Mahendra Singh Dhoni will help Virat Kohli grow as a leader, says Anil Kumble

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Pune: Indian cricket team coach Anil Kumble heaped praise on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who relinquished limited-overs captaincy ahead of the ODI series against England. Kumble, who was replaced as India’s Test skipper by Dhoni said the journey of the wicketkeeper-batsman as national captain has been phenomenal.

The former cricketer also feels that Dhoni remains a valuable player despite him quitting captaincy.

“From there to 2007 to 2017, 10 years of captaincy is phenomenal. It goes to show the capabilities of MS as a leader and also what he has been able to achieve during the transition phase and also when the seniors left as well, it is not easy coming into the team as captain and having so many senior players. He managed them really well.

“He (Dhoni) not just got the best out of them but also got the best for the team. Both as number one Test side and later on winning the World Cup and then Champions Trophy and many other victories, he has been part of,” he said referring to the time when the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid played under Dhoni.

Kumble lauded Dhoni for the timing of stepping down from captaincy.

“In this team, besides Yuvi, everybody else has started their careers under MS. So that is the kind of transition he has seen. It has been phenomenal to be able to achieve what he has been able to achieve. We all know the value that he brings as a player and as a batsman and keeper and of course his value on the field.

“It is never easy to take a call. Hats off to him. That shows how selfless he is and he probably thought it was the right time for Virat to take over. Like how I felt back then

it was the right time for MS to come in, it is great for the team to have MS on the field with Virat leading the side.

“Like I mentioned, Virat came into the side when MS was captain, so the bonhomie and bond that they shared will only help Virat grow as a leader. And Virat has shown the exceptional quality he has and what he brings to the team, both as an individual and leader. We have seen the results under him in Test format and I am sure he will be equally good in one-day format,” said Kumble.

Dhoni has made it amply clear that he would like to bat at four and with Yuvraj Singh back in the squad, it remains to be seen who the team management picks to bat at 4, 5, 6.

“I don’t think it is the right for me to discuss the team combination. Like you mentioned it is a good choice that we have in the squad with Yuvi coming back into the team. We all know what he is capable of. Having said that, both Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav in that slot have done well. It is nice to have choices, there is competition in the team and that is what you want. All 15 members are available for selection,” said Kumble.

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