Vaughan: Dhoni's Captaincy gives India the edge
Defending World Champions India are set to face the hosts Australia in the 2nd semi final at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground. Though the home advantage lies with Australia, former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that the clash between the two teams is evenly matched in terms of skill and quality.
Speaking at a media conference at the Sydney ferry wharf, Vaughan said that the distinguishing factor between the sides is the “tried and tested captaincy” of the Indian skipper. The Indian skipper’s particular experience of “been there done that” in a World Cup winning cause gives India a distinctive edge ahead of the key encounter. The Ashes winning captain was quoted saying:
"MS Dhoni knows how to win World Cups and that goes quite a long way."
India had a dismal run in the ODIs leading to the World Cup, but there has been a sea change in the team’s attitude in Cricket’s biggest party. Vaughan credits MS Dhoni for being the chief architect of infusing this positive belief among the Indian squad. When it comes to choosing between the two semi-finalists, it could be the “Remarkable Dhoni” factor that could prove decisive. He has proved time and again in the past that he relishes the big match pressure and can deliver the goods when it matters the most.
The Yorkshire batsman was also all praise for Ajinkya Rahane. In the batting line ups which can match each other batsman per batsman, the quietly understated Rahane is carving a niche for himself.
"I think, he is the best technician among Indian players. He plays quicks and spin as well as anybody." Over the next four or five years, you will be talking a lot about Rahane more than what we have heard (of) even up till now as he is a wonderful player. He doesn't get that left foot too far across and that's why he has got great balance on the back foot. He has not only got options of playing both cut shots and pull shots, but also has the option of going down the ground. When you have those options as a batsman, you make it difficult for opposition to set fields, as you can't set fields for shots down the ground. I think he showed in England last year, he can allow the ball to come to him”
Vaughan also picked up the explosive Glenn Maxwell as the man who could wreck India’s chances very drastically at the SCG.
"Maxwell has had a wonderful tournament, he has the ability to hit the ball 360 degrees from ball one. If Maxwell has his day, India can’t win as he would score 100 in 50 balls.”
Talking of match strategies, Vaughan is of the opinion that the first few overs could set the tone for the entire match. He further added
“The team that plays well in the first 15 overs of the match, be it with the ball or bat, is the team that gets ahead and wins that game. They have all got power, all got finesse, they have got different kind angles to create in the field. In the first twenty overs, there would be fireworks, both attacks have some pace and that will set the game."
Vaughan believes that it would be futile to target specific players like Virat Kohli as he stated - “If you single out one, you would be then struggling with the other 10. India have got wonderful talent right down from 1 to 11."
But the 40 year old does believe that it will be intense when the two teams are on the Cricket field.
It isn't going to be quiet and I like to see competitive edge" and a "bit of confrontation. A little bit of sledging, banter is okay. I am sure Indians will give it back in plenty. They are not going to be quiet. Virat and company, will give it back and that's good for the game," he concluded.