Saturday, April 20

‘No positive intent from MS Dhoni’ – Ben Stokes opens up on Team India’s approach in 2019 World Cup

MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Ben Stokes, the talented seaming all-rounder from England, has come out with a strong and conflicting opinion in his book “The Fire” on MS Dhoni’s intent and Rohit-Kohli’s approach in the 2019 World Cup match against England that sent Team India on backfoot. Men in Blue performed extremely well in the mega-event before they came face to face against England. In that game, the hosts scored a mammoth total of 337 runs in the stipulated 50 overs.

The majority of the fans had expected that Team India will easily chase that target on the back of their in-form batting line-up but that never happened. Kohli-Rohit stitched 138-run partnership and Dhoni scored 42 off 31 balls. Their effort was still not enough to cross the winning line and the visitors suffered their first defeat in the marquee event by a margin of 33 runs.

Rohit and Kohli’s approach mystifying; no intent from Dhoni: Ben Stokes

Stokes analyzed that match in his book. He felt that MS Dhoni, who came out to bat when India needed 112 runs in 11 overs, focussed on singles instead of going for boundaries and sixes. He added that Virat Kohli and Co. would have still won that game quite easily if the former Indian skipper had batted with a different approach.

According to him, the veteran always tries to stay at the crease till the last over in order to create a chance for winning the match. Also, he always takes the score close to the target as much possible to keep the run-rate of his side intact.

“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. There was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” Stokes wrote in his soon-to-be-published book.

In a segment, he also talked about Rohit-Kohli’s partnership in that particular match. In his opinion, although the duo stitched a decent partnership of 138 runs. But they consumed almost 27 over for doing it. And, no team expects their batsmen to bat with such an approach while chasing a target of more than 300 runs. As per Stokes, they didn’t put any pressure on England or showed any kind of intent to win the match.

“The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre. They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands,” he further wrote.

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