Taking a subtle dig at some former cricketers who criticised Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his knock in the second T20I against New Zealand, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has said the cricketers-turned-commentators are targetting Dhoni just ‘to make the show happen’.
Dhoni had walked into bat when India was reeling at 67 for four in the tenth over in pursuit of a daunting 197. With the team needing more than 10 runs per over, the situation demanded Dhoni to go after the bowlers right from the start. However, the World Cup-winning captain’s usual way of consuming too many balls early in the innings took the momentum off the chase, as the Men in Blue eventually lost the game by 40 runs.
Dhoni managed just 17 runs off the first 20 balls he faced before launching Ish Sodhi for his first six. At a time, when the team needed more than ten runs per over, Dhoni batting with a strike-rate of less than 100 all but sealed the fate of the game in the visitors’ favour. The 36-year old managed to get his strike-rate over 100 towards the end, scoring 49 off 37 but it was too late by then.
After the knock, Dhoni was criticised by many with the likes of VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar saying that the World Cup-winning skipper should quit T20Is.
“In T20s, MS Dhoni’s role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But today [Saturday] was a classical example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total,” Laxman had said during a post-match show. “I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format.”
Former Test opener Aakash Chopra had also said that the team should drop Dhoni for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
However, Shastri has thrown his support behind Dhoni and said that the former India skipper is being targetted on television just because he is a superstar.
“Not so long ago I used to do television and people used to ask me questions. You need to answer questions to make a show happen,” Shastri said before adding: “Dhoni is a superstar. He is one of our greatest cricketers. So he is always going to be a great topic. He is always going to be a topic because he is a legend. When you have a career as glorious as that, you become a topic on television.”
Video of the day: