MS Dhoni had a bitter sweet outing with the bat in his comeback innings during the first ODI against Australia at the SCG, registering his first fifty in the 50 over format since December 2017. His knock of 51 off 96 deliveries chasing 289 however caused a lot of stir among the cricket experts and critics from India. His slow innings turned out to be one of the primary reasons why India weren’t able to cross the finish line at the SCG.
Former Indian cricketer Ajit Agarkar is among the bandwagon who believe that it was Dhoni’s questionable knock which cost India the game at the SCG. Team India were rattled by three early blows at the start of the innings, with Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ambati Rayudu back in the pavilion with the scoreboard reading 4/3. Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni steadied the ship for the visitors, putting on a 137 run stand for the fourth wicket.
Rohit Sharma, was watchful early on in his innings, started playing the big shots soon after while MS Dhoni struggled to get going at the other end. The former Indian skipper found it difficult to pick gaps in the vast SCG field, let alone finding the boundaries.
The 37 year old eventually departed soon after scoring his 68th ODI fifty while his partner at the other end kept India’s hope alive with a sensational 22nd ODI century. The opener’s valliant effort, however, went in vain as the visitors finished with 254/9 34 runs short of Australia’s first innings score of 288.
“Yes, tough situation to come in when you are three down with four runs on the board. And you could argue that the first 25-30 balls, you’ve not been here. But once you are set. I mean Rohit can get 288 all by himself. There has to be a support from the other end. And not from someone who is striking at 50 when he finishes after 100 balls. And, 100 balls are a lot of deliveries in one-day cricket,” Agarkar was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“You can argue for the first few deliveries because the pressure is on and you don’t want to throw your wicket. But eventually, you need to do what the team requires you to do. And if you are not doing it then you got to worry about whether the person is good enough to do it or not. Yes, he got a fifty but even then it was fifty off like 100 balls. That wasn’t helping Rohit at the other end. Dhoni fans might argue that he got a rough one otherwise he could have carried on. But it did not look like in that stage. It seemed that Rohit was doing the bulk of the work,” he added.