Former India fielding coach R Sridhar has revealed that team India was split into two camps after the team’s world cup loss in 2019. According to Sridhar, “there was a Rohit camp and a Virat Camp and head coach Ravi Shastri had to personally intervene to resolve the issue.”
There were speculations of a fallout between the then-India captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma, rumours of which started floating around in the aftermath of India’s semi-final exit in the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Sridhar wrote in his book ‘Coaching Beyond: My Days with the Indian Cricket Team, “After the 2019 World Cup, there was a lot of bad press about what allegedly happened in the dressing room during our campaign and following our loss to New Zealand in the semifinal. We were informed that there was a Rohit camp and a Virat camp, that someone had unfollowed another on social media – stuff that could be unsettling if you allowed it to fester.”
“We landed in the United States (US) some 10 days after the World Cup for a T20 series against West Indies in Lauderhill. One of the first things Ravi did on arrival was to call Virat and Rohit to his room and impress upon them that for Indian cricket to be healthy, they needed to be on the same page. ‘Whatever happened on social media, that’s all fine, but you two are the most senior cricketers so this must stop,’ Ravi said in his typical non-nonsense manner. ‘I want you to put all this behind and get together for us to move forward,” he added.
“You could see that things started to get better after that. Ravi’s action was swift, simple and decisive. It was just getting both the guys together, sitting them down and making them talk. Ravi didn’t waste any time doing so,” Sridhar explained.
India toured West Indies immediately after the world cup and the then head coach Ravi Shastri summoned Rohit and Kohli to sort things out in his ‘typical no-nonsense manner’.
However, Kohli had categorically refuted rumours of a rift with his deputy Rohit and said that people were feeding off lies and being disrespectful to the players’ personal lives.
“I have heard a lot of things from the outside, If the atmosphere was not right then we would not have been able to come on top of ODI. In my opinion, it’s baffling. It’s ridiculous to read such stuff. We are feeding on lies and overlooking facts and creating fantasies and scenarios. Bringing personal lives into the picture is disrespectful. Baffling that lies are being floated.
“We wouldn’t have had the kind of performances we’ve had if the dressing room atmosphere wasn’t a good one. The kind of performances we’ve had is only possible due to the camaraderie, trust, and understanding in our team,” Kohli had said ahead of West Indies tour after the World Cup.