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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014
Dhoni the batsman is good news for Indian cricket
Sanjay Manjrekar
February 24, 2013
First Published: 23:34 IST(24/2/2013)
Last Updated: 23:44 IST(24/2/2013)

Australia disregarded the pitch and played to their strength by picking four seam bowlers and one spinner. They can make a strong case for that, but now that India have gone past their first innings score, it's a decision that will hold Australia back in this Test. India, with a bowling line-up more suited to the conditions, will have an edge as this fascinating Test continues to evolve.

Trump card
One look at the pitch from close quarters and it's easy to see that if you have spinners who can consistently bowl in the full length area where the 'rough' is, Australia will struggle to get 200. Talking of the rough areas created by the footmarks of the bowlers, the best bowler to exploit that in the second innings for India will not be Ashwin or Harbhajan Singh, but Ravindra Jadeja.

Australia have four left-handers in their top six and the rough outside the off-stump is just God sent for Jadeja.

Point to prove
As far as Day Three was concerned, there were some significant events like Tendulkar's dismissal, Virat's innings, Pattinson's brilliance. But the most heartening thing was Dhoni's performance with the bat. Apart from the way he batted and the vital contribution he made to take India ahead of Australia, what emerged was that it seems he wants to prove a point with the bat in Test matches. We have been a bit unfair to Dhoni over the years when it's his captaincy that we have focused on; Dhoni the keeper and Dhoni the batsman always came after Dhoni the captain.

His overseas record as a Test batsman has gone against him to be rated as a top-class Test batsman.

Yes, like most India batsmen, swing troubles him a bit but his great and rare strength is that he is not shy of pace and bounce. And the only reason I find now that he has a lacklustre overseas record is perhaps he felt that it was more Dhoni the captain that Indian cricket needed. But now with Dravid and Laxman gone, he feels strongly that he can serve India even better at number six too.

The writer is a former India batsman
PMG


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