Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) With Virat Kohli scripting yet another famous victory — this time against arch-rivals Pakistan — Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni has attributed the talismanic batsman’s hunger to perform and willingness to take up the challenge as the propelling factors behind his amazing consistency.
“His biggest plus point is he takes everything as a challenge. He wants to improve. He wants to contribute in every game. He wants to score every game. The hunger to perform, the willingness to take up the challenge — that makes him special,” said Dhoni.
Kohli scored an unbeaten 37-ball 55 to enable his side humble Pakistan by six wickets in a World Twenty20 match at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday night.
“He prepares himself, he takes care of his fitness, he understands how he is supposed to bat in different conditions. And we all know each time he gets a start, he converts it into a big innings, which is one of the most important things for a batsman,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni also lavished praise on Kohli’s ability to handle pressure.
“When there is lot of pressure, often individuals, they go for the big shot, thinking it to be the best option at that time. But the best way to tackle pressure is to take a single and go to the other end. That will calm you down and at the same time you have that positive intent because you are looking for a single.”
“Everybody knows their area of strength, for some its flick, for some it’s the cut shot, so if the ball is in that area you play your shot. And if not, you take a single and go to the other end.”
“If you see his (Kohli) batting, that is what he really does. Where he edges over others is he knows how to push hard and that is why he loves to bat with people who can run hard.”
“Running hard is the easiest way to score runs, if you are two good runners in the pitch, you can convert the singles into doubles, which puts a lot of pressure on the opponents,” said the skipper.
Dhoni also defended batsmen Suresh Raina who is battling a form slump.
“Questions will be asked when a player doesn’t score in one or two games. It’s important to back players. Raina deserves the number four position more than anyone else,” said Dhoni about the southpaw who has just scored a solitary run in the World Twenty20 so far.
He also hailed his boys for making a strong comeback in the tournament after having being humbled by New Zealand in the opening game.
“To have a very bad game or series and then come back strong shows the character of the boys. We have been in this position quite a few times and people may still ask why we are in this kind of position frequently. But the fact is when you have the experience of being in that position, you know how to turn it around.”
“But I feel still there are areas that we need to improve and in the coming two games, that will be our first priority because our run rate has suffered. And it is not about winning alone, you also have to look at the run rate at some point of time,” he said.
While India extended their unbeaten record against Pakistan in all World Cups, Dhoni said the winning streak will eventually come to an end.
“The hundred percent record against Pakistan is surely a matter of pride for us, but much like this fact is a reason of pressure for them, it is also for us. But this is also a reality that there will be a time when we will lose against them in a World Cup, it may happen 2, 10 or may be 50 years later, but it will happen for sure,” added the wicketkeeper-batsman.