Tag Archives: India v Sri Lanka

Should Dhoni give up his gloves?

Should Dhoni give up his gloves – at least in the ODI format? Dhoni is such an important batsman for India and his batting in the last few one day games has been so matured – he has curbed his natural attacking instinct and played very very sensibly. His scores in the tri-nation tournament has been – 37, 88*, 17*, 31, 37 and 50*. May not sound like a lot, but he rescued India against SL in the rain affected game, played a supporting role with Rohit Sharma against Australia and if he had not been run out against Australia, India could have well won the game. He proved his worth again today with another measured innings that basically won the game for India after they messed up the run chase yet another time. Who would have thought that someone like Dhoni can score a fifty without a single boundary!

Now, a bit about the game.

India got the team right, I think. Bringing in Praveen Kumar instead of Sreesanth was a good move. Sreesanth is a strike bowler, and a better bowler than Praveen Kumar. But Kumar brings in his batting into the equation and without Sehwag, the extra depth in the batting is always a good thing. It is another thing that Kumar didn’t do much with the bat today. Having said that, I am sure India will bring Sreesanth back for other games in the tournament.

The five bowler formula works well for India and it once again kept the score to a very gettable target. The Indian batting continued to be a bit wobbly. Thankfully, Yuvraj Singh found his form and rescued the team with an excellent 76 of 70 balls, when the scoring rate was slow and India was struggling a bit. Even after Yuvraj got out, India seemed to be cruising with a very good partnership between Dhoni and Pathan. With less than 25 runs to win, Pathan went for a wild swish to lose his stump and  brought Sri Lanka back into the game. In the end it was a tense finish and only a cool head from Dhoni won the game for India. Based on the current standing in the Points table (Australia 17, India 12 and Sri Lanka 6), it is very unlikely (not impossible, though) that Sri Lanka will make it to the finals.

Dhoni’s batting is vital to India’s success and  should we be protecting him? He has been struggling a bit with his fitness of late and after keeping wickets and captaining the team for 50 overs, he has been cramping when he is batting.

We can always argue that guys like Gilchrist keep wickets and also open the innings. For SL, Sangakarra comes in at one drop and he is their best batsman (as he proved that once again today). So, why should Dhoni give up his gloves in the one day format to focus on his batting? The answer to that question is, as I said earlier – his fitness.

There is always Karthik who can keep wickets and come in place of Uthappa and this does not have to be a permanent change. Once he gets fully fit again, there can be rethink of this issue.

Your thoughts?

-Mahesh-

Teams for India vs Sri Lanka at The Gabba

There was a comment in another thread by one of our regular readers that M. S. Dhoni’s response was “useless and arrogant” when he replied “I go by instinct” when asked why he chose Manoj Tiwary in the first game of this CB series.

In my view that was a perfectly valid answer. I thought he would have been arrogant if he had said, “Well I knew he would struggle and scratch around. I knew he would duck to a Brett Lee bouncer in an ugly way. I knew he would be bowled off a terrific yorker. And in any case I knew that the game would be rained out and so I decided to chose Tiwary.” An even worse answer to why he chose Tiwary would have been, “The boys are all very well-prepared. The boys have all trained very hard for this excellent series. The boys are raring to go in this wonderful series against the World Champions. There is a real good feeling in the dressing room where we back each other. The boys are enjoying themselves and we are taking each game as it comes.”, a Mohammed Azharuddin type answer that says a lot and yet, says nothing!

I thought that that response from M. S. Dhoni was refreshingly honest; a honesty that will come as an unpalatable shock to much of India — as it did to our regular reader! One has had to couch and sugar-coat decisions for it to be acceptable in India! That was why we had a string of Indian captains — with Mohammed Azharuddin being a past master at this — who said a lot but didn’t say anything at all in the end in their interviews! Do we want that? I certainly do not. I’d prefer a guy like Dhoni who comes out and says, “I need to make a decision. I have been entrusted to make a decision. I did. Some will work. Some will not.”

I certainly do not see that as arrogance. I see that as honesty. What you see from this guy is what you get. He has not stayed long enough in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore or Delhi to know a coat of sugar from a coat of paint! So this is long overdue honesty in Indian cricket, in my view. May his tribe increase. I certainly do not want sugar-coated platitudes that take no one anywhere.

If one had perfect information, one can make the best choices. Otherwise, decision-making is about gut-instinct.

Today, weather-permitting, a young Team India takes on Sri Lanka in the CB pyjama circus at Brisbane.

While India fared much better than the Sri Lankans in the Test series against the mighty Australians this summer, the ODI game is a different ball-game altogether. In that sense, India will be chasing the eight-ball in this series; India is playing against the World Cup Finalists and the runner-up!

Sanath Jayasuriya has recovered after being hit on the chin in a tour game in Hobart and Muralitharan has recovered after having had egg thrown at him after the game!

Team India needs a fit Yuvraj Singh to take the field. In his absence though, India is likely to persist with Manoj Tiwary, a batsman who can bowl a bit — and that’s where Dinesh Karthik or Suresh Raina may miss out. I feel that bowling allrounder like Praveen Kumar might be a better choice though.

The Indian team is likely to be: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma

— Mohan