During the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Indian cricket team suffered a semifinal defeat at the hands of New Zealand. However, one of the biggest talking points of the semifinal was MS Dhoni and why he was no sent to bat earlier.
At that time, the Men in Blue were already floundering at five runs for the loss of three wickets. Conventional wisdom would say that an experienced and cool head like MS Dhoni could steady the ship.
Instead, what actually happened was that the former captain was sent out at No. 7. Admittedly, head coach Ravi Shastri and the rest of the Indian management were flayed alive by the critics and the irate fans.
Now, months later in an exclusive interview with India Today, Shastri has come clean on his decision to push Dhoni down the order.
He affirmed, “Absolutely not (on whether India should have promoted Dhoni). Because at 5 for 3, had Dhoni gone, the game was over. But with Dhoni in the 48th over, with his computer out. Oh you were very much in the game but for that run-out.”
He argued that MS Dhoni’s strength was his ability to finish the game. Shastri challenged critics and asked rhetorically where MS Dhoni should bat, at the tail or at the top order?”
When Captain Cool did walk out, he and strike partner Ravindra Jadeja put up a 116-run stand for the seventh wicket to try and rescue the game. The bad news was that it didn’t last long as Jadeja took the long trudge home with 77 runs on the board. This left MS Dhoni having to eke out 30 runs off 12 balls, a difficult but not an impossible task.
Naturally, he went all guns blazing, though he was soon stopped cold, courtesy Martin Guptill’s direct-hit. Dhoni was forced to depart, having been run out for 72-ball 50 in the penultimate over, and India fell 18 runs short of New Zealand’s target.