Indian captain Virat Kohli has come in full support of former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni over continuous questioning of the latter’s form in T20Is.
Recently, former cricketer Ajit Agarkar and V.V.S. Laxman had said that India should look beyond Dhoni for the T20I formats and that the wicketkeeper-batsman should pave the way for youngsters.
Dhoni has come under scrutiny following his low strike rate and a 37-ball 49 in the second T20I in Rajkot against New Zealand where India fell short of 40 runs while chasing down 197 on a flat track.
Backing former Indian captain, Kohli insisted that Dhoni is being selectively targeted.
“I don’t understand why are people only pointing him out?” Kohli told media after registering a six-run win in third T20I against the Black Caps.
He added, “If I fail three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I’m not over 35. The guy is fit, he is passing all the fitness tests, he is contributing to the team in every way possible, tactically on the field, with the bat. If you look at the series against Sri Lanka and Australia, he did really well and in this series he hasn’t got much time to bat.”
In the Rajkot T20I, Dhoni entered the ground at the start of ninth over when India was batting at 67/4.
He started slowly and ended up with 49 of 37 balls.
The 36-year-old usually bats at number five or six, which gives him less time to adjust on the ground.
Reflecting on this, Kohli said that by the time Dhoni comes to bat, the run-rate required is already high and so the blame should not be put on his shoulders.
“You have to understand, the position in which he comes out to bat, even Hardik Pandya could not score in that game. Then why are we only pointing out one man?” Kohli said.
The right-handed batsman emphasised, “We are conveniently targeting only one man which is not fair. We also have to look at the fact that by the time he comes in, either the run rate is already eight-and-a-half or nine-and-a-half and the wicket is also not the same when the new ball is bowled.”
The 29-year-old also requested that others should not decide for Dhoni.
India on Tuesday pipped New Zealand by six runs in the rain-hit third T20I to claim the series 2-1.