Virat Kohli believes that presence of Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya in the lower-middle order will enable MS Dhoni to play more freely. In his first press-confrence in England ahead of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Kohli said that emergence of Jadhav and Pandya will surely take some pressure off of MS Dhoni’s shoulders.
“The one thing we needed to strengthen was our lower middle-order contribution. Too much burden was coming on MS (Dhoni) in the past couple of years, was what we felt. He wasn’t able to express himself purely because of the fact there are not enough guys showing composure to finish off games with him. But having had Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) do so well in that particular phase of the innings, that has strengthened our squad really well.”
He added, “So that’s one area, we needed improvement on. And the series against England really sealed it for us. So we’re in pretty good head space going into this tournament (Champions Trophy). I feel we’re pretty balanced going forward. We’ve got depth in batting. We’ve got really good fast bowlers (too).
Kedar Jadhav, who is also very handy off-spinner, scored 232 runs at an average of 77.33 and strike-rate of 144.09. His highest score in the series was 120. On the other hand, Hardik impressed one and all with his attacking display of attacking batting in the recently concluded IPL 2017.
Our take: Virat Kohli is 100% right in his observation. In the last couple of years, MS Dhoni has batted with a lot of pressure in limited-overs cricket. The lack of good hitters and finishers after him has forced Dhoni to bat with less freedom. Dhoni is naturally a very aggressive stroke maker but in the last couple of years, his strike rate has come down due to this reason.
Emergence of Jadhav and Pandya as good finishers will surely enable Dhoni to play his natural game, and it will be big boost for India.