India vs New Zealand, semi-final, World Cup 2019: We are all grateful to Dhoni for the way he has handled Indian cricket, says Kohli

M.S. Dhoni has drawn flak in World Cup 2019 for his slow scoring rate, however, the Indian skipper has backed the 38-year-old for his superlative performances in the past.

Equations between a former captain and his successor can be fraught with anxiety, especially if the two gentlemen are still playing together.

But for M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli, the passing of the baton has been remarkable for its grace and camaraderie. With Dhoni playing his last World Cup and the current edition nearing its climax over the weekend, Kohli paid tributes to his predecessor, who remains an inspiration and a sounding board for the current Indian skipper.

Speaking to the media at Old Trafford here on Monday, Kohli said: “For us, who started our careers under him, the respect will always be there because of the opportunities he gave us and the faith he showed in us and the way he handled the whole team in transition.

"Now we are the ones who are taking Indian cricket forward. When a person has done so much for the team you have to appreciate and acknowledge. From the respect point of view for MS, it's always going to be sky-high.”

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And then Kohli explained another critical facet - Dhoni’s ability to step back and give space: “I know how difficult it can be to transition from being captain to just being a player within the same team. He is not being too assertive or too pushy in anything. He gives you space to make your own decisions and to actually discover yourself, that has been his biggest quality. At the same time, if I go ask him anything, he is there giving me advice. I am delighted that I have been able to play for so many years with him.”