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ICC World Cup 2019: ‘Batting with Dhoni a dream,’ KL Rahul reveals partnership secrets

India were in a tricky situation at 102 for 4 when Dhoni joined Rahul in the middle. Together they put on 164 runs, Dhoni’s presence seeming to calm to the younger man, who also bagged a century.

cricket Updated: May 29, 2019 16:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ICC World Cup 2019,KL Rahul,KL Rahul MS Dhoni
India's K.L. Rahul, left, and MS Dhoni cheer each other during the Cricket World Cup warm up match between Bangladesh and India at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, England, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)(AP)

KL Rahul came into the warm-up match against Bangladesh knowing he needed runs to stand a chance of cementing his place at number four in India’s line-up in the ICC World Cup 2019. When he got out, he had 108 quality runs beside his off just 99 balls. But things were not as easy early on.

India were in a tricky situation at 102 for 4 when Dhoni joined Rahul in the middle. Together they put on 164 runs, Dhoni’s presence seeming to calm to the younger man, who also bagged a century.

“We didn’t talk too much because we both had our individual plans,” said Rahul.

“Batting with him is always a dream for me. I’ve been lucky we have been able to share a few big partnerships over the years.

“He just dominated the spinners and is striking the ball so well. It’s a great sign for us and it’s just a pleasure to watch him from the other end when he is playing like that.”

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Dhoni himself scored a sparkling century and India ended up with 359 for 7 after being asked to bat first.

The former India skipper sparked speculation of life away from the sport earlier this year when he posted a video on social media that discussed his love for painting.

However, there are not many players who can create such vivid shapes with the bat and bring such colour to the big stage.

And, of course, he offers much more than just runs — 10,000 and counting in one-day matches.

Virat Kohli might be the captain but his leadership is strengthened by having Dhoni close by.

His role, according the 2011 World Cup winner Suresh Raina, is to be ‘captain of captains’, giving confidence to those around him by the sheer weight of his presence.

“For me he is always going to be my captain because I started my career under him,” said Kohli, after his appointment in January 2017. “I couldn’t be more lucky to still have him around for ideas.”

Kuldeep Yadav has already spoken of Dhoni being the man in the changing room who ‘knows the answer for everything’.

“Dhoni gives us freedom and Kohli boosts our confidence, they are our backbone,” he said.

(With ICC inputs)

First Published: May 29, 2019 16:16 IST