Skipper Virat Kohli and former head coach Anil Kumble have previously worked together. As a result Kumble definitely knows a thing or two about Kohli and his captaincy.
Both Kohli and Kumble worked for a year before the bond ended after 2017 Champions Trophy. The legendary former Indian leg-spinner believes Dhoni’s presence on field eases Kohli a lot.
This became more evident after India’s series loss against the Aussies. Dhoni was rested in the final two ODIs of the series. As a result Kohli was forced to take all the decisions by himself.
In the fourth ODI at Mohali, the Men in Blue failed to defend a mammoth score of 358. The Aussie team which scored those runs hadn’t won a bilateral series since 2016-17 season. Kohli failed to properly place the field and stop the onslaught. The bowlers also struggled to get proper guidance when Kohli went to the outfield to stop the run-flow.
India lost the fifth ODI as well and the series 2-3, even going 2-0 up at the first. It was India’s first ODI series defeat at home under Kohli’s captaincy and also the first since loss against South Africa in 2015. This is why Kumble said Kohli feels more relaxed when Dhoni is behind the stumps. He also praised Dhoni saying the leadership comes naturally to him.
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Kohli depends a lot on Dhoni
“I think he is certainly more comfortable, rather saying better captain; he is probably a lot more comfortable when MS is behind the stumps and then the conversation between him and Virat definitely helps him make the right decisions,” Anil Kumble said in a conversation with Cricket Next.
“I mean it comes naturally to MS,” said Kumble. “He had been the captain for a long long time. He is behind the stumps so he reads the game better than anybody else. Obviously he is in conversation with the bowler on the kind of lines that he needs to bowl, the kind of pace that the bowlers need to bowl. And also with the field placing.”
It is often seen that Kohli is approaching Dhoni for important decisions and during DRS calls. These scenes make it clear that Kohli depends a lot on Dhoni, which even the legendary leg spinner believes.
“I think Virat certainly depends a lot on MS Dhoni in One Day Cricket, for him to have those proper field placings. So that is something he probably had missed in the last two matches. And if you look at last 10 or 15 overs – the second half or the final powerplay Virat is generally manning the boundary. So yes, when MS is there he is on the boundary line and suddenly he had to man the last two overs and the last ten overs under pressure. So yes he certainly depends a lot on MS Dhoni,” said Kumble.