The Indian captain, Virat Kohli has spoken out in support of MS Dhoni. The former T20 captain was criticized for playing too many dot balls in second T20i against New Zealand. Senior players including Ajit Agarkar and VVS Laxman were critical of Dhoni’s performance with bat and emphasized on replacing him with young blood.
“The guy is fit, he is passing all the fitness tests, he is contributing in every way possible tactically with the bat.” – @imVkohli in defence of @msdhoni.https://t.co/3QFO4MpPsM pic.twitter.com/wovsCfEBXN
— ICC (@ICC) 8 November 2017
India were set a stiff target of 197. In response, India were soon down to 4 for 67 in 9.1 overs. MS Dhoni managed to score 49 off 37 balls whereas Kohli scored 65 off 42 balls in second T20i. Eventually, the Indian team lost the match by 40 runs.
In response, the Indian skipper showed strong support for MS Dhoni and said that Dhoni is doing absolutely fine with bat and is a vital part of this team. Kohli emphasized on Dhoni’s importance in team and pointed out his fitness level even at this age.
Kohli pointed out the reason why Dhoni is being targeted, whereas failures of other players are ignored. Sunil Gavaskar also pointed out that the only reason behind Dhoni being targeted is due to his age that has crossed 35.
“First, I don’t understand why people are only pointing him out, I’m not able to understand this,” Kohli said on Tuesday after the third T20I against New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram. “If I fail three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I’m not over 35. The guy is fit, he is passing all the fitness tests, he is contributing to the team in every way possible, tactically on the field, with the bat. If you look at the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, he did really well and in this series he hasn’t got much time to bat.”
“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,” the India captain said.
It is also to important to consider the match situation when Dhoni arrived. India were 4 down, the openers and Hardik Pandya had failed. However, Dhoni was the only person criticized which was totally unfair.
There is also a lot of talk regarding Dhoni’s batting position. As he has progressed, his hitting and finishing powers have certainly diminished. Dhoni now needs some time to get his eye in. Once, he is set, he reaps good rewards. He played a couple of good innings against Sri Lanka and Australia which depicted his capability as a batsman. However, in T20s, he needs to bat up the order to get time to settle himself in. However, team management is happy with Dhoni’s performance and is not worried by all this criticism.
“As team management and players, we understand the situations in which he goes out to bat. We don’t get emotional and excited by the opinions of people who are looking at things from a different point of view. If you are playing, you know how the wicket is and what the situation is like. So, I think he is doing absolutely fine. He understands his game, he understands his role, but it doesn’t come off every time. He hit a six in Delhi and it was shown five times in the post-match show. Everyone got really happy. And suddenly he doesn’t score in one game and we are after his life. I think people need to be a bit more patient. He’s a guy who understands various cricketers. He’s a very smart guy. He understands where he stands with his body, with his game. So I don’t think anyone else has the right to decide that for him.”