Centurion: MS Dhoni may be nearing his retirement, but there is no understating the importance the veteran wicket-keeper batsman brings with himself on the cricket field. Many players have come and gone in India’s limited-overs side, but the former skipper has watched the team grow over the years.
While Virat Kohli leads the Men in Blue from the front, Dhoni still can be witnessed manipulating field settings. In tricky situations, Kohli does not hesitate to take the advice of his predecessor.
During the second ODI of the Momentum Series, Dhoni was seen giving his valuable inputs to young spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav from behind the wickets. The 36-year-old was heard advising the leg spinners to vary their line and length for different batsmen.
Referring to Kohli as ‘Cheeku’, Dhoni also was heard taking a call on field placements.
Success soon followed the duo as the Proteas were bundled out for 118, with Chahal and Kuldeep sharing 8 wickets combined.
Chahal, who claimed his first five-wicket haul in ODIs spoke about the influence of Dhoni and Kohli after the match.
"Virat bhai tells us it doesn't matter if we are hit for a six, but we must bowl to our strength. If your strength is to pitch it up, then go for it. When your captain tells you that you don't have to worry even if you have been hit for two or three sixes, you get confidence. From behind the stumps, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) always keeps advising you. He knows what the batsman is going to try. It makes it easier for us," the Haryana leggie said.
Kuldeep also echoed similar views.
"We are youngsters and we don't have that much experience. That is why he (Dhoni) keeps telling me what to do in what situation. And the mindset comes from the captain. Virat bhai always tells us one extra wicket is more important than trying to save 10 runs. If your captain tells you that, then you start believing in yourself," the chinaman said.
Without the presence of talismanic skipper AB de Villiers, the hosts have struggled to counter the Indian bowlers. And with further injuries to Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, the hosts will need to come up with something special to stay alive in the series, which Kohli and co lead by 2-0