VVS Laxman is well known for supporting players, however, he has just spoken out asking an Indian great to retire. Ajit Agarkar, VVS Laxman and a bunch of colleagues on the host broadcaster criticized Dhoni heavily following his poor show in second T20.
MS Dhoni managed to score 49 off 37 deliveries while chasing 197 on a flat track. When Dhoni arrived at the crease, India were 4 down for 67 runs in 9.1 overs. Kohli on the other hand was scoring fluently, however, MS got stuck and the run rate kept on increasing rapidly. During the partnership with Kohli, Dhoni took 24 balls to score 25 runs, including 1 six. When he arrived, the run rate required was more than 11 per over which demanded power hitting from both sides from the first ball. However, MS took his time and scored just 25 off 24 balls. He managed to get his strike rate up in later part but India eventually lost the match by 40 runs.
“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 [Rajkot] was a classic 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.”
With 4 wickets down, India would have lost the match but Dhoni’s slow batting and helplessness on a flat track was the reason behind huge criticism from former players and journalists.
Since January 2016, Dhoni has been struggling big time against spin and manages to score just 6.87 per over of off spin. Dhoni gets troubled while facing spinners but takes more risks against the seam bowlers.
Dhoni has recently tweaked his technique, he has scored a lot of useful runs in ODIs, however, he is not scoring runs in the T20 format. Dhoni is neither a slogger nor an improviser, hence bowlers have a lot of options to bowl against him and still get away.
The legendary batsman tried his best to score quick runs, yet spinners managed to bowl 7 dot balls out of 18. This is not good display when the asking rate is above 11 and a fluent Kohli was on the non-striker’s end.
Laxman asks Dhoni to call an end to his T20 career. VVS Laxman himself ended his career himself, without selectors taking any call.
After losing the 2015 world cup semi-final, the Indian skipper at that time said that the final call on retirement will be taken after World T20 in 2016. However, he is all set to play 2019 World Cup.
Usually, the legends in Indian Cricket are not shown the door by selectors. The call is either taken by themselves, or the captain takes the tough call of discarding a legend. Dhoni has helped Kohli in becoming a world class player, and now Kohli is backing Dhoni at every corner. Dhoni helps Kohli as a captain and takes vital calls on fielding and bowling decision in crunch moments.
There are no issues with the ex-skipper in ODI format. Dhoni gets the required time to set his eye in, and then he unleashes big hitting abilities. He has got team out of trouble few times in recent series against Sri Lanka and Australia. However, it just does not seem to be working in T20 format.
Mahendra Singh, back in 2007, dropped legend players from the ODI side due to their slowness in the field. The players were still scoring good runs, but the skipper took the hard call to drop them and build a team for future, which showed good results in 2011 worldcup. However, Kohli doesn’t feel that Dhoni is struggling at the moment.
Under Kohli’s captaincy, India has not lost a T20 or ODI series. Since the ODI series in Australia at the start of the last year, India has lost just eight out of 34 ODIs and nine out of 21 T20Is. Hence, Kohli does not yet understand the criticism Dhoni is facing. However, If they start losing a couple of series, without him performing, they might end up saying goodbye to this legend.