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Why is MS Dhoni still suitable to lead India in shorter formats? 

Why is MS Dhoni still a suitable shorter formats captain for India?

With South Africa coming to India to play the Gandhi-Mandela series, which will be the longest bilateral series between India and South Africa in history. This series will have a long-term impact on both the India and South Africa. The series will start on October 2 with a T20 match in Dharamsala. So, when the history is at stake, along with batting, bowling and fielding, the strategy will also play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the match, if not the series. MS Dhoni will lead India in a three-match T20 series and a five-match ODI series while Virat Kohli will lead India in the longest format of the game. So far, South Africa played two ODI series against India but lost both of the series in India. Similarly, India has never won an ODI series in South Africa.

Dhoni is known for his shrewd, sensible, and intelligent captain in the two shorter formats. The two World Cup and one Champions Trophy winning captain will be remembered for his gamble in big matches, and how he won in style.

Dhoni, after enduring criticism for his sluggish captaincy in Test matches, handed it to Virat Kohli. And Kohli, being the captain for a full-fledged series won the heart of fans and cricket pundits as India notched up first Test series win in Emerald Isle since 1993. There is a buzz that Virat Kohli should be made as captain for 50 overs cricket as well.

An anonymous source from the BCCI said that a selector’s committee headed by Sandeep Patil has been considering the option to make Virat as captain for ODI. And, Dhoni will remain only as a T20 captain. The humiliation India suffered in Bangladesh under the captaincy of MS Dhoni and in the 2015 World Cup semifinal his decision to come at no. 6 after Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina had  made some pundits dubious about one of all time best captain in shorter formats of the game.

It is still unclear who will lead India in ODIs. If, media reports are to be believed then Virat Kohli may lead India. But, the BCCI is still silence over the captaincy issue even sixteen days before the series. So, they might end up sticking with experienced MS Dhoni to win the series.

Here are reasons why MS Dhoni will still be suitable captain for India. We should remember four strategic master strokes from MS Dhoni is big tournaments that helped India to snatch the match from the opponent.

1. Incredible guts in the 2007 World Cup final  

India clinched the 2007 World T20 final in Johannesburg from the jaws of defeat against arch-rival Pakistan. In reply to India’s competitive total 157, Pakistan needed 13 runs in the last over. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul –Haq was at the crease with only one wicket in hand. MS Dhoni called medium pacer Joginder Sharma. Nobody expected that Dhoni would ask Sharma instead of Harbhajan Singh, who had an over left, to bowl the final over. It was enough to overpower Misbah. Pakistan captain hit the second ball on the for a big six over long off. Pakistan bench was sure victory is ensured as they had three more balls. But, Misbah made the mistake in the third ball playing a scoop which was caught by S Sreesanth. The reason to not give the ball to Harbhajan was that the spinner was battered by Misbah midway in the match.

2. Shrewdness in the 2008 Commonwealth Bank series’ second final vs Australia

India won the first final by 6 wickets, so a win in the second final against Australia would ensure India’s first tri- series victory in Australia. India batting first scored 258 for 9. While chasing Australia lost their first three wickets inside 32 runs in 9 overs. MS Dhoni stuck with Medium Praveen Kumar, who became a nightmare for Australia as he sent back Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Micahel Clarke in that match. Praveen, in his second spell, claimed the wicket of Brett Lee to finish with figures of 4 for 46 in 10 overs.

3. 2013 Champions Trophy final against England

In a rain marred match, India at Edgbaston umpires decided to play a 20 over match. Batting first India scored 129. Indian spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were economical. But, Ishant Sharma had given 12 runs per over before his final over. MS Dhoni called Sharma to bowl to 18th over. Sharma did not betray Dhoni as Ishant broke the partnership of Eion Morgan and Ravi Bopara by sending  them back on consecutive deliveries. That over ensured thrilling 5 run victory of India.

4. 2011 World Cup final

India won the World Cup after 28 years. But, it was not easy, as it looks now. India defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets with 10 balls remaining. Sri Lanka with the help of Mahela Jayawardene’s 103 put 274 runs on board. India starting their chase lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. A 83 runs partnership between Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir helped India to get rid of a mountainous target. Gambhir released the tension coming one down. As Kohli departed, India were 114 for 3, India were still not out of the woods. Cleverly, Dhoni (91) elevated himself and came before Yuvraj Singh and built a partnership of 109 with Gambhir (97) that helped India to cruise India to victory.  

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