England v India, 4th ODI, Edgbaston September 2, 2014

Dhoni's evolved wicketkeeping

Plays of the day from the 4th ODI between England and India at Edgbaston
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Play 01:20
Highlights: Raina dazzles in the field in the fourth ODI at Edgbaston

The field placement
It didn't take MS Dhoni long to realise this was not a quick pitch. As early as the first over, he had moved his second slip to a fine gully and placed him a little close too. Almost like a wide fourth slip standing a couple of paces up. In the fifth over, Alastair Cook got a shortish, widish delivery that he didn't cut whole-heartedly, playing just a chop, right into the ankles of Suresh Raina at that fine short gully.

The field placement, part II
Ever since the start of the South Africa tour last year, Dhoni has been obsessed with the leg slip and leg gully. It initially looked like a plan just for Graeme Smith's strong leg-side play, but the presence of that fielder almost everywhere for many other batsmen, and for both spinners and quicks, has been a source of frustration for observers. In this match, too, when Eoin Morgan and Joe Root got a partnership going and limited Dhoni's catching options, the India captain went for a leg slip as opposed to a regulation one. Finally, at long last, that leg slip got a catch. Morgan moved across to Ravindra Jadeja, got inside the line, closed the face, played it with the turn, and found that man Raina again. Dhoni stood and clapped nonchalantly.

The passage
While wicketkeeping has not evolved as much as batting and bowling with the advent of shorter formats of the game, one of the modern features is wicketkeepers standing in front of the stumps to save that half a second when they have to whip the bails off. On some occasions, though, you can come in the way of a direct hit. Not Dhoni. His knowledge of where he is with relation to the stumps is phenomenal. He showed it in this game. First he deflected a throw, from in front of the stumps, by opening the face of his glove to hit the stumps, but couldn't beat the batsman. Later in the innings, though, when Raina threw from short third man, Dhoni was in front of the stumps again. This time Dhoni knew the throw was accurate even though the stumps were behind him, and made way for the ball. Chris Woakes was caught short.

The reaction
In the third over of the day, Ajinkya Rahane made a diving save at cover. He saved four runs. As per the modern convention all the fielders, led by Raina, converged on Rahane to congratulate him in a manner mildly more animated than that of the 1970's bowlers after taking a wicket. The change this time was Dhoni, who ran nearly 30 yards from his wicketkeeping position to pat Rahane. Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina. Later in the day he was seen clearly cross when an outfielder was slow to come around and conceded a second.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    Classical and pop music are both music. The 100 meter sprint and the marathon are both legitimate running competitions. Grass court and hard court are both valid tests of tennis skills. Cycling has different formats, as do skating and swimming. Why do we need to detrmine what is the "true" test of cricket? Why can't players play what they want and the audience view what they want?

    Why do we need to have elite pundits determine for the rest of us that classical music is true music and test cricket is true cricket?

  • POSTED BY Ranjit_sourav on | September 3, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    Come on Guys.. You all lauded when India won the second test in Lords and there were no criticism on Dhoni that day, When India lost the next 3, Again started putting salt in Dhoni's wounds. Is Dhoni the culprit for India's losses? From my opinion Dhoni stood out the best on his fielding positions right from the start of the test series unlike his defensive tactics which he always does in overseas tours. The batsmen flopped(so called India's future stars), Even If either Pujara or Kohli has clicked in right time, India would have atleast levelled the series. Stop Blaming one of India's greats, Laud this Guy who has done wonders for Team India in the past and doing it in the present and will do it in the future as well. He knows when to step out from test captaincy.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | September 3, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    @myStraightTalk: "Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20)". We've all heard that before. A lot of modern fans would argue that scoring runs quickly is more skillful than just hanging about. So why don't we just let the fans judge the players whichever way they want instead of making one judging rule for everyone?

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | September 3, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20). India need a good captain for Test. Both Dhoni and Fletcher has to go or resign from Test cricket. Dhoni want to shine in IPL and he use this ODI as a testing ground.

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | September 3, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20). India need a good captain for Test. Both Dhoni and Fletcher has to go or resign from Test cricket. Dhoni want to shine in IPL and he use this ODI as a testing ground.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    Dhoni is an example of perfection.He is a legend.Nothing else needs to be said about him.

  • POSTED BY subramanianv on | September 3, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    @vicky_777 'Quote: no classic and elegance shots seen these days'. Have you not seen Murali Vijay and Rahane's innings it is as classic as it gets. Dhoni has his own technique and that works for him, only him. He has showed he can be successful with that in last 2 tests. But, never should he be considered a role model for the technique. It is what he had achieved, in the absence of a technique makes him more special, and that is what youngsters can learn from him.

