During the three-match ODI series between England and India in July, MS Dhoni’s batting approach grabbed the headlines on regular basis.
Following India’s 86-run defeat in the second ODI at Lord’s, questions were raised over Dhoni’s uncharacteristic 37-ball 59 in which he played 31 dot balls. The veteran wicketkeeper faced the same wrath for his 66-ball 42 as India suffered a humiliating 8-wicket defeat in the series-deciding third ODI at Headingley.
As India gear up to start their Asia Cup 2018 campaign, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has said that India needs to lower expectations from Dhoni the batsman. Manjrekar also went on to say India would be best served if Dhoni sticks to batting lower down the order.
“I prefer him coming down the order with few overs left. I have never been a supporter of him batting at number four. Dhoni is at his best when the fielding sides are saving boundaries and there are not too many fielders in the circle, so he can get going. And then, he feeds off the uncertainty in the opposition in the death overs. He is obviously not as consistent as before, but India's expectations of Dhoni need to come down, and India must be looking for a batsman who can do the Dhoni kind of job consistently,” he told Firstpost.
Manjrekar, however, asserted that Dhoni brings maximum value to the team as a wicketkeeper.
“He still has a lot to offer as a keeper, especially when you have two game-changing wrist-spinners. Also, I think Virat likes Dhoni as a guy who can supply a lot of intelligence on the field as well. His glovework has become more important for India now, and he was involved a lot in the success of Chahal and Yadav over the past year. As far as batting goes, India must alter their expectations from Dhoni,” he added.
Rohit Sharma will lead India in the 14th edition of Asia Cup in the absence of Virat Kohli. India will begin its Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong on September 18, a day before they face arch-rivals Pakistan.
India squad for Asia Cup 2018:
Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan (VC), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Y Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed