Kohli and Dhoni grooming the youngsters: Many youngsters of the Indian team believe that the captain and the former captain are a boon for them.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and current captain Virat Kohli account for 532 ODIs and 19,825 runs between them. In the 173 matches that Kohli has played alongside Dhoni, he has scored 7,912 runs at an average and strike rate almost similar to his overall numbers.
Talking of Dhoni, in 173 matches, he has scored 5,320 runs at a tad higher average and a tad lower strike rate. Apart from these hefty numbers, Dhoni and Kohli also have vast experience, something which is helping the new recruits of the Indian team dwell into the team culture.
In these two players, the youngsters have a couple of players to reply upon. After Ambati Rayudu’s praise on Dhoni yesterday, some other players have also advocated for this duo coming to their rescue both during matches or practice sessions.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, a current Indian player was wax lyrical about Dhoni and Kohli. “Mahi bhai is very supportive of the young players coming into the team. Not even for a moment do you feel that you are entering into a team of champions,” he said.
“Even at the nets, you will see him always helping the bowlers. He guides them on how to prepare for a game from his own experience and what he has seen on the wicket. The best part is that when we walk out to field, after a couple of overs he will tell the bowlers exactly which are the areas to bowl on and how the bowler needs to work on his speed and variations. Similarly, Virat bhai likes to give the players freedom to express himself and not get bogged down by the pressure of representing the country,” he further said.
Another player of the current team talked about how Kohli and Dhoni work hand-in-hand even at making vital decisions. He also disclosed as to how these two players, being the legends that they are, are also cordial towards the younger players.
“When you come in initially, you feel a little wary to approach them. But you soon realise that they are very approachable and welcoming. The decisions are taken in unison and Dhoni bhai is always there to bring up any ploy or strategy that might strike him on the field. He is almost like the fielding vice-captain who is constantly guiding us. Leading a team isn’t easy, but Dhoni bhai plays the perfect second fiddle and makes the job that much easier for Kohli bhai,” he was quoted.
In another interview by Hindustan Times of a player who has played alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the IPL (Indian Premier League), a lot of accolades were being thrown at the 37-year old wicket-keeper batsman.
“His door is always open. You want a suggestion? You can just go and speak to him. Clarity is something that makes him special. With Kohli also, he gives you that freedom. The fact that he talks of fearless cricket is backed by his actions. If you are comfortable with something, he won’t try to boss around and change that. He is happy to let you try your options and plans. Only when it doesn’t work does he work on a Plan B. Also, they (Dhoni and Kohli) understand each other really well and for them nothing comes before the team,” he said.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 less than a year away, this duo would be looking to shepherd these youngsters in the best way possible so in a bid to build future champions.