The legendary MS Dhoni has been responsible for so many changes for the betterment of Indian cricket that it is hard to recount. Dhoni took over as captain of the Indian team in 2007 and ever since, Indian cricket has not looked back. Under him India won all three major ICC trophies – T20 World Cup, 50-over World Cup and the Champions Trophy. He made sure that India reached the pinnacle of the ICC Test rankings and got the best out of his men. He made bold and audacious decisions, some that changed the landscape of Indian cricket entirely. He made Rohit Sharma open in ODIs and backed a young Virat Kohli despite failures in his first few Tests. We all know how those decisions panned out.
However, Dhoni’s biggest contribution to Indian cricket is how the sport looked at it. For years, Indian cricket was all about batting and bowling, but under Dhoni, fielding and fitness started receiving equal attention and importance. R Sridhar, the former India fielding coach, who came aboard the team in 2014, when Dhoni was captain, recalled how the former India skipper made it very clear that for him the two areas where there was absolutely no room for complacency.
“MS… when he was captain, he led the fielding. And the running between the wicket was to me, an eye opener. MS said that ‘two things that are non-negotiable for me are fielding and running between the wicket’. And that is something which still holds true. And the kind of emphasis he laid on fielding, Virat took it forward. Ravi always said that the 11 best fielders will take the park. So that is the kind of importance that was laid on fielding,” Sridhar told Cricket.com.
Sridhar was then asked to pick the best fielder of the Indian team, a question that was really tough for him to answer because let’s face it… there are so many. Still, beyond the usual names, Sridhar did take a few names, whom he loved conducting fielding drills with.
“Some of the best fielding sessions I have had are with Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohit Sharma was a great fielder being a fast bowler. And the usual suspects are Kohli, Jadeja, Manish Pandey… you had fun fielding with them. The guys like Chahal, Kuldeep and Kedar are the ones who worked really hard on their skills. I really enjoyed working with those guys,” he added.