India v Australia, 2nd ODI, Nagpur October 28, 2009

When Dhoni's worlds collide

Dhoni has adapted his game superbly to the needs of his team over the last couple of years, and it was again evident in a blazing century
51

The ball was full, but not quite a half-volley. The shot that followed was something of a topspin forehand hit on the half-volley, bouncing close to the baseline. The knees were not bent like a tennis player's but the bigger bat and massive twirl did the job, depositing the ball wide of long-on for one of the flatter sixes you're likely to see. MS Dhoni can still play those shots.

That he does not do as freely or as often as he used to is not lost on fans and colleagues alike. When Dhoni hits big shots in the nets, Virender Sehwag is usually quick to point out, in banter, "MS, yahan to bade-bade lag rahe hain, match mein kya ho jata hai? [Where do these big shots disappear in the matches?]"

It should also not be forgotten that Dhoni refrains from such audacious shots because he has explosive batsmen all around him, and his solid batting in the middle allows those flashers to play their flashier game. Nor should it be forgotten that Dhoni has managed to maintain a respectable strike-rate in one-day cricket while tempering his approach.

Since becoming captain, Dhoni has played 63 ODIs with a visibly more responsible approach. In that time he has hit 34 sixes compared to 71 in 84 prior ODIs, and 160 fours to an earlier 206. In fewer matches, though, he has scored more runs at a slightly lesser strike-rate and hugely improved average. In the last two years, Dhoni has become a complete and remarkably consistent one-day batsman. Still he can't keep everyone happy, as Dhoni readily reminded: "At some of the venues, people still expect me to hit those big sixes every time, so it is different."

Today was the best of both of Dhoni's worlds. When he came in at 97 for 3 in the 16th over India were threatening to have aimed too high, and thus losing too many wickets too early. The first ball he faced hit him on the back of his head. He had taken his eyes off the ball, and found it following him. "It went blank," said Dhoni. "That's what happens when you get hit on the head. "It was a good delivery. It's not like I was hit in the head for the first time. I am quite used to it. If you want to put together a package, you'll get at least 15 shots of my getting hit in the head. It's not the best way to start the innings."

He still had the presence of mind to steal a leg-bye. The first half of the innings was all about stealing and haring between the wickets; the robbing could wait. Ricky Ponting tried to make that stealing difficult, keeping mid-off and mid-on in for the best part of first 40 overs. The boundary riders stayed off the ropes, trying to cut the twos on a huge ground. At that point Dhoni didn't feel the need to clear mid-off or mid-on; he kept taking ones and twos despite a proactive approach from Ponting.

Suresh Raina, a younger man with a lesser workload and fresher legs, kept raising his bat and patting it in appreciation of every scrambled single, and every one turned into two. It is this sort of commitment, this attitude of doing it first before demanding it of others, that earns Dhoni his team-mates' respect.

Dhoni hit one boundary in the first 28 balls he faced and two more before he raised his half-century off 55 balls. That is the new Dhoni for you. "You play by instinct, but at the same time there is a cautious attempt to see what the demand actually is," he said. "If there is a youngster playing at No. 4, and he tries to play a big shot and gets out, its okay, people say he will learn and he will improve. But when it comes to a senior who has played around 100-odd international games, people rip him apart.

"At times that's in the back of your mind. Earlier when you went for a big shot, you backed yourself and went for it. It's not the same as I was three or four years ago, less responsibility and more flair. But now I have more responsibility every time I turn up on the field. A lot depends on what kind of pressure you are handling."

Still some yearn for the old Dhoni, especially when the situation asks for it, during a difficult chase or while setting targets. He has managed that, like he did in the West Indies earlier this year, having promoted himself to No. 3 and scoring a 34-ball 46. Amid his nudging and nurdling, which is not the most pleasant sight on a cricket field, such innings get forgotten. Even Kris Srikkanth, the chairman of selectors, couldn't hide his glee when announcing that the old Dhoni was back.

And back the old Dhoni was. Walking down and hitting Shane Watson, heaving and slapping Mitchell Johnson, hitting three bottom-handed sixes in two overs, he scored 54 runs in his last 27 balls, putting it past Australia, barring a freak innings or poor bowling. Even as the crowd went wild, it couldn't be escaped that this man had earned the right to go berserk after having built an innings, having worked hard through the most part of his piece.

India need both the Dhonis, but there are other batsmen who can compensate for the old Dhoni, and more often than not it's the new Dhoni that nobody else evokes. Dhoni, more than anybody else, knows that.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sudh11 on November 1, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    no one can comment on dravid and ganguly as the generation in which they played bowlers were far more better than now so they cannot make up such healthy strike rate in ODI's that's understandable when they are players like sachin at the other end.i dont say dhoni is not good but he is one of the best ODI batsmen india have produced in the last few years.

