Sourav Ganguly believes that Virat Kohli's confidence in MS Dhoni is the main reason behind the latter’s impressive form. Ganguly also praised Hardik Pandya’s recent knock against Australia, that set the base for the team winning the Chennai ODI, calling the all-rounder an integral part of the team.
India started the much-awaited series on a victorious note winning the opener by 26 runs in Chennai. In the rain-affected match, India batted first and lost five wickets with just 87 runs on the board. However, Dhoni, along with Pandya, consolidated the innings with both players scoring important half-centuries. The former Indian skipper faced 88 balls to score 79 runs which included four boundaries and two maximums through which he also reached a landmark of 100 international half-centuries across all three formats.
Dhoni has been in scintillating form recently with brilliant performances in Sri Lanka, where he didn't lose his wicket even once and helped his side inflict a 6-0 limited-overs whitewash on the hosts. Ganguly felt that Dhoni has Kohli’s backing which has helped him play his role brilliantly.
"When players play for so long, MS has played over 300 ODIs for India, they know how to get runs. More than 9000 runs for Dhoni in one-day cricket and he'll get a few more by the time he finishes. It's the captain's confidence and Virat should get a lot of credit for it because he's put a lot of faith in Dhoni and that allowed MS to play the way he wanted,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today.
"Players are made and players are broken by the faith you show in them. And I think Virat Kohli is responsible for what we are seeing of MS Dhoni today. He paced his innings superbly, played according to the situation used all his experience. When a captain has faith in his senior players who's played more than 300 ODIs the runs will come. Kohli should take a lot of credit for allowing Dhoni to play the way he is doing at the moment."
Along with Dhoni, it was Pandya who helped in scripting India’s victory against Australia at Chepauk with an impressive knock of 83 runs in just 66 balls. After the youngster picked up two wickets in the second innings, he was awarded the man of the match award for his troubles. Ganguly also heaped praise on Pandya for his mature innings and called him a key member of Team India’s future squad.
"He's (Pandya) getting better and that's the best part of it. You can see the confidence, because of the performance with the bat, in his bowling. If you do well in one aspect of the game you automatically get better in the other aspect.
"He's got to think big because the job of an all-rounder is not easy. He's fit, he works hard and for
Pandya played 22 One day internationals for India where he has scored 391 runs in 13 innings and grabbed 25 wickets.
"He's very important to this squad's progress in the next couple of years provided he keeps his head on his shoulders and keep the confidence going. The next 15 months, when he goes to South Africa, England and Australia, once he goes past that circle he'll either become a very good player or he'll probably start fading away," Ganguly said.