How MS Dhoni can prove his doubters wrong in the new year
Can the Indian captain leave behind the shortcomings of last year and lead India to another World Cup glory in 2016?
We all know what MS Dhoni is capable of, what his achievements are, and what he has done to Indian cricket. Yet he finds himself in the firing line from time to time. But each and every time he has proven himself and silenced the critics. It is very correctly said that legends are only one inning away from finding their form, but, this time, we have been waiting too long for that one inning. This upcoming season is probably the last chance to do so.
What might be a confidence booster for the Indian ODI captain is that he has a great record as an ODI batsman against Australia at their home. He has finished a lot of matches down under in his merry way and certainly has the potential to add few more to the tally. With Yuvraj Singh making a comeback, the task has become easier for Dhoni as he can bat at 5 with more freedom.
As a batsman, statistics of Dhoni in Australia will not provide you the true picture of his performances there. But, stats are not an end in itself. For example, stats may not reflect the importance of the innings by Amla and de Villiers by reading the figures of 143 runs in 143.1 overs.
Dhoni's batting record in Australia in ODI's
Commonwealth Bank Series in Austalia 2007/2008
Commonwealth Bank Series in Austalia 2011/2012
Carlton Mid One-Day International Tri-Series in Australia 2014/2015
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia/ New Zealand
Secondly, the T20-series against Sri Lanka on home soil after the Australian tour is yet another chance to book his captaincy spot for many more years to come. Given that other players do their job properly, Dhoni will not have a tough time in winning the series. This is not to suggest that defeating the Lankans is easy, but for Dhoni, nothing is difficult. We have seen Dhoni’s team defend even tiniest of totals in T20 cricket.
If your luck favours you, destiny gives you chances repeatedly. So is the case with MS Dhoni, as the selectors have confirmed his captaincy till the T20 World Cup next year, which means that he can plan all the upcoming matches as captain, without thinking much about his captaincy.
His next chance to make a statement will be the Asia Cup in Bangladesh shortly after the series against Sri Lanka. It will be like a mini-T20 World Cup, going into the World Cup. If the Indian team can book their place in the knockout matches in Asia Cup, they will be in a great frame of mind for the big event.
The T20 World Cup on home soil
What will happen in the World Cup cannot be predicted right now; because the past teaches us that even the so-called “underdogs” can surprise everyone. Nothing worth having comes easily, as India find themselves in the difficult group in the World T20.
It will be a great tournament and cricket will be the real winner. And even in T20 internationals, Dhoni’s stats as batsman do not give a true picture of his performances. But he has certainly propelled his side to the knock-outs of the ICC World T20 two out of five times.
Dhoni's T20I batting/captaincy record in World T20’s
Position India ended in
T20 WC 2007
T20 WC 2009
T20 WC 2010
T20 WC 2012/13
T20 WC 2014
The IPL 9, which will start few days after the conclusion of World T20 can be a great platform for the 34-years-old to prove his critics wrong as well. If the swashbuckling batsman is successful with new team and players, no one will doubt Dhoni’s capability of building a team from scratch.
His IPL record as a captain has been excellent as he has led the Chennai Super Kings to the Champions podium twice. Out of the 132 matches under him, the now-suspended franchise has won 79 and lost 51, with two matches finishing without result.