ICC World Cup 2019: MS Dhoni’s low strike rate - Ganguly, Laxman give contrasting views
MS Dhoni’s strike rate continued to be the centre of discussion even as India thrashed West Indies by 125 runs to extend their unbeaten run in the ICC World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford, Manchester on Thursday. Former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were divided in their opinion on Dhoni’s approach. While Laxman joined Sachin Tendulkar to criticize Dhoni for his lack of intent in the middle overs, Ganguly continued to back Dhoni, saying that the former India captain has to be accepted the way he is.
Dhoni found it difficult to get going before hitting two sixes in the final over to remain not out on 56 off 61 balls as India posted 268 for 7 against West Indies. Against Afghanistan too Dhoni made 28 off 52 balls absorbing many deliveries before trying to accelerate and perishing as India had a narrow escape in the low-scoring game.
Watch: Highlights of India vs West Indies World Cup match
“No doubt Dhoni is having problems to rotate the strike in the middle overs. He appears to be fine against seamers but certainly not against the spinners. Now you have to ask the question is Dhoni showing the right intent? For me, he is perhaps not. You expect so much more from an experienced player like Dhoni, who has the ability to score quickly ,” Laxman told the official broadcasters during the mid-match show on Thursday.
Dhoni starts off at a reasonable pace, scoring at a rate of 75 for the first half of his innings but his strike rate drops to 35 between balls 20 to 40, which was also the case against both Afghanistan and West Indies.
Dhoni’s first captain Ganguly, however, spoke in favour of him. “We have to live with the way Dhoni plays,” Ganugly said after India’s innings. Interestingly, Ganguly had backed Dhoni even after the Afghanistan match saying that might be a one-off incident.
Dhoni’s scoring rate, is, however, not a matter of concern for the Indian team management. India captain Virat Kohli showed his full support to Dhoni and hailed the 37-year-old for his calculated batting in the middle.
“He knows exactly what he wants to do out in the middle,” Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.
“The best thing about having someone like him is when you need those extra 15-20 runs, he knows exactly how to get them with the tail.
“Keeping strike in the end and finishing off with two big sixes gave us a boost as a team. We were looking at 250 but we got close to 270-odd because he was out there in the middle.
Dhoni has played 346 one-day internationals and Kohli said the wicketkeeper knew better than most what was a par score on a pitch.
“He is one guy in the middle who always sends out a message for the team: ‘I think this is the par score on this pitch’...he has such a keen understanding of the game.”
(With agency inputs)