  • SamRoy on October 30, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    Listen all and sundry. Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly might have scored tons of runs for India in ODIs but look at their strike rates mate.. Rahul and Sourav have strike rates in the low 70s. Tht is not acceptable in the modern game..both were pretty bad when it came to placing the ball in 30 yard circle and taking singles.. Also pretty bad out fielders, both of them (one needs slip in ODIs for 5 overs probably if the wicket is flat). Let's face it. Yuvraj is way better than them. It's not how many you score it's the impact you make in the match when you actually score. I have seen Sourav and Rahul scoring hundreds and yet India loosing.. it's because of their strike rates.

  • East_West on October 30, 2009, 9:01 GMT

    Qazar: few more -- My point is simple, retire at the highest level and not hang on because "you earned the spot! OR it's still in me to get few more hundreds and accomplish more records" I am not sure how else I can explain other than this legend should step back and do the selfless act of retiring at the highest level so that young talent can get a decent and consistent chance to represent the country! It's time for him to think big and let team India start creating a world cup winning team [if that's what BCCI has been saying all along]. If Sachin can bring so much to the dressing room then Rahul and Sourav can do/did the same! NO doubt! Sachin is going to score some excellent runs and has the highest runs and all that... but is going to come with long spells of menial scores as well until the next world cup! Well, that's my take!

  • East_West on October 30, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    Qazar: Much respect to your stats. There you go, we are caught up in stats of Sachin! I have no qualms about his batting skills [hell, no can argue about that] but if you want to groom young talent then apply the same rule to everyone! No special treatment from BCCI ! Yeah! Look at Gilly, he is still going strong [even at the expense of wicket-keeping to the highest degree throughout his career] and retired NOT due to his dip in batting rather it was more due to the decline in his sharpness and skills of wicket-keeping. Gilly has done better and is doing better in ODIS and T20 and not Sachin! Sachin earned his spot in Tests and ODIs, No doubt about that! but is also taking rest often to prolong his career in ODI at the expense of "injuries". Guess what! If we bring Wasim Akram now I bet he will still wipe out opponents!

  • aussie_b on October 30, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    Cricket is a team game,Ricky Ponting Dint win the world cup for australia,it is a team effor.Likewise Tendulkar alone cannot win the world cup single handedly.He has scored more runs in worldcup,his average and the world cup records prove them.Sachin still has atleast two years of cricket left in him.Even the former cricketers feel so.I dont know why people keep asking him to retire.He is still consisten in both ODI's and Tests. Why should he retire when he is still playing good cricket and getting runs consistently? Dravid was dropped from ODI's because of his poor performance.Why does sachin has to retire just because of ganguly and dravid.Sachin is still playing well.

  • ragu_lara on October 30, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    hi all.I think selectors had done wrong by retaining the same squad for the next 2 onedays.Where is our great batsman Rohit Sharma,Robin utappa, Irfan Pathan & yusuf pathan.If these 4 add with the current team it will be one of the indian team for sometime now.Rohit is a great talent. He played poorly in west indies.but he can learn quickly and do very well in the middle order and the same as robin utaapa. What about irfan and yusuf.Two great future all rounders of india.How selectors are able to leave these two great allrounders when team badly needs allrounders.Ok they also have failed.But they are youngster they can come back hard.At least for the last 3 onedays add these 4 players.

  • hardhitters11 on October 30, 2009, 5:19 GMT

    well said Ribs, I saw dhoni having a attacking field (Short Mid wicket and Short Cover) when spinners were bowling, say if u r fielding first, u can't see it happening atleast when a new batsmanis in crease, wheras punter had an aggressive field even when the runrate was always above 6, of course it was a clinical performance by India, but sorry fans dont expect it to happen so often(U cant see it in a big event, i dont remember DHONI playing well in a big event)

    Harbhajan is like sachin in the team, they perform 3 out of 10 matches and will keep playing on reputation, I feel really sorry for guys like dravid and mishra who are proven commodities and still losing out.

  • Gozunder on October 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    MS Dhoni has remodeled his approach to become one of the best finishers in One Day cricket and this innings should silence his critics for a long time to come. What's interesting to watch is the leadership group that has been created by Dhoni & Kirsten within the team and the on-field rapport that Dhoni shares with them, which was evidently missing when these players were out with injury. And given that Sachin has a role of mentoring all the youngsters, I believe this will be one of India's most formidable outfits to have ever played the game. The only challenge though will be to win a major tournament, which has eluded this team for a while. If Dhoni & Co. can keep their heads firmly on their shoulders, Team India should reach its zenith.

  • rocket123 on October 29, 2009, 23:25 GMT

    Dravid is arguably one of the most formidable No.3 batsmen. It is unfortunate that in recent times he has been out of form for a long period. Tendulkar should be dropped from ODIs as well if Dravid and Ganguly are no longer in ODI team based upon age concerns. What I do not understand is that why do we forget so easily that Dravid has played more winning innings than Tendulkar. I grew up watching Tendulkar but I hardly remember that he played a winning innings when it was expected of him. In IPL, Dravid clearly proved that he is a great player of T20 and as good as Tendulkar if not better. He adapts himself according to the format becuase he is one of the best players in the game. But I guess the selectors can not see that plain reality.

