Both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli have been two of the most successful captains ever for India. The former had a dream run as the leader of the side winning all the three major ICC titles. Also, Dhoni has seen the team through the transition phase and set up the foundation for Virat’s captaincy future. Players like Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah amongst a few others made their debut towards the twilight of Dhoni’s captaincy stint.
Moreover, cricketers like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will be grateful for the prolonged backing that they got. However, the current crop of cricketers are mainly considered to be Virat’s boys and the players MS Dhoni dealt with a few years ago are different. During the transition phase, numerous domestic performers got opportunities at the highest level. A few senior cricketers also enjoyed great backing under MS and did relatively well but failed under Virat Kohli.
Here are three players who did well under MS Dhoni but not under Virat Kohli:
1. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh is one of those cricketers who made his debut even before MS Dhoni. For several years, he has been one of the strongest pillars of the Indian middle order. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that he had a massive contribution in India’s World Cup 2011 triumph. But right after that peak, he hit a slump as cancer troubled him.
He got out of the reckoning right when he was at his best. Yet, he fought his way back through to the Indian team. He made his comeback under MS Dhoni again in 2012. In 2012 and 2013, he featured in 14 and 19 international games respectively even though he averaged just 25 with the bat. As a result, he played just 6 games in 2014 where he scored 100 runs at an average of 20.
Then again, he made another comeback in 2016 but only managed to score 166 runs in 15 games. Even though there was a slump post-2011, Yuvi still scored 5002 runs in 175 games at an average of 34.26 across formats while playing under MS Dhoni.
Immediately after Virat Kohli became the captain in 2017, he was brought back into the side. He found a good amount of success where he played 14 games and scored 415 runs at an average of nearly 35 and even registered a century. But he failed with the consistency and didn’t get enough backing as he would have got under MS Dhoni.
2. Suresh Raina
There was a time when Suresh Raina was an important member of the Indian lower middle order in ODI cricket and at the top of the order in T20I cricket. Given his flexibility with the batting position, his agility on the field and his part-time bowling, he was an important part of the plans under MS Dhoni. Raina was a regular feature in Team India till 2016 despite his form going down in 2015 and 2016.
His batting average fell down after 2014 and was well below 30. Thus, he was in and out of the side but still a part of the plans. Under MS Dhoni, he played 228 international games and the left-hander scored 6,228 runs at an average of 35. Moreover, he even picked up 50 wickets with the ball. He even led the team in 15 matches between 2010 and 2014 in the absence of Dhoni.
However, as soon as Virat Kohli became the captain, he failed to get the same kind of backing. Also, the injury woes kept him out of the reckoning for a long while. Raina played just 3 games in 2017 after Kohli took over. In 2018, he played 16 games out of which 6 were under Rohit Sharma. Under the current skipper, he scored 542 runs in 26 international games.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin
One can’t argue much about Ravichandran Ashwin‘s prowess in red-ball cricket in the last 8 to 9 years. The topic of discussion here is only about white-ball cricket (ODIs and T20Is). There was a time when the Indian limited-overs squad would have been incomplete without Ashwin under MS Dhoni. He was quite economical, street-smart and the fact that India lacked options helped him.
Ashwin would operate at all stages of the innings including opening the bowling across all the formats. Dhoni backed him extensively and he was even India’s leading T20I wicket-taker until a few years ago. Even now, he is there right at the top in the shortest format. Under Dhoni, he played 78 ODIs and 42 T20Is picking up 105 and 49 wickets respectively.
But his bowling style didn’t suit Virat Kohli’s aggressive captaincy approach. He didn’t pick many wickets as per the captain’s liking and thus was ousted. Under Kohli, Ashwin played 20 ODIs and accounted for 25 scalps. In the shortest format, he only played one game and went wicketless.
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