Long Streak Of Matches Will Help MS Dhoni Find Momentum: Virat Kohli

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Photo Courtesy: Prokerala.com

PALLEKELE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form and future has been under scanner post his Test retirement but a string of limited overs matches in the next three months will enable the former skipper get some momentum and consistency going his way, feels skipper Virat Kohli.

Dhoni’s form has been on the wane and Kohli is hoping that the next 24 limited overs matches will help Dhoni get his mojo back.

“This coming season gives us an opportunity to define roles for players and give them time to execute it so that for the World Cup, we know exactly what one player needs to do in certain situations,” Kohli told mediapersons ahead of second ODI.

“And it helps someone like MS also because he doesn’t play Test cricket anymore. This long streak of matches will help him be in touch with the international games, find some momentum and stick to it,” Kohli added.

For the skipper, it’s about growing good habits and sustaining them in the lead upto the World Cup.

“So it’s an opportunity for everyone in the team including MS to create good habits and sustain them over a period of time,” the skipper made it amply clear how much he wishes to have an in-form Dhoni in the team.

Kohli also feels that Axar Patel as a package is a more utility cricketer compared to chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, which is the reason he was preferred in the playing XI.

“It was a case of having two left-arm spinners that led us not playing Kuldeep in the first game. Axar was favoured more than Kuldeep from the point of view that he bats quite well and he is a gun (great) in the field also. Kuldeep has got opportunities in the past,” he said.

“(Yuzvendra) Chahal and Axar are guys who haven’t got many opportunities so we want to test them out. It’s all about giving opportunities to people which we feel will not hamper our plans in any way and at the same time, it’s about giving them exposure at international cricket,” he further added.

But Kuldeep very much remains in thick of things.

“Kuldeep remains in the thick of things all the time. To have a guy like that in the team is always a boost. You might see two wrist spinners playing together if we feel that we don’t need that much depth in the batting in the coming games,” said the skipper.

About giving Hardik Pandya the new ball, Kohli said that the all-rounder can use his height to a good advantage getting an extra bit of bounce.

“Hardik has the ability to swing the ball and he can bowl consistently over 135 km/hr. With the new ball, he can get a bit of extra bounce because of his height. He has bowled with the new ball in India against England and against New Zealand in a few games as well. We certainly look at it as a great option for us.

“Being the fifth bowler in the team, we can get four-five overs out of the way in the first 10, when the ball is swinging. Also Jasprit Bumrah is our strike bowler and he comes in one-change. The teams obviously will be a bit more wary against him so that really gives us good balance in terms of whom to use when,” he added.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA

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Virat Kohli Credits MS Dhoni For This Tactical Move vs Bangladesh

Virat Kohli credited former India captain MS Dhoni for the decision to bring in Kedar Jadhav at the crucial juncture.

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India decimated Bangladesh by nine wickets in the second semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at Edgbaston on Thursday to set up title clash against Pakistan. The defending champions chased down the 265-run target in 40.1 overs as the Bangladesh bowlers were sent on a leather hunt by the all-star Indian batting line-up. Though Bangladesh were going great guns at one stage with 154/2 after 28 overs, they lost the plot in the middle overs. Indian skipper Virat Kohli took a gamble to bring in Kedar Jadhav to bowl which worked well. Jadhav gave India the breakthrough in his second over itself which helped the defending champions peg Bangladesh back.

Kohli, during the post match press-conference, credited former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the decision to bring in the off-spinner at the crucial juncture. Kohli said that the game-changing decision was jointly taken by him and Dhoni. Jadhav dismissed set batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim after their 121-run stand to get India back on track in the match.

“Yeah, when moves like this pay off, I won’t take the whole credit. Obviously, I asked MS, as well, and we both decided that Kedar is a good option at the moment, and he bowled really well. Credit to him.

“Kedar doesn’t bowl much in the nets, but he is a smart cricketer. He knows where the batsmen get troubled, and if you can think like a batter when you are bowling, it’s obviously a bit of an advantage to any bowler. So I think that today he executed plans perfectly.”

Kohli was effusive in his praise for his new ball bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“Well, they were outstanding. Especially, the last two games they have been terrific initially and in the later stages, as well, their wicket-taking ability is something that the opposition is aware of.

