30.07.2018 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM
Dhoni's history:Dhoni has contributed so much to Indian Cricket that his name will forever be itched in the Hall of Fame of Indian Cricket if not world cricket. But of late his strike rates in ODIs has diminished so much low that one of his recent innings reminded the great Sunny Gavaskar of his own snail paced innings in the 1975 world cup.
Promoting Dhoni's position:Going into the world cup 2019, one major headache the Indian cricket team is facing in ODIs is the lack of effective middle order batsmen to occupy the batting positions from No 4 to 6 resulting in top heavy batting order followed by brittle middle order. If I were the selector I would look at one problem as a solution to another by promoting Dhoni to No 4 position.
Dhoni at No 4 could bring in the kind of stability the Indian team is looking for at his own pace at the crease which will not be detrimental to the team’s cause. With his wealth of experience and his soothing presence in the middle and the 10,000 ODI runs behind him, Dhoni could play the role of a Rahul Dravid in ODIs. Among wicket keepers, only the great Sangakkara is above him in terms of number of runs but Sangakkara was of different class and a specialist batsman first and then a wicket keeper.
Comparison with other players:By promoting Dhoni to No 4 there are more chances of Dhoni batting along with Virat Kohli and one can imagine the kind of running between the wicket these two can bring it to the fore. The team management can bring in a couple of new finishers at 5 & 6 who could also be part time bowlers to make up the overs of Hardik Pandya who again could be used as an effective finisher especially while chasing. This way the batting order looks more solid and effective to face up any challenge. As far as wicket keeping goes, Dhoni is arguably the No 1 keeper India has ever produced. While his contemporaries could at best be termed as safe keepers, Dhoni is a spectacular keeper and some of his stumpings and run outs were really out of the world. He could walk in to any international team purely on the basis of his wicket keeping skills alone with his terrific batting and fading finishing skills as a bonus.
Dhoni’s commitment:No one can match Dhoni’s commitment, fitness, determination and willingness to succeed not to forget his midas touch. The Indian team management should recognise Dhoni’s value to the team as a specialist keeper, experienced middle order batsman, shrewd tactician and great leader all moulded into one person. Dhoni is the proxy captain for Kohli in the inner ring when Kohli is fielding in the deep. Dhoni has mastered the art of DRS so much so that the DRS now is renamed as Dhoni Review System.
Dhoni has done so much to Indian Cricket that he should be allowed to play till the world cup 2019 and to leave on his own terms. Dhoni’s recent batting average in ODIs is almost 50 and his strike rate is expected to improve once he gets to face more number of balls. Once set, Dhoni is more than capable of taking any attack apart and make up for the lost time.
Team management:The team management instead of breaking their head to find a new no 4 with the world cup fast approaching can as well settle for Dhoni for the next 15 ODIs going in to the world cup. Dhoni will certainly appreciate and justify such move by the team management and the team would be the ultimate beneficiary. May better sense prevail upon the decision makers and let Dhoni finish his career on a high by winning the 2019 Cricket world cup for India.
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