Dhoni should respectfully play under Kohli from now on

MSD could act an adviser for the young gun, may be better than Sachin Tendulkar ever was.

 |  5-minute read |   01-04-2016
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Who is India's greatest cricketer? Today, if you took the poll, then probably Sachin Tendulkar would still come out on top. But if captain MS Dhoni and his deputy Virat Kohli continue playing like this for a few more years and maybe win us the 2019 ODI World Cup, it might end up being either of them.

Both have the potential to leave Sachin behind.

First Kohli: He is already emerging as the greatest international T20 batsman. He is on course to break all of Sachin's ODI records. From the 2014-'15 Australia tour, he has become India's number one Test batsman.

If he keeps up the momentum, he could soon become the only person to have a 50-plus average in all three formats of the game. He's one of the best two chasers in the world. On the top of it, he's a match-winner.

Also read - Deep within, Dhoni is much like Virat Kohli

He helped us win the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. He has an excellent average in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament knockouts. One feels that he probably has an appetite for another world title.

Next Dhoni: He's the world's greatest captain in limited overs cricket. You can't argue with his record. He had led his side to two world titles (World T20 in 2007 and ODI World Cup in 2011), one Champions Trophy, two Asia Cups, ICC number one rankings in ODIs and T20s apart from at least one series/tournament win in every country he's played in. He had also led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to two IPL and two Champions League titles.

24kohlidhoni_040116012912.jpg We need the duo to stick around until 2019 ICC ODI World Cup. 

He's one of the all-time great batsmen in ODIs, maybe the one with the greatest impact and one of the best finishers in the world. He is one of India's greatest Test captains and the first to take India to the number one rankings and the first to win in New Zealand and not lose in South Africa.

He's India's greatest wicket-keeper and the best number seven Test batsman ever. When you consider the fact that he has been the captain plus wicket-keeper plus chaser-batsman in Tests plus ODIs plus T20s from 2008-'14, you will realise that many careers would have collapsed under half the amount of pressure.

As you can see, despite our semi-final loss to the West Indies on March 31 in the World T20, the Dhoni-Kohli combination continues to be our best bet for winning the 2019 World Cup. We have to continue backing them, no matter what.

Also read - Stop mocking the media, Dhoni. The joke's on you now

However, you have to admit that there's something wrong. India won everything from 2007-'13: All three ICC tournaments and topped all three ICC format rankings. However, from 2014 onwards, it has always been a case of "so near and yet so far".

We stormed into the 2014 World T20 final and crumbled before Sri Lanka.

We entered the 2015 ODI World Cup semi-final in style only to succumb to Australia.

And this year, we defeated former ODI world champions Australia in a make-or-break match in the World T20 only for our bowling to completely fall apart in the semi-final against the West Indies.

Thrice we were the best team in the tournament. Thrice we failed to cash in on the opportunity.

Dhoni is known as the man with the Midas touch, but has he finally lost it?

Also read - Virat Kohli or Sachin, let there be more than one cricket god

We haven't won a single ODI series under Dhoni since October 2014. We have lost five successive World T20s under Dhoni.

So can a case be made to convert the Dhoni-Kohli partnership into a Kohli-Dhoni one?

That said, should Jai lead now instead of Veeru?

Think it over.

We were meandering in overseas Tests and when Kohli took charge, the same team came back with a bang by winning our first Test series in Sri Lanka in ages, thrashing South Africa and clinching the ICC number one rankings. It was like an overnight transformation.

One wonders, had the BCCI handled things better with the India's best wicket-keeper-batsman Dhoni, he could have still continued playing in Tests under Kohli.

In the shorter formats of the game, Kohli pummelled Sri Lanka and helped India pull off a 5-0 clean sweep in a ODI series in late 2014 - a series which Dhoni didn't play. He has also powered MSD's T20 captaincy resurgence in 2016.

Also read - What Dhoni seems to have learnt from Kohli the hard way

By the 2019 ODI World Cup, Dhoni will turn 38. It's quite possible he would burnt out by then. If Kohli is made the ODI and T20 captain, it would breathe a new life into Team India; and may rejuvenate Dhoni, the player.

There is nothing wrong if Dhoni plays under Kohli for the remaining few years of his career.

Sachin was not a great captain, but he was a great adviser on the field and all captains he played under held him in high regard.

Dhoni is a great captain and could act an adviser for Kohli, and could be even a better guide than Sachin.

Dhoni-Kohli is a superhit jodi and we need them till 2019. Maybe we need just a wee bit of tweaking.

Writer

Sunil Rajguru Sunil Rajguru @sunilrajguru

The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.

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