MS Dhoni has recently scored three half-centuries on Australian soil to win the series for India almost single-handedly. Although he was going through a bad phase in 2018, he shut all his critics with his comeback in Australia.
He continued his good form against the Kiwis too and scored a 48 in the second ODI. Dhoni’s batting position has also been a talk op the nation since a long. Dhoni himself cleared the air by saying he is ready to bat at any position.
The head coach of the Indian cricket team has come out in support of the former captain of Men in Blue. He clearly mentioned in an interview with Cricbuzz,
“Nobody is good enough to criticize MS Dhoni. If you talk about him, do you even know anything about cricket?”
Shastri added, the likes of Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Gavaskar and Dhoni cannot be criticized so easily after their immense contribution.
“Dhoni is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years. He is an ornament to the game. He has been the captain of a number one Test team and has two World Cups to his name. In fact, tell me which trophy has he not won? Name it. There is no space in his trophy cabinet. I think people should learn a thing or two about cricket before they start talking about Dhoni. You don’t get a guy (of his experience and ability) overnight.”
Shastri praised the glovework of the Ranchi born keeper and was in awe of the runout that recently sent James Neesham back into the pavilion.
“That was Dhoni at his very best, as a con artist. He was not even looking at the ball, and the run-out was done in a flash, and it changed the course of that game.” He added, “He is superb with the gloves, and from behind the stumps he really guides the wrist spinners because he understands all the fielding angles from inside the circle much better than the others.”
The coach believes that MSD can be used as a flexible option in the upcoming World Cup and will be a key element for India’s quest World Cup.
Former India player and current India men’s team Head Coach Ravi Shastri said that he has seen Sachin Tendulkar get “angry at times” but not Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Former India captain, MS Dhoni, who was going through a rough patch throughout the last year, started this year brilliantly. He scored three consecutive half-centuries in their three-match ODI series against Australia. He scored 51 off 96 in the first ODI but India failed to register a win but his stable innings n the next two matches helped India to win their first bilateral ODI series win by 2-1.
While talking about him to the Daily Telegraph, Shastri mentioned Dhoni as a “legend”. He further said that Dhoni is a once in a generation player who will be difficult to replace after his retirement. Moreover, he said that Indians should enjoy his presence until he is there.
“He is a legend. He will go down as one of our great cricketers. I have never seen an individual so sound. I have seen Sachin at times get angry. Not this man,” Shastri said the Daily Telegraph.
“You can’t (replace him). Such players only come once in 30 or 40 years. That is what I tell Indians. Enjoy while it lasts. When he goes you will see a void that will be very hard to fill,” he further added.
Shastri further said that Dhoni has not given any proper cricketing interview after the World Cup win in 2011.
“Whether he gets a zero, gets a hundred, whether he wins the World Cup or loses in the first round, MS is the same man. He is simply consistent with his body language and composure. It amazes me how he does it. Since 2011 he has not given one interview.”
Prior to the series, many doubted Dhoni’s capabilities and his ability to finish the match. Some of them asked for his replacement as well. Many favoured Rishabh Pantas India’s wicket-keeper batsman for the upcoming World Cup who can give stability to the lower batting order. But Dhoni played match-winning knocks and shut his critics.
When former England captain Michael Vaughan asked if Rishabh Pant could be Dhoni in the next 20 years, Shastri replied, “I would love to. He has the talent. His hero is MS. Every day he is on the phone to MS. I think during the Test series he must have spoken more to MS than anyone else.”
Dhoni is not only a keeper-batsman in the team but also guides Kohli and others from behind the stumps. His experience, master strategies always help Kohli in every step and everyone in the team has immense respect for him.
“That is because he has the best angle. He sees things. He is great with the guys, they all worship him. This entire team has been built by him because he was captain for 10 years. To have that kind of respect in the dressing room and experience is massive,” said Shastri.
While talking about the comparison between Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar, Shastri replied that Tendulkar was “more composed” who stayed in a zone while Virat Kohli is more “in your face”.
“Yesterday someone asked me if there are any similarities between Sachin and Virat. I said there were plenty. Let’s start with work ethic,” he said. “It is doing the hard yards, looking ugly in the nets and sacrificing important things for your cricket. It is staying in the zone. No excuses. No pointing fingers at others. If you make a mistake, then own up. They do that,” Shastri further said.