  • POSTED BY subramanianv on | September 3, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    @ramli It is actually the other way around. There is some mental block for English players while playing ODIs. We Indians lost Overseas Tests and ODIs alike in the previous outings. The only difference this time is the meek English team.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    'Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina' That dude is all over the place all the time! You meant MSD?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 3, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    Why not everyone keep their test analysis to the right forum. Please don't pull irrelevant strings just to give a opinion.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2014, 0:47 GMT

    Classical and pop music are both music. The 100 meter sprint and the marathon are both legitimate running competitions. Grass court and hard court are both valid tests of tennis skills. Cycling has different formats, as do skating and swimming. Why do we need to detrmine what is the "true" test of cricket? Why can't players play what they want and the audience view what they want?

    Why do we need to have elite pundits determine for the rest of us that classical music is true music and test cricket is true cricket?

  • POSTED BY Ranjit_sourav on | September 3, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    Come on Guys.. You all lauded when India won the second test in Lords and there were no criticism on Dhoni that day, When India lost the next 3, Again started putting salt in Dhoni's wounds. Is Dhoni the culprit for India's losses? From my opinion Dhoni stood out the best on his fielding positions right from the start of the test series unlike his defensive tactics which he always does in overseas tours. The batsmen flopped(so called India's future stars), Even If either Pujara or Kohli has clicked in right time, India would have atleast levelled the series. Stop Blaming one of India's greats, Laud this Guy who has done wonders for Team India in the past and doing it in the present and will do it in the future as well. He knows when to step out from test captaincy.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | September 3, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    @myStraightTalk: "Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20)". We've all heard that before. A lot of modern fans would argue that scoring runs quickly is more skillful than just hanging about. So why don't we just let the fans judge the players whichever way they want instead of making one judging rule for everyone?

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | September 3, 2014, 17:17 GMT

    Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20). India need a good captain for Test. Both Dhoni and Fletcher has to go or resign from Test cricket. Dhoni want to shine in IPL and he use this ODI as a testing ground.

  • POSTED BY myStraightTalk on | September 3, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    Any cricket playing nation is judged by the skills in Test Matches and not by the shorter version of the game (ODI and T20). India need a good captain for Test. Both Dhoni and Fletcher has to go or resign from Test cricket. Dhoni want to shine in IPL and he use this ODI as a testing ground.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 14:35 GMT

    Dhoni is an example of perfection.He is a legend.Nothing else needs to be said about him.

  • POSTED BY subramanianv on | September 3, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    @vicky_777 'Quote: no classic and elegance shots seen these days'. Have you not seen Murali Vijay and Rahane's innings it is as classic as it gets. Dhoni has his own technique and that works for him, only him. He has showed he can be successful with that in last 2 tests. But, never should he be considered a role model for the technique. It is what he had achieved, in the absence of a technique makes him more special, and that is what youngsters can learn from him.

  • POSTED BY subramanianv on | September 3, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    @ramli It is actually the other way around. There is some mental block for English players while playing ODIs. We Indians lost Overseas Tests and ODIs alike in the previous outings. The only difference this time is the meek English team.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    'Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina' That dude is all over the place all the time! You meant MSD?

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 3, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    Why not everyone keep their test analysis to the right forum. Please don't pull irrelevant strings just to give a opinion.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | September 3, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    It is becoming crystal clear that there is some mental block in Indian players when they play test cricket overseas ... nothing else can explain this contrasting shows ... perhaps someone should find a way to overcome this ... it is not anymore about lack of talent or skill or attitude ...

  • POSTED BY cricketclassics1 on | September 3, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    Dhoni is a gem, full of talent. He has studied the game of cricket (ODI)more than anybody. Whole world knows that, he backs his players and has a huge respect amongst the team members.....

  • POSTED BY vicky_777 on | September 3, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Dhoni & co shud be playing only short formats in which only hard hitting matters.Just hit & go! this current team is not suitable to play the test matches. consider the last 5 innings(tests) played, team has folded the mat just playing like an odis(67,47 & 43 overs,61 & 29 overs). better give up tests.no classic and elegance shots seen these days(except very few) as we have seen when sachin,Dravid,Sourav,VVS used to play. no youngster can inherit not even one classy shots from Dhoni.he always seems to be striving, hitting hard without any technique, no grace on the shots he plays.as a younster i really hate to watch him bat. he has a gud odi team and he is lucky to be in the team as a captain.

