With Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again proving his worth in One-Day Internationals, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has said the latest knock is the reason why Virat Kohli backs his predecessor despite the latter facing heat in recent times.
India lost the series-opener to Sri Lanka in Dharamsala but Dhoni’s rescue act once again made it clear why he is important in the team’s fragile middle order. After being sent into bat on a lively wicket, India was reeling at 16/4 from 12.5 overs when Dhoni walked in and was soon reduced to 16 for 5. A few overs later, the hosts were further pushed into trouble after being reduced to 29 for 7 with all the recognized batsmen except Dhoni back in the hut.
India were staring down the barrel and were in danger of getting all out for an embarrassing total before Dhoni began the rescue act. The 36-year old added 41-runs with Kuldeep Yadav to stem the rot and went on to share handy partnerships with Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal to take the score past the hundred-run mark. He eventually became the last Indian wicket to fall, perishing for 65. The sublime knock came off 87 balls and was studded with ten fours and a couple of sixes. The innings, however, went in vain as Sri Lanka chased down the total with considerable ease to go one nil up in the three-match series.
“It was a terrific inning from MS Dhoni. He hit when he needed and rotated the strike when needed and that is why Virat Kohli persists with MS Dhoni in 50-over cricket,” Ganguly told India Today.
The legendary skipper went on to say that the shocking result should not bother the team, stating: “I feel it’s a one-off. India went in with young players in Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey. This a lesson for India to learn from here,” he said.
Ganguly further said that the team should persist with Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul in ODIs, opining that the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey should make way for Rahane and Rahul.
“The likes of Rahane, Rahul must play consistently in ODI cricket. Yes! Iyer will be a good player down the line. Even Pandey but at the moment they have been found wanting,” he opined.
“They (Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, and Pandya) were found different in the application on this surface. Iyer and Pandey were hanging back. Dinesh Karthik found one jabbing back. I feel India need to find a solution and persist…Rahane and Rahul are my choices for the middle-order,” he added.
Meanwhile, the second and penultimate game of the series is in Mohali on December 13. India needs to win the game at any cost to keep the series alive.
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