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India v Pakistan: Past master MS Dhoni chips in as Virat Kohli sets new tone

BIRMINGHAM: Glorious chaos greeted the Indian team at the Edgbaston ground on Saturday.

Noisy fans across all age-groups, selfie hunters, autograph seekers, even Pakistanis fans, who used the opportunity to scream ‘Jeetega bhai jeetega, Pakistan jeetega!’ Amidst all the hype and hoopla, surrounded by a storm of conjecture, Indian skipper Virat Kohli presented a calm front, making his way to the media conference. His predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the field for a warm-up game of football.

It’s a first for the man India calls ‘Mahi’, leader, finisher par excellence. Since he took over as the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007, Dhoni hasn’t been part of the dressing room for an ICC event as just a player. Sunday’s game also marks Virat Kohli’s first match as the Indian skipper in an ICC event.

As captains, Dhoni and Kohli are chalk and cheese. While Dhoni, ‘captain cool’, gave away little by way of emotions on the field, Kohli is expressive to say the least. He has toned down over the past couple of years, but continues to be an aggressive leader whose emotions are more than obvious both on and off the field.

Even in strategies and planning they are vastly different, with Dhoni often subscribing to the six batsmen and four bowler balance and Kohli preferring five batsmen and an equal number of bowlers.

But as captain, going into his first major ICC event, Dhoni, according to Kohli, has a huge role in the dressing room. Speaking about Dhoni’s contribution, the 28-yearold pointed out, “It’s priceless to have his thoughts and views on different situations. And things that he picks up are really minor, but they make a massive difference in the course of the game or tournament.”

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