  • gambhiristhebest on October 29, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    Excellent display of batting by dhoni, hopefully in the next few games sehwag can make a big one, especially in the next game in DELHI. harbhajan is still bowling ok and tendulkar needs to step it now. Thank God that ishant is showing good form and when zaheer comes back in india, INDIA WILL surely take the #1 spot in all forms of the game.

  • sudh11 on November 1, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    no one can comment on dravid and ganguly as the generation in which they played bowlers were far more better than now so they cannot make up such healthy strike rate in ODI's that's understandable when they are players like sachin at the other end.i dont say dhoni is not good but he is one of the best ODI batsmen india have produced in the last few years.

  • SamRoy on October 30, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    Listen all and sundry. Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly might have scored tons of runs for India in ODIs but look at their strike rates mate.. Rahul and Sourav have strike rates in the low 70s. Tht is not acceptable in the modern game..both were pretty bad when it came to placing the ball in 30 yard circle and taking singles.. Also pretty bad out fielders, both of them (one needs slip in ODIs for 5 overs probably if the wicket is flat). Let's face it. Yuvraj is way better than them. It's not how many you score it's the impact you make in the match when you actually score. I have seen Sourav and Rahul scoring hundreds and yet India loosing.. it's because of their strike rates.

  • East_West on October 30, 2009, 9:01 GMT

    Qazar: few more -- My point is simple, retire at the highest level and not hang on because "you earned the spot! OR it's still in me to get few more hundreds and accomplish more records" I am not sure how else I can explain other than this legend should step back and do the selfless act of retiring at the highest level so that young talent can get a decent and consistent chance to represent the country! It's time for him to think big and let team India start creating a world cup winning team [if that's what BCCI has been saying all along]. If Sachin can bring so much to the dressing room then Rahul and Sourav can do/did the same! NO doubt! Sachin is going to score some excellent runs and has the highest runs and all that... but is going to come with long spells of menial scores as well until the next world cup! Well, that's my take!

  • East_West on October 30, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    Qazar: Much respect to your stats. There you go, we are caught up in stats of Sachin! I have no qualms about his batting skills [hell, no can argue about that] but if you want to groom young talent then apply the same rule to everyone! No special treatment from BCCI ! Yeah! Look at Gilly, he is still going strong [even at the expense of wicket-keeping to the highest degree throughout his career] and retired NOT due to his dip in batting rather it was more due to the decline in his sharpness and skills of wicket-keeping. Gilly has done better and is doing better in ODIS and T20 and not Sachin! Sachin earned his spot in Tests and ODIs, No doubt about that! but is also taking rest often to prolong his career in ODI at the expense of "injuries". Guess what! If we bring Wasim Akram now I bet he will still wipe out opponents!

  • aussie_b on October 30, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    Cricket is a team game,Ricky Ponting Dint win the world cup for australia,it is a team effor.Likewise Tendulkar alone cannot win the world cup single handedly.He has scored more runs in worldcup,his average and the world cup records prove them.Sachin still has atleast two years of cricket left in him.Even the former cricketers feel so.I dont know why people keep asking him to retire.He is still consisten in both ODI's and Tests. Why should he retire when he is still playing good cricket and getting runs consistently? Dravid was dropped from ODI's because of his poor performance.Why does sachin has to retire just because of ganguly and dravid.Sachin is still playing well.

  • ragu_lara on October 30, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    hi all.I think selectors had done wrong by retaining the same squad for the next 2 onedays.Where is our great batsman Rohit Sharma,Robin utappa, Irfan Pathan & yusuf pathan.If these 4 add with the current team it will be one of the indian team for sometime now.Rohit is a great talent. He played poorly in west indies.but he can learn quickly and do very well in the middle order and the same as robin utaapa. What about irfan and yusuf.Two great future all rounders of india.How selectors are able to leave these two great allrounders when team badly needs allrounders.Ok they also have failed.But they are youngster they can come back hard.At least for the last 3 onedays add these 4 players.

  • hardhitters11 on October 30, 2009, 5:19 GMT

    well said Ribs, I saw dhoni having a attacking field (Short Mid wicket and Short Cover) when spinners were bowling, say if u r fielding first, u can't see it happening atleast when a new batsmanis in crease, wheras punter had an aggressive field even when the runrate was always above 6, of course it was a clinical performance by India, but sorry fans dont expect it to happen so often(U cant see it in a big event, i dont remember DHONI playing well in a big event)

    Harbhajan is like sachin in the team, they perform 3 out of 10 matches and will keep playing on reputation, I feel really sorry for guys like dravid and mishra who are proven commodities and still losing out.

