Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has leapt in under-pressure Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s defence after he was criticised for his slow pace innings against New Zealand in the second T20I which ultimately resulted in India losing the game by 40 runs.
Dhoni’s knock, nonetheless, has divided the cricketing fraternity. While some feel that the latest knock is another telling example of the former India skipper’s diminishing powers in the shortest format of the game, some are treating it as one bad day at the office.
The World Cup-winning skipper had walked into bat when India was reduced to 67 for four in the 10th over while chasing 197. With the team needing more than 10 runs per over, the situation demanded Dhoni to take the attack to the Kiwi bowlers right from the word go but surprisingly the 36-year old took his time, managing just 17 off the first 20 balls. He eventually managed to score 49 off 37, but by the time he began playing the big shots, it was too late.
As a result of the knock, Dhoni is facing the heat from several quarters including his former India nationals VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar, but Gavaskar has thrown his support firmly behind the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“VVS and Ajit are completely entitled to their opinion. They have played a lot of cricket for India, and it is their view. It might not necessarily be the selectors’ nor the captains’ view, and we just have to wait and see,” Gavaskar told NDTV.
Earlier, Laxman and Agarkar had said Dhoni should make way for a youngster in the shortest format of the game.
“I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,” Laxman had said after the second T20I.
“I think India must now look at other options, at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem to be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don’t think so. In T20 cricket, it is a lot easier to make that transition as there is a lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now,” Agarkar had told ESPNcricinfo.
Gavaskar went on to say that when a cricketer crosses 30, people leave no stone unturned to find fault in his game.
“When somebody reaches an age beyond 30 then I think every time, all of us are looking to find fault with that over-30 person. We actually hasten somebody’s retirement from the game by demanding too much of the person,” Gavaskar said.
“We do not look at the guys under 30, who actually haven’t done anything but we tend to sort of overlook that. So, we will not have to look at the failure of others in the same innings. Hardik Pandya getting out for one by not picking up a googly. We will not look at that. We will not look at the fact that openers did not give the usual start. We will only point the finger at MS Dhoni. So that is unfortunate. So, that is India for you,” Gavaskar added.
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