Mahendra Singh Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the best cricketing minds in the world. His captaincy skills have vowed the entire world. There isn’t a better captain than Dhoni when it comes to nailing crucial moments in a limited-overs game. He has a rich legacy and an even richer cabinet of trophies. Dhoni’s style to entrust complete faith in a selected bunch of players repaid him great rewards. The players at their peak delivered fine results for the team. But on the flip side of this mantra was the lack of depth of our talent pool. Players who made debuted under dhoni but failed under Kohli.
It was under Virat Kohli’s leadership that India started following horses for courses policy. The bench strength got widened and now India’s talent depth is a matter of world envy. This isn’t to say that MS Dhoni didn’t nurture talent. He did but few star players blossomed more under Kohli’s leadership.
StumpsandBails looks at 4 players who debuted under Dhoni but performed under Virat Kohli:
#4 Umesh Yadav
Players who made debuted under Dhoni but failed under Kohli. It is a well-known fact that MS Dhoni was a spinner’s captain. He loved taking charge when the conditions favoured spin. But the moment the pitch offered seam, swing, and bounce, Dhoni took a backseat. He didn’t trust his pacers enough. Kohli on the contrary empowered his pace bowling battery. Indian pacers are arguably the best in world cricket at the moment. Kohli’s belief led to the resurgence of Umesh Yadav. Yadav is undoubtedly India’s best fast bowler in home conditions. He has spiritedly led the attack even though he hasn’t been the first choice seamer in trying conditions. Yadav’s average of 24.54 and strike rate of 45.74 at home is exceptional.
#3 Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya earned an India call-up in 2016 thanks to his IPL exploits. But Pandya wasn’t entirely trusted with either of his all-round skills under Dhoni’s regime. But once Kohli took over the captaincy mantle he entrusted Pandya with more responsibilities. He showed immense faith in his ability. Pandya rightfully repaid the faith by delivering consistent match-winning performances. He even made his Test debut under Kohli. Pandya scored a fighting 93 against South Africa on a challenging wicket in Cape Town in 2018. It was Kohli’s faith that proved to be instrumental in Pandya’s rise.
#2 Mohammad Shami
Mohammad Shami made his Test debut in 2013. It was there for everyone to see that Shami was a fine talent. His seam position was beautiful. He used the crease well and made the ball talk. But Shami remained largely unused and unmotivated under Dhoni’s captaincy. His fitness wasn’t up to the mark. He strode to the crease lazily and the spunk went completely missing. Once Kohli took over the Test captaincy duties that we saw the reemergence of Shami. He became a dangerous bowler who can change the game in a matter of a single session. It won’t be wrong to admit the fact that Kohli reignited the spark in Shami.
#1 Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin it can be argued was MS Dhoni’s trump card. But Ashwin in all fairness achieved greatness under Kohli’s captaincy. He was lethal at home under Dhoni but Ashwin became an excellent all-conditions bowler under Kohli’s leadership. Ashwin played starring roles in India’s overseas games post 2015. His contributions in England (2018), Australia (2018 and 2020) is legendary. It can’t be a coincidence that all bowlers suddenly found their mojo under a new captain.