Dhoni tips Kohli for greatness

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Former India skipper MS Dhoni has tipped his successor Virat Kolhi for greatness, insisting that the potent middle order batsman will win more games than he did.

Dhoni led his country in more internationals than any other skipper in history but believes that under Virat Kohli the team will become a juggernaut.

ESPN Cricinfo quote Dhoni as saying: “That’s the kind of potential they have, that’s the kind of experience they have.

“If it is [about] the numbers, I think Virat and this team will win more games than me in all the formats.”

India have been in imperious Test form under Kohli while the limited overs teams have been struck by inconsistency.

India have lost just one Test out of 21 with Kohli at the helm and Dhoni believes there is no man who can do the job better than his successor.

Dhoni believes that the quality of the team will shine through under Kohli’s leadership and there is no doubt the India team is incredibly talented.

The former skipper added: “Though they are young, they have played a lot of cricket both in India and outside, and in pressure situations.

“They have played in knockout tournaments – when it comes to the ODI and the T20 formats – and they have played under pressure. We’ve played a lot of Tests in India but they were not easy Test matches – we played on a lot of turning wickets where the lower order’s contribution was very important.

“The whole pool of players seems to be one that will play cricket in the right spirit, the way it is supposed to be.

“I think they will do something very special in the coming years. Of course, the period will be slightly longer because they will be together for a long period. So, hopefully, with no injuries or serious problems to the core members of the group, they will do very well.”

The man they still call Captain Cool has told of how he and Kohli immediately hit it off when he came into the India set up.

Dhoni said: “In Indian cricket, we’ve seen more often than not that a lot of cricketers, say, when they get five games and if they are out of the side, they’re always worried about the two games they didn’t get.

“The best part about Virat is he wanted to improve in whatever chances he got. And that is the reason he is so successful right now.

“If he scores a 60 or 70, he wanted to score a 100. He wanted to be there at the crease when India are chasing. So, I felt that was the key factor for me, and right from the start we have interacted a lot. He has improvised his cricket and his thinking.”

The wicketkeeper batsman feels Kohli will take to the shorter formats and immediately improve the team.

He added: “With more responsibility on him, he’ll keep getting better. My job will be to give him whatever my thoughts are from behind the stumps – reading the batsman, how they’re batting, what their strengths are, how the bowler is bowling.

“What’s brilliant is that if I go up to him with 100 ideas, he is comfortable saying no to all of them because that’s what his responsibility is: to pick and choose what he’s really convinced about.

“I think that kind of relationship is very important because I shouldn’t feel, ‘Okay, if I am saying something, that should happen’, and he shouldn’t feel as if whatever is coming from my side, has to be implemented.”

Dhoni remains committed to putting the team first and feels his floating position in the batting order will not change under Kohli.

He said: “Because I was the captain, I always felt because it was difficult for newcomers to come and bat at six or seven, I should be the person who takes that added responsibility of playing lower down the order.

“I would’ve preferred batting at four and playing more overs, but felt it was more important to see if somebody else can bat at four and if I can bat at five, and that gives more power to our batting line-up.

“At times, I found individuals can be very rigid. It is very difficult to adjust to that new mindset or change the game the way it is supposed to be played according to the team or that slot.

“I thought I was somebody who could do that and I was willing to do that for the team. It is the same as of now. If I am supposed to bat at Nos. 4,5,6,7, whatever the demand is for the team’s betterment, I am ready to bat there.”