Brian Lara believes that MS Dhoni can afford to rest with the bat as the Chennai Super Kings have a long batting line-up. CSK recently registered a 45-run win over the Rajasthan Royals, with Dhoni scoring 18 off 17 balls.
Against RR, MS Dhoni came in to bat at no.7, ahead of Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo. But the former India skipper never really got going. Lara explained that CSK should not be expecting too much from Dhoni with the bat in IPL 2021.
"I don’t think there should be asking for too much effort from MS Dhoni with the bat. Of course, he got the gloves in his hands; he has got to take the catches and do the stumpings. But I find that batting order is so long, Dhoni can take some rest. We want him in form, we know how destructive he can be, but he has got so many good players. Look at Sam Curran, who is in great form. He comes in and hits from ball one straightaway," Brian Lara told Star Sports.
Lara suggested that MS Dhoni should primarily concentrate on the captaincy side of things for CSK.
"I think they have got a very good team. A good leader who is inspirational. If he concentrates on that aspect of it, getting every single individual performing, they can go all the way," Lara added.
Shardul Thakur, who has proven his batting credentials at international level against Australia in Tests, came in to bat at no.10 for CSK. While no.11 Deepak Chahar is also no mug with the bat.
Coming at no.9, Dwayne Bravo smashed a quickfire 20 off eight balls to get CSK to a competitive total of 188. In the end, it turned out to be too much for the Royals as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
"The first six balls I played could have cost us in another game" - MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni is wary of his inability to start hitting from the word go. The CSK skipper was critical of his batting and believes the first six balls he faced against RR could have cost his team the match on another day.
"Glad we scored 188. I thought we could have got more. The first six balls I played could have cost us in another game," Dhoni said.
The 39-year-old has been going through a wretched run of form in the IPL for quite some time now. Dhoni averaged just 25 with the bat in IPL 2020, his lowest-ever average since the competition's inception. His strike rate was also a subpar 116.27.
Moreover, last season was the first time he failed to register a half-century in an entire IPL campaign. It remains to be seen whether we can see vintage Dhoni with the bat in the ongoing IPL.