Former England skipper Nasser Hussain called MS Dhoni’s knock in the second ODI ‘very odd’. Hussain also pondered whether the fans got their money’s worth from the former India skipper.
The 37-year old had walked in at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket with India needing 183 in 23 overs. The asking rate was below 8 at that time. But by the time, Dhoni departed, the required run-rate had nearly doubled. One of the reasons behind it was Dhoni’s unusual innings. He scored 37 off 59 balls as India managed to add just 75 runs in the last 20 overs. In fact, the last 10 overs produced just 42 as India could manage only 86 in reply to 323.
It was also the first time since the 2011 World Cup semi-final that India failed hit a six in an ODI.
Speaking after the game, Hussain did not refrain from criticising Dhoni’s innings.
“I thought it was a very odd innings from the greatest-ever finisher in white-ball cricket,” Hussain told Sky Sports. “This is the same bloke that in the 2011 World Cup final promoted himself up the order to whack the ball out of the ground and see them beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
“Dhoni, more recently, has taken longer to get going, especially when spin is on, so I wasn’t surprised by his start, especially against the leg-spin of Adil Rashid. But I was surprised he never really played a shot in anger until he got out.
“Who are we to criticise MS Dhoni? But, I’d rather India have gone down with a bit of a fight than a whimper,” he added.
Dhoni departed in the 47th over when he was caught near the boundary ropes after finally trying to get one over the ropes. After the game, Hussain had also asked India skipper Virat Kohli about his predecessor’s innings. And Kohli had gone on defend Dhoni.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by captain Virat Kohli’s answer at the presentation, saying Dhoni cops a bit of unfair criticism. Believe me, in this Indian side, the regime and culture is you do not criticise your ‘seniors’ as they call them,” Hussain said.
“What would the Indian press be like if Kohli had a go at Dhoni at a press conference? It’s just not going to happen. You back your seniors all the time.
“But it was a very odd innings – it looked like he was just having a net and preparing himself for the next game.
“It didn’t cost India the game.I don’t think he’d have got them over the line anyway. But there were a lot of people in here who had spent a lot of money to watch the game. A lot of them coming to see Dhoni, and I don’t think they got their money’s worth from him today,” he added.
Coming to the game, England thrashed India by 86 runs to level the three-match series. Batting first, the hosts rode on Joe Root’s century to post a challenging 322 for 7. Eoin Morgan and David Willey also scored fifties to help England put up a good total in the must-win clash.
In reply, India rarely looked in contention to chase down the total. They lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually all out for 236.