Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar believes that at this stage, MS Dhoni is not the world-beater that he was and therefore, the fans should tone down their expectations from the wicketkeeper-batsman.
He does, however, believe Dhoni should retain his place behind the stumps ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup but that he should bat deeper in India’s line-up.
The 37-year-old came under the hammer after his slow innings of 36 off 67 balls in the finals of the recently concluded Asia Cup against Bangladesh in which India managed to pull off the victory on the last ball of the game. Before the finals held on September 29, Dhoni had scored just 189 runs at a dismal average of 27 in the nine ODIs he has played for India in 2018.
“At this stage, Dhoni is not the world-beater that he was,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “Just bat him down the order. In the Asia Cup final, he should not have come ahead of Kedar Jadhav. Kedar is an in-form batsman, a pure batsman. Tone down your expectations from Dhoni the batsman.”
In the recent years, Dhoni has often had to face the wrath of both the former cricketers as well as fans. Even in England, he was criticised for his slow batting in the ODI series which India had lost 1-2. On one occasion at Lord’s this year during the second ODI against England which India lost, he was even booed by the frustrated fans due to his 59-ball 37 in a steep chase of 323.
His batting form has been a concern for the team with many former cricketers even suggesting that the team management should look at younger options like that of Rishabh Pant going in the 2019 World Cup slated to be held in England.
“He (Dhoni) is a good keeper, stumping everything that comes his way. Virat Kohli needs a person around him – a man with all the experience – but his batting is clearly a problem and if India have an exciting option to replace Dhoni then they should start looking at it,” Manjrekar added.
Earlier, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar advised Dhoni to play domestic cricket when India is playing Test matches ahead of limited-overs cricket.