Following India’s loss to Australia in the first ODI on Friday, former West Indies pacer Michael Holding has emphasised the importance of MS Dhoni in their lineup. Playing their first game since Dhoni announced his retirement from the game, India lost to Australia by 66 runs while chasing an improbable 375 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The Men in Blue did manage to cross the 300-run mark but they rarely looked in contention to chase down the big total. Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal came out firing on all cylinders to help India race away to 50 in just 4.1 overs. However, the visitors lost four wickets in quick succession to find themselves reeling at 101 for 4.
At that stage, it looked like India might end up suffering a humiliating defeat but thanks to fighting fifties from Shikhar Dhawan (74) and Hardik Pandya (90), they ended on a respectable 308 for 8. For a brief period of time when Pandya and Dhawan were batting, it looked like India might give Australia a run for their money.
However, they departed in quick succession and it was all over for India even before they reached the 40-over mark. For Australia, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood starred with the ball, taking four and three wickets respectively.
Michael Holding on MS Dhoni’s absence:
Following the game, Michael Holding reviewed India’s struggles during the chase and pointed out the MS Dhoni factor. The West Indian legend pointed out how India used to chase well with Dhoni in their playing eleven. Calling the current Indian team a talented side, Holding said the Men in Blue need a finisher like Dhoni.
Holding said that while the current Indian batsmen are talented, the team is missing the calm character of MS Dhoni during chase. He was all praise for the former India skipper as he pointed out how he used to keep his batting partners calm during run chases.
“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,” said Holding in the video posted on his YouTube channel.
“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 stroke play. But they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just his skills but his strength of character.
“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 added.