Virat Kohli VS MS Dhoni: Statistics, Captaincy Comparison, Who’s The Best

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Comparing Kohli and Dhoni is like comparing apples and oranges. Nonetheless, in a nation that lives and breathes cricket, comparing the two recent captains of the Indian cricket team is a must. Read on to find out who is a better captain – Kohli or Dhoni.

In the last couple of years, cricket pundits and fans have been comparing Virat Kohli’s captaining style with that of MS Dhoni. Many believe that unlike Dhoni, the stress of captaining the Men in Blue does not affect Kohli’s batting. This is undoubted a good thing. However, how does that compare to MS Dhoni?

Difference Between Kohli and Dhoni

MS Dhoni took over the reins from Sourav Ganguly, who was credited with bringing in the killer instincts into the Indian side. So, Dhoni has big shoes to fit into. However, in the initial years, Dhoni was more or less successful as a captain. He was able to get a team of his choice and this helped the Indian side perform.

However, Dhoni’s style of captaining the side was defensive. While Dhoni was dubbed Captain Cool as he appeared unflappable in stressful situations, captaining the side took a toll on his wicket-keeping abilities and batting. At times, due to his defensive style of captaining, India would end up losing games that they should have won.

When Kohli took over the captaincy from Dhoni, everyone thought that he was too aggressive and brash. However, he used his aggressive nature to his advantage and turned things around for the Indian cricket team. He was also the best player at that time to take over from MSD.

While it has only been a couple of years since Kohli took over the reins from Dhoni, it is already visible that he will turn out to be a better captain than MSD. The stress of captaining and playing high-pressure games has not had a negative impact on Kohli’s own performance. Hence, he has one less thing to worry about.

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Giving it Back

One of the issues that the Men in Blue have always had is tackling the on-field sledging. No captain has been able to give it back due to different reasons. However, everything changed when Kohli became the captain. He had no problem sledging players on the field, in particular, the Australian cricketers, who have been instrumental in introducing sledging in the game.

MS Dhoni never ever believed in sledging and would keep players under control and not let tempers fly on the field. This is another difference between the two players.

Giving Bowlers a Free Hand

MSD was always looking to curtail runs and take wickets in the bargain. This would pay off at the time and at times, it would backfire. He would wait for the batsman to play the wrong shot and get themselves out. He was keen that the bowlers, especially the spinners, bowl maiden overs. However, Kohli does not believe in these tactics. He is fine with the bowlers being hit for a few runs as long as they take wickets.

He rather goes for the draw than taking that ‘one’ decision to go for the win in Tests, maybe it was the best thing to do.

Making Pace Bowlers Integral to the Team

Previously, pace bowlers were used to bowling with the new ball and thereafter to give respite to the spinners, who were considered the key to winning a game. However, this changed under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.

Today, pace bowlers are as important as spinners and they are getting an opportunity to shine through and show their talent and mettle. This would explain the vast improvement in the bowling of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. Both have come into their own and are now renowned for being key wicket-takers.

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Going for the Kill

MSD was not aggressive by nature and hence, he never used to go for the kill when opportunities presented themselves. This does not mean that his captaincy was mediocre. On the contrary, Dhoni was a good captain, although a sedate and passive captain.

Virat’s aggressive captaining ensures that Team India goes for the jugular when opportunities present themselves. There is no doubt that this tactic backfires at times, but it has also helped the team to win many crunch matches. Interestingly, this tactic was employed by the Aussies under the captaincy of Ponting and Waugh and it helped the Australian team to rule the world of cricket for decades.

There are many differences between the captaining styles of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. While some believe that the Indian team is better off under Kohli others claim that Dhoni was a more matured captain. However, given the fact that Kohli is breaking records left, right and center, the stress of captaining the team has not affected him. Also, for the cricket-crazy fans in India, winning matters the most. Under who’s captaincy hardly makes a difference!

Below are few statistics that will give you a better understanding of the difference in captaining styles of MSD and Kohli. Let’s not forget that Kohli is still young and has several more years to create and break records as a captain and player.

Indian Test Captaincy Record








MS DHONI6027181545.006
S GANGULY4921131542.8511
V KOHLI35215960.008
M AZHARUDDIN4714141929.783


Most Runs as Indian Captain in Tests

MS Dhoni963454
S Gavaskar743449
V Kohli573456
M Azharuddin682856


Virat Kohli Captaincy Record in Test:

Matches as Captain: 35

Won: 21

Lost: 5

Tied: 0

Draw: 9

Win% : 60.00


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Pradeep Batham

Pradeep is a passionate sports writer who loves expressing and sharing insights about the game via words. He is always excited to share the reviews, feedback and also the insights for cricket and football. He loves to watch these sports and his passion is to review and share the insights on Cricket for Apne11.

Pradeep Batham has 99 posts and counting. See all posts by Pradeep Batham

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