Cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has hit out at under-fire former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni by saying that he has to rely more on others to win games. Manjrekar, who represented India in 37 Tests and 74 ODIs, in his column for ESPNcricinfo wrote that Dhoni’s current form is a matter of discussion and debate. The former Indian batsman said that it should be done without inviting angry and irrational responses. “If there is someone outside the team showing potential to contribute more than Dhoni does in his current form, it’s a matter to be discussed and debated, and without inviting angry and irrational responses. It’s healthy for the game and must not be stifled,” Manjrekar wrote.
He also backed his claims with numbers. Manjrekar said that in his last 25 ODIs, the former Indian skipper averages 56.75 and his strike rate is 81.94 while in his last ten T20Is, Dhoni averages 33.80 and his strike rate is 131.01 but, if any youngster is able to show those kind of numbers, he will become an automatic pick for the Indian team. Interestingly, Rishabh Pant is one such player who has been performing exceptionally well at the domestic level while selectors have also included Dinesh Karthik in the squad as a batsman in the recent times.
Manjrekar said that a deeper scrutiny of these numbers and clinical observation of Dhoni’s performance on the field would reveal that he is not the game changer as often as he was in the past. He wrote that while Dhoni used to hit four sixes off six balls earlier, now he can hit only one and relies more on others to win matches.
There is no doubt that MS Dhoni’s ability to win games has gone down in last few months. Even in the recently concluded home series against New Zealand, the 36-year-old was struggling to get going but he is still one of the fittest members of the Indian team. Even Dhoni’s former teammate VVS Laxman had questioned his place in the side by saying that it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in the T20 format. He said that it will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket.