Virat Kohli is responsible for MS Dhoni's recent form, opines Sourav Ganguly
What's the story?
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has attributed MS Dhoni's recent renaissance to the positive effects of Virat Kohli's captaincy. The 45-year-old insisted that the veteran wicket-keeper's sparkling run of form with the bat has stemmed from Kohli's unshakeable faith in his prowess.
"When players play for so long, MS (Dhoni) has played over 300 ODIs for India, they know how to get runs. More than 9000 runs for Dhoni in one-day cricket and he'll get a few more by the time he finishes.
"It's the captain's confidence (for his recent form) and Virat should get a lot of credit for it because he's put a lot of faith in Dhoni and that allowed MS to play the way he wanted. Players are made and players are broken by the faith you show in them. And I think Virat Kohli is responsible for what we are seeing of MS Dhoni today," Ganguly told India Today.
In case you didn't know...
Prior to the Champions Trophy, Kohli asserted that Dhoni had been feeling the burden of a weak lower-middle order for quite some time. The right-hander affirmed that the recent emergence of the likes of Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav played a significant role in unshackling the seasoned gloveman's approach with the bat.
The heart of the matter
The mutual respect that both Kohli and Dhoni have for each other is quite apparent. On the eve of the latter's 300th ODI, the 28-year-old affectionately declared that the seasoned campaigner would always remain the team's captain. Having played under the wicket-keeper batsman for a lengthy period of time, the batting star from Delhi has never shied away from approaching his predecessor for pointers on the field.
Amidst increasing clamour that his batting prowess was on the decline, Dhoni has responded by playing crucial knocks during the last few series. Since the Champions Trophy, the veteran has played 11 matches and scored 395 runs at an astronomical average of 197.50.
During the recently-completed ODI against Australia at Chennai, his 88-ball 79 and ensuing partnership with Hardik Pandya helped India reach a match-winning total of 281 from a precarious position of 87/5.
The grand old venue of Eden Gardens awaits India and Australia as the second ODI on Thursday holds the key to the fortunes of both teams with regards to the direction of the 5-match series.
From his recent performances, it is quite clear that Dhoni has been enjoying playing under Kohli's captaincy. Hence, the Indian skipper should certainly get some credit for the stalwart's transformation.