After a big loss against England in 2nd ODI, everyone is questioning Dhoni’s finishing abilities.
On a day when he crossed the 10,000-run milestone in ODIs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was booed by the Indian supporters at the ‘Home of Cricket’ for his slow batting during the team’s 86-run defeat against England in the second game of the three-match series for not showing initiative in his 59-ball 37 as India could only manage 236 in 50 overs after England posted 322 for seven.
While England’s Joe Root found it “surprising”, India’s Yuzvendra Chahal said that he was unaware about the booing incident.
Before the start of the 46th over, the match was as good as over with 110 required off 30 balls. However, the crowd got restless when Dhoni failed to score off the first four balls of David Willey’s over. There was booing after every dot ball, a rare occurrence considering the huge fan base Dhoni enjoys around the cricketing globe. In fact, at the end of the over, substitute fielders Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel came in with an energy drink and replacement bat, which on air commentators termed as a message to push things. Off the very first ball in the next over, Dhoni was caught at the deep mid-wicket boundary trying a wild heave.
England Test paceman Stuart Broad, commentating on Sky Sports, said of Dhoni: “Today he never really quite got going and he had no fluency to his batting — two boundaries in 59 balls, and you’re not going to win too many games doing that.”
Meanwhile former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh added: “Today was definitely a different Dhoni we got to see.
“He normally does take his time, but then once he’s in he looks for the boundary. But, today he was short of partners, though he still probably defended too many balls.”
But Kohli defended the 37-year-old Dhoni, a veteran of 320 ODIs who effectively won the 2011 World Cup final for India against Sri Lanka in Mumbai off his own bat, by saying: “This comes up again and again when he is not able to play in the normal way he does.
“It’s very unfortunate people just jump to conclusions very quickly.”
Kohli added: “When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever and when they don’t go well, they all pounce on him.
“We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.
“Also, you want to take the innings deep; you don’t want to just lose by 160-170 runs, and he has the experience, but some days it just doesn’t come off.
“Other people jump to conclusions, but we don’t – we totally believe in him.”