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India's series defeat to Australia proves why MS Dhoni is half the captain, Virat Kohli needs him at World Cup

Indias series defeat to Australia proves why MS Dhoni is half the captain, Virat Kohli needs him at World Cup

New Delhi, March 14: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi's observation about veteran cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni that he's "half a captain" of India's limited overs side looks spot on in the wake of Team India's series defeat against Australia in the just-concluded ODI series.

Captain Virat Kohli and his men were badly bruised and battered by an inexperienced but spirited Australian squad. It was the first time after 2009 when Australia managed to win a series on Indian soil.

Reasons for India's series defeat

MS Dhoni's presence was badly missed during the fourth and fifth ODI in the just concluded series which the Men In Blue lost 3-2 despite taking a solid 2-0 lead at the start of the series. Dhoni was rested for the last two games of the series.

Skipper Kohli seemed "visibly rough" on the field during the fourth ODI against Australia. Many felt that the result of the series would have been different, had Dhoni - who is still known as one of the sharpest brains on the field - been present in the fourth ODI, India would have clinched the series in Mohali and the fifth ODI would have been a dead rubber.

In Delhi, the team once again felt the absence of the seasoned campaigner into the middle during their run chase in the fifth and deciding ODI. India were chasing a daunting target to 273 on tough Ferozeshah Kotla track where it isn't easy to bat in the second innings.

'Almost half a captain'

'Almost half a captain'

To make the matters worse, India's much-vaunted top order failed to give a decent start and the middle order, barring Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, hardly anyone showed any resistance.

The result of the last two ODIs clearly reflects how important the 37-year-old senior cricketer is for the side.

While highlighting Dhoni's importance Bedi, at a reception organised by the Australian High Commission for its cricket team earlier this week, told PTI, "I am nobody to comment but we all are wondering that why Dhoni is being rested and his absence was felt Sunday (March 10), behind the stumps, with the bat and on field also. He is almost half a captain."

'Dhoni not getting any younger'

'Dhoni not getting any younger'

The 72-year-old spin great who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests said, "Dhoni is not getting any younger, he is no spring chicken either but the team needs him. He has a calming influence on the side. The captain needs him by his side, he is visibly rough without him. It is not a good sign."

'Jadeja is a great all-rounder'

'Jadeja is a great all-rounder'

Wrist spinners are the flavour of the season with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal leading the pack at the moment. Bedi hoped the team management has adopted the right approach by sidelining finger spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja though the latter remains part of the ODI team.

"I hope they are right about wrist spinners but I cannot figure if there is a better all-rounder than Jadeja. What is the need to undermine him?" he asked.

Pant is a wild horse, needs taming

Pant is a wild horse, needs taming

Risabh Pant, who played his fourth ODI in Mohali on Sunday and first in the ongoing series against Australia, was sloppy behind the stumps. The 21-year-old squandered the opportunities he was given with the bat in the last two ODIs.

Bedi questioned the need for resting Dhoni and giving Pant an opportunity with the series very much alive.

"Pant is a wild horse. Somebody has to tame him. Who is going to do that? The support staff should be able to do that. He is making the same mistakes again and again and behind stumps, too, he has a lot of work to do, honestly. Your chairman of selection committee (MSK Prasad) is a wicketkeeper, you talk to him at least," said Bedi.

Talking about the areas of improvement in the current ODI team, he added: "Cricket sense must improve. Cricket ability and cricket sense are two different things. You have tonnes of ability but without sense there is not much you can do. In Mohali, it was such a good start from India yet they were struggling to last 50 overs while Australia finished with more than two overs to spare."

Warne has similar views about Dhoni

Warne has similar views about Dhoni

Former Australia cricketer and spin legend Shane Warne while targetting Dhoni's critics had recently said that they don't know how crucial the 2011 World Cup winning captain is for the side.

"Dhoni is a great player. He can bat anywhere whatever the team needs. He is adaptable & anyone criticising him has no idea what they're talking about. India need him in the World Cup, they need his experience & leadership skills on the field to help Virat Kohli as well," Warne - who is the brand ambassador of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals - said.

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    Story first published: Thursday, March 14, 2019, 15:49 [IST]
    Other articles published on Mar 14, 2019
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