4 reasons why MS Dhoni should retire from international cricket
Mahendra Singh Dhoni at 37, is on the last legs of his international career. All the ardent fans of Indian cricket would love to see him finish his career on a high, after the 2019 World Cup in England.
We all agree that Dhoni behind the stumps is magnetic. While his on-field advice is very precious to the Indian team. A few commentators have even started calling the DRS as Dhoni Review System because when he calls for it, then in probability India gets a wicket or a reprieve.
While Kohli has a penchant for using DRS on any appeal, it is the calmness of Dhoni which brings sense into taking the call. But, is that enough from the great Dhoni?
The real problem lies in, where has Dhoni, the batsman gone? That batsman who came into the Indian side in 2004 and cemented his place due to his aggressive and dependable batting performances.
Let's do agree on one thing, no one wants Dhoni to retire, but for that, there are some real chunks he should address or else retiring is the only path available if India wants to lift next year's World Cup.
Here are the reasons why Dhoni should retire.
Finishing the innings
The role of Dhoni over the years has been to finish the innings, which he was doing with ease in the past decade or so. But after the 2015 World Cup, there seems to be a chunk in his armor while finishing the innings. We do not see the Dhoni of the same old times anymore, who would take the game late into the innings and lead us to memorable wins.
In the recent Asia Cup, he was guilty of getting out constantly when India needed him to stay at the crease. It was either Ravindra Jadeja or Kedar Jadhav who stood till the very end when the Indian team was in dire circumstances. How can Dhoni, easily our most experienced player, falter when the team needs him the most? If this trend continues, then India could pack it bags pretty soon in the upcoming World Cup.
His low strike-rate
Dhoni of the earlier era could come to the crease and start hammering the ball from the word go, but with age, he has started using up extra balls to get settled. At times, this is hurting India, by the time Dhoni gets to the groove it becomes a tad too late.
In 2018, from 15 matches, his strike rate is a paltry 67.21. At a time when T20 is ruling cricket, the dwindling strike rate of Dhoni is not helping the team's cause.
Although we did see some blistering innings from him in IPL 2018 for CSK, the same has not transformed to the international cricket from him. His supporters have long enough waited for that Dhoni, who scored his highest score of 183 against Sri Lanka, or the 148 he scored against Pakistan coming out at number 3 and belting them all across the ground. How badly we do miss those innings from him!
Low average when the middle-order is unsettled
The Indian middle order conundrum has been going on for quite some time now. India has tried a lot of players above and below Dhoni in the batting order. The only one who seems to have cemented his place is Kedar Jadhav, that too, more for his bowling prowess than his batting.
Therefore, the role of Dhoni in the middle order is more important. He should have been their rock to guide them, to cement their place, but Dhoni himself is faltering too many a times to support these players.
Considering 2018 again, in 15 matches this year, he is averaging a lowly 28.13. He has not been able to score a half-century this year with 42* being his highest score. While in 2017, he did average 60 and in 2016, his average was 27.80.
Youngster in waiting
While Pant has given a decent impression in the more extended format, it is the shorter format where he will make his name the most. His style of batting is tailor-made for attacking cricket and his skills would give India a new impetus in the middle order.
It is quite baffling to see Rishabh Pant make his Test debut before he did the same in ODI cricket. The reason being M.S.Dhoni, with Dhoni retiring from Tests, it is the Test team which was bound to give more opportunities to youngsters.
India will be more than fortunate to have Pant as a replacement for Dhoni, as he has shown enough ability to make sure that he takes Indian cricket to even greater heights in the coming years.