Mumbai: ‘Captain Cool’ MS Dhoni, once lauded for his brisk decisions on the field has now come under immense criticism from former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar.
Dhoni’s cool tactics as skipper of IPL debutants Rising Pune Supergiants has not found favour with Gavaskar, who feels India’s limited-overs skipper has not done justice to his batting skills this season and also his handling of a ‘world-class’ bowler like Irfan Pathan has been baffling.
There has also been a lot of talk about the controversial run-out incident between Dhoni and Pathan in Pune’s match against KKR in the IPL at Eden Gardens recently.
The major mix-up took place when Dhoni played Sunil Narine’s delivery towards backward point and expected his partner at the crease, Irfan Pathan, to rush over for a single.
It was a tough one for cricket pundits and analysts to judge as to whose mistake it was. Nonetheless, Dhoni was clearly angry at his RPS teammate and to make matters worse, the video of the incident was removed from YouTube and the IPL website soon after the match.
Writing in his column, Gavaskar gave a brief low down of some of the reasons that could be attributed to RPS’s horror show this IPL. The Stephen Fleming-coached side are last in the eight-team league and will play Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday night.
Gavaskar made an interesting observation on how Dhoni has chosen to underuse an all-rounder like Irfan Pathan. He said that Dhoni’s tactics have "raised eyebrows galore."
"Even when Irfan Pathan was part of the Chennai Super Kings last season, he hardly got a look in and the same is happening here in the RPS team," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar opined that Pathan's presence in the squad could have been better utilised, especially when RPS lost Du Plessis, Smith and Mitchell Marsh.
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Gavaskar found RPS languid even before the team received multiple jolts in the form of injury exists to their key players – Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith and Faf du Plessis.
"True, they had a major setback with injuries, but even before that, there didn't seem to be the zing that one usually associates with a team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni," wrote Gavaskar on Wednesday.
Still recognised as one of the best finishers of the game, Gavaskar feels Dhoni hasn’t done enough to provide that much-needed boost to the RPS line-up.
"The skipper (Dhoni) has been out of sorts with the bat and so he has not been able to transform the game with his big hitting as he has done umpteen times in the past," said Gavaskar.
He even went to the extent of holding Dhoni responsible for many of Pune's nine defeats in 12 matches.
"Dhoni's reluctance to come up the order in crucial times has cost the team matches that they should have won," wrote Gavaskar.
An alarming stat that might give Dhoni fans heart-attacks was his strike rate of 36.36 during the KKR match. His 22-ball 8 run-knock is the slowest in any IPL innings of over 20 balls.
With not many performances to talk about this season, Dhoni’s ability to lead a team has come under scrutiny. However, Gavaskar has cautioned against rushing Virat Kohli as India's limited overs captain.
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has already called for a change in guard keeping the 2019 ICC World Cup in mind. Dada has backed Kohli, whose batting prowess is slowly making the Delhi-born luminary a force to reckon with....