Thiruvananthapuram: While Virender Sehwag has thrown his weight behind MS Dhoni, the former India skipper was asked to make way for youngsters by former India cricketers VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar after he failed to hammer and tongs from the word go during the second India versus New Zealand T20 in Rajkot on Saturday.
While skipper Virat Kohli attacked the Kiwi bowlers as India were chasing 197, Dhoni, despite ending up scoring 49 off 37 balls, struggled to get going from the ball one.
"In T20s, MS Dhoni's role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But today (Saturday) was a classical example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli's strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni's strike rate was 80. That's not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total," Laxman had said during a post-match show after the Rajkot T20.
"I still feel it's time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket," added Laxman.
While India’s World Cup-winning skipper has not said a word on his plans, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, on the eve of the third and final T20 against Kane Williamson and co, made it clear that no one from the team management has any doubts about MS Dhoni.
“If you look at his record, nobody (the team management) is really bothered. Whatever he has done, he has been doing well, he knows he is a legend. Whatever he is doing, it is benefitting the Indian team. No one has any doubts about him,” said Bhuvneshwar while answering a question on Dhoni’s form during the press conference on Monday.
This is not the first time when Bhuvneshwar has spoken highly of Dhoni. The right-arm pacer, who has formed a solid combination with Jasprit Bumrah in the limited-overs cricket, was involved in a match-winning partnership with the wicketkeeper-batsman in August this year after Sri Lanka had threatened to run through the Indian batting order.
India, despite a bright opening stand, were reduced to 131/7, needing 231 runs to win the match. Then, Bhuvi and Dhoni joined hands to help India win the match.
"When I went in to bat, MS told me to play my natural game like I play in Test cricket and don't take any pressure as we had a lot of overs at that time. We knew if we played them out we would chase easily," Bhuvneshwar had said while discussing his partnership with Dhoni.
"MS said play as you want to play. So at one particular stage I felt that I could play some attacking but risk free shots on which I had full confidence. So its not like that he gave me any responsibility or asked me to play any big shots," added Bhuvi.