INDIA SKIPPER Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni and stated that he is one of the most crucial members of the team.
The elegant batsman said that he was surprised to see the kind of criticism for Dhoni. During the press conference after India’s third ODI against New Zealand, Kohli said,
“First, I don’t understand why are people only pointing him out, I’m not able to understand this."
Kohli believes that it is ridiculous that Dhoni’s place in the Indian side being questioned because of his age.
“If I fail three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I’m not over 35.”
The Ranchi-lad role came under scrutiny after India’s loss in the second T20 against New Zealand. While chasing 197, the hosts failed to keep run-rate in control as Dhoni struggled to get going. However, Kohli opined that any player batting in Dhoni’s position will be unable to get runs early in the innings.
“You have to understand, the position in which he comes out to bat, even Hardik [Pandya] could not score in that game. Then why are we only pointing out one man? Hardik also got out in the last T20 that we played in Rajkot. We are conveniently targeting only one man which is not fair. We also have to look at the fact that by the time he comes in, either the run rate is already eight-and-a-half or nine-and-a-half and the wicket is also not the same when the new ball is bowled.”
The 29-year-old pointed out that he is glad that Dhoni is passing all fitness tests and that he is contributing to the team in every possible way.
“The guy is fit, he is passing all the fitness tests, he is contributing to the team in every way possible, tactically on the field, with the bat. If you look at the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, he did really well and in this series he hasn’t got much time to bat. If you are playing, you know how the wicket is and what the situation is like. So, I think he is doing absolutely fine. He understands his game, he understands his role, but it doesn’t come off every time. He hit a six in Delhi and it was shown five times in the post-match show. Everyone got really happy. And suddenly he doesn’t score in one game and we are after his life. I think people need to be a bit more patient. He’s a guy who understands various cricketers. He’s a very smart guy. He understands where he stands with his body, with his game. So I don’t think anyone else has the right to decide that for him.”