“So they are always careful going hard against these two guys, and yeah, their length after the Sri Lanka game has been impeccable. It’s been consistent, line close to the batsmen, always there with an opportunity to get a wicket, as I mentioned.

“Even in conditions which are not offering too much, bowling such lines that we can produce wicket-taking opportunities,” said Kohli.

© PTI & Abhishek Mahajan, NDTV SPORTS

I Got A MS Dhoni Signed Ball As Memorabilia: Virat Kohli

Team India captain reflects on the series win, the findings and a memorabilia to cherish.

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The common thread between geniuses is that they don’t consider their performance as an art. For them it is an outing to display character, class and consistency. The pundits can be in awe of what is at display, but for the genius it is the flow engineered by the state of mind.

Virat Kohli is one such genius in the making who shows a gung-ho attitude on the field and his youthful exuberance is something that would make you fall in love with the art of batting.

The teenager who led the India U-19 team to victory in 2008 is now the Indian Captain across all formats of the game, albeit one thing remaining constant – his hunger to win games.

2016 was one such year for Virat as he led the team in whites and made India reclaim the No.1 Test rankings. His growing maturity and show with the willow had impressed all and sundry and therefore he was recently handed over the reins of limited overs captaincy by MS Dhoni with India-England ODI series being his first assignment as India’s full-time captain.

India won the series 2-1 and the skipper spoke to BCCI TV on his ability to walk the talk, findings from the series and more..

Excerpts:

Captain, you once famously said that ‘we can’t always give excuses on transition and learning, it is time for results’. You have walked the talk and how.

Yes, it has been a series of finds, character building, people expressing themselves and not worrying about the number of games they have played. The team has showed character and intent of being smart cricketers, winning games for the country. There is no better feeling and I feel that the guys have really encashed the opportunity wonderfully and delivered every time we have been under the pump. Especially youngsters stepping up with special mentions to Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya, the way they have performed in the series has been outstanding. Everyone has contributed throughout the series and that’s the hallmark of a good team.

Cricket pundits are raving about this one SIX of yours against Chris Woakes in the 1st ODI. How did you make it happen?

I don’t know (laughs). I think it was the momentum that I was in and the motivation to win a game for my country, understanding how many runs we need from the number of balls left and reacting to the ball coming in that area. I have never played a shot like that before, but to have executed that, I surprised myself as well. It is one of those shots that will remain as a memory in your career and you can sit back and say that this is one of those special things that happened to me. I’m grateful to have executed it.


Phrases like ‘King Kohli’ and ‘Captain Fearless’ have been doing the rounds everywhere. What do you think suits the best to you?

I prefer being the Joker in the change room.

Three moments from the ODI series that will stay with you for long and why?

Kedar’s batting performance in the 1st ODI.

Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) and MS (Dhoni), the way they batted in the second game and the way Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bowled in the death overs

The way Hardik and Kedar strung in the partnership (3rd ODI). I think it is commendable for two guys after having lost all the experienced guys in the team to stitch a partnership like this on a difficult wicket is something outstanding for me. These three events stand out for me because this is something that we always wish as a team to execute.

Most Captains have a ritual of picking up memorabilia after a series win. Have you picked up anything yet?

Well, MS gave me the match ball in the second game. The stumps are too expensive nowadays and they don’t allow us to take it home (smiles). He gave me the ball and told me that it was my first series win as captain and it is memorable. It was a special moment for me and I got the ball signed from him as well.

© BCCI

Virat Kohli Can Bat At Night Without Lights: Sunil Gavaskar

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Sunil Gavaskar felt that skipper MS Dhoni no has a “balancec” side at his disposal and that’s why the team was getting desired results in Twenty20 series.

Melbourne: The sublime touch that he is in, Virat Kohli can bat even at midnight without switching on the lights and still score runs, Sunil Gavaskar said on Friday, eulogising the young Indian batsman.

A rampaging Kohli continued to torment the Australians, hitting another quick-fire half-century in India’s second win in the Twenty20 series on Friday.

“He is setting the bar higher for the future players. He is in fantastic form.. form which the players dream about. he can even bat at midnight without light and still bat well. The Australians cant get him out. They will have to wait for him to commit a mistake,” Gavaskar said.

