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Not bookish, it’s plain instinctive

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says he’s unperturbed by questions on his batting technique; adapting to different situations is more important. Rohit Bhaskar reports. Fitness doubts

cricket Updated: Dec 25, 2011 02:22 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times

As captain there's not much MS Dhoni hasn't achieved. T20 World Champions. Check. ODI World Champions. Check. Number One ranked Test team. Check As a batsman, his unorthodox technique has been effective in most formats of the game. He averages over 50 in ODIs, and like many cricket legends (Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Aravinda de Silva, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist) he can claim to have hit the game-changing knock in the most important ODI match of them all - the World Cup final.

In T20s also he's proved that textbook perfect is not necessarily the way to go - anyone who saw the chest-thumping, adrenaline-pumping knock in picturesque Dharamshala during the 2010 IPL will whole-heartedly agree.

Matter of runs

In Tests, however, the pressure of keeping wicket for days at times, batting low down the order, and for the past three years, setting the fields and calling the shots, have probably constricted him from reaching his true potential. But, then again it could all be down to that technique.

"Very difficult for me to answer, because technically I am not very sound. Something that the coach does. One of these days I'll ask Duncan [Fletcher] to come for a press conference," he responds during a press conference, when asked if he's making any adjustments to his technique to adapt to the Australian conditions.

Century abroad

It's been over 5 years since Dhoni's last Test ton abroad — a brutally effective 148 at Faisalabad, where a he got the majority of his runs in a massive seventh-wicket stand with Irfan Pathan — to say nothing of the fact that he hasn't hit a Test ton outside the sub-continent.

“I don't think much about it,” Dhoni said. "Of course as I said I am not technically very sound. At times for me it is about adapting to the conditions. Batting at No. 7, especially if you see this year, it hasn't been a brilliant year for me individually.

“I see this year as a year where I have scored a lot of these 80s. At times I have been short of partners, like for example, in South Africa I was batting decently, and (during) a couple of innings, all of a sudden I didn't have batsmen batting with me.

"(In these situations) You look to score as many runs as possible, and at times you get out. At the end of the day it looks like you haven't scored runs. Of course I would like to improve as an individual," he said.

First Published: Dec 24, 2011 23:57 IST