Thursday, October 29, 2009

When Dhoni gets his batting in order

By John Cheeran
Yes, a brilliant innings (124 off 107 balls; 54 runs in his last 27 balls) by Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Nagpur. So what's the debate all about Dhoni's batting order?
I believe more than the batting order, it was a question of Indian skipper getting his batting in order. This, he did splendidly in Nagpur against Ricky Ponting's Aussies to level the seven-match series 1-1.
Dhoni came at No.5 in Nagpur. Suggestions were swirling around that being one of the aggressive batsmen in the side, Dhoni should promote himself in the batting order to serve Team India’s needs better.
Dhoni has proved that such suggestions are, at best, unwarranted, when you have the likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh in the batting lineup.
Yes, getting a century while coming in as late as No.5 in a fifty over game is not easy. But, then, the situation in Nagpur was tailor made for Dhoni on Wednesday. Dhoni had come in the 16th over of Indian innings. India had lost three wickets but there was no crisis. Runs were streaming in. Sehwag (40 off 31 balls, Tendulkar (4 off 8 balls) Gambhir and Yuvraj (23 off 24 balls) did not eat up overs but had scored quickly. That let skipper Dhoni the space to build his innings stealing singles and twos, and later explode in full glory in the final phase of the innings.
Now, should it mean that, Dhoni should be given a theoretical chance to bat the full 50 overs?
An honour that was given to Sachin Tendulkar in New Zealand? I don't think so.
At the same time you cannot expect MSD to come up with centuries and half centuries when he walks in at No.5 slot.
It would be prudent to remember that all great efforts are helped by conducive atmosphere. And very few cricketers could turn a match situation in their favour. Most of the times, you are at the mercy of the match. Yes, of course, great players are those who can redefine a game situation.
Hope Dhoni will not disappoint us.

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