World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni is Mr Dependable, feel Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri
In-form veteran will play a huge role with bat and brain in India's World Cup campaign and both skipper Kohli, as well as head coach Shastri, realise this
One of the reasons India are considered among the favourites at the 2019 Cricket World Cup is the presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is one of the strong pillars on which India's hopes rest. Few would have thought that he would be so relevant and important to Team India at the fag end of his career.
The way he batted at Cardiff in the warm-up game against Bangladesh when the chips were down was heartening. His brilliant century dispelled any doubts about his form. The way skipper Virat Kohli celebrated in the dugout when Dhoni reached his century was a clear indication of how much the team management respects him.
'MS will play massive role'
Kohli has no hesitation in admitting that Dhoni will be a big influence for the team here: "MS will play a massive role. When it comes to little moments that can change the game, he will be valuable. There is no one better than him in this format, especially in those little moments which can change a game. He will be a big player in this World Cup."
Batting is just one aspect of his relevance to the team. His inputs to captain Kohli on the field and guidance to the bowlers, especially the spinners, will be most important. Kohli too relies a lot on Dhoni's advice both on and off the field. Without him the skipper looks lost at times, especially when the going is tough, like we saw in the recent IPL, where the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore finished last.
Dhoni's former India colleague and present CSK player Suresh Raina was candid in an interview to PTI some time ago, saying: "He [MSD] communicates with the bowlers from behind the stumps and coordinates the field placements. Virat also feels confident when Dhoni is behind the stumps."
It's no wonder then that both Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri give a lot of importance and respect to Dhoni. There was a phase soon after Dhoni quit white-ball captaincy, when he was struggling with the bat. Then, Shastri backed Dhoni to the hilt. "Nobody is good enough to criticise MS Dhoni. He is like Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. These guys come once in 30-40 years." This is Dhoni's last World Cup and Team India will be keen to make it memorable for him.
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