MS Dhoni, a stalwart of the game is massively struggling in the last phase of his career. The person who gave Indian cricket so many moments to cherish is now becoming a thorn to their success. Everyone including Fans, Media, Cricket experts is behind him and everyone has got his/her own reasons which are certainly not deniable. The question here arises whether it’s the end of MS Dhoni’s ODI career or is there any chance of him prolonging his career?
MS Dhoni has arguably been one of the finest ODI batsman and finisher in world Cricket. He used to dominate the bowling of every quality. But currently, he’s being owned by every bowler more or less. In the recently concluded ODI series, he scored a decent number of runs but at a pace which even internet explorer will be embarrassed to see. His strike rate in this series was only 63 which is no way acceptable in modern day cricket. And it hasn’t been the case with just one series.
Since the conclusion of 2015 World Cup till now, MS Dhoni has a strike rate of 82 in ODIs which is only better than Ajinkya Rahane among the players who have played substantial number of games. The strike rate goes down to 79 in away games. While chasing any kind of scores, his strike rate is just 67 and 77 in case of 300+ scores. People may talk about his healthy average of 40+ but that’s an overrated thing considering his number of Not Outs. In modern day cricket, it’s the combination of average and strike rate which makes a batsman good and Dhoni clearly lacks in the latter part. His incompetency to even rotate strike against spinners is the reason behind his fall. His approach of taking the game deep is neither helping the team nor himself in today’s era where batsmen go bang bang from the word go.
Further going deep in the statistics, Dhoni only averages 23 and has a strike rate of 76 atainag the top 6 ODI teams at their homes while the averate improves to 36 if we include home statistics as well. This proves his inability to play against top opposition, particularly away from home. With the next World Cup being away from home, i.e, in England, you can’t blindly trust Dhoni.
Since last year’s champions trophy, his overall strike rate doesn’t even cross 70. He is only better than Rahane in terms of Strike rate and one can see where does Rahane fit in the ODI team. It’s not that he has never played any good knock in ODIs since after but the frequency is very low. He even got booed for playing slow once at Lord’s and one can see innumerable number of trolls on social Media and criticism from others for playing slow regularly. One of such knock includes 54(114) in an ODI against WI.
Cricket pundits all over India and world are doubtful about his future. Saurav Ganguly recently told on a show to pick between Dinesh Karthik and Dhoni as a keeper. Similarly, Gambhir said his batting is putting pressure on his own team. The question one can ask Dhoni is had he picked Dhoni from 2018 in his team back in the days when he was captain? Answer must surely be No. Or one can make Dhoni captain and ask him to pick his best XI. Surely, Dhoni can’t be featuring in the XI either.
One thing people can say in his defence is his ability to read the game which helps Virat Kohli as a captain but does this Indian team really need to play Dhoni just for his suggestions? The team is good enough to win without Dhoni provided they take the right decisions moving forward including the exclusion of Dhoni if he’s not retiring by his own. This may sound a bit harsh considering his stature but this is the need of the hour. Dhoni is among those batsmen who is creating imbalance in the middle order and hence he should be held accountable for that. Even though he has the full backing of the captain and the coach which is expected, you can never predict any move from Dhoni.