Debate is a natural propensity for any sports fan. And for the Indian cricket fan, it’s an important one right now – should MS Dhoni continue to play Twenty 20’s?
It’s taken on a life of its own after the 40-run loss to New Zealand on Saturday, the aftermath of Dhoni’s 37-ball 49. First, you must wonder if that statistic is so bad for a No 6 batsman when his side is chasing 197 for victory. The answer is no, considering that Dhoni came in to bat at 67-4 in the 10th over and India were playing a batsman short. Then, there is the margin of victory, only 40-odd in a massive run chase.
The two openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma – only made 6 runs between them, and India were 11/2. It’s like trying to prove that Romelu Lukaku doesn’t score enough against big opponents.
“I don’t look at numbers. I look at how we play, how he plays,” Jose Mourinho said after Manchester United lost 1-0 at Chelsea. These words sit well as an explanation for Dhoni’s batting in Rajkot. The numbers aren’t bad, and but there’s more to why he’s in the Indian team.
Dhoni is no longer the marauder he once was in the T20 format, hitting sixes at will. Age has clearly slowed down reflexes and the natural gift of timing when needed most. He is no longer the authoritarian force in the ODI format either, but adventurism in the 50-over game has been replaced by pragmatism. That is why he survives in the ODI arena on sheer willpower, while he seems outdated for T20s.
So, does Dhoni belong in India’s T20 side now? With the next World T20 three years away (2020 in Australia), the obvious answer is no. The Indian domestic scene is a wilderness teaming with young T20 aspirants who have tested out their wares in the Indian Premier League and are waiting for an opportunity to be called up to the international stage.
Sources:- Economic Times