Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni are the two pillars of the Indian cricket team in the current age. While Kohli has cemented his place as one of the best batsmen in the modern era, Dhoni is considered one of the best tacticians the game has ever seen. Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India became the No.1 ranked side in Tests and won the ICC World T20 in 2007, ICC World Cup in 2011 and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. Under Kohli, India recently won a Test series in Australia and completed the set by winning an ODI series in every country. In an exclusive chat with India Today, Kohli remarked that he was incredibly lucky to have the services of Dhoni and stressed that he will be a vital cog in India’s prospects for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“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’s a luxury to have him but I am fortunate to have a mind like that from behind the stumps. It's just about the field placements and bowling changes and we say you know the angles, you know the pace of the pitch and that's why there is so much of trust and respect between the two of us,” Kohli said.
The current Indian cricket team skipper also thanked Dhoni for backing him in his formative years and stressed that it was his confidence which rubbed off on him as he made giant strides in the cricketing world. “When I walked into the team he had the option of trying someone else after few games, although I grabbed my chances but for me to get that kind of backing, it was very crucial for me. Also, he gave me an opportunity to bat at No 3 because not many youngsters get to play at No 3,” Kohli said.
Kohli said the easy-going nature of the core members, which includes him, Dhoni and Rohit Sharma and the support of the management has made the atmosphere of the team very cordial and stressed that he is happy with the 15 players chosen for the World Cup.
“We are very happy with 15 that we have. This is the most balanced side we could have thought of because everyone is in a good space. I think the whole management group, the way they have handled the entire group, it creates a good environment where everyone is relaxed. Our change room is like a living room, chilled out with everyone relaxed,” Kohli said.
The Delhi right-hander will captain the side for the first time in a World Cup and stressed that the dynamics will be different. India begins their campaign against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. “To understand the magnitude of a tournament like this from a captain's point of view is a different ball game. I won't say that I will look to do something different just because its a World Cup. Fortunately, I am in the mindset, I don't have to pick myself up for a series, because I always have the same intensity and drive to take the team over the line. Even though players are playing the IPL but the anticipation is for the World Cup and you can see that energy the way everyone is playing,” Kohli said.