Asia Cup: Virat Kohli will be under pressure as captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be missed, says Sunil Gavaskar
Former Test captain Sunil Gavaskar said India will miss senior player and permanent captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Asia Cup, who was ruled out tournament in Bangladesh last week due to an injury. India will take on Bangladesh on Wednesday.
India's stand-in skipper Virat Kohli will be under pressure to produce good results in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, according to former captain Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar also said senior player and permanent captain MS Dhoni will be sorely missed during the course of the five-nation tournament.
Dhoni was ruled out of the Asia Cup tournament with a left side-strain injury last week, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed it in a release, along with naming Dinesh Karthik as his replacement. Kohli was named captain in Dhoni's absence. "Virat (Kohli) will be under pressure. If he produces the results then it is a good start for him," Gavaskar told NDTV in an exclusive chat. (India vs Bangladesh preview)
Gavaskar also said that even if Kohli did not deliver as Team India captain in Bangladesh, he should not be judged on the basis of just one tournament. "Don't judge Virat by just one tournament. Don't expect tremendous results from him as skipper," said the former Indian captain. (Also read: Virat Kohli ready to test himself as skipper)
"Captaincy, like anything else, is a role to be settled into. So to expect Virat to produce tremendous results might be going over the top. But if he does produce tremendous results it means that he has begun well. Yes, I think he will be under pressure because he realises that with the recent results that India has had there are a lot of expectations from him. There has been a lot of talk about Dhoni retiring as captain from one format and so maybe that is the reason why maybe Virat will feel a little more of the pressure," he added. (Related: Dhoni not the only casualty as injuries mar Asia Cup)
While encouraging Kohli as captain, Gavaskar made it clear that India could not do without the services of Dhoni, who is a combination of a great finisher, a great runner between wickets and a top-class keeper. "India is going to miss him massively. Apart from the fact that he just takes the game away from the opposition, it's the running between the wickets that he puts pressure on the opposition. So in all aspects I think he is going to be missed massively as a player in the team. Again as a wicketkeeper, he is top class. Not too many people give him credit for being the kind of wicketkeeper he is. But he is a tremendous cricketer and I just hope that whatever injury he suffered in New Zealand, he gets over that pretty quickly," said Gavaskar.
The Indian cricket legend also touched upon how the fifth bowler could prove key for the team in sub-continental conditions but said the top-four bowlers should do most of the job. "The fifth bowler will be key. Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu will be good options but the first four bowlers will have to do the job for India," Gavaskar added.
Ahead of India's first match in the Asia Cup tournament against Bangladesh on Wednesday, Gavaskar said that the hosts must not be taken lightly keeping in view the home advantage. "Bangladesh can't be taken lightly at home but probably they are a little short on confidence. India has to capitalise on the absence of veteran player Shakib Al Hasan," he said. (Beating India is no longer an upset: Mortaza)