England v India: Virat Kohli backs MS Dhoni after defensive tactics
India captain Virat Kohli defended MS Dhoni after he adopted unusually defensive tactics during his team’s 86-run defeat by England at Lord’s.
Former skipper Dhoni, renowned for his swashbuckling attacking play, came out at number six at the end of the 27th over with India 140-4 in search of 323.
He made 37 in 59 balls with only two fours and was caught in the 47th over.
Kohli said of the 37-year-old: “We all have bad days and today was a bad day for everyone, not for him alone.”
Dhoni, playing his 320th one-day international, recorded his 10,000th run during his unusual innings at Lord’s, but was subjected to boos and slow hand claps from the crowd for his failure to challenge England’s total.
Joe Root made 113 for his 12th ODI century and David Willey’s unbeaten 50 from 31 balls helped England to reach 322-7.
“This thing comes up again and again when he’s not able to play the way he does,” said Kohli.
“It’s unfortunate that people jump to conclusions quickly. When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever, and when things do not go well, people pounce on him.”
Veteran wicketkeeper Dhoni was eventually caught on the boundary attempting an attacking shot.
India were finally all out for 236 from the last ball of the match, leaving the series level at 1-1 going into the deciding fixture at Headingley on Tuesday.
Kohli insisted Dhoni was not at fault for his approach, however, and added: “The idea was to take the innings deep. He has the experience but sometimes it doesn’t come off.
“We totally believe in him and the ability of all the players.”
India spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, the number 11 batsman who was the last wicket to fall, also backed the senior member of the side, claiming: “We had already lost the match so we saw it as practice for the next match.”
England fast bowler James Anderson on Test Match Special
Dhoni is renowned for being so good in chases and difficult situations. I just feel he got today horribly wrong. I felt for the crowd. They wanted some sort of entertainment.
The last 15 overs, India took their foot off the gas completely. You’re left scratching your head.