 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.
As it turned out, India went on to beat Australia by 8 wickets to level the series 1-1 and Jadeja played a key role with both bat and ball at Melbourne.
India drew the next Test in Sydney and then went to claim a historic win in Brisbane to claim the four-match series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.