Gautam Gambhir has slammed Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni’s decision to send himself in at No.7 and has accused the wicket-keeper batsman of not leading from the front. Walking in to bat at 114/5, Dhoni finished on 29*(17), but Gambhir feels those were just ‘personal runs’ of no use.
For the second time in his last three professional games, the batting position of MS Dhoni has turned out to be a major talking point. After walking in to bat at No.7 in the World Cup semi-final versus New Zealand, much to the bafflement of many, Dhoni did the same in CSK’s encounter versus Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday and his move backfired as his side ended up losing the game by 16 runs.
Dhoni, who came in after the likes of Gaikwad, Curran, and Jadhav, eventually finished with 29* off 17 with 3 sixes, but 19 off those runs came off his last 4 balls after RR had won the game, with the veteran failing to make a move on until the game had gotten out of hand. Speaking on ESPN Cricinfo’s ‘T20 Time Out’, Gautam Gambhir has slammed Dhoni for both his captaincy and approach and claimed that the runs he amassed towards the runs were of no use to the side.
"I was a bit surprised to be honest. MS Dhoni batting at No. 7? And sending [Ruturaj] Gaikwad before him, Sam Curran before him. Makes no sense to me. In fact you should be leading from the front. And this is not what you call leading from the front. Batting at No. 7 when you're chasing what... 213 ? The game was over. Faf was probably the lone warrior,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Gambhir as saying.
"Yes, you can talk about MS Dhoni's last over [when he hit three sixes], but it was of no use to be honest. It was just all personal runs."
As is the case with many - or every - a Dhoni knock, the CSK skipper was seen being given the benefit of doubt for his approach by the commentators, but Gambhir opined the veteran got away with it only because he was Dhoni. The former Indian opener noted that any other captain or player would have received enormous flak for the same approach.
"See, if someone else would have done this, some other [batsman] captain had batted No. 7, he would have got a lot of flak. It is MS Dhoni - probably why people don't talk about it.
"When you don't have Suresh Raina, you're making people believe that Sam Curran is better than you. You're making people believe that Ruturaj Gaikwad, Curran, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, all these guys, are better than you."
CSK were behind the eight-ball for the vast majority of the chase, not least due to Murali Vijay’s run-a-ball 21, and Gambhir claimed that the side showed no intent to win the game. The 38-year-old reckoned that Dhoni could have taken his time had he come up the order, but slammed the Jharkhand man and his side for ‘not living in the present’.
"What you did in the last over, probably if you'd done that coming in at No. 4 or 5, alongside Faf, you could have made a game out of it. But probably there was no such intent to make a game out of it.
"I thought that after the [first] six overs, they had literally given up on the game. And probably MS was trying to get back into that match rhythm of batting till the end and get some runs under his belt so he can actually play these kind of innings in the coming games.
"You've got to be in the present, try and win each game possible. I thought there was no intent to win the game and they were never there in the chase. You can talk about Faf's innings, but Faf initially was struggling big time. So I thought it was absolute miscalculation, probably not the right captaincy as well. This is not how you ask someone like MS to lead the side."