Cricket

‘Dhoni’s was a well thought-out move’

File photo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.   | Photo Credit: S_Subramanium

The new Indian Test captain Virat Kohli’s aggressive attitude on the field has been strongly defended by Team Director Ravi Shastri, who says that it brings out the best in him.

In an interview to PTI here on Sunday, Shastri says the aggressive streak is working wonders for Kohli the batsman, who has already struck three hundreds in the ongoing Test series.

Shastri also paid tribute to M.S. Dhoni, and said his retiring from Test cricket should be given its due respect.

Excerpts

Do you think Kohli needs to curb his aggressive mood a little bit?

If he was only talking on the field and had scored only five runs in three Tests, I would have had a word with him. But he is one short of 500 in this series.

So, obviously, he is doing something right, and it is working wonders for him and the team.

Can you talk about the moment when Dhoni announced his retirement to the team?

He had finished his post-match commitments. And he came to the dressing room and said that his time in Test cricket was up.

It was just a shock to us all. He didn’t even inform his family but told his teammates first.

He knew what words to say and he was honest about it. Dhoni is an all-time Indian legend, a cricket great.

And this team sees him as one, not only for what he has done. He hasn’t chased statistics or numbers or a grand farewell.

Dhoni had earlier hinted at retiring from one format by late 2013. He put it off for a year. What do you think is the reason behind that?

I believe it is a well thought-out move. A lot of hard work has been put into this team over the last one year, and he felt that it was time to hand over the charge to a fresh young leader.

He has made sure that there will be no speculation over who will be captain after he is gone.

Your inputs to the team have come in for praise. What have you said to them?

My only job has been to create a favourable environment for the players in the dressing room.

This is what we are all striving to do, whether it is Duncan Fletcher or R. Sridhar or B. Arun or Sanjay Bangar.

When I first joined I felt the enjoyment aspect had gone out of their game, so my personal aim has been to bring that back.

I told the players that it is not a 9-to-6 job that they are doing sitting in front of computers. They should take pride in the way they are playing and get on with the game.

What has impressed you most in this series?

People back home do not realise how well this young side has played in Australia, giving it back to the opposition on the field, and the Australian public is appreciating that.

The score-line is against us but they have played good aggressive cricket.

They have a mindset to not just turn up overseas and mark attendance, but want to compete and win Test matches.

And the biggest point for me is that this is a very young team, still learning, and they all have at least 5-6 years of cricket left in them together as a group.

They will develop into one of the most dangerous teams in world cricket if they carry on playing with this attitude.

And I want to add here about some of the stuff that is written about the dressing room.

Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli didn’t even have an argument, let alone what was speculated and said.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 3:02:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/respect-dhonis-selfless-act-shastri/article6753577.ece

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