MS Dhoni must be the most loved and sometimes most polarizing cricketer on the field. With amazing accolades under his belt and an enviable record with both bat and gloves in all formats of the game, MS Dhoni will certainly go down as one of the all-time greats of the game.
However, this doesn’t mean that he is prone to criticism and he coped a few thanks to his odd and slow innings during the second ODI between England and India at Lord’s which India lost by 86 runs.
Dhoni came into bat in the 27th over and despite the need for quick runs at the time, batted like he was lessening the quantum of defeat from ball one. He was criticized for not getting a move on during his 58-ball 37 and despite defending by Virat Kohli, the Lord’s saw something that has been seen rarely, fans booing MS Dhoni.
Yes, on the day when MS Dhoni got his 300th catch behind the stumps and became the fourth Indian to score 10,000 ODI runs; fans at the Mecca of cricket booed their hero for his slow innings. India required 110 runs from 30 balls and when Dhoni played out four dot balls from David Willey in the 46th over, fans had enough of his safe approach and booed him after every ball.
In fact, at the end of the over, substitute fielders Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel came in with an energy drink and replacement bat, which on-air commentators termed as a message to push things. Dhoni tried to do that the next ball and perished.
Yuzvendra Chahal said about Dhoni’s innings, "I don't know what was said to him (when he changed bats). After Hardik was dismissed, there was only me, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep. So it wasn't like there were 2-3 specialist batsmen remaining. He hadn't batted much, so this was a chance to get a knock. If he had hit a shot earlier and got out, we couldn't have even batted all 50 overs."
Even Joe Root, who won the Man of the match for his brilliant 113, was surprised to see the Indian fans booing MS Dhoni.
He said, "Yes (it was surprising), but ultimately it doesn't really concern us. We always try and judge how we approach the game and how we go about things. We try to maintain a professional approach and be as ruthless as possible. We managed to see India through by bowling them out by the end of the game. So we are looking after our own game and putting ourselves in a strong position by the end of the game.”
(With PTI inputs)