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Virat Kohli blasts MS Dhoni critics: He is an intelligent cricketer, give him space

India Today logo India Today 18-01-2019 Rajarshi Gupta

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(Provided by NDTV)

Virat Kohli doffed his hat to MS Dhoni after India won their first bilateral ODI series in Australia. Dhoni top-scored with an unbeaten 87 as India chased down 231 in Melbourne to win by 7 wickets and take the series 2-1.

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© Getty In three ODIs, Dhoni scored three fifties and aggregated 193 runs, the second most after Shaun Marsh. Dhoni was named man-of-the-series for the seventh time. In fact, he became the oldest Indian to win the award. Questioned in the past, especially after an ordinary 2018, Dhoni answered his critics in style.

India vs Australia: Full coverage

Last year, Dhoni managed only 275 runs from 20 ODIs. Critics had started wondering if Dhoni was past his prime. Some suggested he should play domestic cricket to stay in shape for international cricket. Rishabh Pant, meanwhile, went from strength to strength and finished as the second highest run-scorer in the Test series.

Kohli, who has defended Dhoni fiercely in the past, lashed out at MSD critics after India wrapped up the series win.

See: Top moments from the 3rd ODI

"I think as a team we are very happy for MS. It's important to get runs under your belt to get the rhythm back," Kohli told the media on Friday.

"He will build on this performance in the series. Every batsman needs that kind of rhythm and runs next to your name to gain confidence. People say a lot of things on the outside. As an individual, I know that nobody is more committed to Indian cricket than MS.

People should give MS his space.. He is a very intelligent cricketer and he knows what he is doing."

When Virat Kohli took over as India's limited-overs captain in 2017, he had expressed his desire to see MS Dhoni bat up the order. Now that Dhoni has started playing those match-winning knocks at No.4, the Indian team has at last found the much needed balance.

For two years, India struggled to fill in Nos 4 and 5. With MS Dhoni returning to form months before the World Cup, Virat Kohli can afford to tick a lot of boxes.

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