MS Dhoni admits his finishing days may be over

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MS Dhoni admits his finishing days may be over

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SportsCafe Desk


MS Dhoni has hinted at permanently giving up his finishing duties with the shocking admission that he was "losing the ability to freely rotate in the middle". The 35-year-old scored 80 off 91 balls in the third ODI as India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match ODI series against the Kiwis.

Cricket over the past decade has taken a few things for granted – Jimmy Anderson's fifers, Virat Kohli's chases, Lasith Malinga's lower-order wrap-ups, and MS Dhoni's finishes. However, the Indian skipper appeared to be losing his touch as if age had finally caught up with him. He has struggled to keep up the run rate in recent times, and those lightning sprints between the wickets have become fewer and tougher to find. Admitting that it was the case, MS Dhoni has hinted that he may not bat down the order any more.

"I know I should still look for the big shots. Once you get 15-20 runs, you get into the groove. There were points in the middle where I had to pull myself from playing big shots, and batting with Virat helps because we know we can get boundaries, and get those quick singles and doubles," said Dhoni, who promoted himself up the order when India found themselves in trouble at 41/2.

The 2011 World Cup-winning captain had suggested before the series that India were looking for a new finisher and that he would now come up the order so that the transition takes place smoothly.

"I have batted lower down for a long time, I think 200 innings down the order. To some extent I am losing my ability to freely rotate in the middle, so I have decided to bat up and let the others finish. Batting at no. 4 is more of my need than the team's," said the 35-year-old.

Captain Cool's 151-run partnership with Virat Kohli ensured that India took the lead in the series once again after the Kiwis had levelled things up in the second ODI. The Indian skipper also praised his deputy for his well-made 154 runs off only 134 balls, claiming that he had made the nation proud.

"Right from the start, he is somebody who always wanted to improve to win games for India. He is somebody who has learnt a lot and he is somebody who knows his strengths really well. It's very difficult to say what the top level is in cricket, but Kohli has done India proud," Dhoni added.

Dhoni also saved a thought for Kedar Jadav stating that he did know how the 31-year-old picked up his wickets. Jadhav, who picked up 3-29 in 5 overs, decimated the Kiwi middle order as he claimed the wickets of Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson and Tom Latham to send the visitors to 169/6 at one point.

"The surprise package has been Kedar, he has always given us wickets in the middle overs, and that's when you can restrict the opposition. But we have to finish better with the ball, the last five, six, seven overs. I have no clue how he gets wickets. It's important to have one in the top five to bowl a few, especially with left-handers in the opposition with him being an off spinner," Dhoni said after the game.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that he was "frustrated" to lose wickets in a cluster again after getting off to a great start. The Black Caps found themselves at 153/2 with almost half the innings to play, but six overs later, the scoreboards read 180/7. However, an 84-run 10th wicket partnership ensured that New Zealand finished with a respectable score of 285.

"Obviously frustrating to lose those wickets in the middle in a clump, we were probably looking at a bit more at that stage. But the lower-order performed really well. Neesham and Henry were outstanding," Williamson said during the presentation ceremony.

"But I suppose if you don't dismiss this man (Kohli) in a chase. You always want more on the board, we thought at the halfway stage at 160 for 3, we were good. But to lose those wickets and end up on 280, we were pleased. Maybe we wanted more, but with early wickets we could have made it harder."

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