Don’t target Mahendra Singh Dhoni, says Virat Kohli

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARUN GEORGE
Published Nov 9, 2017, 12:26 am IST
Updated Nov 9, 2017, 7:12 am IST
India skipper says people are singling out MSD.
Virat Kohli
 Virat Kohli

Thiruvananthapuram: Virat Kohli has said it is unfair to target Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the former India skipper’s waning influence had come under scrutiny like never before during the series against New Zealand.

Dhoni’s performances in the series that ended with a 2-1 triumph in the T20Is here on Tuesday was again the point of reference and Kohli chose to defend his predecessor quite vehemently.

“I’m not able to understand why people are pointing fingers at him,” said Kohli, after India’s six runs win in the deciding T20I in a curtailed match due to rains, here at the Sports Hub.

“If I fail as a batsman three times nobody is going to point fingers at me because I’m not 35,” said the skipper adding, “The guy’s fit, he’s concentrating on his fitness and contributing to the team in every way possible, tactically and with the bat.”

Dhoni’s contributions in the series that comprised three sets of ODIs and T20Is were mediocre compared to some of his exploits in the past and though he delivered a fighting 37-ball 49 in Rajkot, when most others with the exception of Kohli had failed and India had ended on the losing side, the wicket-keeper batsman’s strike-rate was questioned.

Kohli feels the 36-year-old is being conveniently singled out and that it was not a view shared by the team management.

“If you look at the recent series, including Australia he did very well. In this series he hasn’t got much time to bat. You have to understand the position he comes into bat. Even Hardik did not score in that game, so why are you not pointing at him, so it is not fair.

“By the time he comes to bat the run rate is either 8.5 or 9.5 and the wicket is also not the same that the new ball players got and obviously the set batsmen find it easier to strike the ball.

“As team members and as management we understand the situation. We don’t get emotional or excited about opinions of people who are looking at things from a different point of view,” said Kohli adding MS was “doing absolutely fine” and that “he understands his role” in the side.

“He’s a very smart guy and he understands where he stands with his body and his game so I don’t think anyone has the right to decide that for him,” said the India captain.





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