Once Kohli gets going, he always converts it into a big innings : Dhoni

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Once Kohli gets going, he always converts it into a big innings : Dhoni

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Debarshee Mitra


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.

"It's very simple. What an innings is all about is how you convert it, when you're under pressure. There are a few ways to handle pressure. At times we have seen, in Test cricket, or ODI and T20 format, when there is a lot of pressure, often they go for the big shot. It seems at that point of time that that's the best option, but when you're under a lot of pressure, the best way to deal with it is to take a single, go to the other end, because that calms you down, and at the same time you have that positive intent because you're looking for that single. And you know your areas.

"Everybody knows what their strength is - for some it's a flick, for some it's the cut. So if it's in your area, you have to play your shot. If not, try to take a single, go to the other end. And if you see his batting, that's what he really does. And where he has an edge over the others is, you have to push hard. That's why he loves batting with individuals who can run hard with him. Because running hard is the easiest way to score runs. You hit it in the middle, between long-on and deep midwicket, if you have two good runners, you can convert that one into two, or one-and-a-half runs into two, and that puts a lot of pressure on the bowler and the fielders.

"He takes everything as a challenge. He wants to improve, he wants to contribute in each and every game, and that's what it's all about, because he wants to contribute, he wants to score runs, he prepares well, he takes care of his fitness. He knows, he understands now, in different wickets how he's supposed to bat and score runs. And we all know, once he gets going, once he gets a start, he always converts it into a big innings, which I feel is one of the most important things for any youngster coming into the game,” Dhoni said in the post-match press conference.

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.

(Take a look at some of the best comic tweets from the India-Pakistan match)

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.

(Take a look at our player ratings for the India-Pakistan match)

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