‘MS Dhoni won’t be missed in Indian T20 cricket team, time to look beyond him’
MS Dhoni took too long to settle down during India’s chase in the second T20I against New Zealand, feels Ajit Agarkar. He also advocated for younger players to be roped inindia vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 05, 2017 17:16 IST
Hours after India fell to a 40-run defeat in their tie against New Zealand on Saturday, former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar suggested that the team should look beyond MS Dhoni in the shortest format of the game.
Sharing his views in a chat on ESPNCricinfo, Agarkar made scathing remarks on Dhoni, stating that the time he takes to settle down isn’t pardonable in the T20 format. Coming on to bat with the side reeling at 67 for the loss of four wickets and another 130 required of 65 deliveries, Dhoni got off to a sluggish start and found the fence only after playing nine deliveries. He did launch a couple of towering sixes but his run-a-ball effort to reach 28, meant India required 65 off the final 12 deliveries. He faced nine of those deliveries and added another 21 runs to his tally but the fate had been sealed by then. (India vs New Zealand, 2nd T20 - HIGHLIGHTS)
And Agarkar feels that is a primary reason why a change is necessary. Stating that Dhoni is no longer a part of the side as a captain anymore, Agarkar went on to add that there are perhaps better options the team can fall back on as a batsman in the T20 format.
“It might still have been difficult to chase down that score. You had a chance if he got going immediately but that’s been his problem for a while,” he said. “I mean, it’s not (just) tonight, over the last few games he takes a little bit of time and in T20 cricket there is no time. He’s come in to bat in the 10th over. How many times do you get to bat in a T20 game? So that’s enough time for any batsman. I think India need to look at other options for T20 cricket for sure, in one day cricket… It seems they’re happy with the role that he’s playing but in T20, when he was captain it was different, but just as a batsman, will India miss him? I don’t think so.”
For India on Saturday, perhaps nothing worked in the manner in which they wanted it to. Four catches were dropped during the New Zealand innings as Colin Munro slammed a superb century to guide the Kiwis to reach 196 before India’s opening pair was sent packing with just 11 runs on the board. Hardik Pandya then got out cheaply as well and India could never recover from the precarious situation.
Advocating for younger players to fill in the gap, Agarkar stated the transition would be easier given it’s easier to adapt to the T20 format. “I think in T20 cricket it’s easier to make the transition since it’s such a shortened format. There’s enough experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now. So in T20 cricket I think India need to look at other options for sure,” he said. “It’s not necessarily because of the innings tonight, that’s the way he’s been batting for a while. In T20 cricket it’s always easier to move on. I mean a younger player can always make a difference.”
Since making his T20 debut in 2006, MS Dhoni’s record in India’s wins in the format has been magnificent. In 47 games, the former skipper has scored 658 runs at an average of 43.86, with a strike rate of 143.04.
But in India’s losses, Dhoni’s average and strike-rate has gone down considerably. In 32 matches, he has scored 590 runs at 29.50 and the strike-rate is just 107.86.
While we all know Dhoni has been one of the most explosive performers for India, he hasn’t been able to maintain the same level of dominance like he used to some years back.
First Published: Nov 05, 2017 17:15 IST