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MS Dhoni a pillar of the Indian middle order, says Virat Kohli

19.36K   //    23 Feb 2016, 15:23 IST
Sri Lanka, UAE, India and Bangladesh captains at the Asia Cup Trophy unveiling

MS Dhoni is recovering well from the muscle spasm sustained during a training session in Fatullah on Monday, and is likely to take the field as India captain in the opening encounter against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Parthiv Patel, who was called up as Dhoni’s stand-by on the back of an imperious domestic season for Gujarat, might have to watch from the dressing room despite getting an India recall after 2012. A final call about Dhoni’s fitness will be taken before the match tomorrow.

Dhoni was present as the Asia Cup trophy was unveiled, but it was Virat Kohli who addressed the press conference. He spoke about Dhoni’s importance to the side, and how Parthiv’s inclusion would change the balance of the side.

“MS is a pillar for us in the middle-order. If Parthiv comes in, we will have to make plans for the batting order," he said. Parthiv, who made his India debut before Dhoni, has scored most of his runs at the top of the order for India as well as Gujarat. If he does come in to replace Dhoni, it is a question where he will fit into.

It is unlikely that the Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan opening partnership shall be disturbed, and so a middle order role is what Parthiv might have to adjust to.

In the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, he scored 337 runs and led Gujarat to their maiden Vijay Hazare title and he also had a good Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which he finished with an impressive average of 42.12 and staggering strike rate of 162.80. However, all of these runs were scored as an opening batsman.

India will not miss Dhoni: Mashrafe

"He (Dhoni) has been recovering well but we will assess his fitness ahead of the match tomorrow," was the official reply from Team India manager Nishant Arora.

Mashrafe Mortaza also referred to Dhoni in the press conference. He had high praise for his Indian counterpart, but insisted that the Indian team had enough firepower in their batting department to not miss him.

Mashrafe said, “Dhoni has been a tremendous player but with the batting order that they have they will not miss him so much."

India will play Bangladesh on Wednesday, and have the high-octane encounter against Pakistan to prepare for later in the week.

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