As former Indian cricketers are aggressively opining about MS Dhoni’s place in T20s, the Indian Skipper, Virat Kohli too put forth his take on Dhoni’s place in the team. After India’s loss in the second T20 at Rajkot the former cricketers like Akash Chopra, VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar came froward to raise questions upon Dhoni’s place in the team that plays the shortest version of the game.
They held Dhoni responsible for India’s loss given his slow strike rate. They went further to say that India should look forward to find an alternative for him and Dhoni must step down from T20s.
Speaking on this spree of questions and fingers raised at Dhoni, Kohli kept his point of view and he supported Dhoni’s place in the team. Virat is a mature cricketer and this maturity reflected in his point of view of Dhoni’s place in the T20s.
Virat Kohli was in total support of the former skipper and turned down the castigation that had come Dhoni’s way post Rajkot T20. Kohli also showed maturity in waiting for the series to end before he comes to Dhoni’s defence. Criticism him just because he is over 35? Kohli cited MS Dhoni’s age as the reason of his criticism and ridiculed the idea of pointing fingers at Dhoni just because he’s over 35.
Taking MS Dhoni’s side Kohli said:
“I don’t understand why people are pointing him out. If I fail as a batsman three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I am not over 35,” Kohli’s sarcastic jibe at the post-match media conference was not lost on anyone.
Adding onto this he said that Dhoni’s presence is vital and he has been passing every fitness test. He said that Dhoni has been performing well in not just terms of batting but every dimension and also in tactical ways on the field. He also talked about Dhoni’s good performances against Sri Lanka and the Aussies.
“The guy is fit, he is passing all the tests. He is contributing to the team in every tactical way on the field. With the bat, he did really well against Sri Lanka (away series) and Australia,” Virat Kohli said.
Talking about the T20 series with New Zealand he said that Dhoni didn’t get much chances to bat and it’s really tough to score big from the position Dhoni comes in at. Then he pointed out Hardik Pandaya’s failure to score big in this series and asked as to why is only Dhoni being pulled up.
“In this series, he didn’t get much time to bat. You have to understand that the position he comes in to bat, even Hardik Pandya could not score in that game so why are we pointing out one man? Hardik as well got out in the last T20 in Rajkot. You are conveniently targeting one man, which is not fair,” Virat Kohli reminded media persons.
“By the time, he comes in, the run rate is already 8.5- 9.5. The wicket is also not the same like when the new ball is being bowled. Batsmen who are set at the top find it easier to strike the ball straightaway compared to guys who come lower down the order. The kind of wickets that we played on, wear and tear has been much more in the latter half,” said the 29- year-old skipper about his predecessor.
“You have to assess everything. As team members and management, we understand the situation when people go in to bat, we don’t get emotional and excited about opinions of people who are looking at things from a different point of view. You understand how the wicket is behaving, in what situation you are in.
“He is doing absolutely fine. He is working hard on his game, understands his role but it doesn’t come off every time. He hit a six in Delhi and it got showed five times in the post-match show and suddenly he doesn’t score in one game and we are after his life,” Virat Kohli said.
Virat also told fans and media to be a bit more patient.
“People need to be a bit more patient. He is a guy who understands where his cricket is. He is a very smart guy and understands where he stands with his body and game. I don’t think anyone else has the right to decide that for him,” Virat Kohli concluded.