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Former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin feels Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh are not the same finishers that they were in their primes.
Both the players have struggled to set the cricket field on fire in recent times but their performance against England in the limited-overs series showed that they still have a lot of firepower left in them. Yuvraj, who was playing his first ODI after 2013, starred with the bat for India, scoring 210 runs in 3 matches including a 150-run knock while MS Dhoni scored 165 runs with the help of one century as India won the three-match series 2-1. Both the players also showed moment of brilliance on few occasions in the just-concluded Indian Premier League but Azharuddin feels that they are not the same batsmen who used to send chills down the spine of bowlers.
“They can’t be (the same finishers). They have been playing cricket for 14-15 years and playing consistently is not possible. Yuvraj Singh’s game is not conducive to England he hasn’t done so well since that hundred against England earlier this year,” Mohammad Azharuddin said at the Aaj Tak Salaam Cricket 2017.
On the other hand, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who was also attending the show, opined that the Men in Blue should pick up both the players in the playing eleven for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy and even said that Yuvraj should be preferred ahead of Ajinkya Rahane for the number 4 spot.
“I’d go with the two most experienced players in Yuvraj and Dhoni. This is their time to really stand up. You do need the mix of youth and experience in the team. But if I have to pick between Yuvraj and Rahane, I would go with the experienced player,” Clarke said.
Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara also echoed Clarke’s sentiments and said that Dhoni brings the much-needed experience in the team.
“MS Dhoni has been a bedrock of support for Steve Smith in Rising Pune Supergiant and for Virat Kohli in the Indian team,” Sangakkara said.
Dhoni was sacked as the Rising Pune Supergiant skipper before the tenth edition of the tournament but played a vital role in the Pune-based outfit’s journey to the final of the tournament where they were beaten by Mumbai Indians. He was seen giving valuable inputs to his successor Steve Smith throughout the tournament and Sangakkara feels that former India skipper can play a similar role for the Indian team too.
“With MS as a wicketkeeper, he brings so much to the Indian side. His role in his own team in the IPL is also very similar to his role in the Indian team. He’s not the captain anymore in both sides,” Sangakkara added.
India, meanwhile, will begin their Champions Trophy campaign on June 4 against Pakistan at Edgbaston.