Asked who he would like to bowl — Rohit Sharma or Kohli, Gavaskar replied,”to none of them.”

“I would not bowl to both of them. Rohit kills you with tickle and Kohli can punch you to death. Either way you are going to die,” he told NDTV.

The former Indian opener also suggested that India must not tinker with the batting order even as the series has been claimed by them. His reply came when he was asked if Yuvraj Singh should be promoted to number three so that he can get some match practise under his belt.

“I want to see India win the series 3-0. Kohli should continue to bat at number three. Never ever flirt with form, it’s so fickle, don’t flirt with it. Yuvraj can bat during the Asia Cup, World Twenty20. Let India make a clean sweep.”

Gavaskar felt that skipper MS Dhoni now has a “balanced side” at his disposal and that’s why the team was getting desired results in Twenty20 series.

“He has got now Yuvraj, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya in the side. He has plenty of bowling and batting options. It has eased off the pressure on him. Bhajji (Harbhajan Sigh) is sitting on the bench which means it is a very good selection.

The balance is terrific. Pandya can bat at number seven and can bowl. Even if a bowler is hammered around, Dhoni can go to the other bowler,” Gavaskar opined.

“The Aussies were under pressure and it was a good omen for the Indians for the World Twenty20.”

Australia today rested Steven Smith and David Warner so that they can begin preparations for the New Zealand Test series but Gavaskar was not impressed.

“Anybody who is taking it lightly, representing the country, deserves the result they get. Always play with your best players. It smacks of arrogance,” he said.

© cricketnext

Virat Kohli & MS Dhoni Have Tremendous Mutual Respect: Ravi Shastri

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MUMBAI: Indian team director Ravi Shastri has quashed reports of unrest in the dressing room over captaincy issues and said Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have “tremendous” mutual respect between them.

“What people don’t realise is that there is tremendous mutual respect there between Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni,” Shastri was quoted as saying by bcci.tv on Monday.

“When M.S. was at his prime as India’s Test captain, Virat was only a youngster. There were times when Virat’s place wasn’t certain in the side and MS stuck by him. Such things are not forgotten. I can sense and see that respect without anyone having to tell me.”

The reports of conflict within the Indian camp were sparked following the team’s first-ever One-Day-International (ODI) series loss to minnows Bangladesh as Test skipper Kohli expressed concern over the team’s decision-making.

“Not too happy with the way we have played. We have been sort of doubtful in our decision-making and that shows on the field,” Kohli earlier said, fuelling speculations of a rift within the team.

His comments followed team-mates Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin’s vocal support for ODI skipper Dhoni, whose personal coach has claimed “groupism” within the team as the reason for India’s loss.

Asked about the biggest change Shastri as a director brought into the dressing room, the 53-year-old said: “Honesty and openness. I told the boys, ‘Whatever you want to say, say it in the dressing room, not behind anyone’s back’.”

“A conscious effort was made to bring this honest environment about. I cannot say if I did it or not but I have seen massive improvement. The players have opened up much more from when I joined the team. There is trust there and there are benefits there. I told the guys, ‘Whatever is on your mind, rather than keeping it all bottled up, get it out’.”

“There is also mutual trust among the group. They want to play for each other and genuinely enjoy each other’s success. That is the healthiest quality a team can have.”

Shastri’s involvement with the team has been lauded by a lot of players and he is said to have brought in a lot of positivity into the outfit.

“It’s basically about making them believe in their own abilities and that as a unit they are one of the best in the world. When it’s constantly mentioned and when you have results to prove it, it becomes infectious and is transferred from one player to another,” said Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs for India, scoring 3,830 and 3,108 runs respectively.

“In the eight months that I have been with the team, we have won about 75 to 80 per cent of the ODIs,” Shastri, who has 151 Test and 129 ODI wickets to his credit, added.

The former Mumbai star is confident that the team will bounce back after the 1-2 series loss to neighbours Bangladesh.

“Yes, we had a bad loss against Bangladesh but you learn from that and bounce back. This team has been through some tough terrain, in England and Australia, and they would have learned a hell of a lot from those tours,” he said.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA