Team India fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar revealed how the management made a plan to bounce back in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Virat Kohli’s late-night phone call. The visitors suffered a humiliating defeat in the opening Test match at Adelaide Oval as India also registered their lowest ever score in Test cricket history -36 in the second innings.

After the first Test, many cricket critics predicted a whitewash for the Indian team with Kohli leaving the team on paternity leave. However, Ajinkya Rahane took over the charge of the team and led them to a victory in Boxing Day Test which boosted the morale of the team as they continued the momentum and scripted a historic 2-1 series win.

Sridhar said Kohli texted him late night after the Adelaide drubbing and as the Missin Melbourne began with him and the team management’s meeting.

“It was midnight, around 12.30 am, 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’,” Sridhar said.

He also talked about the decision to replace Kohli with Ravindra Jadeja in the Boxing Day clash which turned out to be a masterstroke for them.

“We were slightly confused but then we started talking about the decisions we’d have to take. 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,” concluded Sridhar.