Same IPL Arena, Different MS Dhoni | Cricket
It will be over soon, he signaled against the backdrop of yellow fanatics chanting “Dhoni, Dhoni” repeatedly. It has only inspired a more spontaneous flow of emotion featuring the best of MS Dhoni – helicopter shots, multiple hairstyles, steely dazzles, last-ball victories and podium finishes. best captain? Coolest finisher in modern times?
And since he is also an intensely private person, the verified and unverified stories only add to his legend. We are also seeing a never-seen-before version of Dhoni the batsman – a lower-order dasher who focuses only on targeting boundaries. No test of patience, no crunch in chasing an achievable equation, no mind games, this IPL season of Dhoni has been plain hitting.
In nine rounds this IPL, Dhoni has faced just 35 balls while batting six times. This is a phenomenal drop from all his previous tenures, the lowest in 2021 being 107 balls. That edition was also Dhoni’s worst, with a strike rate of 106.54 with a highest of 18* and just three sixes. This season has been a different story so far. His strike rate is phenomenal at 211.42. His six-change is even more astonishing – one every four balls. IPL has never seen such a concise yet effective version of Dhoni.
The change has been evident since CSK’s first match of the season, when Dhoni came down to bat at No.8 against Gujarat Titans – the first time he has batted at this lower position in his T20 career. He scored 14 runs in seven balls.
Barring the GT innings and 32 off 17 balls against Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni’s other four innings have lasted less than five balls and always in the 20th over. Questions have arisen as to why Dhoni didn’t promote himself against the Punjab Kings on Sunday, for example – CSK scored 200 and PBKS chased it down off the last ball. Or should they have earlier set up a chase against Rajasthan Royals where CSK eventually lost by three runs. But Dhoni is clearly a reluctant finisher – which is probably why CSK prefer to bat first this season.
Dhoni is also around 42. The knee is creaking and coach Stephen Fleming hasn’t made any fuss about it, especially after the loss against RR where Dhoni was seen limping at times. Yusuf Pathan said on Star Sports, ‘He does not want to bat more than two overs in IPL 2023.’ “Fans want Dhoni to hit fours and sixes. His knee injury has also affected his movement. Mahi is backing himself to make maximum impact in minimum number of balls.”
For some batsmen, with more restrictions comes more clarity of mind. Giving himself as few balls as possible was the first step for Dhoni. Maximizing the mistakes of the bowlers was next. After the Royals match, Dhoni said, ‘I don’t think about too many things.’ He said, ‘I just wait for the bowlers to make some mistakes. You need to back yourself.
Dhoni took advantage of a huge bowling error on Sunday, hitting an 88-metre six off Sam Curran’s full toss over deep midwicket. Earlier on the ball, Curran tried a wide bouncer but Dhoni uppercut it and hit it for a six over point. Without exerting himself, taking a run or two, or taking a throw from the deep, Dhoni did what he was told – maximize on errors and give the fans what they want, while showing that as much as we There is more to it than you already know.
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access with HT Premium
Subscribe now to continue reading