Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has credited legendary wicketkeeper-batter MS Dhoni with playing a major role in star batter Virat Kohli‘s transformation into a modern-era legend. Kohli has established his legacy as a world class modern-day batter and is regarded by many as the greatest player of his generation. However, Gavaskar pointed out how Dhoni backed Kohli during the early stage of his career despite the the 35-year-old having a “start-stop” form. Gavaskar’s remark came after rain stopped play during the Mumbai Indians vs Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) IPL 2024 match at the Wankhede Stadium.

“When Virat Kohli started his career, it was a stop-start career. The fact that MS Dhoni gave him that little extra momentum is why he is the Kohli we see today,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

Gavaskar has been critical of Kohli’s form this season and also slammed the RCB icon over his outburst on criticism over his strike-rate during the initial phase of IPL 2024.

Kohli had taken a swipe at his critics, saying: “All the people who talk about strike rates and me not playing spin well are the ones who love talking about this stuff. But for me, it’s just about winning the game for the team. And there’s a reason why you do it for 15 years – because you’ve done this day in [and] day out; you’ve won games for your teams.

“I am not quite sure if you’ve been in that situation yourself to sit and speak about the game from a box. I don’t really think it’s the same thing [as playing out there]. So for me, it’s just about doing my job. People can talk about their own ideas and assumptions of the game, but those who have done it day in [and] day out know what’s happening, and it’s kind of a muscle memory for me now.”

Responding to Kohli’s remark, Gavaskar came up with a sharp retort, saying: “If you have a strike rate of 118, you come and face the first ball, and then you get out in the 14th or 15th over and your strike rate is 118 – if you want applause for that, then that’s a little bit different. We’ve all played a bit of cricket, not a lot of cricket, but we speak about what we see. We don’t necessarily have any likes and dislikes. Even if we have likes or dislikes, we actually speak about what’s happening. So, I would be very disappointed if Star Sports showed this once more because that would be questioning all of us commentators.”

Despite all the criticism from Gavaskar and a few others, Kohli continues to pile up runs in IPL 2024. He is currently the leading run-getter in the tournament with 661 runs at a strike rate of 155.16 from 13 matches.


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