This season has witnessed captain Dhoni losing four matches in a row for the first time in his IPL career. Has MS Dhoni become too defensive to the extent where he is giving away games he could have won?
Rising Pune Super Giants’ star batsman Steve Smith doesn’t think so. He believes Dhoni is still a great captain. Speaking to iplt20.com after their last match against Gujarat Lions, the Australian batsman heaped praise on his captain despite the ongoing criticism.
He even talked about how good MS Dhoni is as a captain. For him, Mahi is a hard-working captain and is always open to suggestions, which Smith believes is a very good trait to have: “We were basically just talking about the game, what we think can be used best at that time and I had a few ideas to share and if he wants to listen he can or he could just let it go.
“He did listen to a few ideas and implemented it which is nice. I think he’s pretty good at what he does, he works hard, he’s a very good captain, he listens to the people around him that have the experience as well, which is a good trait.”
However, Questions are being asked about Dhoni’s tactics and prone-to-gamble nature. Against Gujarat, despite losing the toss and being asked to bat, a score of 195 should have put Pune clearly in the driver’s seat.
With such a massive total to defend, Dhoni could have attacked right from the start in spite of the field restrictions during the opening six overs of the power-play. But he set up a defensive field and at the end of the day blamed hid bowlers for the loss.
Publicly blaming the bowlers in a post-match press-briefing certainly undermines their confidence. It’s something which Mahendra Singh Dhoni would never ever have done in his good old days when everybody used to talk about Captain Cool.
It’s very much possible that Dhoni is feeling the fatigue in his ninth IPL season, where he not only has to lead a new franchise but also have to maintain the demanding roles of a wicket-keeper and the main middle-order batsman.
Maybe time has come RPS to shift the burden of the captaincy onto Steve Smith or may be Ajinkya Rahane so that Dhoni finds an opportunity to get back to enjoy his hard-hitting batting and decent wicket-keeping.
Australia has managed to regain the number-one ranking in Test cricket under Steve Smith while Rahane could come up with a fresh mind to the task of captaincy.
One should remember, Mumbai Indians won the IPL not once but twice after the captaincy was given to Rohit Sharma who had never led before but success came.