Dhoni is one of the most intelligent cricketers around: Virat Kohli

Dhoni is one of the most intelligent cricketers around: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Team India is all set to take on England in the limited overs series. India will play England in 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. The first ODI begins on January 15 at Pune. In a recent press conference, Virat Kohli addressed the media and spoke at length about how the hosts are going to take their foot forward in the series. India had earlier beaten England in the Test series 4-0. Hence, they will be the favorites going into the ODI series.

Most of the questions asked to Kohli were centered around MS Dhoni. Kohli recently took over as the captain of the Indian team in all formats of the game after MS Dhoni. When asked about what he has learnt the most from Dhoni’s captaincy, Kohli remarked it was all about striking the right balance.

“Already I have learnt a lot. Since the time I have come into the team, I have observed how he has operated. I have said that a lot of times in the past. Many people have had different styles of captaincy and I think he has been so successful because he has been able to find the right balance in being offensive with his plans and understanding the game when it is dominated by the opposition and how to slow things down. That has been his biggest strength and that is something I would like to understand,”

He further cited that he has done that is spells in Test cricket. But given the nature of the shorter formats, things change quickly. Having batted at number 3 for India for a long time, he knows how things change quickly and has given him a good understanding of the game.

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“I would like to take the bulk of the responsibility now. To bat through the innings, hold one end, let others express themselves the way they want to…obviously, we are talking about a very experienced cricketer. He has played a lot of limited overs matches and his records speak for itself. Sometimes that extra burden (captaincy) can affect your natural game. MS was able to absorb that pressure very well. But I am sure with that burden not there anymore, he will be able to express himself more as a batsman, experiment a bit with offensive skills that he displayed when he came in,”

He further added that with Yuvraj Singh back in the side, Dhoni and Yuvi will feel comfortable batting in the middle order. They have been very successful batting together and hence would get a chance to express more freely with Virat himself taking majority of the responsibility.

Asked about how helpful will Dhoni be as a wicketkeeper with the DRS being used in the series, Virat Kohli called it “priceless”. He remarked that 95 per cent of the appeals that MS Dhoni has made have been successful. “Since the captaincy burden has been lifted, MS Dhoni will be able to bat more freely now. Dhoni is one of the most intelligent cricketers around. He is someone who I can rely on in many decisions including Decision Review System (DRS),” he quoted.

Virat Kohli was then asked if he feels the England limited overs team is best suited to play the series in India as against the Test side. Kohli mentioned that he understands that the opposition will be more aggressive now and is keen on countering them.

“I have seen the warm up matches. They seem to be quite fearless which is always good in the shorter format. But at the same time, I have realised that to be a consistent performer in ODI format, you need to understand strike rotation as well. So, you just can’t go with one sort of momentum. That is something, we would like to counter. Against a team like England, you need to be more aggressive in terms of taking wickets,” said Kohli.