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CWC 2019: Virat Kohli considers India lucky to have MS Dhoni behind the stumps

20 Apr 2019, 21:38 IST

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni

What's the story?

India is extremely lucky and fortunate to have someone with MS Dhoni's skills and abilities behind the stumps, remarked Virat Kohli to India Today recently. Kohli feels Dhoni's presence as the wicket-keeper and finisher in the team will be crucial as far as India's chances go in the World Cup.

Dhoni has played 341 ODIs, scoring 10,500 runs at an impressive average of 51 which automatically makes him the first choice wicket-keeper for India in ODIs.

In case you didn't know...

Dhoni turns 38 soon, age will catch up on the former skipper. He had an ordinary 2018 with the bat but of late he seems to have turned things around, having hit 300 runs in his last nine games.

The focus of the interview was on Dhoni's role in the World Cup team considering his waning finishing abilities of late, along with India's selections like that of Vijay Shankar who is selected as the player to take the hotly debated No. 4 slot.

There were a few combinations that we tried. Eventually when Vijay Shankar came in, it was three dimensional - he can bat, he can bowl and he can field - he is a proper batsman. That just gave us an option, saying why not have that kind of balance which other teams have had all these years.

The heart of the matter

The main point of discussion was MS Dhoni and his importance in the side. Dhoni has hit 10,500 runs in 341 ODI's at an average of 51. Any doubts on whether he can contribute with the bat for India was put to rest with his performance in the ODI series down-under.

MSD's astute understanding of the game and each situation makes it so crucial for Virat Kohli to have him behind the stumps. He understands exactly when certain fielding changes has to be made, and especially when spinners are operating he's in complete control.

On Dhoni, this is what Virat Kohli had to say, "He is one person who knows the game inside out, who understands the game from ball one to 300 on the field. I won't say it's a luxury to have him, but I am fortunate to have a mind like him behind the stumps."

On Dhoni's dip in form in 2018 and a 2019 where he has turned things around pretty well, Virat had this to say:

It was important to give him space, for which people did not have patience at that time. Now after 12 months, people are saying he is the most important factor in the World Cup, which is true - we knew it all along.

What's next?

There were lot of doubts and apprehensions raised on Dhoni as a finisher and that it has gone down in recent times. But he turned around his batting form recently by hitting four fifties in his last nine games. His batting was extremely important for India winning their first bilateral ODI series in Australia.

Kohli understands the importance a player of MSD's skill and experience and what him being behind the stumps can add to the squad. It is after all Dhoni to whom Kohli seems to go to for all important strategic decisions even now.

Dhoni's understanding of the match situation and it's ebbs and flows is something Kohli will cherish to have in such a high pressure tournament where India are considered as favorites.

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