  • POSTED BY iamgroot on | September 3, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    They said Dhoni can't keep properly. What is the reality? He now holds the record for most in Wicket keeping across all formats. More often than not he does the job. Takes catches, affects stumping with ease. Example in the above article. Dhoni was standing right infront of the stumps with his legs wide open and his gloves infront of the stumps. This serves two purposes for the fielder who is throwing the ball. One he gets to aim and would be easy for the fielder to hit the stumps more often with this technique. Two it gives Dhoni that opportunity to collect the throw very close to stumps in case it is not hitting the stumps and affect a run out. In the match he just let the ball hit the stumps as he knew where the stumps were. That is brilliance. This is not the first time he did something like this. Previously he used to collect the ball and nonchalantly directed the ball towards the stumps with one glove back of his hand. That was another technique.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Simple as it MSD believes in each and every young player. It will be interesting to see from here on where Rohit bats in ODI's. If as MSD said in the presentation ceremony after 4th ODI win, Rohit batting at 4 will be a huge strength to the middle order batting as he is in a good phase now...I envisage Jinks opening with Dhawan, Virat, Rohit (or Yuvi or Rayudu), Raina, MSD, Jaddu, Ashwin, Bhuvi will give us a good batting depth with more part timers and spin options to MSD. I hope young team India carries this good form into WC to win it. ATB team INDIA!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | September 3, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    Needs to give chance to Sanju samson and others in the next match.

  • POSTED BY cric_surgeon on | September 3, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    I am sure MS will give away his test captaincy right at the moment when Team India can produce a solid player and leader like him. Beg you all please do not spoil the younger talents giving them the captaincy now and bury them - they are not ready yet. Captaincy is instilling fear, respect, discipline, acceptance, and willingness in other team mates, not just smashing runs with the bat or destroying the players with the ball.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Hi everybody..this is my 1st ever comment here on Cricinfo...i love this website...I am Pakistani....but i m gr8 fan of Indian cricket and Esp MSD...the way MSD playes on the field is just awesome and amazing...he has his own set of tools to lead his men....WELL done MSD..good luck in World Cup....Congrats on winning thumpingly against ENG in Eng in ODI's..... Anywayz what i wanna ask from the WICB that where is Davendra Bishoo disappeared?.....he's gr8 leg spin bowlere....WI need him badly before the WC really...i love his bowling...he's gonna b a big asset for WI and really fruitful for WI to bowl along the gr8 Narine.....i would love to see Narine and Bishoo bowling in ODI's simultaneously.....

  • POSTED BY icegreen89 on | September 3, 2014, 4:11 GMT

    "Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina." Do you perhaps mean MSD instead of Raina? Raina is animated enough usually.

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | September 3, 2014, 1:07 GMT

    It's very easy to sit and comment rather than playing in the ground..believe it or not dhoni's continuous hardwork made him an sucessful captain in odi format..Luck cant be ur way in 91 matches for that matter..Well played india and hats off to MSD India's most sucessful odi captain

  • POSTED BY siddharth_r2001 on | September 2, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    @vicky_777 agree with you. I think the biggest factor for Dhoni remaining Test captain is the lack of a ready successor. Kohli was anointed the heir but he needs to sort out his batting on swinging wickets outside of India, before being thought about as captain. However, Dhoni's captaincy comes unstuck only in overseas Tests, more specifically when there is nothing for the spinners and/or his batsmen cannot put up big scores. On Indian wickets where the batsmen pile on the runs and the spinners dictate the game, Dhoni is BOSS, even with his Test captaincy.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | September 2, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    I am really surprised as few people still thinks Dhoni wins only by luck. No matches in this series is won by 1 or 2 runs or by a 50 runs stand from 9th or 10th wicket. He is the best Captain India have ever produced. I know, he is not that good with tests overseas. But with the inexperienced side he have , I won't complain. It's easy to bark that it's luck all the time. But, I don't see any changes in test results even if captained by someone else

  • POSTED BY dishNub on | September 2, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    Where the hell were these keeping innovations when he let go of simple catches between him and the first slip during test matches? IPL and ODIs pay the big bucks, not test matches - that's why Indian cricketers blow off test performances.

  • POSTED BY jacobsymon on | September 2, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    I read few comments here, 4th ODI india won, india bowled well and batted well even MSD did not bat last two mathes still we could win . in tests MSD batted well but could not win last 3 matches. So if the team canot perform well no team can win. can any body suggest a test captain right now from indian camp other than MS Dhoni ????

