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The doosra: Time for captain Dhoni to score more runs

February 27, 2015 08:47 IST

Uttam Ghosh/ looks at the lighter side of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's drought of runs.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

His captaincy in the World Cup, thus far, was astute.  Team India eased through what were supposed to be their two biggest challenges in Pool B. 

If the 76-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan was an assuring result, the subsequent 130-run victory over favorites South Africa was more than convincing.

The twin successes put the defending champions in pole position to claim the top spot in what is certainly the easier of the two pools.

While there were many stand-out individual performances, both the victories were essentially team efforts. 

Marshalling his resources to the optimum was none other than the captain.  Mahendra Singh Dhoni's field placements were impeccable, his bowling changes timely and leadership tactful.

However, if there was an area in which he failed to deliver, it was his batting. 

In the two matches, against Pakistan and South Africa, Dhoni contributed 18 runs apiece to the Indian cause. 

What is worrying is the fact that both these performances, rather lack of it, aren't aberrations.  His lean run with the willow is for a considerable period now. 

In the Carlton Mid Tri-Series, that preceded the World Cup, Dhoni aggregated  just 70 runs in four matches, averaging a poor 23.33.

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In fact, in his last 12 matches, he has only one half century to his credit - an unbeaten 51 against the West Indies at the Feroz Shah Kotla. 

Team India's next Pool B match, against the United Arab Emirates at the WACA (Perth) on Saturday, is probably an apt opportunity for Dhoni to get some much-needed runs. 

It is not that he is unaware that he needs to score more. In fact, keeping in mind his recent poor run with the bat he is spending time with Team Director Ravi Shastri during the team's training sessions working on his batting.

Considering that the team’s next four games are against relatively weaker opposition - two of them (Ireland and UAE) still referred to as minnows - it is probably his best chance to get among the runs ahead of the knock-out phase. 

Batting up the order might just do the trick.