  • Gozunder on October 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    MS Dhoni has remodeled his approach to become one of the best finishers in One Day cricket and this innings should silence his critics for a long time to come. What's interesting to watch is the leadership group that has been created by Dhoni & Kirsten within the team and the on-field rapport that Dhoni shares with them, which was evidently missing when these players were out with injury. And given that Sachin has a role of mentoring all the youngsters, I believe this will be one of India's most formidable outfits to have ever played the game. The only challenge though will be to win a major tournament, which has eluded this team for a while. If Dhoni & Co. can keep their heads firmly on their shoulders, Team India should reach its zenith.

  • rocket123 on October 29, 2009, 23:25 GMT

    Dravid is arguably one of the most formidable No.3 batsmen. It is unfortunate that in recent times he has been out of form for a long period. Tendulkar should be dropped from ODIs as well if Dravid and Ganguly are no longer in ODI team based upon age concerns. What I do not understand is that why do we forget so easily that Dravid has played more winning innings than Tendulkar. I grew up watching Tendulkar but I hardly remember that he played a winning innings when it was expected of him. In IPL, Dravid clearly proved that he is a great player of T20 and as good as Tendulkar if not better. He adapts himself according to the format becuase he is one of the best players in the game. But I guess the selectors can not see that plain reality.

  • gambhiristhebest on October 29, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    Excellent display of batting by dhoni, hopefully in the next few games sehwag can make a big one, especially in the next game in DELHI. harbhajan is still bowling ok and tendulkar needs to step it now. Thank God that ishant is showing good form and when zaheer comes back in india, INDIA WILL surely take the #1 spot in all forms of the game.

  • Quazar on October 29, 2009, 19:51 GMT

    @East_West - It is quite irksome when people talk without knowing their facts, or choose to ignore them completely. While I back you on Dravid's commitment and unselfish contribution to Indian cricket (and his dignified silence after being dropped), your opinions on Sachin lack all credibility. First of all, nobody is doing him any favours by selecting him...the man averages 45+ with a SR of ~90 (both above his career average) since the start of 2008 in ODIs (with several match-winning performances such as the CB final in Aus). This year too he was fabulous in the away tours of NZ and (recently) SL. Now go and have a look at Gilly's and Hayden's records in both forms of the game in their last 2 years and you will see a marked decline...the reason they chose to retire. So unless Sachin's performance dips like theirs over at least 15-20 games, he has bloody well earned his spot!

  • East_West on October 29, 2009, 16:30 GMT

    Sheethal: If Rahul is that selfish he would have cribbed for dropping him for ODIs, but he has class and never stooped to the level of Sourav or his fans for dropping him! Nor he behaved like Sachin who cried when Greg said "seniors should retire after the last world cup debacle". In fact, he resigned as a Captain! With all his great credentials, Sachin will be one of those guys who will retire without a world cup in his repertoire! If you compare him with Ricky, Ricky has got Aussies all the accolades they deserved including World Cup and that too as a captain and NOT Sachin! For Sachin, it will be not be the case!! No doubt he is the GOD of Indian Cricket and I adore him but this guy should retire and groom young ones!!

  • blackerthanyourhate on October 29, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    now thats what you call everything in one package...A fantastic comeback,good display of mature sportsmanship by the Indian team,dhoni and gambhir were the true men of honour who displayed pure blood and guts to win against sadistic bowlers like Johnson,Siddle and Hiffy who are more interested to break jaws and skulls instead of taking wickets...the stadium, the good cricket green pitch offering generous pace and bounce gave both the bowlers and batsmen an equal edge..Absolutely Wonderbur

  • East_West on October 29, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    Sheetal: Much respect to your comments. My point is simple, when BCCI says that they want young blood and want look ahead for the next world cup, but still played around with Sourav [instead of kicking him out] and then Rahul [used recently and dropped in ODI] but throughout this time Sachin is untouched! Sorry, it doesn't make sense to me rather BCCI doesn't have guts to drop or ask Sachin to retire! Guess what! If you bring seniors like Haydens or Glichrists, they can still play excellent cricket now but they took retirement so that their team can grow and get ready for the future. No wonder, Aussies are the best in the world! Unfortunately, in India, our great cricketers just keep on sticking around until they are dragged out! Oh! Yes, Sachin is going to score few more hundreds in the next few matches and silence the critics but other gracefully retired ones can do the same if their respective countries bring them as well!

  • sejpal on October 29, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    Its been a while since someone has thumped the aussies and i am glad it was the indians,as these two teams have produced some outstanding cricket of late.Great to see dhoni playing like that again and the bowling is coming together as well although consistency is the key so we shall see.Nagpur's stadium was a breath of fresh air,big ground,good seating and a fantastic pitch.Yet again they've got a test match against srilanka in pathetic green park in pathetic kanpur and a t20 in nagpur.Does that make anysense......??Anyway this series promises to be a CRACKER so lets enjoy it.My prediction india win 5-2.

