Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni stole the limelight in the 2nd ODI against Australia at Adelaide, smashing an unbeaten 55 off 54 balls to take India home 4 balls to spare. The veteran wicketkeeper hit the winning runs for India and stayed unbeaten till the end as the men in blue chased 299 by 6 wickets to keep their series hopes alive after a shocking defeat in the first ODI at the SCG on Saturday.
MS Dhoni’s batting form has been a major talking point ahead of the three match ODI series. The veteran wicketkeeper batsman only managed 275 runs from 20 ODIs in 2018 without a single half century to his name. In the first ODI at Sydney, the 37 year old scored a sluggish 51 off 96 deliveries as India lost the game by 34 runs. His slow innings earned him criticism from several quarters and turned out to one of the primary reasons behind India’s loss at the venue.
It was however a completely different story at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday as the wicketkeeper batsman looked in complete control of his innings right through the run chase, stitching an 82-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli (104 off 112 balls) to put India in command of the match. The veteran did not lose his composure even after Virat Kohli’s departure and carried the momentum forward well supported by Dinesh Karthik at the other end to pull off a remarkable run chase with an unbeaten 57-run stand.
Former Indian skipper and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on the 37 year old and remarked that it was important for his critics to realize that Dhoni wasn’t getting any younger and hence be patient with him. The 69 year old believes that Dhoni is an absolute must for India in the World Cup given the sheer advantage value he brings into the team as a wicketkeeper. Gavaskar opined that Dhoni’s tremendous experience and understanding of the game would come in handy for Virat Kohli in the 50 over format.
“He keeps telling the bowlers to bowl a particular delivery, what a batsman is planning to do. He has a sense of what a batsman is thinking. Obviously, nobody can read precisely what is going on in a batsman mind…the best way to help bowlers, the best way to help field placements for a captain or wicketkeeper is to put himself in that particular batsman’s place or mind. What the batsman is looking to do now…is he looking to get out of jail kind of shot? Is he looking to push the ball ball around for a single? These are the kind of things where Dhoni helps the bowlers and of course with the field placing because Virat is so important in the deep in the final overs when he saves those two runs diving around, takes magnificent catches in the deep. So it’s not possible for Virat to maybe have a conversation with the bowlers or maybe to make adjustments to the square fielders. That is where Virat has complete faith and trust in Dhoni to make those little bit of adjustments for him,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“That value you cannot calculate at all. My prayer is to please leave the gentleman alone and he will continue to do well. He is also not getting younger. So the consistency you might have at a younger age will obviously not be there and you have to bear with that. Bear with that little inconsistency. But he’s still tremendous value to the team,” he added.