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Skipper Kohli backs Dhoni after criticism wave

The Indian captain questioned the Dhoni-detractors’ logic of finding fault with the wicketkeeper-batsman’s rare failures while sparing others.

Published: 09th November 2017 02:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2017 09:33 AM   |  A+A-

India's captain Virat Kohli, left, and teammate Mahendra Singh Dhoni during their third T20 against New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram.| AP

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Beleaguered MS Dhoni, who has been under a barrage of criticism for not being able to accelerate his innings at crucial junctures, has found a strong ally in skipper Virat Kohli.

The Indian captain questioned the Dhoni-detractors’ logic of finding fault with the wicketkeeper-batsman’s rare failures while sparing others during the post-match press conference at the Sports Hub here, after Team India edged New Zealand in the T20I decider.

“I don’t understand why people are pointing him out. If I fail as a batsman three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I am not over 35,” Kohli said.

The Ranchi player, of late, has been under criticism from a band of former players over his batting style in the shorter formats, and the outcry reached its crescendo after Dhoni failed to change his gears against the Kiwis in the second T20I at Rajkot.

The former skipper had managed 49 off 37 balls, which was not pacy enough for India to overtake the Kiwis’ 196 run target. But Kohli defended his former captain saying that batting in the middle overs was easier said than done.

“By the time he comes in, the run rate is already 8.5-9.5. The wicket is also not the same as when the new ball is being bowled. Batsmen who are set at the top, find it easier to strike the ball straightaway compared to guys who come lower down the order. The kind of wickets that we played on, wear and tear have been much more in the latter half,” Kohli said. Dhoni had scored 25, 18 (not out) and 25 in the ODIs while in the T20s, it was 7 (not out), 49 and 0 (not out).

Kohli seemed okay with it and said Dhoni understands his role in the side. “He is doing absolutely fine. He is working hard on his game, understands his role but it doesn’t come off every time. He hit a six in Delhi and it got showed five times in the post-match show, and suddenly he doesn’t score in one game and we are after his life.”

The Indian skipper also advised the critics to leave the job of judging Dhoni to the player himself.

“He is a very smart guy and understands where he stands with his body and game. I don’t think anyone else has the right to decide that for him,” Kohli opined.

Kohli also praised Dhoni for providing tactical support on the field and reminded that Dhoni had performed well against the Sri Lankans, in the away tour, and Australia.

shan.as@newindianexpress.com

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