  • riteshjsr on October 29, 2009, 14:33 GMT

    It was good to see Dhoni score a hundred while hitting some big shots and finishing the Indian innings strongly. Gambhir and Dhoni have been the two most consistent batsmen for India in ODI cricket over the past year or so. However, in the recent past Dhoni has been unable to force the issue when the team required it. So, the fact that he hit some big ones in this match was quite heartwarming. Hope he carries on in the same vein.

  • skris on October 29, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    Good win for India no doubt but most matches in this series will be decided on who wins the toss and bats first. The team batting first will most likely pose big scores (300+) on most occasions making it difficult to chase. The result would have been different if Oz had batted first as India is not very good at chasing big scores.

  • nasampath on October 29, 2009, 13:56 GMT

    Your last two lines were spot on. I would rather prefer his team mates to not only emulate the new Dhoni but also to keep in reserve the old Dhoni in them and bring out the right Dhoni as demanded by situation. Kudos to Dhoni whom I reckon as the first ever responsible, flamboyant,bold , aggressive understanding and level headed CAPTAIN. I AM AFRAID HE SHOULD NOT BE BURNT OUT EARLY AS THE RECENT CRICKET CALENDAR SUGGESTS.

  • gooey_kablooie on October 29, 2009, 12:56 GMT

    Superb innings by Dhoni. When it seemed that he has lost his touch and big-hitting he proved all wrong. But his confidence in Harbhajan is what he should remove at the moment. Amit Mishra is a far better bowler and will be suited to these conditions. Bhajji is being cartered around for runs. Dunno why he is in the team. Hopefully Sachin will be back with a big score next time. He needs it badly.

  • Koushik_Biswas on October 29, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    A point or two from an observing fan: did you guys see how controlled the thinking was (by all the 2 batsmen who scored). Like after a blistering six or four, the next ball was treated on merit and nudged away for a single. The adrenalin was not allowed to take over. There are 5 batting power-play overs. But the starting over was not good. But nobody panicked. No wild swings to make up. Raina actually left a ball in an over 17 runs were scored. The thinking was: we will maximize the returns and minimize the risk. If it is a good ball, we will take a single out of it. I can only think of one word for that: professionalism, something that India lacked before Ganguly's captaincy, and something that India had found and lost before Dhoni's.

    Let me ask a poll question: Before the match, if all of us were told by a soothsayer that India would score 350+ and there will be 3 main contributors, who would you have picked? I would have picked Sachin Sehwag Yuvraj. Imagine me being totally wrong!

  • Ribs on October 29, 2009, 12:27 GMT

    Good come back by the indians. Dhoni played his natural game after a long time. Dhoni becomes more consistent now a days. Still I am not happy about sachin. Two loose shots in a row. If Dravid dropped because of his age why not Sachin. I think Sachin is very lucky most of the people not criticizing him when he is not playing well. Dravid more consistent won more matches for India. Once in a while Sachin will score big hundreds and people like Mr.Gavaskar will write sachin the great.

  • Parth_Pala on October 29, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    Let's clear a few things. Truthspeaker like a true Indian armchair critic has the memory of a goldfish. India has beaten both Australia and NZ at home in recent memeory where pitches are so called 'up to standard'. In fact Sachin scored hundreds on both the CB series and NZ ODI series. Just because the Indian team lost one match in the champions trophy doesn't all the sudden a less then par team you clearly are nothing but an reactive fan. As far mysay typical Aussie you are mate. We stomped on you in the CB Series at home with your old guard still playing so you have no excuses. As far as Dhoni goes he is just as good as any batsmen. But since we many players who can play the big shots we need one or two anchors , of course most of these fans wouldn't know what an anchor is since we have had a whole who new following come out of the T20 era . So can it. India has won the last 6 bi-lateral series it has played show some respect. One t20 WC and one lost match in the CT dont break a team

  • ITJOBSUCKS on October 29, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Brilliant DHONI. The Best ODI finisher in the game i.e MSD played another Fabolous innings. The think Nagpur & Hyderabad are Best Cricketing Pitches in India right now.AsifRathod & East_West, I think u guys really like the MOST SELFISH BATSMEN in India i.e Dravid. Look at his performance in last 3yrs, i don't think Dravid will get in even in TEST matches leave alone ODI.

