Based on the India ODI captain’s early struggles, ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’, is all set to hit the screens later this month. Like any other Bollywood script, the film has a happy ending.
In reality, Dhoni, in the twilight of his career, is struggling to sign off on a good note as captain and batsman.
After the World Cup last year in Australia, India lost nine ODIs out of 16 under Dhoni’s captaincy. Of the seven victories, three were against Zimbabwe and one against Bangladesh.
India also lost the series against Bangladesh, South Africa and Australia. However, they beat Zimbabwe 3-0.
Dhoni, who made his ODI debut at Dhaka in 2004, is 34 and it is a challenge for a batsman to regain form at this age because of slowing reflexes.
The Champions Trophy is next year and the World Cup is three years away, and it seems Dhoni will have to play the upcoming ODI and T20 series for the selectors rather than for himself and the team.
Besides captaincy, his performance as a reliable batsman and finisher is also under question.
After a 65 off 94 balls in the World Cup semi-final against Australia at Sydney last year, Dhoni has managed only two fifties in 16 ODIs.
In addition, he is also consuming more deliveries. He made 45 off 75 balls against Bangladesh in a loss at Dhaka. At Rajkot against South Africa, he took 61 balls to reach 47.
His best innings of an unbeaten 92 off 86 balls was against South Africa at Indore. India went on to win the match.
Is he still the best finisher? As of now, the faith remains intact.
“Dhoni is one of the best finishers in the world. Nine times out of 10 he will win matches,” said Ajinkya Rahane.
Since January 2014, Dhoni has batted in the last over in four T20s and two ODIs. India were in a position to win the matches, but lost three T20s against England, Zimbabwe and West Indies, and an ODI against South Africa.
India won the Sydney ODI and the T20 against Australia at Mohali this year.
Dhoni is considered a T20 expert who does not lose his cool in the demanding format.
However, stats since 2014 suggest the team’s overall performance was the key to that success rather than individual performances.
India played 18 T20Is during this period and Dhoni came to bat when the team was in a comfortable position to win.
Of the 18 innings, he went back unbeaten 10 times, and six times he wasn’t required to bat.