India off-spinner Ashwin Ravichandran got together with fielding coach R Sridhar to give a behind the scenes look at what the Indian cricket team went through during its historic Test series triumph in Australia.
Ashwin shared videos of his chat with Sridhar on his YouTube channel, in which the duo speak in great detail about the challenges they faced Down Under. In conversation in a hotel room the day they were set to return to India, Ashwin and Sridhar reflected on the team’s rollercoaster journey in defeating Australia 2-1 to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The duo revealed that after the Indian team was bowled-out for 36 – its lowest-ever Test score – in the Adelaide game, the coaching staff decided to give the players a break from practice and instead got everyone together for a team building exercise in which they all played games.
It was bowling coach Bharat Arun’s idea, as he believed that the players would practice in frustration having suffered the heavy defeat at the Adelaide Oval and that would be counterproductive.
Ashwin and Sridhar looked back at a number of crucial stages in the course of the four-Test series. Sridhar said that Shastri told the players to “wear the 36 all-out as a badge of honour” as he believed that would give them the confidence to bounce back strongly.
It was also Shastri’s idea to bring Ashwin into the attack early on in Australia’s first innings in the Melbourne Test, which proved to be a masterstroke since it led to the wicket of the dangerous Steve Smith. The duo also hailed captain Ajinkya Rahane for scoring a fine century and leading by example.
In Part 2 of their conversation, Ashwin and Sridhar analysed the epic Sydney Test in which the Indian team pulled off a miraculous draw after battling a number of injuries. Firstly, the duo hailed Cheteshwar Pujara for his gritty knock that tired out the Aussie pacers and gave India a fighting chance.
Ashwin then reflected on his unforgettable partnership with Hanuma Vihari which took India to safety. The 34-year-old reckoned that the hosts made a mistake by deciding to bowl short and intimidate them. He said that strategy only strengthened his and Vihari’s resolve and also denied Australia the opportunity of possible getting a wicket.
Ashwin also shared a hilarious anecdote about how substitute Shardul Thakur didn’t give him and Vihari the team management’s message during their partnership and instead told them to simply keep batting the way they were.
Watch the conversation between Ashwin and Sridhar here: