Pallekele: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form and future has been under scanner post his Test retirement but a string of limited overs matches in the next three months will enable the former skipper get some momentum and consistency going his way, feels skipper Virat Kohli.
Dhoni’s form has been on the wane and Kohli is hoping that the next 24 limited overs matches will help Dhoni get his mojo back.
“This coming season gives us an opportunity to define roles for players and give them time to execute it so that for the World Cup, we know exactly what one player needs to do in certain situations,” Kohli told mediapersons ahead of second ODI.
“And it helps someone like MS also because he doesn’t play Test cricket anymore. This long streak of matches will help him be in touch with the international games, find some momentum and stick to it,” Kohli added.
For the skipper, it’s about growing good habits and sustaining them in the lead up to the World Cup.
“So it’s an opportunity for everyone in the team including MS to create good habits and sustain them over a period of time,” the skipper made it amply clear how much he wishes to have an in-form Dhoni in the team.
Kohli also feels that Axar Patel as a package is a more utility cricketer compared to chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, which is the reason he was preferred in the playing XI.
“It was a case of having two left-arm spinners that led us not playing Kuldeep in the first game. Axar was favoured more than Kuldeep from the point of view that he bats quite well and he is a gun [great] in the field also. Kuldeep has got opportunities in the past,” he said.
“[Yuzvendra] Chahal and Axar are guys who haven’t got many opportunities so we want to test them out. It’s all about giving opportunities to people, which we feel will not hamper our plans in any way and at the same time, it’s about giving them exposure at international cricket,” he further added.
But Kuldeep very much remains in thick of things.
“Kuldeep remains in the thick of things all the time. To have a guy like that in the team is always a boost. You might see two wrist spinners playing together if we feel that we don’t need that much depth in the batting in the coming games,” said the skipper.
About giving Hardik Pandya the new ball, Kohli said that the all-rounder can use his height to a good advantage getting an extra bit of bounce.
“Hardik has the ability to swing the ball and he can bowl consistently over 135km/hr. With the new ball, he can get a bit of extra bounce because of his height. He has bowled with the new ball in India against England and against New Zealand in a few games as well. We certainly look at it as a great option for us.
“Being the fifth bowler in the team, we can get four-five overs out of the way in the first 10, when the ball is swinging. Also Jasprit Bumrah is our strike bowler and he comes in one-change. The teams obviously will be a bit more wary against him so that really gives us good balance in terms of whom to use when,” he added.
Catch the match
India vs Sri Lanka
Second One Day International, Pallekele
Match starts at 1pm.
Live telecast on TEN Sports