MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli will undoubtedly go down as two of India’s finest captains, the former having achieved almost everything a skipper can, and the later on the way to greatness, breaking records after records. The two are however very different when it comes to the approach on the field. While Dhoni is known for his calm and composed nature on the field, Virat, on the other hand, is more expressive. However, both have been able to achieve success with their respective approaches.
Here we look at some of the strategic differences in the captaincy of the two stalwarts in limited overs cricket:
Use of Part-timers:
MS Dhoni was someone who surprised everyone with his out of the box thinking and shrewd captaincy. One such thinking was the massive use of part-time bowlers like Raina and Yuvraj. Dhoni always believed in having options in hand, so that he can use them when and where necessary. He always preferred to have more than 5 bowling options and did not mind not completing the quota of some of his strike bowlers.
Kohli has a different approach in this matter and believes in playing 5 proper bowling options. He relies on the 5 bowlers to bowl their full quota and rarely goes for the sixth option as evident from the South Africa series earlier this year. Though this approach leads to getting the best out of strike bowlers, it sometimes leaves the team short of options when one or two bowlers have a bad day.
Persisting with the Winning Combination :
Dhoni, being a really flexible skipper on the field in terms of using his players, was not really a fan of changing a winning combination. He mostly stuck with the winning team until and unless someone got injured or someone was terribly out of form despite being given a long run. Though this approach helped the team and the individuals in gaining confidence, it sometimes led to a lack of opportunities for some newcomers.
Kohli, on the other hand, has been guilty of too much chopping and changing. The horses for courses approach is a smart approach, but it dents the confidence of individuals to some extent, and individuals begin to play for their place in the team. For instance, a number of players have been tried for the number 4 slot and have been dropped, regardless of their performances. Dinesh Karthik and Shreyas Iyer are examples. However, as long as he gets the results going in his favor, the approach is not going to be questioned.
Giving players a longer run :
Dhoni, much like Ganguly, believed in giving longer runs to certain players who he believed were too good to be dropped. Rohit, Raina, Ashwin, and Jadeja are all products of that. This is how selection happened in the Dhoni and Ganguly era.
However, Kohli follows a different approach. Over the past couple of years, more players have been rejected than selected, in the sense that players got selected only to get dropped after a couple of unimpressive performances. Shreyas Iyer, Siddharth Kaul, Mohammad Shami, Dinesh Karthik have all been the victims. Though Kohli has shown a fair amount of confidence in KL Rahul, even he has not been given a fair run the playing XI.
Apart from the above-mentioned differences, the difference in approach while batting is also a major area where the two skippers can be compared. Keeping aside the differences, we as Indian fans can be proud of the two marvelous captains because of the records they have achieved.