World Cup 2019: Former greats question India's tactics of sending Dhoni at number 7 against New Zealand
What's the story?
Post India's shocking defeat against New Zealand in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, some strong reactions have come from legendary cricketers with respect to the decision to send MS Dhoni at No.7 that ultimately played a role in India's ouster from the tournament.
In case you didn't know
In the semi-final, Team India were reeling as the top order crumbled against New Zealand's new-ball attack. In what was a strange decision by the Indian team management, the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant were sent ahead of India's most experienced player in the World Cup squad, MS Dhoni.
The heart of the matter
According to reports from TOI, former greats Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have come out in the open, questioning the morale behind pushing Dhoni lower down the order when his experience was the need of the hour at the middle.
VVS Laxman did not mince any words and said that it was a tactical blunder on team India's part. "Dhoni should have come ahead of Pandya. It was a tactical blunder. Dhoni should have walked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. The stage was set for Dhoni. In 2011 final also, he promoted himself up to bat at number four ahead of Yuvraj Singh and won the World Cup," said Laxman.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly echoed Laxman's thoughts. He said "India needed experience at that stage. If Dhoni was there when Pant was batting, he would not have allowed Pant to play that shot against the breeze. In England, it's a big factor. He would have told him to go after pacer when mid-off and mid-on is up because he is good at that."
"Dhoni should have batted up. You need that composure and not just his batting. He would not have allowed wickets to fall in the cluster. Dhoni was there when Jadeja batted. Communication is a strength. You can't have Dhoni at number seven. As a finisher, he still has tremendous respect. He can still clear the field and that's why he left it for last. It's not that he can't hit sixes but he thinks that's the way to win ODI matches," Ganguly added.
Sachin Tendulkar felt that Dhoni's experience would have come in handy in controlling things in the middle.
He was quoted saying, "The question here can be, in a crunch moment like this, would you not think of promoting Dhoni with experience on his back? Towards the end, he kept talking to Jadeja and he was controlling things".
"Maybe instead of Hardik, Dhoni should have come up. Batting Dinesh Karthik at number 5 was slightly out of the box I felt," added the legendary batsman.
Dhoni's batting position has been a matter of debate in the past few years. It will be interesting to see what his role will be moving forward, if he does indeed continue to represent the nation in limited overs cricket.