Virat Kohli still needs MS Dhoni's leadership capacity, opines Sourav Ganguly
What's the story?
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly feels that Virat Kohli continues to need MS Dhoni's leadership capacity to guide him during crucial situations in matches. The erstwhile captain also backed the experienced wicket-keeper batsman to continue to play till the 2019 World Cup in England & Wales.
"I think so (when asked if Dhoni will continue till the 2019 World Cup). The best part for Dhoni is Virat Kohli wants him. He's 36 and he's not the flamboyant Dhoni that we saw in Pakistan in 2004 but he's a different player now. Kohli needs him not just as a keeper but in a leadership capacity as well, he has got the best view behind the stumps", Ganguly told India Today.
The 45-year-old added, "Virat backs him and that's what a player wants. His game has changed but that happens with everyone. With age, you worry about your position, reputation and consistency and your game changes. Dhoni's game has changed just like everyone else's. Even Sachin Tendulkar's game changed with age. I think he can survive till 2019, he is fit and most importantly, he knows his captain will back him."
With Dhoni relinquishing his position as captain of India's limited-overs sides, Kohli took over the leadership mantle in the white-ball formats at the start of this year. The dedicated batsman from Delhi is steadfastly building a culture of ruthlessness within the team by leading from the front.
The heart of the matter
During the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy, Kohli was often seen discussing tactics with Dhoni. In fact, when a young Sri Lankan batting lineup was taking the Indian bowlers apart at The Oval, the gloveman fine-tuned the field placements and offered valuable inputs to his successor. The final against Pakistan also saw Dhoni engaged in lengthy discussions with Kohli even as the Pakistani top-order was causing major issues for India.
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Even though Kohli has successfully managed to fashion a team in his own image in Test cricket, his captaincy prowess in the limited-overs formats is very much a work in progress. Be it debating the possibility of using the Decision Review System (DRS) or making intelligent bowling changes, the 28-year-old has not shied away from using his predecessor's extensive experience in the hot seat. With the 2019 World Cup not too far away, Ganguly affirmed that Dhoni's natural leadership skills make him an asset for skipper Kohli.
India are preparing earnestly for the upcoming ODI series against the visiting New Zealand team. The first game of the 3-match series will take place at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Considering his proven leadership skills, Dhoni's calm and composed demeanour is extremely vital for the development of Kohli's captaincy skills. Even though the veteran wicket-keeper batsman is a shadow of his former self, his experience and ability to handle pressure situations are crucial to the Indian team.