5 possible reasons behind MS Dhoni's struggles with the bat lately
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arguably the best finisher of all time in limited overs cricket doesn't seem to be at his normal best for quite some time now. His resurgence earlier in this year's IPL was refreshing to watch for the fans, whether it was the effect of captaincy or batting up the order, Dhoni was at his dominating best in the entire season.
Recently, the former Indian captain admitted that age must be affecting his game. Batting down the order was like quicksand situation for him: The more he flutters, the deeper he goes.
Earlier, as a captain of the Indian team, he had publicly expressed his desire to bat up the order. Being the most experienced finisher in the team, batting up the order would give him enough time to build his innings and finish off games.
With less than 12 months left for the World Cup, the indications from the team management suggests that Dhoni is a big part of their plans. There is no substitute for experience, especially when it comes to playing and achieving success in big tournaments.
At present, there is no one better equipped than Dhoni to help Virat Kohli handle the expectations and pressure of a big tournament and eventually come good. So, it is understandable why the team management is whole-heartedly backing Dhoni to come good.
The positive thing is that his wicket-keeping is still holding up and in terms of fitness he is still one of the fittest players in the team. But, Dhoni needs to closely examine his batting approach, his theory of always taking it deep in the innings doesn't seem to be working for him now.
In a long international career where the opposition is constantly on a run to find the weakness in a player's game which they can exploit, only those who keep on reinventing themselves throughout their journey usually find the maximum success.
Now, let us further dissect his batting, and try to find out some possible reasons behind his struggles with the bat in his hand.
#1 Fear of failure
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni first burst onto the international scene in 2004, he was a rare commodity in Indian cricket. His ability to hit sixes almost straight away after coming to the crease and his fearless approach captured the imagination of every cricket lover in the country.
As time went by, the more he played, the more he sobered up. When he started, he used to be a man who would trust his instincts a lot but gradually he became someone who is controlled by his brain.
When a person is good at something and he has done that successfully over a long period of time, it also raises the expectations of all the people around him, which can put an added pressure on the individual. The same might be the case with Dhoni at present.
Now, Dhoni is found emphasizing more on percentage cricket. He refrains from taking away risks from the onset and waits for the bowlers to commit error. These traits started had creeping in his captaincy as well. He had become a very defensive captain towards the fag end of his captaincy career.
He would sit and wait for things to happen rather than trying to make things happen. The fear of failing seems to be the biggest reason behind his struggles with the bat.