MS Dhoni is to Virat Kohli what Ricky Ponting was to me: Michael Clarke
"When MS Dhoni started, he didn’t need a partner."
Updated - Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pm
It is always handy for a captain to have an experienced man in his side for he can provide valuable tips at crunch moments. Virat Kohli is one of those few lucky captains in the world now who has the privilege, in the limited-overs formats. As long as MS Dhoni keeps wicket for India in the 50 and 20-over variants, his hawk eyes and electric agility behind the stumps along with the capacity to finish off games with the bat are going to serve Kohli’s captaincy.
Dhoni returned to form with the bat after a long dry spell in the just-concluded ODI series against Australia – hitting three half-centuries on the trot to guide India to victories on two occasions and bag the Man of the Match awards. The 37-year-old’s return to his vintage touches with the bat will be a big relief for the Indian team management in the run-up to the World Cup due in May-July.
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke recently pointed this very factor out and drew a parallel between him and Kohli. He said Dhoni’s importance to Kohli is what former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was to him. Clarke, who led Australia to their World Cup win in 2015, said Dhoni is a key player for India to keep their chances of winning the upcoming World Cup in England alive. He also showered full praise for the former India captain who himself led India to win their second World Cup in 2011.
“He [Dhoni] has gone from a Lamborghini to an Aston Martin. He is still unbelievable. There is an adjustment. He is more experienced now, he knows his game better now,” Clarke told Sony Six after the third ODI in Melbourne, signifying Dhoni’s betterment as old wine.
‘Dhoni now acknowledges his partner more’
“He acknowledges his partner at the other end more now. When MS Dhoni started, he didn’t need a partner irrelevant of whether his partner got a duck, scored a fifty or a century if they needed 50 off 20 balls, the partner’s job was to get MS Dhoni on strike. Now he knows how important it is for his partner to be able to find that boundary and lead up to MS Dhoni pressing gold. He’s had that in the last two games.”
Dhoni scripted some crucial partnerships as a batsman who came in at No.5 (twice) and No.4 (once) in the series that just ended. In the first match, he had a crucial partnership with Rohit Sharma though it could not see India win. In the next two games, Dhoni had some timely partnerships with Kohli (in Adelaide and Melbourne) and Dinesh Karthik (Adelaide) and Kedar Jadhav (Melbourne) that helped India win.
Clarke also added that after Ponting stepped down as captain, he was still wanted around because of his experience. The same gets applied to Dhoni in India team now.