Critics have often questioned MS Dhoni’s place in the ODI side in the last few years. Many have been of the opinion that Dhoni should retire to make way for others, declaring he is no longer the finisher he used to be. Whereas others backed his experience ahead of Dinesh Karthik, or the young and explosive Rishabh Pant.
On paper, Virat Kohli will be leading the side in the upcoming World Cup 2019, but he will get help from former skipper Dhoni and senior player Rohit Sharma. Dhoni has been helping the spinners from behind the stumps, as proved by several match videos.
In a recent interview with India Today, skipper Virat Kohli revealed how important it is to have MSD around. “He (MS Dhoni) is one person who knows the game inside out, who understands the game from ball 1 to ball 300 on the field. I won’t say it is a luxury to have him but I am fortunate to have a mind like that from behind the stumps. At the end of the day, I want to be involved in strategy with the team management with Mahi bhai and Rohit (Sharma),” he said.
Whether it’s international cricket or franchise cricket, Kohli can be seen in the outfield as he is one of the best fielders in the world. Dhoni’s presence in the middle helps him control the match from afar. He explained, “In the death overs, I know that I have to be in the outfield to try and make something work for the team because that’s my nature. I want to do something for the team rather than just be there. After 30-35 overs, he knows that I will be in the outfield and its on auto mode. Its just about the field placements and bowling changes and we say you know the angles, you know the pace of the pitch and that’s why there is so much trust and respect between the two of us. It’s unfortunate to see so many people going after him.”
The 37-year-old’s batting statistics have been outstanding this year. He has perfectly played the finisher’s role with 327 runs from 8 innings at an impressive average of 81.75. But 2018 has not been great for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper as he hasn’t been able to score a single ODI half-century. The struggle of World Cup 2011-winning captain reminded Kohli of the time when he was given chances early in his career despite several other options. The 30-year-old recalled, “For me, loyalty matters the most. When I walked into the team he had the option of trying someone else after a few games. Although I grabbed my chances, for me to get that kind of backing, it was very crucial for me. Also, he gave me an opportunity to bat at No.3 when not many youngsters get to play at No.3.”