Here is why former Indian captain veteran keeper-batsman MS Dhoni still commands a place in the ODI and T20I team.
MS Dhoni maybe 37 years old but he is still extremely fit. Although his batting has been on a wane in the recent times, Dhoni has showed time and again that he has still a lot of cricket left in him. In the recently concluded IPL, Dhoni bounced back with the bat and was at his prime.
His tactical decisions as a Captain and scintillating finishes ensured that Chennai Super Kings became the champions of the league. After reaching England, there has been another noticeable rough patch that Dhoni is going through and the critics have again raised their heads again.
Here are the reasons why MS Dhoni still commands a place in the ODI and T20I team:
Anchors the innings
MS Dhoni generally comes into bat at No 6. However, this is not certain as his place keeps fluctuating as per the situation of the match. If too many wickets don’t fall at the top, sometimes Hardik Pandya comes ahead of him to score a few quick runs. But when the team does not get off to a good start and loses wickets early, the only hope that the fans have is that of MS Dhoni.
Even the idea of Dhoni at the crease gives a sense of stability to the side. Accepted, that there are times when the team required him to go all guns blazing and he may take a little more time than considered ideal.
But at other times, the team requires somebody to play the role of an anchor and allow others to play around him. In recent years, this is where the Dhoni is at his best.
Guides young spinners from behind the wickets
After India lost in the Finals of the Champions Trophy, Indian Captain Virat Kohli made a big change in the Indian bowling strategy. Prior to the Champions Trophy, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja used to bowl for India in the middle over.
Their main job was to restrict the batsmen and not allow them to score freely. In the early stage of their career, they did pick up a lot of wickets as well.
However, in the later part though their economy was under 6, the duo did not take enough wickets. Because of this, the opposition team could go hard in the slog overs .
After Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav came into the picture, things changed drastically. These were attacking bowlers who started taking wickets and turned around the game on its head.
“Everytime When MSDhoni Scores Less Runs, People Says He Should Retired But Those People Should Take Mirror And Ask Themselves That, They have 1/6th Work As Much Dhoni Done For India” – Ravi Shastri
— DHONIsm™ 💙 (@DHONIism) July 21, 2018
As the spinners were quite young and inexperienced, they needed somebody to guide them. They found a perfect partner in MS Dhoni who had the best view of the ball from behind the wickets.
Dhoni keeps mentoring the spinners from time to time. Dhoni not only contributes with the bat and is outstanding with the gloves, he also helps his teammates whenever he can. Dhoni keeps chirping from the back when Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are bowling.
This has become a common sight in Indian cricket in the recent days. Whenever the spinners err in length or line, there is always someone from the back of the wickets to help them get back on track.
Sets the field when Kohli is stationed in the deep
There are several times in the match especially in the slog overs when Virat Kohli fields to feel either at long off, long on or at mid-wicket. As Kohli is one of the best field is in the team, it is quite logical that he fields at a place where the ball has most probability of coming.
But due to this, he is not able to control the field. MS Dhoni then takes over and sets the field. Being a keeper, he also has an innate advantage as he can decipher the angles from behind the wickets. Having tremendous experience, Dhoni also understands the playing style of various batsmen and keeps tinkering with the field according to that.
On a lighter note, MS Dhoni took the ball from the on-field umpire Michael Gough only to see why his aides couldn’t inflict pain upon English batters. Having a ball, is not a bad omen at all. Remember, he is coming home. So, sit back & relax. Kohli won’t let him retire. #ENGvsIND
— Tahir Ibn Manzoor (@TahirIbnManzoor) July 17, 2018
Spot on with DRS
There are very few cricketers around who are as good with the DRS as MS Dhoni. Dhoni is spot on with the decision review system and is right 9 times out of 10. Whenever there is a call to be taken, the entire team along with Captain Virat Kohli looks at MS Dhoni.
Dhoni is the one who finally decides whether the decision will be referred or not. It is surprising to know that most of the times he is spot on and hence the team greatly benefits from Dhoni’s innate skill.
Experience always counts
Dhoni is such a great cricketer and has had so much experience that he is very handy to have in the team. With the team going through transition, it is always nice to have a seasoned bloke like him in the team.
Even if Dhoni does not score many runs as he used to, he is a vital cog in the Indian team. He guides bowlers – not only spinners but also pacers – about the lines and lengths they have to bowl.
He also preempts what the batsmen are going to do and gives inputs to his teammates. Dhoni is also flawless behind the wickets and this is something which goes quite unnoticed.
In the batting department as well, Dhoni’s inputs are crucial in shuffling the batting order according to the match situation. MS Dhoni also forms an important part of the leadership group who decides on various matters on and off the field.