ICC Champions Trophy: No trust deficit between Virat Kohli and ‘priceless’ MS Dhoni

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have gelled extremely well at a time when the controversy over coach Anil Kumble has not shown the Indian dressing room in a good light.

cricket Updated: Jun 12, 2017 20:01 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, London
ICC Champions Trophy 2017,Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni
Indian skipper Virat Kohli has relied on MS Dhoni for both moral and tactical support as relations with coach Anil Kumble seem exceedingly strained. (REUTERS)

The body language between Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in the ICC Champions Trophy has been one of trust and respect and that’s probably why the Indian cricket team is turning up brilliantly on the big days.

The hunt for India’s next head coach has been a messy affair. Kohli may deny reports of ‘rift’ with chief coach Anil Kumble but if seeing is believing in this Champions Trophy, the captain seems to be enjoying MS Dhoni’s company more than the head coach’s.

After India thrashed South Africa in a most compelling fashion in a massive ICC Champions Trophy game at The Oval on Sunday to storm into the semifinals, Kohli credited his bowlers and once again hinted that his players sought space and freedom at work.

READ | ICC Champions Trophy 2017: Mashrafe Mortaza wants Bangladesh to play with a free mind

“(While) you have to point out things that didn’t go well, you don’t want to be nagging them too much because they are professional cricketers, and I’ve played with a lot of these guys.

“You have to understand how to speak to them and how to communicate and discuss things with them,” said Kohli.


There may not be any open rift, but communication between coach and captain may not be at 4G speed or level. A total breakdown or an honourable exit for Kumble at the end of the Champions Trophy cannot be ruled out at this stage. India play Bangladesh in the semifinals in Birmingham on June 15.

On Saturday morning when the team trained at The Oval, Kumble hardly supervised the nets. When Kumble walked up to check out the wicket, Kohli was nowhere to be seen.

There is clearly a trust deficit and here is where Kohli has looked up to MS Dhoni, and the former skipper has responded admirably.

READ | Bhuvneshwar Kumar surprised by lack of swing on tracks at ICC Champions Trophy

It is now eloquently clear that the Cricket Advisory Committee’s decision to appoint Kumble ahead of the happy-go-lucky Ravi Shastri certainly did not amuse Kohli. News of an extra term for Kumble has only made Kohli’s mind restless.


In this crisis of sorts, Dhoni has been playing a comforting role, something that has won the captain Kohli’s respect.

The former skipper’s involvement on the field when South Africa batted first at The Oval on Sunday was high and ‘apprentice’ Kohli, never shy of seeking Dhoni’s guidance, was one for the cameras.

“His (Dhoni’s) input is obviously always very precise, very helpful at any stage of the game... today it was all about asking him whether to keep the slip in there long enough or what does he think of the fields and just taking assurance.”

READ | Virat Kohli says pressure from bowlers led to fielding success vs South Africa

“Obviously you don’t want to feel isolated out there. Yes, you’re making decisions, but the inputs from such experienced players are priceless at any stage of the day,” said Kohli.

Success or failure, feels Kohli, is shared by a team, not scripted by any individual.

And this ‘individual’ may well be Anil Kumble.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 19:19 IST