'Agar ego par le logey, toh tussle hogi': Shikhar Dhawan opens up on playing under Virat Kohli; 'Whereas MS Dhoni...'

By, New Delhi
Feb 16, 2023 10:04 PM IST

Former Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan pointed out the difference in the leadership styles of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Veteran Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan had the privilege and honour to serve the national team under three iconic leaders in his illustrious white-ball career. From legendary skipper MS Dhoni, former captain Virat Kohli to his partner-in-crime Rohit Sharma, the senior batter is one of the few active cricketers who worked with all three icons of the game.

Former Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan pointed out the difference in the leadership styles of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli (AP-Getty Images-Reuters)
Former Indian skipper Shikhar Dhawan pointed out the difference in the leadership styles of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli (AP-Getty Images-Reuters)

Dhawan formed an established opening pair with Rohit in the limited-overs format before the Hitman ascended the captaincy throne. Nicknamed Gabbar, the Indian southpaw has worked closely with former Indian skippers Dhoni and Kohli. While Dhoni is the only captain to have won ICC Champions Trophy, ICC World Cup and ICC World T20, Kohli is the most successful Indian captain in the history of Test cricket. Both former Indian skippers had contrasting styles and methods.

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Speaking to The Lallantop during an interview, the veteran Indian opener pointed out the difference in the leadership styles of Dhoni and Kohli. Taking a trip down memory lane, Dhawan also recalled that Kohli was only 16 or 17 years old when the Delhi batter made his presence felt in Ranji Trophy under his watch. Dhawan observed that a young Kohli had a lot of self-belief at the time. When asked whether he witnessed a change in the relationship he had with Kohli after the star batter became the captain of the Indian side, Dhawan gave an interesting response.

"Agar ego par lelogey to tussle aygi he aygi. Ye to ego ki baat agyi na. (It's nothing like that. If you take it on the ego, it will hurt you. It is then a matter of ego, isn't it?) If I continue to think that I'm a senior and I'm playing under him. Then there will be ego. It's all frivolous thinking to me. And there's no need to have that. It's of no use. Virat is a good friend of mine. We share good camaraderie and always enjoy healthy banter. He is a senior player at Team India. I can pull his legs, young players can't. He's a big player. We exude good humour and bonhomie since our early playing days,” Dhawan said.

“All are different characters. Dhoni is very calm. He used to always back his players. Dhoni has a calm personality. He used to stay calm in pressure situations. It's not like he can only read the game from behind the stumps. A player who is a very good reader of the game can crack the code from any position on the field. That is the wisdom of that person. Talking about Virat, his character is different. He has always been an aggressive batter. He is also fond of showing aggression. So he has been the captain of that character,” Dhawan added.

One of the finest batters in white-ball cricket, Dhawan was added to India's leadership group in 2021 when the star batter became the stand-in captain of the Indian side. Dhawan became the seventh captain to lead India in the 2022 season. The 37-year-old captained the Indian side for the New Zealand series in November last year when India rested all-format captain Rohit and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Dhawan has smashed 6,793 runs in the 50-over format for India. The senior batter has amassed 1759 runs in 68 T20Is. The Punjab Kings (PBKS) captain has also played 34 Test matches for the Asian giants.

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