Dhoni is the best man Kohli can have as a mentor: Saba Karim

Dhoni is the best man Kohli can have as a mentor: Saba Karim

Saba Karim
Saba Karim. (Photo Source: Twitter)

If December 30, 2014, was surprising, then what would you call January 4, 2016? MS Dhoni, arguably India’s most successful captain decided it was time for him to pass the Test leadership mantle to Virat Kohli during the series Down Under two years ago following the drawn Test against Australia in Melbourne. This event, however, was an expected one or say sort of ‘waiting to happen’ kind although it took many by surprise.

However, on January 4th, 2016, late in the evening when the new of MS Dhoni stepping down as the captain of the limited-overs team broke, no one could’ve anticipated it. There were talks about the right time, the debates overs his captaincy future was germinating. But, no one expected him to step down at this time, at least with the Champions Trophy around approaching.

The decision might have taken the cricketing world by shock, but former national selector Saba Karim feels that his role becomes all the more important as Virat Kohli begins his journey as India’s skipper across all formats. Speaking to CricketNext, Karim, the former national selector when India lifted the Champions Trophy in 2013 and finished semi-finalists in the 2015 World Cup and 2016 ICC World T20, expects Dhoni to play the role of a perfect mentor to Kohli.

“Dhoni is still irreplaceable when it comes to the shorter format of the game. And honestly, he is the best man that Kohli could have at his disposal. The kind of experience that Dhoni has and the equation he shares with Kohli, it is a win-win situation for Indian cricket.

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“The most important tournament coming up for India is the Champions Trophy in England and we are the defending champions. As a result, the pressure will be on Kohli to win it again. And Dhoni fits the bill to perfection when it comes to guiding Kohli through this journey,” he said.

“These two wins will always remain etched in my memory. And credit to Dhoni for both these achievements. Champions Trophy is special because we had picked a young team and it was on Dhoni to guide them to the title.

“And the T20 series win in Australia because we were preparing for the World T20 at home. Beating Australia in Australia doesn’t happen every other day. They are one of the best teams at home and Dhoni managed to lead the team perfectly,” he said.

While cricket fans are still shocked at the news of Dhoni’s retirement, Karim feels that it couldn’t have come at a better time. “Firstly I respect his decision and secondly I feel that it was very well timed. We have a World Cup coming up in 2019 and the team needs to prepare under a new captain. Settling down takes time and who knows it better than Dhoni? I think it was perfectly times, just like some of his decisions as skipper,” he smiled.

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The rumours surrounding a tiff between Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have been circulating for a long time. But, Karim, who has enough experience of sitting in the same room with these players states these are just ridiculous things.

“I have been there with the team for a while and I can tell you that these two share an excellent bond. Honestly, knowing these two, I know for a fact that they don’t care about what is being written in the media. For both Dhoni and Kohli, the team is first priority.

“These rumours have never fazed the two as they understand that it comes with being star performers. In fact, Dhoni’s job becomes all the more important now as Kohli takes over,” he signed off.