Sports Cricket 17 Sep 2018 What is it like to p ...

What is it like to play under Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni? Indian players spill the beans

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Sep 17, 2018, 2:28 pm IST
Updated Sep 17, 2018, 2:28 pm IST
While Dhoni is returning to action after a break ahead of the Asia Cup, Kohli has been rested for the multi-nation tournament.
 Current India skipper Virat Kohli and former skipper MS Dhoni have been the backbone of the national setup for quite some time now. (Photo: AP)
  Current India skipper Virat Kohli and former skipper MS Dhoni have been the backbone of the national setup for quite some time now. (Photo: AP)

Mumbai: Current India skipper Virat Kohli and former skipper MS Dhoni have been the backbone of the national setup for quite some time now. Ever since MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014, Kohli has played a more crucial role for Team India in playing some match-winning knocks.

Kohli has had a tough few months however. After having led India to a T20I series win against England earlier this summer, the results went other way round after they lost the ODIs and Tests despite putting up a fighting effort.

 

Kohli has been rested for India’s upcoming Asia Cup, and one of the Indian cricketers in squad for the tournament spoke on how the duo keeps on motivating them.

“Mahi bhai is very supportive of the young players coming into the team. Not even for a moment do you feel that you are entering into a team of champions. Even at the nets, you will see him always helping the bowlers. He guides them on how to prepare for a game from his own experience and what he has seen on the wicket,” he was quoted saying by The Hindustan Times.

“The best part is that when we walk out to field, after a couple of overs he will tell the bowlers exactly which are the areas to bowl on and how the bowler needs to work on his speed and variations. Similarly, Virat bhai likes to give the players freedom to express himself and not get bogged down by the pressure of representing the country,” he added.

Another Indian cricketer had similar views on the World Cup-winning skipper.

“When you come in initially, you feel a little wary to approach them. But you soon realise that they are very approachable and welcoming.

The decisions are taken in unison and Dhoni bhai is always there to bring up any ploy or strategy that might strike him on the field. He is almost like the fielding vice-captain who is constantly guiding us. Leading a team isn’t easy, but Dhoni bhai plays the perfect second fiddle and makes the job that much easier for Kohli bhai,” he said.

Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to three Indian Premier League (IPL) titles, and a cricketer who has played with the Jharkhand batsman spoke highly of him.

“His door is always open. You want a suggestion? You can just go and speak to him. Clarity is something that makes him special. With Kohli also, he gives you that freedom. The fact that he talks of fearless cricket is backed by his actions. If you are comfortable with something, he won’t try to boss around and change that.

“He is happy to let you try your options and plans. Only when it doesn’t work does he work on a Plan B. Also, they (Dhoni and Kohli) understand each other really well and for them nothing comes before the team,” he added.

While Rohit Sharma is captaining Team India in Kohli’s absence for the Asia Cup, Dhoni is returning to action after almost two months.

Dhoni, who passed the limited-overs captaincy duties to Kohli in January 2017, last played in an ODI during the series against England in July.

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