Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly reckons that Virat Kohli played a huge role in the resurgence of MS Dhoni in recent times. It has also helped Dhoni to gave an apt response to his critics after a dry run with the bat.
On Sunday, in the first ODI of the 5-match series against Australia, Dhoni’s performance took India out of a havoc and it was enough to silence critics. Following a fierce spell by Nathan Coulter-Nile, India was reduced to 87/5 with Hardik Pandya and Dhoni in the middle.
With more than 25 overs to go, the duo built their innings well and took India to a par score of 281 runs. A rain delay resulted in a diminished target of 164 runs from 21 overs. In the chase, Australia failed to get a start and lost wickets at regular intervals and lost by 26 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis Method to go down 0-1 in the ODI series.
Ganguly gave full credit to Kohli for keeping faith in Dhoni as he said, “When players play for so long, MS 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 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.”
Talking to India Today, Ganguly said, “Players are made and players are broken by the faith you show in them. I think Virat Kohli is responsible for what we are seeing of MS Dhoni today.”
Pandya who played scintillating innings of 83 runs from 66 balls with ten boundaries, also got some praise from Ganguly. He said, “Pandya getting better and that’s the best part of it. He’s fit, he works hard and for him, the role model should be Jacques Kallis. I’m not comparing him with the Kallis but he should start looking at putting in performances over a period of 10 years in all formats because he’s got the ability.”
Ganguly concluded by talking about Pandya’s near future, he said, “He’s very important to this squad’s progress in the next couple of years provided he keeps his head on his shoulders and keep the confidence going. The next 15 months, when he goes to South Africa, England and Australia, once he goes past that circle he’ll either become a very good player or he’ll probably start fading away.”