Former Indian skippers, Virat Kohli, and MS Dhoni are polar opposites to each other in terms of personalities and yet so similar. They bother are aggressive cricketers is just that Virat shows it explicitly whole Dhoni gives a sense of calm just with his presence. However, over the years, they have churned out historic wins for India, both as captains and players. Kohli made his all-format debut under Dhoni and later on took over the all-format captaincy from the legendary cricketer.
While speaking on the RCB Podcast Season 2, Virat Kohli shared some insights into the working points of his kinship with Dhoni. He said, “I have experienced a different kind of phase in my career currently. It’s been a while since I felt (this) free in the sense how I felt all these years of playing at any level of cricket.”
Despite all his efforts, Virat failed to help the Indian team to win an ICC trophy as captain and his form saw a never-before-seen dip in pretty much all formats. Kohli said Dhoni was the only one who ‘reached out’ to him during those tough times.
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Elaborating the same, Virat Kohli said, “What is interesting is that throughout this phase apart from Anushka, who has been the biggest source of strength for me because she has been with me throughout this whole time and she has seen me very closely as how have I felt, things that I have gone through, the kind of things that have happened…the only person who, apart from my childhood coach and family…genuinely reached out to me has been MS Dhoni.”
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni shared the dressing room with each other for 11 years during their stint with Team India between 2008 and 2019.
Talking about the relationship, Virat Kohli said, “He reached out to me and you can rarely get in touch with him. If I call him on any random day, 99 percent he will not pick up (the phone), because he just does not look at the phone. So, for him to reach out to me…twice it has happened now and one of the things that he’d mentioned in the message while reaching out to me was that: ‘when you are expected to be strong and looked at as a strong individual people forget to ask how are you doing?’”
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Virat Kohli’s association with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) started sine the inaugural of the IPL in 2008 and became the team’s captain in 2011 until he stepped away from the role in 2021.
Talking about the importance of Dhoni, Virat said, “So, it (Dhoni’s words) hit home for me because I have always been looked at as someone who is very confident, mentally very strong, who can endure any circumstances and find a way and show us the way. Sometimes, what you realize is that at any given point of time in life as a human being you need to take a couple of steps backwards, and understand how you are doing, and how your wellbeing is placed.”
He further explained, “So, there are not many places, for the people who have played the game for a long period, as strong individuals, they can go and explain in a way that the other person can understand. That’s why I mentioned this particular incident because MS Dhoni knows exactly what is going on, he understands it because he has been there himself.”
Virat Kohli also pointed out that Dhoni reaching out to him was also important because the latter went through similar phases in life and career. Kohli has regained his lost touch in ODIs and T20Is, scoring heaps of runs since the second half of 2022 but he is yet to register a big score in Test cricket.