Michael Holding, former West Indian pacer has claimed that even though India have a star-studded batting lineup presently, the team is missing former captain, MS Dhoni, in run-chases.
While speaking on the show ‘Holding Nothing Back’, the 66-year-old reviewed the Men in Blue’s 66-run loss to Australia in the 1st ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground as India failed to chase 375.
Michael Holding: MS Dhoni Usually Took Control While Chasing As India Are Struggling With His Absence
Michael Holding stated that India missed the composure and control of finisher MS Dhoni, who retired from international cricket earlier this year after a long hiatus from the side since participating in the 2019 World Cup, where his last match was in semis against New Zealand which India lost to bow out of World Cup.
“It was always going to be difficult for India to chase that down. One thing India will struggle with is the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. MS Dhoni comes in to this Indian batting order halfway down and he usually takes control while chasing. India have chased so well in the past with MS Dhoni in the team, ” said the retired pacer and present commentator.
Michael Holding said that the Indian team with MS Dhoni in it was far more assured in run-chases due to the 39-year-old’s ability and ‘strength of character’.
“They’ve never been afraid to win the toss and insert the opposition because they know what MS Dhoni is capable of. This batting lineup that they’ve got is still very talented – we saw some talented players and fantastic strokeplay. But they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just his skills but his strength of character.”
MS Dhoni was reputed for changing India’s fortunes while chasing stiff targets. He averages 51.04 while chasing and 50.2 in the first innings in 297 ODIs where he accumulated more than 10,000 runs. MS Dhoni announced international retirement through Instagram on Independence Day 2020.
Michael Holding: India Have A Fantastic Batting Line-up But MS Dhoni Was A Special Man In Run Chase
The former pacer added that MS Dhoni not only ensured that he kept his team in the game throughout run-chases but also helped his batting partner constantly.
“We never see MS Dhoni panicking at any stage while India are chasing. He usually paces that chase so well because he knows his ability and he knows how to go about the chase. Whoever is batting with him, he is always talking with them and helping them. Fantastic batting lineup, but MS Dhoni was a special man in the run-chase.”
The Chennai Super Kings captain is known to be a step ahead of the opposition, with multiple batting partners such as Ravindra Jadeja emphatically stating that batting with him makes the job significantly easier.
India certainly could’ve used batsman and skipper MS Dhoni’s services in the 1st ODI – not only with his helicopter shots but also his uncanny ability to utilize a couple of overs out of his part-timers as captain.
MS Dhoni will be seen in action next in the 2021 Indian Premier League after a dismal IPL 2020 where he failed with both bats and as captain as CSK finished 7th in the points table. He scored 200 runs in 14 games averaging only 25.