A lot was said and speculated about the contrasting captaincy and playing styles of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli as well as their compatibility after the latter took over the reins of the Indian cricket team. But because of the sheer respect for each other and the bond that Dhoni and Kohli have developed over the years, the relationship has only been beneficial for Indian cricket. When asked about his opinion on the effects of the difference in leadership styles of the two, India’s Head Coach Ravi Shastri only had positive things to say.
While Dhoni’s abilities with the bat seem to have dwindled a bit, his contribution on the pitch goes beyond the usual aspects, with Kohli deeming him as an indispensable asset, both as a player and as a leader who continues to guide him. In an exclusive interview with Mirror Now’s Faye D’Souza, highlighting the relationship between the two stalwarts, Shastri opined how the two leaders – despite their different approach towards the game – continue to take Indian cricket forward.
“Each one has his own style and each one is different. When you mention Virat and MS, yes, they are different, the way they play and the way they captain. MS was the senior man when Virat was coming through the ranks. Virat gave him the respect he deserved. Now MS is not the captain, Virat is, so MS does the same thing. The mutual respect for each other is massive and that’s all you want as a coach,” Shastri told Mirror Now.
The importance of Dhoni in the team can be understood with the fact that two of the three ODIs that he was a part of during the 5-match ODI series against Australia, India went on to better the Aussies. In the 4th and the 5th match where Dhoni was rested, the Men in Blue were undone in all departments by Aaron Finch and Co.
Even the bowlers, especially spinners, weren’t as effective in Dhoni’s absence as they have been with the Ranchi-born cricketer guiding them from behind the stumps in limited-overs cricket.
With the ICC World Cup expected to be Dhoni’s swansong event, the entire Indian team would look to lift the trophy and give the 37-year-old a farewell that he deserves.