There are certain players who enjoy the confidence of certain captains.
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are two of the most iconic Indian players of the modern era. While Dhoni led the Indian team for almost a decade, Kohli took over the mantle from him and has been leading the side for the last few years. Both their captaincy styles are completely different.
Kohli is generally in the face of the opposition and loves showing his emotions. On the other hand, Dhoni rarely showed any emotions on the field and always seemed cool and calm. The wicket-keeper loved playing with spinners while Kohli loves backing his fast bowlers. He seems to love the pace on the ball.
Hence, as captain, you generally tend to back certain players. There are certain players who enjoy the confidence of certain captains. Dhoni did back quite a few players when he was at the helm while Kohli is doing the same. Thus, let’s look at three players who MS Dhoni didn’t really back but Virat Kohli did in his reign as captain.
1 Kuldeep Yadav
There’s absolutely no secret that Virat Kohli loves having Kuldeep Yadav in the side. Irrespective of the format, he has always backed the chinaman. Kuldeep shot into the limelight back in 2014 during the Under19 World Cup where he finished as the joint-second highest wicket-taker (14 wickets).
However, he had to wait for another three years to make his international debut. He was included in the national side a couple of times but didn’t get a game. MS Dhoni was the captain during that time. However, he was a tad reluctant to throw the chinaman in. It was only in a Test match against Australia in March 2017 that he made his maiden appearance in international cricket.
However, since then he hasn’t looked back. He soon made his ODI debut as well and he has had the complete backing of Virat Kohli who took over the captaincy across all formats in 2017. Hence, in just over two years, Kuldeep Yadav has turned into India’s premier white-ball bowler and has also been in and around the Test team.
He has formed a lethal partnership along with Yuzvendra Chahal in limited-overs cricket while he has got limited opportunities in Tests. Kohli has often been vocal about the chinaman’s importance and has backed him throughout.
2 Umesh Yadav
When Umesh Yadav first arrived on the international scene in 2011, there was quite a bit of excitement. One of the biggest reasons was his pace and his ability to lock high speeds regularly. However, consistency and accuracy have been the issue.
Yadav was in and around the Indian team across all formats. However, he played just 13 Test matches under MS Dhoni. He was quite wayward and Dhoni didn’t really have enough trust in the Vidarbha pacer. However, Kohli’s love for fast bowlers saw him back Umesh Yadav consistently.
Hence, the right-arm fast bowler featured consistently post 2015, especially in Test cricket. At home, he has been one of India’s first-choice pacers. He played 12 out of the 13 Test matches India played in the 2016-17 home season and did really well. He continues to enjoy Kohli’s confidence and is one of the premier red-ball pacers. Even in white-ball cricket, despite not having the best returns, India (under Kohli) have constantly gone back to Yadav.
3 KL Rahul
KL Rahul made it to the Indian team on the back of some consistent domestic performances. He played the Under19 World Cup in 2010 and from then on, he started churning out runs for Karnataka in domestic cricket. Despite scoring heavily, Rahul never made it to the Indian team in his initial 3-4 years.
He got his chance during India’s tour to Australia in 2014-15. He made his debut in the third Test in Melbourne which eventually turned out to be MS Dhoni’s last. Rahul did have a horror debut but bounced back to score a century in the next Test in Sydney. Since then, he has been a regular member of the Indian Test team. Injuries have played a part but he’s been thoroughly backed by Kohli.
Despite Rahul’s inconsistency and failures in Test cricket in the recent past, he has continued to enjoy Kohli’s confidence and held his spot. Moreover, though he hasn’t got a long run in white-ball cricket, Kohli has tried to fit him in on multiple occasions. In T20Is, Rahul has batted at 3 on multiple occasions and in ODI cricket, he has also been tried at No. 4 on a couple of instances. Moreover, Rahul barely played under MS Dhoni across all formats.