Former cricketers VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar had targeted MS Dhoni and raised questions over his place in the team after his inability to steer the run-chase in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rajkot. The visitors handed 40-run defeat to India and levelled the three-match series 1-1.
Colin Munro’s unbeaten 109 runs helped New Zealand post a huge total of 196/2. Chasing the target, India’s effort fell way too short as the hosts suffered a humiliating 40-run defeat. India lost their four wickets for 67 runs when Dhoni came out to the crease to bat. But he took extra time to find his groove, and although he hit three sixes in his innings, it was too little too late for the team.
“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 a lot easier to make that transition as there is a 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 a 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.
Laxman also opined that Dhoni needs to work really hard while chasing. He said that the second T20I against New Zealand was an example that Dhoni struggles, especially in the shortest format of the game. He also added that selectors should now give chance to the youngsters.
“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 the strike to Kohli. Kohli’s strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni’s strike rate was 80. That’s not good enough when India
“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.
The decider of the series will be played on November 7 in Thiruvananthapuram.