Former India cricketers VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar slammed MS Dhoni for his average performance against New Zealand at Rajkot on Saturday and said that it was time for Team India to look for other options in Twenty20 cricket. Chasing a mammoth 197 in the second T20I at Rajkot on Saturday, India fell short of the target by 40 runs. Skipper Virat Kohli was critical of the batsmen saying they were ‘not good enough’. Dhoni joined Kohli at the crease when India were 67/4 in 9.1 overs. While Kohli was hitting boundaries at will, the former India captain was finding it difficult to get going. Dhoni scored first four runs in 5 balls, he was on 8 after playing 9 balls and took 18 balls to score 16, which shifted the momentum in New Zealand’s favour.
“In T20s, MS Dhoni’s role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But today [Saturday] was a classical example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total,” Laxman said in a post-match show.
“I still feel it’s time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket,” he added.
Dhoni ended up scoring 49 off 37 balls, but he uped the ante and improved his scoring rate only in the 19th and 20th over of the innings, when India were almost out of contention.
“I think India must now look at other options, at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem to be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don’t think so. In T20 cricket, it is lot easier to make that transition as there is lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now,” Agarkar told ESPNcricinfo.
“You had a chance (in the second T20 against New Zealand) if he (Dhoni) had got going immediately but that has been his problem for a while now. It’s not tonight or over the last few games. He takes a little bit of time to settle down and in twenty 20 cricket, there is no time,” he said.
“I heard people say that he should bat at different number, but he came into bat in the 10th over in this match. How many times you get to bat 10 overs in T20 cricket and in my opinion, there was enough time,” Agarkar added.
The series is locked at 1-1 now and the decider will be played on Tuesday in Thiruvananthapuram.