MS Dhoni still holds the key to India's limited-overs fortunes, believes Ravichandran Ashwin
The Indian off-spinner opens up on the importance of communication between himself, Dhoni and Kohli.
What’s the story?
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is steadily warming up to the imminent change of the captaincy baton from MS Dhoni to Virat Kohli. The Tamil Nadu cricketer has opened up on the importance of interaction between the senior players.
Ashwin quipped, “The difference is in communication. Virat likes attacking, picking wickets at the cost of some runs in the middle. In terms of leadership and communication, Mahi (Dhoni) still holds the key because he’s the keeper and brings invaluable experience with him. So it’s important that we take valuable tips from him and take the team forward.”
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Ashwin bagged both the Test Cricketer of the Year award and the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the Cricketer of the Year for his exploits in 2016. The relationship between him and Dhoni was brought under public scrutiny when he did not mention the gloveman’s role in his rise as a world-class spin bowler.
However, he subsequently went on to heap praise on the 35-year old’s illustrious career as captain.
The heart of the matter
Ashwin spoke at length about the need to adjust to the changes in the mode of communication on the field. Unlike his accustomed practice of walking up to Dhoni on the follow through to exchange ideas, he will have to shift his gaze sideways to meet Kohli’s line of thinking.
The all-rounder also gave a thumbs-up to Kohli’s captaincy skills and expressed eagerness to follow his lead. He believed, “Virat on occasions can be aggressive, that’s one thing I need to try and get adjust to. Also giving those extra runs for a wicket is not a bad thing to do.”
The stage is set for Kohli to take over the reins of the limited-overs captaincy as well. With India’s white-ball not reaching the standard of their Test form, all eyes will be on the 28-year old when the 3-match ODI series against England begins on Sunday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
The 3 T20Is which follow the 50-overs affair would also be India's last white-ball assignment before the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Ashwin came up through the ranks when Dhoni was India’s captain across all three formats. Having formulated his bowling style to the veteran’s preferred strategies, he would want to adapt quickly to Kohli’s mindset.
After all, the communication between a captain and lead spinner is extremely crucial to the team’s performance.
What an unbelievable ride it's been #msdhoni ,u managed to pull through some stellar records as a leader.Wield the willow wild now— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) January 5, 2017
The champions trophy last over discussion before and during the over will always remain etched in my memory.Great victories with #msdhoni— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) January 5, 2017