Virat Kohli: MS Dhoni has always been a mentor for us

MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli amidst a discussion in the Indian team colors

Indian national team skipper Virat Kohli will be leading the team in an ICC World T20 for the last time before stepping down from captaincy in the shortest format of the game. Former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be mentoring the national team during the upcoming international tournament and will try to lend his experience and expertise to the young guys in the squad.

Kohli talked about Dhoni returning to the national team for the first time since taking retirement from all kinds of international cricket matches and quipped that the 40-year old is excited for the same.

He said,

“He (MS Dhoni) is quite excited about getting back into this environment, he’s always been a mentor for all of us when we were starting our careers through the time that he played with the team and now he has an opportunity to continue to do that same work again. Especially for the younger guys who are playing major tournaments, early stages in their careers, to just experience what he’s gained over the years, and just have conversations with him around the game.”

Dhoni recently won the Indian Premier League for the fourth time as the captain of Chennai Super Kings and Virat is hoping that one of the most successful captains in limited-overs cricket history will help the Indian team in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup. 

He continued,

“Such practical inputs, such intricate details of where the game is going and how we can improve our games by that 1 or 2% which always makes the difference when he’s in the leadership role in any team. So we are absolutely delighted to have him back in this environment and his presence will certainly boost the morale of the team even further and give us a lot more confidence than we already have as a team.”

The Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper also talked about how the ‘2007 T20 World Cup’ win played a huge role in his career and allowed youngsters like him to dream of success on the international stage.

He concluded,

“Huge impact I think it was, that World Cup we fondly remember watching and keenly watching this young Indian team achieve things at the world stage. For a young Indian team to go out there and achieve what they ended up achieving was something very special and very inspirational. We saw a lot of young guys taking the field and making impact performances. So what that did to a youngster like me was give me extra motivation and gave me more belief that I could also go there and perform at the highest level at a young age. I think that was a remarkable achievement by a young leader leading an even younger team to a World Cup title. Our ultimate goal is to win the World Cup.”

Also read: MS Dhoni feels KKR deserved to win the IPL title 

Kohli also talked about selecting Rahul Chahar as the lone wrist-spinner in the squad with RCB bowler and a regular in the Indian limited-overs, Yuzvendra Chahal dropped for the big tournament.

He quipped,

“It was a challenging call but we decided to back Rahul Chahar, he’s bowled amazingly well in the last couple of years in the IPL. A guy who bowls with pace and he did really well in Sri Lanka recently when he played. Against England at home, he was someone who bowled those difficult overs. We believe that heading into this tournament, the wickets are going to get slower and slower and guys will probably bowl with a lot more pace as you saw in the latter stages of the IPL tournament as well.”

He continued,

“Those who troubled the batsmen were the ones who probably didn’t give the ball too much air and Rahul definitely has those strengths naturally with him as a leg spinner. And you know he is someone who always attacks the stumps and bowls in areas that potentially can get your wickets at any stage. That is the factor that tipped the balance over towards Rahul a little but not taking anything away from Chahal. I think he’s been brilliant when he’s played for India. This was a tough call you know, that’s what picking a World Cup squad is always like. You have a limited number of spots and you can’t potentially have everyone fit into that.”