“Virat can be in your face. He is the closest a player has come to Vivian Richards in the way he bats. That ‘in your face’ approach with fast bowlers and any opponent. He is also prepared to do hard work and be ugly. That is part of his batting he learned in England,” said coach. “He is very caring with his team-mates and just a fantastic role model. He has achieved greatness but to still be in the zone and being humble and hungry and wanting Test cricket makes my admiration for him grow more and more.”
Shastri also expressed his thought over listening to criticism also.
“You expect it (the criticism). I am one of those that if it is constructive, then fine. If I find it is agenda-driven, I don’t care who the individual is, then I will throw a punch back straightaway. I mean it. I don’t care if he is a legend or a normal person. If I feel I have to punch back I will.”
This time it will be a new test ground in Perth where India and Australia will appear for their second face off during the 2018-19 test series. But the WACA or the Western Australia Cricket Association ground in Perth will forever remain as one of the most celebrated test grounds in Australia.
It was considered to be a fast bowler’s paradise since its inception to Test Cricket in the 70’s from early 2000. A steep bounce and lively pace in the pitch would provide all sorts of assistance to the fast bowlers and over the years many great fast bowlers had some memorable performance in this ground. The most popular of them was Dennis Lillee, Western Australia’s most favorite son. Obviously, for the sub-continental teams it was always a big challenge to face the Aussies and hence their result is dismal in this ground. Out of the total 11 test matches involving India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, 10 of them resulted in wins for Australia, 5 of them by an innings and some more with a ridiculous margin of 491 runs, 300 runs, and 286 runs. The solitary win for the sub-continental teams came in 2008 when an inspired Indian team beat the Aussies post the ‘Monkeygate’ fiasco (more on it later).
Tendulkar Is Here – 1992
But first, let’s talk about India’s 2nd test in Perth, played in February 1992 as the 5th test of India’s very long tour down under. Coming to Perth, Indians were already 3-0 down with a solitary draw in Sydney, thanks to Ravi Shashtri’s double hundred. The Indian squad for the test series was a curious mix of some old warhorses like Dilip Vengsarkar, Kriss Srikkanth and Kapil Dev led by Mohammad Azharuddin. On the other hand, the team also had some promising youngsters like Sanjay Manjarekar, who had already made his name based on his century in Bridgetown and double century in Lahore, two young quicks in Javagal Srinath and Subroto Banerjee and the young prodigy Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar, still a couple of months short of his 19th birthday, had already toured Pakistan, New Zealand, and England with team India and his match-saving median test hundred in Old Trafford, Manchester had already made cricket lovers all over the world to take note of this young talent. But in the Australia tour, he prominently announced himself and convinced everyone about his greatness and upcoming stellar career. In a broken team, impacted by the losses he kept performing consistently better than all his seniors. His hundred in Sydney was also a special knock which was overshadowed by Shashtri’s double century but in Perth, it was all about him.
Australia played with 4 fast bowlers, Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Mike Whitney, and young Paul Reiffel. Batting first Australia scored 346, thanks to a century from David Boon. 9 out of 10 wickets were divided between, Kapil, Srinath, and Prabhakar.
Coming to Bat, India was in trouble from the beginning and kept losing wickets in regular interval. Tendulkar came to bat at 69 for 2 with both the openers back in the hut. He tried to stitch partnership with Manjarekar, Vengsarkar, and Azhar, none of them could bat long enough to provide support to the youngster who was playing in a different zone. Brilliant cut and pulls were executed to the barrage of short balls from Australians. And anything up was dealt with masterful drives and flicks. It was a mesmerizing innings which impressed all. Tendulkar did not get any support before the number 10 batsman Kiran More arrived. India’s little gritty wicket-keeper played out of his skin and formed a partnership of 81 runs with Tendulkar, during which Sachin reached his third test hundred in his 16th test. His 114 was a batting masterclass and you can understand his dominance by the fact that during his stay, rest of the batsmen added just 57 runs, exactly half of what he scored.
India conceded a lead of 74 runs in the first innings and chasing 442 in the fourth innings they were blown away by Whitney, who finished with 7 wickets for 27 runs to give Australia a 300 run win. But this was one of those test matches where more than the result that one innings was highlighted and considered as an obvious indicator of what cricket world would witness in the next 20 years.
