Every time MS Dhoni strides towards the 22 yards strip, expectation levels among those at the stadium and the millions watching at home soar spectacularly. And that is simply because he still continues to be the best finisher of the game and remains team India’s ‘Mr. Indispensable’.
While his master-class behind the wickets has drawn applause from all and sundry, in recent times questions have been raised on his current batting form.
A player like Dhoni comes once in a generation. His impact in cricket has not only been with his captaincy but also with his tremendous batting skills in the middle-order. Of late after giving up on his captaincy reigns, Dhoni has been striking the ball relatively better and even skipper Virat Kohli admitted the same. In 2017, after giving up on his captaincy, Dhoni averages 55 and has a strike rate of 100.61.
At a time when people questioning Dhoni’s place in the Indian team – especially with youngsters like Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings- numbers reveal what Dhoni brings to the table and why he is a vital cog in the middle order.
Dhoni normally bats at number 5, but more often than not, he keeps shuffling up and down the order. In fact, when he moves up the order numbers reveal that he enjoys more success. His highest ODI score -183 not out against Sri Lanka also came when he batted up the order.
While batting at number 3, Dhoni has played 16 innings and scored 993 runs with a highest of 183* and has an average of 82.75. At number 4 he has played 26 innings with 1223 runs with an average of 58.23 and a strike rate of 94.80. Noticeably, at 5 he has played 62 innings and scored 2485 runs, but his average plummets to 52.87 and so does his strike rate (88).
It is in the middle order that MS Dhoni has carved out his own niche. Out of the 104 innings, he has played so far, he has scored 4701 runs at an average of 58.76 with a strike rate of 92.46 and notched up seven centuries.
— Cricket-atti (@cricketatti) 28 May 2017
Numbers seem to suggest that it is this position where expresses himself freely and enjoys success as he has the composure to finish off games.
The ability to score runs in crunch situations was the reason behind MS Dhoni’s success but of late he has lacked a bit of consistency. But it is in tournaments like the Champions Trophy, where he has thrived the most. Four years ago in England, he proved his mettle with his captaincy skills four years ago. And now it is time for him do it again, but this time the onus will be on his 2 lb willow.