  • vswami on October 29, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    @mysay : I am happy to do the honors, which should have unnecessary given a little tinkering with StatsGuru. The stakes have been pretty even in the last few years, in tests and ODIs, give or take a few matches. Of late, India has done better in bilateral series and done not so well in the ICC tournaments, somewhat like South Africa. Australia even lost 2-0 at home in the tri series final, not just with Lee and Clarke in the side, but also with Gilli and Hayden, that too against a raw and inexperienced young Indian side. And Dhoni's innings being a flash in the pan, his average in 2009 is in excess of 70, and his average in the last couple of years is almost 50 at a very good strike rate. No one is trying to put down Australia , they are the world champions, but a little more thought and tinkering with StatsGuru would help. @AsifRathod : You dont score 17,000 runs by scoring here and there. Tendulkar's last few ODI innings .. 61, 163*, 46, 27, 138, 8, 14, 4 .. heavy enough for me.

  • MostCulturedAussieSirLesPatterson on October 29, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    mysay, India lost the first match only because Yuvraj wasn't playing - if he was, those four runs would have been bagged long before the 50th over(Lee, Clarke et al)!

  • brlara on October 29, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    The transformation Dhoni and Gambhir have got is unbelievable. Who would have thought 4 years ago that two of a childish behaviour kids one day will become as a reliable dashing opener and a responsible Captain/wicketkeeper/batsman for India. Tremendous.

    To dear Sehwag and Yuvraj,, Please share the Burden Dhoni & Gambhir has taken on their shoulders, You both are damn good but when are you guys going to be as consistent as ever like dhoni and gambhir are.

  • Quazar on October 29, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    @mysay - I was 100% certain that some bloke like you would start whinging the moment Australia lost a match. So typical! And yes, let me help to refresh your apparently challenged memory...the 2008 CB series final in Aus (2-0 win to India) when even Gilly (my favourite Aussie batsman), Haydos, Symonds, Clark, Lee, Bracken, etc. were all playing. So c'mon mate...do try to learn a thing or two about graciousness in defeat (as Ponting displayed yesterday at the post-match presentation).

  • TamilNesan on October 29, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    It is really a treat to watch Dhoni batting with that form.He once again proved himself as the best captain we have ever produced by leading from the front after we were trailing by 0-1.We must also consider his fitness and need to play with another wicket keeper for Tests .Because we need him to captaining our side atleast for eight years. If Sachin,Yuvraj and Harbhajan comes back to the form in the coming matches there will be no stopping the Indian team.

  • cricket_DD on October 29, 2009, 7:36 GMT

    This was an awesome ininngs, but do not expect him to do it in pitches outside of subcontinent, His style of play and technique doesnt allow to play big shots all the time on high bounce pitches. But we dont mind do we as long as he is coming this type of gem of an ininngs once in a while to treat our eyes.. Kudos to the captain... for taking it to the australians, his job is not done yet!!

  • dost123 on October 29, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    Tha's the great MSD for all the critics.....He is the fastest to adapt to all the forms of the game.Rightly said by Mr.Gavaskar-his running between wkts reminds you of Miandad.Let the media not tear him apart,or for that matter any player if they lose a match or dont perform. Everyday's not a' MSD day', 'Sachin Day'.you cant expect them to score a ton everytime or win every game.There are ups & downs. There are other opponents who perform better on another day.Also lot depends on the playing conditions.So critics..think before you turn on the acid pens on MSD & Team India. No captain can achieve as much as him in such a time & still have his head firmly fixed on those powerful shoulders.

  • donvij on October 29, 2009, 7:12 GMT

    Dhoni played really very well. The way he motivated Ishant and Praveen was truly great. Also he spoke well about Bhaji. A true Leader. Let's wait and watch for Bhaji and Sachin to go all gun blazing.

  • East_West on October 29, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    AsifRathod: I think you are right in terms of Dhoni and Dravid! Although I wish Dravid is still in the ODI team! Sachin is not doing much other than playing great once in a while and then media and us [cricinfo in particular] go gaga all over. If they can leave Dravid and then they should think of exit strategy for Sachin as well! As much as I adore Sachin ald luv to watch his skills, I think he is slowly became selfish[...looks like he still wants to be in the next world cup team] and it's time for him to do at least one selfless act - that is to retire before the worldcup! and Yuvraj..is becoming like Afridi, i.e., once in a while comesup with a beautiful knock, and then fades away! Dhoni should experiment with pace bowlers other than Ishant! Where is D Kulkarni btw...Although he did OK, I think ISHANT should go back to local tournaments and play! India still needs a decent fast bowler and Bhajii's time is running out! He was luck that he got a few in this game!

  • mysay on October 29, 2009, 6:47 GMT

    A good innings no doubt, just hope it's not going to be a flash in the pan. However it would have been impressive if India played with Lee and maybe a Michael Clark in the side. Actually to think about it, I cannot remember the last time India beat Australia playing a fully fit Aussie side. They may have, just can't recall one. I'm sure you Indian blokes will do me the honor. Maybe just two players, but they are two who can do a whole heap of good. Anyway Lee will be out for a few more, so India, please go ahead & make hay when the sun lasts.

