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Turnaround After 36 All Out: How Virat Kohli Joined a Midnight Meeting to Begin 'Mission Melbourne'

India offspinner R Ashwin and fielding coach R Sridhar revealed the behind-the-scenes work that went behind India's turnaround in the Border Gavaskar trophy

Turnaround After 36 All Out: How Virat Kohli Joined a Midnight Meeting to Begin 'Mission Melbourne'

India offspinner R Ashwin and fielding coach R Sridhar revealed the behind-the-scenes work that went behind India's turnaround in the Border Gavaskar trophy after they were bowled out for 36 in Adelaide in the first Test. After the embarrassing lows, India fought back in the absence of key players including captain Virat Kohli to eventually clinch the series 2-1.

'Wear That 36 All Out Like a Badge' - R Sridhar Recalls Ravi Shastri's Words After Adelaide Test

The first step in the turnaround was the victory in Melbourne. Sridhar revealed how the think-tank, including Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, decided to plot India's rise with key strategic moves.

In a chat in his YouTube channel, Ashwin said: "(After the Adelaide Test) Virat just came to all of us and said 'Boys, I'm returning home.' It was like a chat that happens at a college farewell. I thought in my mind 'Bro, don't go, we've just been bowled out for 36, we need you'(in jest)"

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Sridhar revealed how Kohli joined a midnight meeting to plot the way ahead.

"It was midnight, around 12.30am, the night we lost the Adelaide Test. Virat Kohli messaged me: 'What are you doing?' I was shocked. I thought 'why is he messaging at this time?' I told him 'head coach (Ravi Shastri), myself, Bharat Arun and Vikram Rathour are sitting together'.

"He said, 'I'll also join you'. I said, 'no problem, come over.' He came there and all of us started discussing. That's where 'Mission Melbourne' began. Shastri made a point there: 'This 36, wear it like a badge! This 36 is what will make this team great'.

"We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we'd have to take. Then Virat called Ajinkya the next morning and we had a very good discussion. After a 36 all-out, usually teams would strengthen their batting. But Ravi Shastri, Virat and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling. That's how we replaced Virat with Ravindra Jadeja, and it was a masterstroke.

"Shastri wanted to have more left-handers. He felt because of the presence of only right-handers, the Australians kept bowling at that one spot, so if we bring in a left-hander, their lines may vary, and it may work for us tactically. So, most of the decisions were taken there and it was decided that we'll go in with five of our best bowlers.

"We also decided not to over practice, so we gave the boys an off day and called for a team dinner. We arranged some games because negativity will creep in when you're alone at the room."

Ashwin chipped in: "Yes, we played dumb charades - Bollywood movies, Hollywood movies and cricketers. The culmination of that event was Ravi Shastri enacting a player's name and the entire team burst out in laughter. Everyone left in good spirits."



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RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
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2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
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2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
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