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Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

Not revenge, but plain annihilation

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is quite an anti-thesis of a batsman in the traditional mould, writes Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2011 01:54 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times

You see him prod unconvincingly at a good-length ball. He looks ungainly coming forward and negotiating the moving ball. At the same time, you can't ignore the enormous force with which he lifts the ball out of the ground with such minimal backlift.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is quite an anti-thesis of a batsman in the traditional mould. Neither does he go fully forward nor does he rock completely back. What he does with some massive force from the forearms is clear the ropes. It's a cliché of sorts, but when Dhoni hits them, they stay hit and often go well beyond the boundary.

Of late, England have been feeling the punch of those robust hits. Their bowlers just about bring things back from nowhere and then appears the Ranchi ironman. Dhoni just keeps hitting them modestly out of the park, like an irresistible force.

No doubt India needed this 5-0 scoreline to somewhat heal the pains of that midsummer nightmare in England. The scars of the 0-4 Test drubbing will never go away, but there is some solace in avenging the ODI whitewash. It came from the bold arms of a strong man.

With 212 runs in four innings without being dismissed even once, the India captain has led from the front in what was a redemption series. Dhoni has categorically avoided questions on "revenge" but in his own not-so-eloquent ways, he has ensured that his team salvaged something. Most importantly, it was he who did the job at crucial junctures. Be it in the series-clincher in Mohali, or the pivotal 75 not out at Eden Gardens on Tuesday, Dhoni slaughtered England with the calm perseverance of a man who knew what he had to do.

Numbers are not always necessary pointers, but men who lead by example make them count. In the last 15 overs of the Indian innings on Tuesday, Dhoni got to play just 41 balls. And what he did out of them eventually made the difference between a 230+ score and the 271 India got.