The latest defeat against New Zealand in 2nd T20I turned out to be menacing for Mr. Cool MS Dhoni. Following the setback in Rajkot on Saturday, veteran Ajit Agarkar took a jibe at MS Dhoni. Especially that blow came into being for his below-par performance in the game. Hence both of them opined that it’s time India should seek for other options.
Kiwi opener Colin Munro struck a dazzling century at Rajkot, which was his second T20I ton this year. The visitors posted a challenging total of 196 runs for the loss of just two wickets. Chasing 197 in reply, India’s efforts fell way too short as the hosts suffered a thrashing defeat of 40 runs.
Despite being the pick of the batsmen, skipper Virat Kohli was deprecatory about Indian batting – which failed to click when it mattered. The openers failed to get a start as India was lingering on 67 for 4 when Dhoni came out to the crease to bat. While on one end, Kohli was pummeling the Kiwi bowlers, MS did sweat a lot to get a proper start. The Black Caps’ ship had already sailed by the time the Dhoni ‘blast’ appeared in the dying overs. The 36-year-old wicket-keeper batsman amassed 49 runs off 37 with only 2 fours and 3 sixes.
In a post-match interview, fellow former cricketer VVS Laxman was quoted as saying, “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 classic example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give the strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India was chasing a mammoth total.”
The Hyderabad batsman was of the opinion that selectors should now give chance to youngsters.
“I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,” Laxman said.
Former seamer Agarkar expressed, “I think India must now look at other options, at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem to be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don’t think so. In T20 cricket, it is a lot easier to make that transition as there is a lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now.”
He said, “You had a chance (in the second T20 against New Zealand) if he (Dhoni) had got going immediately but that has been his problem for a while now. It’s not tonight or over the last few games. He takes a little bit of time to settle down and in twenty 20 cricket, there is no time.”
“I heard people say that he should bat at a different number, but he came into bat in the 10th over in this match. How many times you get to bat 10 overs in T20 cricket and in my opinion, there was enough time,” the 39-year-old further added.
While New Zealand leveled the series, it will be interesting to see how Kohli arranges his line up in the third and the final T20I on November 7th in Trivandrum.