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MS Dhoni will play a crucial role if Virat Kohli is to lift the World Cup at Lord’s: Suresh Raina

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Raina said that Dhoni’s experience and the way he communicates to the youngsters in the team will play a crucial role if India are to win the showpiece event in England.

cricket Updated: Feb 19, 2019 15:51 IST
Baidurjo Bhose
Baidurjo Bhose
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
ipl,chennai super kings,world cup
File image of India skipper Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni.(AFP/Getty Images)

With the 2019 World Cup round the corner, every team is looking to give it their best shot as they prepare for the showpiece event. While pundits have spoken about how India will be one of the favourites to win the tournament, senior India player Suresh Raina feels that former India skipper MS Dhoni will play a crucial role if Virat Kohli is to stand at the balcony of the historic Lord’s come July 14 with the coveted trophy.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Raina said that Dhoni’s experience and the way he communicates to the youngsters in the team and guides them will play a crucial role if India are to win the showpiece event.

“The amount of runs Dhoni has scored recently in Australia and New Zealand and the kind of guidance he gives to the youngsters in the team, especially the bowlers, that augurs really well for the boys. He has seen a lot of ups and downs, he has been a part of quite a few World Cups and has also been there in IPL finals and that is why he is the go-to-man for skipper Kohli,” he said.

Commenting on the debate on where exactly Dhoni should bat, Raina said: “Dhoni has been batting really well and scoring runs. For me, I feel he is India’s number four for the World Cup.”

While everyone has been talking about how Kohli has been exceptional in consistently scoring runs across all formats, Raina feels that it is Kohli’s self-belief that sets him apart from the rest. The middle-order batsman feels that Kohli loves pressure and enjoys winning games for the country and that makes him a standout performer.

“Virat Kohli is a brilliant leader as well as a brilliant player. Everyone knows how many runs he has scored. But what stands out for me when it comes to Kohli is the belief that he has and the hunger to perform in every situation. Every time there is a pressure-cooker scenario, he is ready to take the responsibility with open arms,” the 32-year-old said.

Even as many feel that the pressure of expectation on the Indian players going into the World Cup is unwanted, Raina feels the boys have been playing really well and there is no question of pressure.

“I don’t really think there will be pressure. I think the way the boys have been playing, we have done really well. I won’t be surprised if we finish in the top four (at the end of the group stages) and if that happens, we clearly have a very good chance of lifting the World Cup at Lord’s,” he smiled.

Coming to the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League, Raina said that he was looking forward to another stellar season with defending champions Chennai Super Kings. He went on to add that Dhoni is the best captain in the league.

“It was amazing, god has been kind. We had played for almost 10 years (8 years) together and have had a lot of memories at CSK. We have the best captain in MS Dhoni and CSK is also the best franchise. The culture is really good in the team and the foreign players are also welcomed. I am really looking forward to the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League,” he said.

In the city to promote the IB Cricket Super Over League, the batsman said that he loved the experience of playing the virtual game. “It is very exciting, really enjoyed it. There is a lot of cheering like you are playing in the stadium. Good noise and good cheering from the fans. It feels very real and has a relaxing effect on you and you can enjoy it with your friends,” he signed off.

First Published: Feb 19, 2019 13:11 IST