India cricket captain Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni, offering him unflinching support amidst a growing chorus for his retirement from international cricket. Kohli made it very clear that his predecessor is an integral part of the team as he gave a cold shoulder to those calling for his retirement. "He is striking the ball beautifully, you don't need to tell him anything in terms of how to play a situation, how to build an innings," Kohli said during the post-match press conference after India won the ODI series against the West Indies 3-1 on Friday.
While he played a 78-run knock in the third one-dayer, Dhoni struggled in the 5th match, scoring 54 off 114 balls, an aberration in a career marked by explosive batting.
Kohli sought to defend the man he replaced, one by one, in all formats.
When a journalist said that Dhoni was not his usual self at one of the nets, Kohli responded, "You have to figure out what kind of wickets you are playing on as well. I was trying to hit the spinners a couple of days in practice and I couldn't because the wickets were not that great to play strokes, the wicket in the centre was much better.
"You can't really judge a guy's batting form at practice because you don't know what kind of wickets you are going to get."
Kohli used a bit of the game's nuances to drive home his point.
"If the bounce is not ideal then obviously you have to keep defending the ball and keep rotating strike. I think it was only in the last game he couldn't rotate the strike and before that he got a brilliant 70 or 80 odd not out."
The current captain recalled the former captain's successful outing against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy.
"In the Champions Trophy against Sri Lanka he played a brilliant knock, in the first game as well he played a brilliant knock here when it wasn't rained out."
He further said, "I think we get too impatient by just one game, one knock. That can happen to anyone, any batsman can struggle and any batsman can get stuck on the crease, it happens to everyone even if you are in top form it can happen to you so.
"I don't think there are any issues because you see the knocks around, he is striking the ball beautifully and the strike rate is close to 100, if not over 100. So, not bothered by anything at all," Kohli concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)