It was a historic outing for the Virat Kohli led Indian cricket team, who beat Australia by 6 wickets in the series decider at the MCG on Friday to register their first ever bilateral ODI series win on Australian Soil. Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni was the focal point of the victory, smashing 87 off 114 balls to take India past the finishing line with four balls to spare. It was the 37 year old’s third consecutive half century in the three match series as he ended up as the highest run getter in the series with 193 runs and was rightfully adjudged the man of the series.
Former Indian skipper heaped praise on the veteran wicketkeeper batsman and cited that his regaining of form was a massive boost for the Indian cricket team ahead of the 2019 World Cup. Dhoni did not have a particularly great start to the ODI series and had to face a lot of flak after a sluggish 51 off 96 deliveries in the first ODI at Adelaide in which he used up a lot of deliveries to get in. Spending time in the middle however helped him to regain his lost touch and he looked a completely different player in the games that followed.
Ganguly reckons that MS Dhoni will gain immense confidence from his performance in the three match series and feels that the number 4 slot would be the ideal position for him going into the 2019 World Cup.
“The way Dhoni has batted in the series. We have seen him play like this after a long time. India have played well and again won a series 2-1 after being 1-0 down. A lot was said about Dhoni after the Adelaide ODI, where he batted slow but we spoke about how the innings will give him confidence and that is exactly what happened,” Sourav Ganguly was quoted as saying in IndiaTV’s show Cricket Ki Baat.
Ganguly also voiced his opinion on India’s middle order combination for the mega event. The 46 year old feels that Kohli at 3, Dhoni 4 and Jadhav at 5 followed by Karthik at 6 should be the ideal combination for Team India at the World Cup.
“I think Kedar will play No.5 and Dhoni will play at No.4. So I think India will go with this combination only because you gave someone an opportunity and they grabbed it. So Kohli at 3, Dhoni 4 and Jadhav at 5 followed by Karthik. No.4 is right for Dhoni because it gives him time to settle in and score runs and build an innings. So this combination is fine,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly also heaped praise on Kedar Jadhav and deemed his performance on ODI comeback as another big takeaway from the series for India. The veteran cricketer scored an unbeaten 61 and took the pressure off MS Dhoni in the final ODI with gritty ones and twos alongwith the odd boundary every now and then to keep India alive in the chase. The duo put on an unbeaten 121 run stand with MS Dhoni for the fourth wicket to guide India home with 7 wickets in hand and four balls to spare.
“A good thing that India got from this match was Kedar Jadhav. When India was in a fix, he took the game out along with Dhoni. He had not batted in the series.. He had not played a practice match and was just batting in the nets. So scoring runs in the middle makes a difference and he will take confidence from this,” Ganguly added.