Michael Holding
Michael Holding. Photo Credit: Bipin Patel/Cricinfo.

West Indies legend Michael Holding has come out in support of veteran India wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni after 2019 World Cup hero Ben Stokes claimed that he lacked intent in the match against England. Ben Stokes made these claims against MS Dhoni in his new book ‘On Fire’ and it soon began to grab headlines. However, Stokes clarified that, he never said that India lost the World Cup 2019 clash against England deliberately via a tweet.

Writing about the encounter against India, Stokes mentioned “there was little or no intent from Dhoni” in the match, and described the partnership between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as “mystifying”. But the statistics from the match unveils a different story.

ms dhoni
MS Dhoni during jis trademark helicopter shot (Photo- Reuters)

It is a known fact that MS Dhoni was in the thick of things for his poor strike rate in the 2019 World Cup. He, however, remained unbeaten on 42 runs off 31 balls hitting four boundaries and one six in the match as he registered a strike rate of 135.48. Incidentally, his strike rate was the second best for an Indian in the match, only fractionally short of all-rounder Hardik Pandya. India had lost the match by 31 runs by chasing a stiff target of 338 runs in Birmingham.

Michael Holding: MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win

Michael Holding knocked Ben Stokes over saying ‘people will write anything in books these days’ because they have a lot of free time and need to make headlines. He also added a lot of people watching the match will not have the same opinion.

Holding clarified that it was not a do or die contest for India. He saw the match and felt India gave it their all in the contest. Besides that he also pointed out that he could see in MS Dhoni’s face and his expression said he wants to win the match desperately for his national team.

Michael Holding
Michael Holding (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

“It wasn’t the game that India had to win, but I don’t think anyone can say that was a team tactic to lose the game. I watched that game and it appeared to me as if India weren’t putting up their 100%, but I realized it wasn’t the case when the expression on MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I don’t think it was a team decision to not try to win,” Michael Holding said on his official Youtube channel ‘Mikey – holding nothing back’.

Stokes had scored 79 runs off 54 deliveries in that match.