Mumbai: It’s not a good time to be MS Dhoni. Despite India clinching the T20 series against New Zealand, the wicketkeeper-batsman came under intense criticism, with his credentials to finish off the game questioned.
Despite tactically aiding skipper Virat Kohli with on-field decisions, the veteran batsman has failed to make the most of his opportunities with the bat that has raised questions about his future in the shortest format of the game.
After former Team India players including the likes of VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar voiced their opinions, opposing the former India skipper’s place in Virat Kohli-led Indian T20 side, anchor Aakash Chopra has also echoed the same views.
“After this series (India vs New Zealand) is done, India is playing against Sri Lanka. They (SL) are not a top draw, and one can take chances and then maybe rethink once you go to South Africa, because you have few T20 matches against a top-ranked T20 side (South Africa). They will come hard at you,” Aakash was quoted while talking on Star Sports.
With players such as Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja failing to break in the Indian team for ODIs and T20Is, Chopra suggests that Dhoni should also follow the same path and pave the way for fresh legs. He also suggested it was no harm in resting Dhoni for Sri Lanka’s upcoming three-match T20 series against the Men in Blue since they do not possess a lot of challenge.
“For the Sri Lanka tour to India, maybe time is ripe to try somebody else, keep them in the loop. Because Dhoni’s numbers have overridden the last year and year and a half, it has dwindled,” Chopra added.
However, the India skipper stood by Dhoni, slamming all the critics for singling him out.
"First, I don't understand why are people only pointing him out, I'm not able to understand this. If I fail as a batsman three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I am not over 35. The guy is fit, he is passing all the fitness tests. He is contributing to the team in every tactical way on the field. With the bat, if you look at the series against Australia and Sri Lanka, he did really well. In this series, he has not got much time to bat,” Kohli said during the post-match press conference after India sealed the Twenty20 series against New Zealand in Thiruvananthapuram.
“I think he is doing absolutely fine. He is working hard on his game. He understands his role, but it doesn't come off every time. He hit a six in Delhi and it was shown five times in the post-match show. Everyone got really happy. And suddenly he doesn't score in one game and we are after his life. I think people need to be a bit more patient. He's a guy who understands various cricketers. He's a very smart guy. He understands where he stands with his body, with his game. So I don't think anyone else has the right to decide that for him," concluded Kohli.