MS Dhoni jokes about a stand being named after Virat Kohli in Adelaide
After India’s comfortable win in the first T20 in Adelaide, Indian captain MS Dhoni joked that Adelaide will soon have to name a stand after Virat Kohli as the right-hander continued his impressive performances at the ground, with an unbeaten 90 off just 55 balls.
In 2012, Kohli scored his first Test hundred at the ground and in total he has scored four hundreds at Adelaide, including the one against Pakistan in the 2015 World Cup, at an impressive average of 89.14 in the six matches (across all formats) at the ground.
"I think in Adelaide, they'll be naming a stand after him, the amount of runs he's scoring," Dhoni said. "By the time he ends his career, quite a few Australian grounds will have his stand.
Dhoni full of praise for Kohli
"But yes, he's batting really well. The important thing is, when he is taking the risk of playing a big shot, he calculates it well. It's easy to play a big shot, everyone can play it. But it's how you calculate where your strengths are and take risks according to that.
“Also, he is someone who looks to score in front of the wicket. Of course, he's a good cutter and puller of the ball also, but at the same time, he looks to hit in front of the wicket and that always gives you more chances of success.
"He is someone who reads the game very well. Right from the very start, whenever we had any kind of interaction, he was always looking to improve himself as a cricketer. If you have that kind of curiosity, it helps you become a better cricketer," Dhoni said.
When a reporter asked a question about whether there was chatter when Steven Smith was batting because Kohli was speaking to the umpire, Dhoni interjected and said "Tell me one thing, if Kohli is speaking to the umpire, where does Steve Smith come in?" before adding that irrespective of whether anything was said, the players "handled it well, so let's leave it there”.
Bowlers executed their plans perfectly: Dhoni
India's fast bowlers, especially Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra bowled well and Dhoni was quick to acknowledge that, although the spinners were the ones with the better figures at the end of the day.
"I don't think the fast bowlers bowled badly, frankly, but of course, the bulk of the wickets were taken by the spinners in the middle overs. If you keep taking wickets in the middle overs, it becomes easier to win the game, so their role was very crucial.
“We have seen spinners be quite successful in this format, especially after the sixth over once the field opens up. And over here with the bigger outfields, they can exploit that, unless the batsman is willing to play a few reverse-sweeps and all those shots or he's very good in playing spin. Then he can put pressure on the spinners, but otherwise it becomes slightly difficult to consistently hit them for boundaries," he added.
“I know they lost quite a few wickets by the time the death overs came and they didn't have proper batsmen batting, but I still felt Bumrah and Ashish Nehra executed their plans really well. That's one period where we have struggled consistently, so it's good to see them bowl well.
On Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni said: "Whenever there is a bit of help, he is somebody who generally bowls well. You know that his spectrum of performance, is usually quite narrow, his good and bad performances there is less difference between them, which makes it slightly easy for us and gives us that stability and that is why Hardik was also playing in this game. If he also gets going, it gives the kind of stability that we are looking for. In turn that can go into the ODI team also.
Dhoni also added the performances of the pair will be monitored and if they perform well, it will give the ODI team a stable base to operate from.
Pandya needs to be more consistent: Dhoni
Despite conceding 19 runs in his first over on his international debut, Hardik Pandya came back and picked up two wicket and Dhoni maintained that he was always confident Pandya would do so.
"When it comes to international cricket - and I have said this in the past too - it's all about handling pressure. And once you are given the ball, there is some kind of pressure on you.
“So there would have been some kind of pressure on him, but after the first over, I knew that whenever he comes in to bowl the second over, it will be better than his first. And that's what happened. I was quite happy with his second and third overs.
“But still, he'll have to be more and more consistent with his line and length and that will give me a lot of confidence to consistently play him as a third seamer if the need arises," Dhoni ended with.