Dhoni, The Wall? Crazy Stat Shows How His Defensive Ability Holds Indian Middle Order Together

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MS Dhoni has come under severe scrutiny for his slow batting in the last couple of years, but the new statistic shows how it has added solidity to Indian batting.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ability to finish games and explosive batting style has been a constant topic of discussion and has earned him a lot of plaudits over the course of his career, but there is one aspect of his game that does not bring him much credit – his defensive play.

Dhoni is the only captain to have all three major ICC trophies – 50-over World Cup, T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy – and is best remembered for his 91 off 79 deliveries at the Wankhede stadium that steered India to their second World Cup trophy in 2011.

He made it to the Indian team due to his explosive batting style but since the last couple of years, the former captain has come under severe scrutiny from fans and critics for his slow batting.

Dhoni, for long, has taken India over the finish line in close matches. But with his explosive batting prowess turning weaker with age, he has thrived more in the middle order – a position he gives himself with Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

While his slower strike rate is often discussed now, there is a fresh statistic that has come out that along with the more defensive approach to his game, Dhoni has also added much needed steel to the Indian middle order. 

Former player and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar took to Twitter to shed light on Dhoni’s fortess-holding ability.

Describing the statistic as “earth shattering”, Manjrekar revealed that when playing defensively in ODIs, he gets out once every 184 balls. “That’s once in more than 30 overs! This aspect of his batting should come handy in this WC,” Manjrekar wrote.

On Tuesday, Dhoni played a brilliant innings of 113 off just 78 deliveries against Bangladesh in the warm-up game ahead of the World Cup, a vintage knock that reminded his fans of his innings of yore, when he could hit the ball out of the park at will. 

Usually, however, Dhoni nowadays takes a few deliveries to settle down before looking for runs.

Dhoni is no more the player that can come to the pitch and start whacking deliveries from the word go. Instead, the former captain now chews up a few deliveries to set himself on the crease and then looks for gaps.

Manjrekar was talking about exactly this. If Dhoni can hold his defensive shape well for long, that gives him a chance at a longer innings for India – one that should be of much help during the World Cup in England and Wales.

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