  • cricmypassion on October 29, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    @truthspeaker - I agree with most of your brutal truth about docile pitches and false security, but seriously - two failures in a row and you want Sachin out? Outside the flatbeds of India, he is the only proven performer,so cut him some slack. Since you are self proclaimed ardent India fan, a rush of blood to your brain is allowed but such impulsiveness isn't too prudent. We have the makings of a good team, we have been pretty consistent in our ODI performances, so lets wait and watch.

  • Quazar on October 29, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    The No. 1 ranked ODI player batted like No. 1! Fantastic innings, and so brilliantly constructed. And @truthspeaker, you need a different name! Did you even see the match before commenting?? This was a fantastic cricket wicket...as good as any in the world. There was pace, bounce, spin, and the conditions even assisted PK's swing bowling. As Kasprowich commented, Australia fancied their chances a lot on this particular wicket. So stop taking away credit from a superb performance. As for being depleted in bowling, both teams were without 2 top class fast bowlers - Lee and Zaheer...so that's simply not good enough an excuse. And that 'precious slot' belongs to the precious cricketer who is averaging ~47 with a strike rate of 90 this year! All in all, please know your facts before attempting diatribes.

  • AsifRathod on October 29, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    I would reckon MS Dhoni as one of India's two consistent ODI players of this decade, other one is Dravid. These two players have performed consistently in more number of ODIs than any other Indian Player. Players like S.Tendulkar and Yuvraj score big runs in a match or two, but both these players played consistently well throughout many matches. Without Dravid India could not have won those many matches in sapn of 2000-2005, and without Dhoni after 2005. These are two great blokes of Indian cricket. Two great D's. One is Great player and other one is becoming like him.

  • Pathiyal on October 29, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    He played a real match winner innings this time, he is not giving us such innings now a days! i would be delighted if he comes up with quicker innings whenever the situation demands. as a team leader he continues to be brilliant till date (touchwood). I wish him and his team mates a wonderful series. Special wishes and thanks to Aussies for their visit. i hope champs like UV, Mitchell Johnson regain their form and of course can't wait to see Brett Lee in action soon.

  • Ranga_rao_g on October 29, 2009, 5:00 GMT

    Glad to see Dhoni fire works with his his willow.He is played a matured innings..keep the good work going

  • Vintej on October 29, 2009, 4:56 GMT

    I am a Personality Development Trainer. There is no better example of Leadership than MS Dhoni. Practices what he preaches, leads from front, amazing clarity in understanding circumstances and whole lot of passion. No wonder nobody discusses India's captaincy stakes any more. If only if; the other team members play to 70-80% of their potentail, then India will be the undisputed No.1 in all forms.

    I hope Dhoni becomes the Prime minister of this country after he retires from cricket. India will be in safe hands. Cheers to that!

  • zak123kaif on October 29, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    Ominous signs for australia that dhoni is back to his big hittings.it will be a great contest between deadly yorkers of brett lee and flat big strikes of dhoni in the next few matches.

  • Rahul_78 on October 29, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    Before jumping the guns and going all gung ho about old dhoni being back, we should always rememer that nagpur wicket was one of the best bating wicket foget about india but in world. Only after scoring 50 did he got the hang of hiting big sixes. Dont get me wrong MS is wonderful ODI batsmen. Very consisent and calm but he is no yuvraj or sehwag. He is not a natural big hiter of the circkt ball. He is more inthe michael bevan mold but very very valuable none the less.

  • TAMOOR.QURESHI on October 29, 2009, 3:43 GMT

    Well played Mr. Dhoni... He really showed his class against Australia and I personally think he desperately need such innings after criticism even on his attitude by some people.. he is really such a class act and come back nicely to hit his reply... This innings was also special because the opposition against which he scored "bambo century" is Australia.. he really likes to play against them... The way he built his innings watching on tv is a pleasure I like his attitude... Well played Mr. Dhoni U deserve it...

  • Nata on October 29, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    It was a wonderful innings by Dhoni. Great to see him back to his old style!

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on October 29, 2009, 2:38 GMT

    Let MSD be The MSD of Himself. No old and new! He should be just himself.

  • vswami on October 29, 2009, 1:51 GMT

    Apart from Dravid and Tendulkar, I cant think of a more selfless batsman the Indian team has produced in the last couple of decades. While he is playing for the team, the media wants him to play to the galleries. The amount of hard yards he puts in the cricket field is unbelievable. I just fear for his fitness and mental appetite, as he cannot go on batting the way he does, keeping wickets and captaining the side in all forms of the game ( and he bowled not too badly in Champions Trophy as well! ). I think the selectors should seriously think of cutting his workload and do what Sri Lanka is doing with Sangakkara, by grooming another wicket keeper for test matches.

  • pulikuttan on October 28, 2009, 22:57 GMT

    I really do not get what is wrong with the new dhoni. I mean we have sehwag, yuvraj, raina and even sachin.... Oh wait, everyone in the batting line up can rip apart the opposition. We need Gambhir and Dhoni to slow down their approaches and anchor the innings. It is not 20-20.

