NEW DELHI: Ace cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has recalled how former Team India skipper MS Dhoni had backed a young Virat Kohli and saved him from being dropped during the 2011-12 Australia tour.
Manjrekar also hailed Dhoni, who, during his 16-year-long illustrious career, had played a vital role in shaping the careers of many current Indian cricketers like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Ravi Ashwin, etc.
The former cricketer-turned-commentator recalled how Team India was badly down during the horrendous 2011-12 tour of Australia under Dhoni and how Kohli came to rescue his side.
Despite being whitewashed 4-0 in the four Tests, Team India had a lot of hope from a young Kohli then. By then, Kohli had impressed everyone with some notable performances in limited-overs but was yet to make his mark in the purest format altogether.
The Australia tour was an important one for Kohli to make a mark in whites. However, Kohli did not score well in the first four tests and scored just 11, 0, 23 and 9.
Manjrekar recalled that Kohli was about to be dropped for the final two Tests but Dhoni came to his rescue. Finally, Kohli ended the series with scores of 44, 75 and also notched up his maiden hundred in the final Test in Adelaide.
Manjrekar recalled the whole episode while speaking to a sports news channel. “Virat Kohli is Virat Kohli. He always finds ways to score runs. The hundred that he scored in the 2011/12 series, India lost it 0-4. They’d lost to England 0-4. And I think that was the only century scored by an Indian in that series. He was a young man who actually was on the verge of getting dropped after Sydney. Dhoni backed him; he played in Perth scored a 70 and then he got that hundred,” Manjrekar said.
At present, Virat Kohli is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the world and possibly the best all-format batsman going around. But like many other players, Kohli too had struggled and battled inconsistency early in his Test career.
In Tests, the 32-year-old has scored seven double tons (most by an Indian), 27 centuries overall and averages over 50 (53.62) with 7,240 runs in 86 Tests.
Kohli-led India is currently gearing up for the four-match Test series opener, versus Australia, with the first Test to be played under lights at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide from December 17-21.