A Memorable Comeback & Win
History suggests that India Australia hardly had a peaceful test series and ever since Sourav Ganguly made Steve Waugh wait during toss at Eden in 2001, controversies became a regular part. During Sydney 2008, it reached a new feat. It all began with some questionable umpiring decisions.
On the 5th day of the match, Australia scored 333 runs and declared innings just before the lunch which meant India had only two sessions to chase that massive target. For India, the key was to keep batting and survive. But India lost 3 quick wickets including Laxman and Tendulkar with just 54 on the board, although one of those was on a No-ball. Dravid and Ganguly batted together for more than 15 overs and added 61 runs. Then Dravid was given out caught-behind in the bowling of Symonds when his bat was nowhere close to the ball. Few overs later it was Ganguly’s turn. He was given out caught in the slip but the catch by Michael Clarke was not at all conclusive. But instead of checking with the third umpire, Mark Benson checked with Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain and gave out. India collapsed at the last moment and got all out with just 9 minutes of play remaining. Later in the post-match press session a visibly upset Indian captain Anil Kumble asked a question on Australian team’s integrity. In fact, BCCI made an official complaint about incompetent umpiring.
During the same match, Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds went into racism controversy. During a heated argument, he allegedly called Andrew Symonds, the only colored cricketer of Australian cricket team, ‘Monkey’.The entire scenario was so bad that it threatened to affect the relations between the two countries.
This Sydney test description was much needed to understand the whole situation; to understand what men in blue went through before the Perth test in 2008. Amidst all these Indians wanted to prove their metal with an inspired performance. Rahul Dravid (93) and Sachin Tendulkar (71) helped India to reach 330. RP Singh took 4 wickets in the first innings and secure a 118 lead for India. India was struggling when VVS Laxman again raised to the occasion against Australia, kept his calm to score 79 and with support from MS Dhoni and RP Singh put a final target of 413. Indian bowling side showed their skills and troubled the Aussie army with whatever they had in stock. Irfan Pathan picked up the openers in Australia’s both innings. He troubled all the opponent batsmen to finish the match with 5 wicket haul. Ishant Sharma’s spell kept troubling Ponting that he would probably never forget. Australia kept trying to defend but in the end, India won the match by 72 runs. This was a much-needed victory for the Indian team. They needed a boost after those couple of troubled weeks. This was even the first win for any sub-continental team at Perth and a memorable comeback for India in the series.
Once again, the fans on Twitter have risen to ask for changes in the Indian team. Fans on the micro-blogging site expressed their opinions to remove Ravi Shastri as Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team. Some expressed their desire to replace him with Rahul Dravid.
Indian team’s embarrassing loss against the Englishmen in the first two tests in the series have raised serious questions about the management style of the team. A day after the loss, a senior BCCI official informed PTI that Captain Virat Kohli and Coach Ravi Shastri might face questions from the BCCI for the lack-luster performances in the test matches. The ire of the fans is directed at Shastri’s ‘win at all times’ attitude and the rest of the support staff who seem to have no significant effect on the team’s improvement.
The #SackRaviShastri was trending on August 14 on the social networking site.
The let-it-be attitude of Ravi Shastri has negativily impacted the performance. No practices. No Warm-ups. No experience sharing with Seniors. Just go and play attitude has costed 2 games. They lack disciplines. #SackRavishastri#bringrahuldravid
There is no doubt that @RaviShastriOfc is great voice but he is worst cricket brain to coach this team. He hs no stratigies or logics behind the decisions. @BCCI please save team. The way team is going with him, we r making one more zimbabve. #sackRaviShastri for team's sake
Rahul Dravid’s coaching ability is more mentor oriented than Shastri’s winning at all costs formula. Both have contrary coaching styles and Twitter users prefer Dravid’s subdued methods than Shastri’s wilder and bashing tactics.
Rahul Dravid took over as the coach of the India U-19 and India ‘A’ teams in 2015. Under his mentorship, the U-19 team won the World Cup earlier this year in New Zealand beating Australia in the finals. The India ‘A’ team has had successful overseas tours of England, South Africa and won the unofficial test series against South Africa A team in Bengaluru last week.
Dravid coaching record stands to offer more than Ravi Shastri’s performance. Dravid’s records as a coach and his methods of team bonding are a testament to why fans would like to see him as a coach rather than Ravi Shastri.
