MS Dhoni- A Fading Force?

There is a tinge of uncertainty in the air, it seems like some settings have been altered. The international cricket scenario is about to change with India set to face the number one ranked Proteas side at home. It will be an interesting series being played with India’s home series losses in ODIs and T20s against them in background.

The year has not quite been fruitful for team India as their performances have not been impressive. Beginning with the tri series in Australia, including the first home loss to South Africa. The loss against Bangladesh was discouraging although the series was not well planned. Perhaps the semi final finish at the World cup was the only spark in the last couple of months.

Virat took India to a victory against Sri Lanka after 22 years.

But now in the longer format, they will step with a new captain altogether in Virat Kohli. Whether MS Dhoni’s role has been completely filled in still remains to be answered but a series win against Sri Lanka after 22 years was surely a good sign. A fearless captain, Kohli has a pretty straightforward approach in going for it even in cases of a half chance. He simply never looks back. On the other hand, Dhoni believes in defending and building on what is at hand.  

The major concern now is India’s sudden downfall in limited overs arena. Where does the problem lie? For a majority of Indian fans, it is the captain who is responsible for the loss. Dhoni was heavily criticized and under scrutiny by Indian fans during the ODI series against South Africa. But is MS Dhoni’s performance a cause of concern?

From the time he took over captaincy, 'Dhoni- The Captain' has been inspired and supported by 'Dhoni- The Batsman'! We have often seen this in the past years. Maybe the batsman has not been up to the mark?

The Waning Superhero

MS Dhoni does not have the same impact at the death as he used to earlier.

Once a hard hitter of the cricket ball at the death, his exploits in the latter part of the innings have been dwindling. Kagiso Rabada, a 20 year old prodigy has often got the better of him in the recent series. For a player like him who relies on hand eye co-ordination and not technique, an agile and responsive physique is a necessity. Being in the 30s now, we have seen a slight decrease in fitness recently. The big shot is now a rare scene when he’s at the crease.

Now, I am not questioning his ability to perform the task as a finisher, but really, the South African bowling unit didn’t give anything, particularly at the death. Previously, Dhoni would always out-think the bowler, but now, we don’t quite see the vintage MS Dhoni, do we?

The Convoluted Mindset

His mindset has been equivocal recently during the South Africa series.

Your approach certainly plays a decisive role when you are captaining your national side. A clear state of mind, a game plan needs to be there. But with Dhoni, his approach has been ambiguous recently. For instance, his post match statement at Mumbai- 'To a large extent, our team is not settled.'  The once confident and fearless Captain, now looks unsure.
But that, doesn’t mean he cannot continue. Maybe he will consider his future plans after the World T20, 2016 in India.

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