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Why Dhoni's World Cup place is in doubt

Last updated on: July 21, 2018 09:59 IST

With his strike dipping alarmingly in the last one year, Mahendra Singh Dhoni faces a tough battle to retain his place for the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Rajneesh Gupta presents the complete statistical picture.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Once regarded as the Master of the Chase, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's biggest problem is now chasing down totals. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Following his below-par showing with the bat in the ODI series against England, a lot of questions have cropped up about Mahendra Singh Dhoni's capabilities with the bat, especially looking at the 2019 ODI World Cup in a year's time.

At 37, the former captain is not getting any younger, but what is worrying everyone is the alarming dip in his batting stocks.

Gone are the days when Dhoni was considered as one of the best finishers in the game, when he won matches for India from impossible situations with his swashbuckling batting and his brilliant acumen.

Dhoni tallied 79 runs in the ODI series in England but the most striking factor is his lowly strike rate of 63.

In a first, he was even booed by Indian spectators during his painstaking knock of 37 from 59 balls when he struggled to get the big hits at the end as India virtually surrendered the match at the end.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has asked the struggling Dhoni to up his game if he wants to be part of the World Cup next year.

'If Dhoni has got to play (in the 2019 World Cup) then he has got to get in a position where he keeps hitting. If it is 24-25 overs and he has got to build an innings, he is struggling at the moment,' Dada said.

'He may turn it around as he has been a great player for India, but at the present he is not turning it around enough and this has been going on for more than an year,' Ganguly added.

If you see Dhoni's stats in the last one year since the Champions Trophy, Ganguly's observations are bang on.

Even though Dhoni has scored 704 runs in 23 matches at an average of 58, his strike rate has dipped to 77 as compared to 89 before the Champions Trophy.

 

Dhoni in One-Day Internationals:

 InnsNORunsHsAvgSR100s50s
Till Champions Trophy 2017 251 67 9342 183* 50.77 89.04 10 62
After Champions Trophy 2017 23 11 704 79 58.66 77.53 0 5

Interestingly, once regarded as the Master of the Chase, Dhoni's biggest problem is now chasing down totals.

In nine innings since the 2017 Champions Trophy, Dhoni's strike rate has dipped to 65 when India have batted second.

Dhoni in One-Day Internationals (Batting first):

 InnsNORunsHsAvgSR10050
Till Champions Trophy 2017 127 27 5223 148 52.23 95.05 8 34
After Champions Trophy 2017 14 5 462 79 51.33 85.55 0 3

Dhoni in One-Day Internationals (in chases):

 InnsNORunsHsAvgSR10050
Till Champions Trophy 2017 124 10 4119 183* 49.03 82.44 2 28
After Champions Trophy 2017 9 6 242 67* 80.66 65.76 0 2

Also, another interesting comparison throws light on Dhoni's recent struggles.

With the helicopter shots and the big sixes coming down considerably in the last few years, Dhoni has preferred to bat in the middler order where he gets a chance to build the innings, but he has not been able to get going.

As was seen in the England ODI series, he struggled to hit boundaries or rotate strike consistently in the middle overs against the spinners.

In the last one year, his strike rate in the middle overs has never crossed the 60s, while in the final overs, it has gone down to 110 from 131 in the period before.

Dhoni's batting in different phases of the innings:

OversBallsRunsAvgSR
1st to 20th 1696 1180 59 69.57
21st to 30th 2797 2081 80.03 74.4
31st to 40th 3463 2758 51.11 79.64
41st to 50th 2535 3323 39.09 131.08
TOTAL 10491 9342 50.77 89.04

After the ICC Champions Trophy 2017:

OversBallsRunsAvgSR
1st to 20th 70 28 - 40
21st to 30th 189 125 - 66.13
31st to 40th 336 206 103 61.3
41st to 50th 313 345 34.5 110.22
TOTAL 908 704 58.66 77.53

Dhoni's strike rate is among the lowest in the last 20 overs in the last one year at 84.

Batsmen with highest scoring rate in overs 31-50 in ODIs

(after ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Min.250 balls faced)

BatsmanBallsRunsDismissalsAvgSR
RG Sharma 259 353 4 88.25 136.29
CS MacLeod 295 382 5 76.4 129.49
MM Ali 262 331 14 23.64 126.33
JC Buttler 436 548 11 49.81 125.68
JO Holder 295 344 10 34.4 116.61
V Kohli 435 489 10 48.9 112.41
HM Nicholls 268 287 8 35.87 107.08
Sikandar Raza 409 436 7 62.28 106.6
LRPL Taylor 335 356 7 50.85 106.26
HH Pandya 302 315 16 19.68 104.3
JE Root 333 319 7 45.57 95.79
R Powell 301 278 11 25.27 92.35
AD Mathews 260 229 7 32.71 88.07
MS Dhoni 649 551 12 45.91 84.89

With capable wicketkeeper-batsmen like Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings, it remains to be seen how long a rope Dhoni is given, especially looking at the World Cup next year.

Rajneesh Gupta