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Will Dhoni deliver yet again in Jamtha?

Last updated on: March 12, 2011 00:12 IST

Only three 50-plus scores in his last 25 matches

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Bikash Mohapatra in Nagpur

There may be divergent opinions regarding his captaincy, but everyone agrees that despite not being as aggressive as he used to be, Mahendra Singh Dhoni still manages to ensure favourable results.

- World Cup coverage

As regards his batting, again, there is a similar viewpoint. Many opine, amid all his success as captain, Dhoni the batsman has suffered.

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He has not scored a half-century in the last 10 matches he figured in -- since making 67 against Sri Lanka at Dambulla last August. And has only three 50-plus scores in his last 25 matches.

His next assignment is leading the Indian team in the World Cup Group B tie against South Africa in Jamtha (Nagpur). And, for once, Dhoni the batsman might just enjoy this opportunity more than the captain.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images
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Dhoni's record at VCA stadium is exceptional

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The 29-year-old's record at the VCA stadium is exceptional, to say the least.

In the two matches he played at the venue, Dhoni registered hundreds on both occasions -- his 124 against Australia in October 2009 was followed by an equally significant (albeit in a lost cause) 107 against Sri Lanka two months later.

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Dhoni's average of 115.50 at the VCA facility is his third best at a venue -- surpassed only by his averages at the Chidambaram stadium (172) and at the National Stadium in Karachi (134.67).

Asked if a hat-trick of hundreds is a possibility, he preferred to tread the path of diplomacy.

"Records are one thing, but you need to give your best in every game you play," said Dhoni, adding, "I have always said we have to be at our best on that particular day.

"What is important is how I, or, for that matter, any other player shapes up for this particular game."


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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Dhoni's hundreds at Jamtha have come batting at No 5

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An interesting facet about both of Dhoni's hundreds at the venue is that both have come with him batting at No 5.

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India's captain has dropped down the order. In this World Cup in particular, Dhoni has played in no particular order.

While in the opener in Dhaka, he did not bat, he batted at No 5 against England, at No 6 against Ireland and at No 7 against the Netherlands.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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Big innings from Dhoni overdue

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Asked if he would push himself up the order to take advantage of his good record at the venue, Dhoni was again non-committal.

"We have to see which slot helps the individual to perform to his best potential," he explained, adding, "If you have a look at our batting order, more often you see Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) batting at three and Virat (Kohli) is a guy ideally suited at the number four slot, unless we get off to a very good partnership and decide to promote Yuvraj (Singh), myself or Yusuf (Pathan) to accelerate.

"In a normal game, it is quite difficult to find me batting in the top of the order. However, if we do get a good start, we may shuffle the batting order a bit."

The captain in Dhoni might not admit it, but the batsman in him will definitely be cherishing the prospect of a longer time at the crease.

After all, a big innings from Dhoni's blade is long overdue.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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