  • POSTED BY md4cric on | September 2, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    Agree that Losing the Test series has something to do with captaincy.What will a captain do when batting is done in less than 50 overs repeatedly test after test? Being offensive in the field would be OK if he's having quality bowlers bowling in tendon.Never 2 bowlers at the same time in Test series seemed threatening. And NO competetion is NOT his fault-just the time he's captianing India. NO need to bash when Viable Option is not on hand. Dhoni --Good Luck forr WC2015 and some Rating Uplifting in Test cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina. Later in the day he was seen clearly cross when an outfielder was slow to come around and conceded a second.

    Error- it should be Dhoni and not Raina :)

  • POSTED BY vicky_777 on | September 2, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Now that the worst Test series played few days ago will be ignored now.And again dhoni remains the captain for India in all formats.he is the luckiest guy i have ever seen.no competitor for the captaincy. the real talent comes only when a test match is played, in which his captaincy is a big disaster. lucky now to win the odi series!

  • POSTED BY Jubin_Edathua on | September 2, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Right siddarth. Even though his glows were welcoming the ball initially, he cleverly kept them idle to let the ball hit the stumps directly at last.

  • POSTED BY thaikkathameed on | September 2, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    In ODIs everything is okay with MS Dhoni, but please do not let him captain the test team again. His over defensive and unimaginative captaincy is really hurting and harming Team India.

  • POSTED BY thaikkathameed on | September 2, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    With MS Dhoni everything is okay, but please don't let him captain the test team. In tests, his captaincy is a BIG ZERO.

  • POSTED BY siddharth_r2001 on | September 2, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Dhoni actually had a third instance of 'evolved keeping' in this game after that Raina direct hit which run out Chris Woakes. He also let a direct hit from Mohd Shami pass through his legs onto the stumps, but the batsman (Moeen Ali) was well in this time.

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  • POSTED BY siddharth_r2001 on | September 2, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Dhoni actually had a third instance of 'evolved keeping' in this game after that Raina direct hit which run out Chris Woakes. He also let a direct hit from Mohd Shami pass through his legs onto the stumps, but the batsman (Moeen Ali) was well in this time.

  • POSTED BY thaikkathameed on | September 2, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    With MS Dhoni everything is okay, but please don't let him captain the test team. In tests, his captaincy is a BIG ZERO.

  • POSTED BY thaikkathameed on | September 2, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    In ODIs everything is okay with MS Dhoni, but please do not let him captain the test team again. His over defensive and unimaginative captaincy is really hurting and harming Team India.

  • POSTED BY Jubin_Edathua on | September 2, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Right siddarth. Even though his glows were welcoming the ball initially, he cleverly kept them idle to let the ball hit the stumps directly at last.

  • POSTED BY vicky_777 on | September 2, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Now that the worst Test series played few days ago will be ignored now.And again dhoni remains the captain for India in all formats.he is the luckiest guy i have ever seen.no competitor for the captaincy. the real talent comes only when a test match is played, in which his captaincy is a big disaster. lucky now to win the odi series!

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    Only fielding efforts manage to draw such emotion from Raina. Later in the day he was seen clearly cross when an outfielder was slow to come around and conceded a second.

    Error- it should be Dhoni and not Raina :)

  • POSTED BY md4cric on | September 2, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    Agree that Losing the Test series has something to do with captaincy.What will a captain do when batting is done in less than 50 overs repeatedly test after test? Being offensive in the field would be OK if he's having quality bowlers bowling in tendon.Never 2 bowlers at the same time in Test series seemed threatening. And NO competetion is NOT his fault-just the time he's captianing India. NO need to bash when Viable Option is not on hand. Dhoni --Good Luck forr WC2015 and some Rating Uplifting in Test cricket.

  • POSTED BY jacobsymon on | September 2, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    I read few comments here, 4th ODI india won, india bowled well and batted well even MSD did not bat last two mathes still we could win . in tests MSD batted well but could not win last 3 matches. So if the team canot perform well no team can win. can any body suggest a test captain right now from indian camp other than MS Dhoni ????

  • POSTED BY dishNub on | September 2, 2014, 20:48 GMT

    Where the hell were these keeping innovations when he let go of simple catches between him and the first slip during test matches? IPL and ODIs pay the big bucks, not test matches - that's why Indian cricketers blow off test performances.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | September 2, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    I am really surprised as few people still thinks Dhoni wins only by luck. No matches in this series is won by 1 or 2 runs or by a 50 runs stand from 9th or 10th wicket. He is the best Captain India have ever produced. I know, he is not that good with tests overseas. But with the inexperienced side he have , I won't complain. It's easy to bark that it's luck all the time. But, I don't see any changes in test results even if captained by someone else