Statistical analysis of Dhoni, the batsman
MS Dhoni is arguably the best finisher this sport has ever seen. The number of games he won for India is countless. The line "Dhoni finishes off in style", still echos in every Indian cricket fan's ears. His contributions to Indian cricket team doesn't stop there, statistically he is India's most successful captain, winning all the ICC trophies one can possibly have.
Even after stepping down from captaincy, he continues to help bowlers and the captain with his experience. But in recent times, he is struggling with his batting especially when he is new to the crease. Let's keep the reputation aside and purely look at numbers.
Dhoni, aged 37, is the oldest member of the current ODI squad. His ongoing struggle with the bat started post-2015 World Cup, and in last three years he has only scored 1291 runs in 42 innings at an average of nearly 39. Out of those runs, 788 runs came in 2017 alone where India played 11 ODIs against Windies and Sri Lanka.
If we seperately look at 2018, he is yet to score a fifty this year with a highest score of 42* in 10 innings with an average of 28.13, and the most worrying number is his strike rate this year, which is a mediocre 67.37
Next year's World Cup is scheduled to be played in England, so Dhoni's performance in the ODI series in England gives important numbers to selectors and the captain. He scored 79 runs in two innings that he played. Again, with a worrisome strike rate of 63.20 In fact, he was even booed by the Indian spectators during the second ODI where he scored a 59-ball 39. Considering that England is a batting paradise in white-ball cricket where 300 is a par score, can India afford a struggling finisher when the required rate shoots up beyond 10 runs per over?
The latest numbers to analyse Dhoni comes from Asia Cup 2018 where he played four innings. Again, the numbers are no where near Dhoni's standards. He scored 77 runs at an average of 19.25 and strike rate of 62.10 He had two great chances to get back his mojo and finish the games which he used to do with ease but, the struggle continued. He failed to finish both the games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh even after taking his time to get going. India had to settle for a tie against Afghans and somehow manged to sneak through against Bangla in the finals.
One might argue that in the World Cup, Dhoni can negotiate his primary issue of facing the spinners early on as in England there is very little support for spinners, but the World Cup is held in May-July season when the pitches will be dry, which can help spinners. Dhoni's only escape-plan against spinners is to step down and glance the ball for a single, but in this era, no one can survive with a single approach, thanks to technology.
Without any doubts, Dhoni's recent stats has been a point of concern for the team management and his spot in the playing XI should be scrutinized.