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Sunday, 27 January 2013

The curious case of Mr. MS DHONI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni...truely one of the most successful Indian captains. He made his One Day International debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh,as a consequence of a series of experiments conducted by the BCCI to fit in a wicketkeeping batsman. A year later played his first Test, this time against Sri Lanka.This bloke  from Ranchi gained everybody's attention by scoring a  breath taking 148 againnst pakistan..followed by a even more brilliant knock of 183 against the Lankan lions in a near 300 chase..
finishing the match in about 45 overs.
Under Dhoni's captaincy India became the first team after a  gap of more than 20 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. Dhoni also led the Indian team to the  number one position in ICC rankings in Test cricket for the first time. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007–08, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008 and 2010 against Australia 2–0, Asia cup 2010 and 2011 World Cup. His Test, ODI record is best among all the Indian captains to date. He also captained Chennai Super Kings to victory in the 2010, 2011 IPL and in the Champions League.
In the final of the 2011 World Cup, he hit 91 not out of just 79 balls to lead India to victory.

He is one of the Best batsman in the one day format at the present, argubaly the best finisher of all times..But what does he lack when it comes to the Test cricket.He hasn't been contributing as a test batsman. Which has made him lose his confidence in his captaincy as well.
What exactly does he lack when it comes to the Test format.Temprament? Skill? or Something else?

Admitting technical flaws in his batting, skipper MS Dhoni says he just looks to adapt well to the different  conditions  Does he need to make technical adjustments to succeed in alien conditions? Is he good enough to score runs away from home?
Dhoni has been bold enough to admit that he isn't technically sound. He  shouldn't and he doesn't look to make too many adjustments. Because, what we have learnt over the years, right from schooldays, is that it's very difficult to change your technique in just one series, or couple of series. So, what's important is to adapt well. India lost 8  overseas Tests in a row. One of the technical problem that Dhoni has is him being a strong bottomhanded player...he pushes at the ball Although most of the Indian batsmen has that kind of problem,the reason being brought up on low bouncy pitches,flat surfaces where you can hit through the line and can play your shots on the up.
We have to understand that Test and oneday cricket are different.Dhoni knows how to build an innings in the ODIs.What he lacks in Test cricket is the ability to approach his innings in a certain way.He isn't sure how to play. His natural game is ofcourse attacking but when he is able to change his game in ODIs. He tries to do the same in tests...still not being sure whether to play attacking or defensive. Test Cricket gives us the privilege to play our natural game but if your technique suffers from certain flaws you ought to alter your game even in the Tests. Leave a lot of delievries.build your innings according to the Situation and conditions.
His innings of 99 against England in the 4th test of the recently concluded Test Series showed he can be a better test match batsman if he tries to spend some time in the middle with application of his batting skills and determination to bat longer.

All Dhoni needs to do is to use his mind...follow the basics and make minimal but appropriate changes in his technique. What he must do is to play with straight bat in the Test cricket,early on in his innings..Try to present the full face of the bat And don't try to play square of the wicket in the conditions where ball tends to move and tends to move late.
He has to avoid pushing at the ball and punching the ball. Try to avoid his bottomhand dominence and keep his elbow up while playing straight
Sometimes he just feels for the ball while the front foot goes nowhere.Get the foot to the pitch of the ball
thats what he should be doing.And once he is set he can play his natural game.

If he uses a heavy bat for Test matches too..he should try to play with the lighter bat. The heavier the bat, the more the bottom hand has to come in to control the bat. Graeme Smith is a case in point, his dominant bottom hand grip has made his ability to control off side shots problematic.  He has mastered this now, but for many years it was a challenge for Graeme to be able to dominate the off side with this grip. Go with a lighter bat where you have control of the blade and are able to use touch and feel to steer the ball into space.
The challenge with a heavy bat is that the weight of the bat takes over the shot and you lose the ability to control the blade.

Dhoni hasn't been playing too well in the test arena...but his recent one day form is good...We all can hope that he will find his own ways to tackle the strategies of Oz bowlers in the upcoming series.

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