MS Dhoni has heaped praise on Virat Kohli's ability to rotate the strike under pressure, his love for challenges and his need to contribute in each and every game, after his match-winning knock against Pakistan. He also opened up on Raina's poor form, and why Ashwin did not bowl his 4th over.
Chasing a tricky target of 119, on what was a difficult wicket in Kolkata, India were tottering at 23/3 in the fifth over. However, Virat Kohli, like he always does, stamped his class on the occasion and took India home to comfortable six-wicket win over Pakistan.
His 55-run knock consisted of seven boundaries and one huge six. However, Dhoni highlighted his ability to take singles under pressure as the reason behind his success.
When Dhoni was asked about the poor form of Suresh Raina, who was dismissed by Mohammad Sami for a duck, he stressed on the importance of backing a player and claimed that Raina 'deserves' the No. 4 position in the lineup.
"People don't score runs in one or two games, that question will be asked. If Shikhar doesn't score in one more game that question will be asked, why not Jinks to open and Shikhar left out. I feel it is important to back players and at the same time, if you see there are too many people who need to bat at that No. 3 slot.
"If you compare the stats, especially when it's happening in India, you'll see there are lot of individuals who should bat at three, but Virat gets an edge, and in the same way I think [Raina] deserves that No. 4 position more than anyone else, and it's important to back him. Yes, there might be tactical changes when he won't get that slot, but overall I think he's the best option,” he added.
A lot of questions were also raised about Dhoni's decision to not use R Ashwin's fourth over during the Pakistani innings, despite the off-spinner's impressive spell on a pitch which was assisting the spinners. The Indian skipper claimed that he was worried that the Pakistani batsmen would go after him in the death overs, so he went for the 'safer option'.
"Initially we never thought it would turn so much. Reading the wicket, I thought there was a bit of moisture because they had watered the wicket yesterday and I don't think they got enough sun today. The last time when I saw the wicket was before the start of the game, and then it was quite damp. And even when you roll the wicket, the top surface may look a bit good, but it's more a cosmetic thing, because underneath there was a lot of moisture.
"I feel it was because of the moisture that the spinners were getting a lot of turn. Even the ones that were bowling it quite hard, if you hit the seam you can turn the ball, and that's what Jadeja and Ashwin did. The Pakistan batsmen, they are good players of spin bowling, and later on I felt, there was a chance, if I had given it to Ashwin they could have gone after him. I'm not saying he can't deal with it, but I went for the safer option,” Dhoni explained.