‘External pressure is affecting MS Dhoni’s performance’:A a former South African hero
The second phase of ‘Freedom Series’ is over. The series was named after Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, two greats freedom fighter from India and South Africa. The series was named ‘Freedom Series’ to honour the same history both countries share. But, as the ODI series got over one captain has captivated while another was booked for failure.
When captain AB de Villiers single-handedly won the match for South Africa his counterpart MS Dhoni slump to failure. There is no more that elegant touch found in MS Dhoni’s batting during the five-match ODI series. In Indore ODI, he salvaged a shrinking ship alone playing a 92 runs innings, but after that he struggled with his own form.
Questions are rising over his captaincy alongside his role as a batsman. He no more enjoys the authority over team selection.
Controversies engulfed him since the former BCCI president N. Srinivasan found guilty in the conflict of interest case after the spot fixing incident erupted in 2013 that led to CSK, with whom Dhoni won two finals as captain, and RR’s two-year suspension from the Indian Premier League. MS Dhoni is the vice president of India Cements, that owned the CSK team.
The thing is that some people are saying twilight of MS Dhoni glamorous career approaching. But, it will be ill justice to term him as no more a utility cricketer. There is no sign of his lack of fitness. So, why did MS Dhoni fail to perform? His captaincy is under questions because bowlers are in their worst ever form and batsmen are stuck with their ego.
External pressure was gloating MS Dhoni. His every deed are now influenced by external pressure. He is any more his own man.
Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion in the team to Virat Kohli’s batting position his words nobody obeyed. After losing the third ODI while he was talking about the India’s performance in Rajkot ODI he looked hapless.
But, why do things like that happen to Indian captains? He won everything for India, possibly lost tournaments what his predecessor never did. But, the way he was treated by the team management and a few players is just intolerable.
So, Dave Callaghan, who played 29 ODIs for South Africa in the time between 1992 and 2000, analysed the reason why MS Dhoni failed to perform and AB de Villiers made fists on Indian bowlers. He also expressed his opinion on South Africa’s victory and the reason of India’s failure. When Dave Callaghan used to play South Africa were full of utility players. So, it was difficult for any players to enter the team in the mid and late 1990’s.
“Dhoni has been an exceptional player for India over the years. But when people start putting pressure on you, it affects you somewhere. There is question asked on his presence in the team. When you are putting pressure like that on somebody, he will obviously want to bat differently. He definitely wants to bat a bit more freely. India is the very difficult place. There are millions of people who want Dhoni to do well every time he walks in and that’s not going to happen. I feel there’s a lot of external pressure on him. Unfortunately, the batting around him isn’t reliable either. He has to play more of a senior role because he isn’t sure whether guys before or after him will make runs. When the guys before him make runs consistently, he can play like AB de Villiers. That’s what de Villiers is doing because guys around him are really good and consistent”, Callaghan stated.
He also spoke about the South Africa’s first ever ODI series win on Indian soil. He gave credit to IPL. “Their performance speaks for itself. A lot of them have played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the last couple of seasons; some have played right from the time IPL started. That has helped them a lot. They know the conditions, they know the Indian players. It has made their job lot easier. The pleasing part is their batting. It has been exceptional on the tour”.
Talking about India failure in the home series he said, “I think bowling was a big issue for India in this series. I don’t think India were able to contain the South Africa batsmen, therefore, there was always that scoreboard pressure. The batsmen were always under pressure to put a big total on the board and that won’t happen all the time. There will always be an odd failure. Unfortunately for India, it came in Mumbai”.
Callaghan also said that South African bowlers have also played better than Indian bowlers.he praised 20-year-old Kagiso Rabada for his ability to soak up the pressure. “They are all wicket-takers. I think (Morne) Morkel has made a big difference in this series. He was not only able to keep the Indians quiet but also contained them well. (Dale) Steyn bowled well at the death and (Imran) Tahir was key in the middle overs. He was able to put the breaks and also broke some crucial partnerships. Then, that young kid (Kagiso) Rabada was exceptional. He was able to absorb the pressure very well. South Africa have bowlers who can take wickets. I think the most important thing in one-day cricket these days is taking wickets. It’s not about containing. If you have two new batsmen at the crease, there’s always pressure on the batting team. De Villiers was once again at his destructive best”.
He was asked whether AB de Villiers is the best batsman of among the all contemporary international cricketers. He said, “I am glad he plays for South Africa.” “De Villiers is an exceptional player. I don’t think there’s any better batsman in the world than him. There’s not much I can say about him other than that I am glad he plays for South Africa. He has so many good players around him.”
Praising ABD he also said the team unity also have been playing a crucial role in his success. “The unity of the team is very important. They love being on tour together. They like each other’s company. They enjoy each other’s success.”
So, what did Callaghan indicate? Is there no unity in the Indian team and that is affecting MS Dhoni’s performance?