Former India fielding coach, R Sridhar in his recently launched book, ‘Coaching Beyond- My Days with the Indian Cricket Team’, talks about a conversation with R Ashwin.
Sridhar had just joined the team in 2014 and Ashwin changed his style of thinking in just one week.
R Sridhar has been a part of the Indian cricket team from 2014 to 2021. He has worked under three coaches who are Duncan Fletcher, Anil Kumble, and Ravi Shastri.
This is because Sridhar had a worry about what fielding strategies to implement when coaching the team.
Being with Ashwin, I was struck by one of our early conversations in my first week with the national team.
Ashwin helps Sridhar by advising him on how to coach fielders
Sridhar also writes that he was quite influenced by Ashwin’s explanation and decided to change his style of fielding drills.
Before Sridhar joined the team, Trevor Penney was India’s fielding coach.
Ashwin spoke quite influentially about how a fielding coach should be able to make his players listen to him.
He also told Sridhar why should he listen to him when he is telling him to do something.
Additionally, Ashwin also said that Sridhar should be able to convince him fully about a particular strategy and how it will work wonders for the team.
So, if Ashwin gets convinced in the next two to three years, he will be having a lot at stake.
Writing further, Sridhar says,
Non-confrontationally, he asked me, ‘If you don’t mind, Sridhar sir, why should I listen to you and follow the fielding drills you suggest? Why should I do what you are asking me to? From 2011 to 2014, we had Trevor Penney as the fielding coach. Now you have come in, you will be there for let’s say two to three years. You will say something; you will go away. Then a new fielding coach will come. If I am honest, in the next three years, I have a lot at stake. I should be convinced that what you are saying is going to work for me. It should keep my game, otherwise why should I listen to you?’
That’s when Sridhar realized that some serious changes are required to uplift the team in terms of fielding and he did exactly that.
We knew each other quite well by then, and I immediately got where he was coming from. His questions set me thinking: ‘how much should I coach? What is coaching really?’
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