Virat Kohli reveals an advice from MS Dhoni that stuck with him
As he returns to lead India for the much-awaited Test series decider in Cape Town, Virat Kohli revealed a prudent piece of advice he received from the legendary MS Dhoni.
Dhoni, Kohli’s Test captaincy predecessor, learnt to have told him to try and extend gaps between his mistakes if he is to have a long career in international cricket.
Speaking to the press on the eve of the third Test against South Africa on Monday (January 10), Kohli revealed Dhoni’s remarks, focused on putting them into practice with his team eyeing a historic maiden series triumph in the rainbow nation.
“MS Dhoni once told me there should be a gap of at least 7-8 months between repeating a mistake. Only then can you have a long career. This piece of advice really stuck with me,” said Virat Kohli, as he strives to overcome a sustained period without big scores.
Kohli, who missed the second Test with back spasms, is hoping to take inspiration from Dhoni’s words after getting out playing two high-risk cover drives in the first Test in Centurion. The skipper made a promising start at the SuperSport Park, scoring a watchful 35 in the first-innings before he nicked one flashing his blade at a wide ball outside off-stump.
With the script repeating in the next innings where he made 10, the debate around the legitimacy of Virat Kohli’s cover drives has reappeared. Fans wonder if he can avoid playing the shot to sustain his stay at the crease. But that is feared to diminish Kohli’s range through the off-side, for he hardly ever plays the square cut and doesn’t employ the backfoot punches as often either.
When you miss a Test you almost feel guilty: Virat Kohli
Kohli also spoke about grappling with guilt as he missed the crucial second Test in Johannesburg where in his absence, India looked slightly thin with their batting resources under stand-in captain KL Rahul and ended up losing the game by seven wickets.
Kohli emphasized the difficulty of dealing with untimely injuries which frustratingly force players to miss games but also said one needs to show more empathy to himself and respect his body.
“When you miss a Test you almost feel guilty and think ‘how could I get injured’. It can happen when you play for so long. At times It can ge taken for granted that this player will play every game. But such sudden injuries remind you to treat yourself as a human,” he said, having overcome the back spasms and calling himself “absolutely fit” for the third Test.
The skipper nodded in approval of his replacement last game, saying Rahul did a “balanced” job with his tactics and decision-making. Before defending the much-scrutinised Rishabh Pant for his high-risk shot and dismissal in the decisive second innings of the Jo’burg Test match.
The batting great also took belief out of fifties made by senior pros Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings of the previous Test and downplayed suggestions that India are in for transition in their Test match unit.
“I can’t pinpoint when we’ll have a transition in the team. The way Pujara and Rahane batted in the last Test – that experience is priceless for us… I feel transitions do happen but they happen naturally, you can’t force them,” added Kohli, before indicating that pacer Mohammed Siraj hasn’t completely recovered from his hamstring niggle and a replacement is in the offing.