Dhoni was the only player who messaged me, says Kohli in explosive press conference

Kohli took a dig at the critics after his half-century against Pakistan

Indian batsman Virat Kohli reacts after scoring a half-century against Pakistan. (AFP)
Indian batsman Virat Kohli reacts after scoring a half-century against Pakistan. (AFP)

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 11:04 PM

Last updated: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 11:25 PM

Despite the five-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the Asia Cup Super Four clash in Dubai on Sunday, India would take a few positives ahead of their next clash against Sri Lanka.

The biggest positive, of course, was Virat Kohli’s well-crafted half-century as the former India captain’s 44-ball 60 helped India set Pakistan a stiff target of 182.

It wasn’t quite the Kohli of old, but he still kept the impressive Pakistan attack on their toes with his combination of timing, power and sharp running between the wickets.

Having come to Sunday’s clash with two useful innings against Pakistan and Hong Kong in the team’s two previous games, it wasn’t a big surprise to see Kohli score runs again.

But the 33-year-old superstar surprised everyone in the post-match press conference when he revealed the extent to which he had been hurt over the past 12 months.

After quitting his Test captaincy following India’s defeat to South Africa in the series early this year, Kohli revealed that he was mentally not in an ideal space and that the only support he got was from MS Dhoni, his former captain.

"When I left Test captaincy, I got a message from only one person, with whom I played in the past. It was MS Dhoni. A lot of people have my number, a lot of people give me suggestions, a lot of people talk about my game on TV. But out of those people who had my number, I didn't get a message from anyone else barring Dhoni," Kohli said at the post-match press conference in Dubai on Sunday.

Kohli, still in search of his first international hundred since November 2019, hinted that Dhoni is the only man he feels a deep connection with in the world of Indian cricket.

"You have respect, you have a genuine connection with a few people and it looks like that (Dhoni messaging him). It's a two-way security, I don't want anything from them nor do they want anything from me," said Kohli who has faced a lot of criticism from former Indian players over his prolonged lean phase with the bat.

"I just want to say this, if I have to tell someone about their game, I reach out individually. Even if I have to reach out to them, I do it personally. If you are giving a suggestion in front of the entire world, it doesn't value a lot to me. You can talk to me one-on-one if you have to suggest something to me. You genuinely then want me to do well,” he said.

"I am not saying that it doesn't matter to me. I played my cricket honestly. Till the time I play, I would play my game honestly."

More news from Sports