For me, loyalty matters the most: Virat Kohli recalls the time when MS Dhoni backed himhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/virat-kohli-ms-dhoni-india-world-cup-team-5682738/

For me, loyalty matters the most: Virat Kohli recalls the time when MS Dhoni backed him

Virat Kohli also expressed satisfaction with the 15-member India squad for the big-ticket event that starts May 30 in the United Kingdom and said that India is a “well-balanced” team that can go all the way.

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MS Dhoni said it is Virat Kohli’s hunger to succeed that makes him special. (Source: AP)

India captain Virat Kohli said that he is fortunate to have MS Dhoni alongside him at the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom. Extending his support to the veteran, Kohli deemed the criticisms on the veteran as “unfortunate”. Kohli also expressed satisfaction with the 15-member India squad for the big-ticket event that starts on May 30 and said that India is a “well-balanced” team that can go all the way.

In an interview to India Today, Kohli spoke on his relationship with Dhoni and said, “It’s unfortunate to see so many people going after him. For me, loyalty matters the most.”

“When I walked into the team he had the option of trying someone else after few games, although I grabbed my chances but for me to get that kind of backing, was very crucial. Also, he gave me an opportunity to bat at No 3 because not many youngsters get to play at No 3,” Kohli recalled.

“It’s just about the field placements and bowling changes and we say you know the angles, you know the pace of the pitch and that’s why there is so much of trust and respect between the two of us,” he explained.

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Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni greet each other during the 3rd ODI cricket match against Australia. (PTI Photo)

“He is one person, who literally knows the game inside out. He understands the game from ‘Ball 1 to Ball 300 (50 overs) on the field. I won’t say its a luxury to have him but I am fortunate to have a mind like that from behind the stumps,” Kohli said.

Dhoni’s presence behind stumps has ensured that Kohli can afford to field in the deep. “At the end of the day, I want to be involved in strategy with the team management with Mahi bhai and Rohit,” Kohli said.

“In the death overs, I know that I have to be on the outfield to try and make something work for the team because that’s my nature that I want to do something for the team rather than just be there. After 30-35 overs, he knows that I will be in the outfield and its on the auto mode,” he elaborated.

India’s World Cup Squad:

“We are very happy with 15 that we have. This is the most balanced side we could have thought of because everyone is in a good space,” the skipper said without getting into the debate about omissions of Rishabh Pant and Ambati Rayudu.

“I think the whole management group, the way they have handled the entire group, it creates a good environment where everyone is relaxed. Our change room is like a living room, chilled out with everyone relaxed,” he said.

India World Cup squad
Virat Kohli will lead India as captain in the World Cup. (Source: File)

“Indian team has to be paramount and everyone and players responded in a very positive manner right from the management, myself, Mahi bhai being the senior most guy and everyone. There is one goal and everyone is in sync with that goal.”

“In 2011, I was not involved in a lot of things, was not involved in a lot of meetings, the pressures that come along. At this point in time, it’s going to be different. Even in 2015, I wasn’t involved to an extent where I had to be part of everything that is going on, said Kohli.

“To understand the magnitude of a tournament like this from a captain’s point of view is a different ball game. I won’t say that I will look to do something different just because its a World Cup. Fortunately, I am in the mindset, I don’t have to pick myself up for a series, because I always have the same intensity and drive to take the team over the line,” he further added.

“Even though players are playing the IPL but the anticipation is for the World Cup and you can see that energy the way everyone is playing,” he concluded.