While speaking with reporters recently, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (a.k.a. MS Dhoni), had nothing but praise for Indian Cricketer, Virat Kohli..

The occasion was the launch of a new app, Run Adam, which is designed to help up-and-coming athletes to further hone their skills. Mahendra Dhoni has a 25% stake in this enterprise, hence his presence at the official launch.

Among the many questions posed to him by reporters, one of the major questions centred around the Indian cricket skipper, Virat Kohli. Being a former India skipper himself, Dhoni was full of praise for his successor Virat Kohli, who yet again, slammed a brilliant century and fifty against England at Edgbaston in the first Test, which the visitors lost by 31 runs.

He had this to say; “Virat is the best and he’s already reached a status where he is close to a legend stage. I am happy for him and the way he has batted. He has been brilliant in the last few years. He has taken the team forward and that’s what you want from a leader. I wish all the best to him,” said Dhoni.

When asked about his opinion as to why India was beaten in the first Test of the on-going series, the experienced cricketer replied with a mysterious response. He said; “In order to win a Test match in cricket, you need wickets and that’s the only answer. It doesn’t matter how well you bat or how well you play for five days. If you are taking 20 wickets, you can win a Test match.” Feel free to interpret that response as you wish.

He was also asked about why chose to ask the umpires for the ball after India had lost the third ODI to England by eight wickets at Leeds last month.

At the time, such a gesture by the veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni triggered a lot of speculation in the media that, perhaps, he was calling it quits with international cricket. You will recall that he had earlier retired from Test cricket in December 2014.

However, that rumour was quashed when the chief coach of India’s team, Ravi Shastri, revealed that there was nothing to it other than the fact that the 37 year old veteran merely wanted him to see the condition of the ball.

On Tuesday, Dhoni further corroborated the Coach Shastri’s statement.

He said; “You have to keep working on what’s happening. That (asking the umpire for the ball) was to see why we weren’t getting enough reverse swing because we will be playing the World Cup in England and what’s it that we have to do to get reverse swing going. That is very important. The opposition was getting it, and we should also have got it at some point or the other,” Dhoni said.

“I requested to the umpire if I could get the ball, and I gave it to the bowling coach, and told him how we can get if scuffed up so that we could get a bit of reverse swing from it. That will help the fast bowlers bowl yorkers from the 40th over and that would help us to restrict the opposition from getting too many runs in the last 10 overs,” Dhoni said.

Having said that, he has effectively quashed any rumours of his imminent retirement from the game.

As the line of questions veered away from cricket, Dhoni’s smile broadened, as he supported the Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s statement released on Monday that in order to further promote sports in India, the academic school syllabus in the schools will be reduced by 50% in the coming year.

“It will be interesting to see what the parents think about reducing the syllabus because education is very important. But sport does teach you a lot in life. A school is the right place to push the youngsters to play more sport.

When I was in class sixth or seventh, I had no clue whether I will become a cricketer or a footballer, or an athlete. In between, there was a phase when parents were not keen on pushing kids to sport, and the focus was on studies. 90% marks was considered very good, but now, 90% is just another number.

Had I even studied for 24 hours a day, 90% is not something I would have got at any point of time. I was good at sports, and that’s something really helped. Schooldays are a very important part of life and teach you a lot of things,” he felt.

“Be it mentally or physically, sport teaches a lot to the students and that actually helps in practical life. Sports should play a big role in students’ life and everyone should be pushed to it,” he said.

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