‘I’m going to put you at four or five’ – When MS Dhoni demoted Virat Kohli to find his lost form
The noise to drop Kohli from the playing eleven grew louder in 2014 but Dhoni persisted with him.
Updated - Aug 31, 2020 4:10 pm
Virat Kohli is known as the epitome of consistency in cricket. He has produced several match-winning knocks for India in his 12 years career. But, there was a time in 2014 when Kohli was struggling to find form and there were talks of him getting dropped from the team.
India went on a tour of England expecting some match-winning performances from their new batting protagonist, Virat Kohli. However, the tour turned into a nightmare for the Delhi lad as he averaged 13.5 in the 10 innings he played there. His natural tendency to play away from the body was exploited to the fullest by the English pacer- James Anderson. Kohli himself termed the tour as, ‘the toughest time of his career’.
Denesh Ramdin, the West Indies wicketkeeper has an interesting story of how MS Dhoni brought Kohli back to form. After the England tour, Kohli’s struggle continued as he is a natural stroke maker and couldn’t resist his bat swing. Jerome Taylor, inspired by the English pacers, used the same strategy to dismiss the most successful no. 3 batsman of Indian limited-overs history.
The noise to drop Kohli from the playing eleven grew louder but Dhoni persisted with him. He pushed the right-hander down the order to keep him away from the new ball and the move worked wonders. The then vice-captain of the team scored in 62 in the 2nd ODI, as he found his glimmer back, Dhoni sent him back at his usual number 3.
“I remember one instance when Virat wasn’t getting any runs, he just came off an England series,” Ramdin told cricket.com. “We were there for a one-day series and we got Virat out once or twice cheaply. He [Dhoni] didn’t drop him. He said, ‘Look, rather than bat at No.3, I’m going to put you at four or five’. In one game, he (Kohli) came in at No.4 or five and scored a century (62) and that was it. He was back to his normal self.”
Ramdin illustrated that instance while applauding Dhoni’s captaincy. “Sometimes, understanding your players, not discarding them is important,” he said. “Other teams might have gotten rid of their players, he still backed Virat.”
MS Dhoni always said he wants to be remembered as a humble servant: Denesh Ramdin
“Dhoni is a wonderful human being. He always said he wants to be remembered as a humble servant or a great human being and not for all the stuff he did on the cricket field. I think that is important, that says a lot about him.”
Just after two months of the Caribbean series, India toured Australia and Virat scored 692 runs with 4 hundred. He equalled Sunil Gavaskar’s record of scoring most runs in a Test series for India. Dhoni surprisingly retired from Test cricket during the series Down Under and Virat Kohli took over as Indian skipper to become the most successful Indian Test skipper ever.