In 2018, MS Dhoni averaged 25 in the 50-over format from 19 matches and thus questions were raised whether the veteran wicketkeeper deserves to be in India’s World Cup scheme of things. However, a lot has changed in only three ODIs this year with Dhoni amassing 193 runs including three fifties to help India win its maiden bilateral ODI series Down Under.
Dhoni, who scored 51 (Sydney), 55 not out (Adelaide) and 87 not out (Melbourne), was named Player-of-the-Series as the Men in Blue clinched the series 2-1.
After his slow knock in the ODI series opener, Dhoni came under the scanner. A lot of people were of the opinion that the 37-year-old should make space for the young Rishabh Pant but former India captain Sourav Ganguly hailed skipper Virat Kohli for backing Dhoni in testing times.
“Both players have played a lot of matches for India with Dhoni currently being the senior most member of the side. Most of all, what has been notified about the relationship is that Kohli has stood by his ex-captain’s side even when he has been under fire for the past year or so,” Ganguly told IndiaTV.
“He has time and again stressed that Dhoni is a big player and one of the strengths of his team. Very few captains back their players up to this extent. I admire Kohli for not abandoning Dhoni in the last 15-16 months. This is what makes a great team. No team can become great unless there is mutual respect and camaraderie between the big players,” he added.
Thanks to Kohli’s constant backing and support, Dhoni silenced his critics with a vital knock of 55 off 54 balls in the second ODI at Adelaide. During the series-deciding third ODI at MCG, Dhoni was sent to bat at No. 4 and the experienced campaigner responded with an unbeaten 87 off 114 balls to ensure India’s seven-wicket victory.