Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding has stated that India need a player like MS Dhoni not just for skills but for the strength of his character. He also added that Dhoni used to close in games like the first ODI against Australia which India lost as he could pace the innings well.
Generally, when a team is chasing a total as big as 375, they need a great start and a big knock from one of the top three batsmen, at least. However, that was not the case for India in the first game as both Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli perished after a quick start while Dhawan also couldn't make a hundred though he did make a brilliant fifty.
But with Hardik Pandya well set, had India possessed a player of MS Dhoni's quality, something special could have happened but Ravindra Jadeja coming at seven put further pressure on Pandya with his slow start and that resulted in Hardik's dismissal after which India lost the game by 66 runs at SCG.
Former Windies cricket-turned-analyst Michael Holding outlined that India greatly missed MS Dhoni as he used to take control of India's chases masterfully. Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15 before the commencement of IPL 2020.
"It was always going to be difficult for India to chase that down. One thing India will struggle with is the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. MS Dhoni comes in to this Indian batting order halfway down and he usually takes control while chasing. India have chased so well in the past with MS Dhoni in the team," Holding said on his official YouTube channel, reported Times Now.
He added that India needed someone like Dhoni for the character that he possessed besides the top-notch skills with the willow in hand.
"They've never been afraid to win the toss and insert the opposition because they know what MS Dhoni is capable of. This batting lineup that they've got is still very talented - we saw some talented players and fantastic strokeplay. But they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just his skills but his strength of character."
Holding also reckoned that Dhoni had the ability to pace the innings and guide his partners enroute to tough chases that helped India cross the finishing line in the past.
"We never see MS Dhoni panicking at any stage while India are chasing. He usually paces that chase so well because he knows his ability and he knows how to go about the chase. Whoever is batting with him, he is always talking with them and helping them. Fantastic batting lineup, but MS Dhoni was a special man in the run-chase," he explained.
India will now lock horns with the Men in Yellow in the second ODI on Sunday at SCG. With Australia already having a lead of 1-0, another win will ensure that they win the series.