As Mathew Hayden once said: “To me, aggression is of two types. There is real aggression and then there is a pretense. You have to look into someone’s eyes to see if there is any real aggression. When I look into Rahul Dravid’s eyes I know that though he might not be outwardly aggressive, he is inwardly aggressive: he wants to hit the ball, he wants to seek out opportunities. He has got fire in his belly. A lot of the aggression that you see now, like staring and chatting, is all guff. That is just a waste of time.”
Indian Captain Virat Kohli and Head Coach Ravi Shastri are likely to face BCCI questioning after the team’s resigned performance in the first Two tests against England. The Number 1 test team in the world suffered an embarrassing loss by an innings and 159 runs at Lords after a severe batting collapse on the Day 4 of the test.
The duo will be under scrutiny for their team management and will be answerable for the dismal performances of the batsmen in the concluded games. They will face questions after the conclusion of the 3rd Test at Trent Bridge from August 18-22. The teams for the 4th and the 5th tests will also depend on the team’s performance in the Nottingham test.
BCCI scheduled the limited overs games against Ireland and England before the team could play red ball cricket. A “shadow tour” of the India A team was simultaneously sent to play in England which accommodated Test batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay to help acclimatize with the playing conditions.
“The Indian team can’t complain that they were not given enough time to prepare. When we lost the South Africa series, the players spoke about tight scheduling and lack of practice games. It was after speaking to them that we decided that white ball matches will be held before the Tests,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
The official’s comments indicate the BCCI’s discontent with the team’s performances. The batting collapse in both the matches would be under review. Except for the captain, no player has crossed the half-century mark in the four innings. Kohli produced an outstanding century to anchor the team to a competitive total in the first innings of the first test at Edgbaston. In the Lords test, R Ashwin top-scored for the team in both innings with scores of 29 and 33 with the team being bowled out inside 50 overs in both innings. Also, under discussion would be Virat Kohli’s team selection. His ‘tinkering tactics’ that began in the matches against Ireland, do not seem to be bearing fruit against the home team. His decision to replace opener Shikhar Dhawan and inclusion of wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav on the grassy track of Lords were questioned by the commentators and experts.
Also, under the radar are batting coach Sanjay Bangar and fielding coach R Sridhar. Former Australian cricketer and commentator Ian Chappell has criticised the Indian team fielding techniques, especially in the slips.
It is worthy to note that with similarly embarrassing results in the 2014 Test matches in England, the BCCI replaced Duncan Fletcher’s appointed bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny ahead of the ODIs. This was also when Ravi Shastri was appointed to the newly created position of Team Director.
Some news reports also claim the carte blanche power held by the duo might be restricted. Sunil Gavaskar has long suggested that a member of the National Selection Committee accompany the team for away tours to maintain balance in the team decisions like the Australian Cricket team does.
Coaches are not very often in the limelight unless their team or trained cricketers outperform and they are then highlighted and commended for their hard work. However, it is true that some of them are most certainly paid a high amount for their training and dedication to the team. Here, mentioned below are some of the most highly paid cricket coaches from around the world.
1. Mike Hesson – Rs. 17,016,250
Hesson is an extremely rare example of a coach who took it at the age of 22. He was initially the coach for Kenya before resigning due to certain security problems. He is currently the coach for Zealand and has been so since 2012. He has been the longest coach for the country.
2. Darren Lehmann – Rs. 374,35,750
He is currently the coach for Australia. He was a part of the Deccan Charger in 2009, when they performed extremely well and won the cup. He has been a great coach to the country, by helping them win the 2015 World Cup. Unfortunately, he got caught up in a legal problem and had to leave this March.
3. Ravi Shastri – Rs. 58,937,446
Shastri is the highest paid cricket coach in the world. He was the coach for India from 2014 to 2016 when he was replaced by Anil Kumble. However, he made his comeback and 2017 and he has been appointed to be so until the 2019 World Cup. India has had several wins under him as a coach.
4. Trevor Bayliss – Rs. 26,194,420
Bayliss was a great batsman and a fielder. He was a successful coach for the New South Wales as well Sri Lankan team which came second in the test rankings and they also reached to the final of the World cup in 2011. He has a contract until 2019.
5. Mickey Arthur – Rs. 11,082,254
He did not exceptionally stand out during his cricketing career, however, a coaching career has indeed proved to be beneficial for him. He was the South African coach in 2005. His most prominent duration has been for Pakistan since May 2016. Pakistan defeated India in 2017 in the Champions Trophy under him.