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India vs England: MS Dhoni in leadership role as Virat Kohli skips practice

MS Dhoni, in the absence of Virat Kohli, inspected the pitch, took local feedback and gave his teammates pep talk in an optional practice session ahead of the third India vs England ODI in Kolkata

cricket Updated: Jan 21, 2017 22:42 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni,Indian cricket team
MS Dhoni (centre) bowls during an optional training session at Eden Gardens in Kolkata ahead of third India vs England ODI.(AFP)

MS Dhoni may have relinquished the India limited-overs captaincy but he is still playing a proactive role in the team affairs. On Saturday, he performed the leadership role, including inspecting the pitch, ahead of the third and final cricket ODI against England in Kolkata on Saturday.

India went in for an optional practice and Dhoni was seen doing what normally a skipper does - inspecting the Eden Gardens pitch, taking local feedbacks and giving his teammates a pep talk - with captain Virat Kohli deciding to skip the training session and head coach Anil Kumble not around.

After the practice session that lasted for about two hours, Dhoni, who stepped down from captaincy just before the ODI series, was seen heading to the pitch that looked as flat as it can be without any tinge of grass. He went down on his knees to have a close look at the strip and felt the surface by placing both his palms.

In Dhoni’s esteemed company was national selector and former Bengal captain Devang Gandhi with whom the Jharkhand dasher had a lengthy discussion afterwards.

In India’s 15-run win over England in the second ODI, Dhoni was seen playing a proactive role behind the stumps, especially in the death overs, as he was seen making the field placings and giving his inputs to Kohli during the run chase of the visiting team.

Apart from Kohli, the ones to skip the match-eve optional practice session included Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuvraj Singh, Lokesh Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya.

Batting coach Sanjay Bangar oversaw the practice session.

Dhawan practises

Meanwhile, Shikhar Dhawan, who had an injury scare yesterday and went to a hospital for medical examination, was seen at the nets without any sign of injury.

“He’s perfectly fine,” said a team official, making it clear that Dhawan is available for selection.

However, it remains to be seen whether the team think-tank persists with Dhawan who has been out of sorts in his form with scores of one and 11 in the last two ODIs.

Ajinkya Rahane, who may come in the playing eleven if Dhawan is to be replaced, had a full intensity practice session.

First Published: Jan 21, 2017 22:26 IST