How Dhoni got his tactics all wrong

Dhoni's defence for India's recent losses is amusing

MS Dhoni had few things to say in the post-match conference when India lost the fourth ODI against New Zealand. India has suffered two losses – one in Delhi by 6 runs and the other in Ranchi by 19 runs – in the ongoing series. Dhoni’s defense for India’s poor performance is indeed ‘amusing’. Here is our counter to all the excuses he gave.

Pitches are unfriendly:
The fourth ODI was played at Ranchi, Dhoni’s hometown. No one could have possibly known more about the turf at Ranchi, other than Dhoni himself. If he knows that the track will become difficult to bat on, then why didn’t the skipper come in later the order? We know that he is trying different combinations but winning matters right? Going by that logic that I’ll only bat at a particular number, Dhoni should have never promoted himself when the team was in a winning situation. Right? If pitches are unfriendly in India, how we are going to perform in abroad will be something to ponder upon.

Inexperienced middle order:
Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey have been playing in the domestic circuit for a long time now. Pandey has a highest score of 218 and 110 in First Class and List A, respectively. Jadhav, on the other hand, has a highest score of 327 in First Class and 141 in List A matches.  These matches have been in India only. And if they are still inexperienced when matches are being played at home then will they ever be picked for international tours? Pandey, recently, scored a century in Australia and has been consistently performing well for India A. Would calling them inexperienced be right?

Young generation likes to play big shots:
Well, who doesn’t like to play the big shot? But can we lose a match because of that? It is not a T20 match and certainly we were not chasing 350+. There’s enough time for a player to settle in ODIs and pace their innings. By that logic, these players don’t have the aptitude to play Test cricket as they’ll give away their wickets cheaply. And Tests wouldn’t remain a test of character anymore. The game would end within 3-4 days and the urge of playing a big shot would be responsible.

Finishing matches is difficult:
There’s no doubt to this that finishing a match is difficult. While Dhoni has been playing that role for years now, why experiment all of a sudden? Especially, when Champions Trophy is next year and only four more ODIs for India before the tournament starts. Both Pandey and Jadhav have preferred playing in the middle order. So, this move by Dhoni is in the team’s benefit or his? Or does Dhoni want everyone to acknowledge the fact that he is the best and how India need him? Putting an end to all the discussion around his retirement.

Dhoni batting up the order:
On one hand, Dhoni says that the team is “inexperienced”. If he wants players to get used to such situations and evolve as better batsmen then shouldn’t Dhoni bat where he usually did? By batting alongside Virat Kohli, the duo can put a strong partnership just like they did in the 3rd ODI. But if they bot get out and we still need someone to do the job, isn’t that more pressure on the “newcomers”? Trying out few combinations at the cost of India losing a match. Is that the way to look forward?

One thing is for sure, the Indian team management needs to look at the present while building a team for future. When India goes abroad on tours, no team gives them an easy win. But we surely know how to please our guests. Some players are rested, while new experimentations are done.