For a better part of the last decade, the Indian Men’s Cricket Team across formats was led by two of the greatest cricketers of all time- MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. The two have played and won hundreds of games together under each other’s captaincy and have given us countless moments of joy and pride on and off the field.
1. MS Dhoni would signal for a DRS review despite playing as a keeper-batsman only during the 1st ODI VS England in 2017 in Pune.
In the 27th over, when England captain Eoin Morgan edged one to the keeper. However, the on-field umpire thought the other way. Dhoni convinced that Morgan had knicked one, took the DRS despite Virat being the captain.
Dhoni’s accuracy in terms of DRS reviews meant that Kohli would often look for Dhoni’s advice while refering to the third umpire.
2. In this episode of Breakfast With Champions, Kohli talks about just how much he trusted Dhoni.
Kohli praises Dhoni’s cricketing brain and calls it the best he’s ever seen. The former Indian skipper also reveals that whenever he’s asked Dhoni for his opinion on something, Dhoni’s advice has worked 9/10 times.
3. Virat Kohli once said that Dhoni would always be his captain.
Having made his debut under him and having played the best years of his cricketing career under the legendary Indian skipper, Virat Kohli has always been firm in his belief that MSD would always be his captain. He reiterated as much while responding to the news of Dhoni’s retirement.
“I’ve always said this and I will say it again, you will always be my Captain,” #TeamIndia Skipper @imVkohli pays his tribute to @msdhoni who announced his retirement from international cricket at 1929 hours yesterday.#ThankYouMSD pic.twitter.com/U6uWlow4lB— BCCI (@BCCI) August 16, 2020
4. Dhoni has always backed young cricketers. His unending faith in Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma for years is now a part of cricketing lore. He did the same for Kohli after the maverick took over from him as India’s captain.
Kohli returned the favour when media reports claimed that Dhoni was coping, now that their roles had been reversed and he had to play under young Kohli.
It’s unfortunate to see so many people going after him. For me, loyalty matters the most.
5. Here’s just Virat talking about how Dhoni helped his career and how important he was to the team going into the 2015 World Cup.
When I walked into the team he had the option of trying someone else after a few games, although I grabbed my chances, but for me to get that kind of backing, it was very crucial for me…He is one person, who literally knows the game inside out. He understands the game from ‘Ball 1 to Ball 300 (50 overs) on the field. I won’t say it is a luxury to have him but I am fortunate to have a mind like that from behind the stumps
6. Virat trusted Dhoni so much that he knew after 35 overs in an ODI when he had to go field on the boundary, the wicket-keeper would just take over fielding positions.
In the death overs, I know that I have to be on the outfield to try and make something work for the team because that’s my nature that I want to do something for the team rather than just be there… After 30-35 overs, he knows that I will be in the outfield and its on the auto mode
7. That one time, Dhoni, the world’s best finisher, refused to take a single and let Virat finish the game during the T20 World Cup.
Just watch the video:
8. It takes a big man to admit that his successors will do better than him, especially in a highly competitive sport like cricket, especially in a country like India.
When Dhoni was asked about Virat’s captaincy and how he felt it would progress, the former Indian skipper had said:
If it is [about] the numbers, I think Virat and this team will win more games than me in all the formats
9. Just this!
December 7, 2020
10. Kohli also credits Dhoni for helping him develop as a leader.
I was always in MS’ ears – I used to give him suggestions whenever I used to stand in slips. Many times we agreed, and many times, we didn’t agree. But I think he got the confidence in me as well. A large portion of me becoming the captain was because of him observing me. He played a big role in that. That trust doesn’t happen overnight
Every time a successful captain steps down, rumours start flying, media starts gossiping about imaginary rivalries, tension builds and when the dust finally settles, the new captain almost always has to build from the scratch. Fortunately for Indian cricket, the camaraderie between these two meant we saw the smoothest transition in captaincy we have ever seen before and Indian cricket was richer for it.