  • ipgoonda on October 28, 2009, 22:08 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. India needs the new Dhoni more than the old. More mature, measured, and playing according to the situation.

    If I had to complain the one area of concern is he finds it difficult to raise the tempo when the situation demands it especially while chasing. Clearly not the case in how he played today. Almost feels like the new Dhoni 'shell' is tough to crack for the old Dhoni when a hit-out is required.

    I think its the pressure of taking on too much and trying to see the game through. When the situation demands it, he needs to switch back to the 'fearless brand' of cricket and hope he can do the job and if he gets out, others after him will finish it off. Putting too much pressure on himself he is unable to raise the tempo and yet not finish off the game.

    This is why I think it makes sense for him to come up the order atleast two down.

  • jamesfor101 on October 28, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    At his age dhoni has incredible confident,composure and leadership skills..He amazes everyone by having those virtues at such a young age which otherwise would come at the mid thirties for most of the other great cricketers.

  • kirankerai on October 28, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    Dhoni was the bestin last 2 year than before because new dhoni wins more match than the old one.

  • sonusamuel on October 28, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    I had heard dhoni someday say this, when he was asked about the difference between him and anil kumble as a captain, the reply he gave was that anil is much better than him in presenting things in the perfect way they are meant to be placed, but over a period of time dhoni has proven that he has an awesome presence of mind and he knows how to handle situations... well this is what we expect from our captains !!! lucky to get a captain like u dhoni !!!

  • truthspeaker on October 28, 2009, 20:21 GMT

    As an ardent India fan, I must quickly point out, Siddarth Mongia falls into the usual trap of building up India after one victory - Devoid of Lee, and a semi-fit Johnson, Aussie attack was depleted

    I find it funny, that Mr. Mongia says that Dhoni is surrounded by explosive batsmen - where did these explosive batsmen disappear in champins trophy where it mattered - buidling docile pitches in India whwre the ball does not bounce beyond knee roll, is a false security for India's so-called explosive players

    sachin has failed twice in a row, and a precious slot is wasted on a player who is feared by Indian BCCI - Yuvraj has flattered to deceive - south indian players have been banished

    India is a real flat track bully - sorry, to be so brutally honest

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  • truthspeaker on October 28, 2009, 20:21 GMT

    As an ardent India fan, I must quickly point out, Siddarth Mongia falls into the usual trap of building up India after one victory - Devoid of Lee, and a semi-fit Johnson, Aussie attack was depleted

    I find it funny, that Mr. Mongia says that Dhoni is surrounded by explosive batsmen - where did these explosive batsmen disappear in champins trophy where it mattered - buidling docile pitches in India whwre the ball does not bounce beyond knee roll, is a false security for India's so-called explosive players

    sachin has failed twice in a row, and a precious slot is wasted on a player who is feared by Indian BCCI - Yuvraj has flattered to deceive - south indian players have been banished

    India is a real flat track bully - sorry, to be so brutally honest

  • sonusamuel on October 28, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    I had heard dhoni someday say this, when he was asked about the difference between him and anil kumble as a captain, the reply he gave was that anil is much better than him in presenting things in the perfect way they are meant to be placed, but over a period of time dhoni has proven that he has an awesome presence of mind and he knows how to handle situations... well this is what we expect from our captains !!! lucky to get a captain like u dhoni !!!

  • kirankerai on October 28, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    Dhoni was the bestin last 2 year than before because new dhoni wins more match than the old one.

  • jamesfor101 on October 28, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    At his age dhoni has incredible confident,composure and leadership skills..He amazes everyone by having those virtues at such a young age which otherwise would come at the mid thirties for most of the other great cricketers.

  • ipgoonda on October 28, 2009, 22:08 GMT

    I couldn't agree more. India needs the new Dhoni more than the old. More mature, measured, and playing according to the situation.

    If I had to complain the one area of concern is he finds it difficult to raise the tempo when the situation demands it especially while chasing. Clearly not the case in how he played today. Almost feels like the new Dhoni 'shell' is tough to crack for the old Dhoni when a hit-out is required.

    I think its the pressure of taking on too much and trying to see the game through. When the situation demands it, he needs to switch back to the 'fearless brand' of cricket and hope he can do the job and if he gets out, others after him will finish it off. Putting too much pressure on himself he is unable to raise the tempo and yet not finish off the game.

    This is why I think it makes sense for him to come up the order atleast two down.

  • pulikuttan on October 28, 2009, 22:57 GMT

    I really do not get what is wrong with the new dhoni. I mean we have sehwag, yuvraj, raina and even sachin.... Oh wait, everyone in the batting line up can rip apart the opposition. We need Gambhir and Dhoni to slow down their approaches and anchor the innings. It is not 20-20.

  • vswami on October 29, 2009, 1:51 GMT

    Apart from Dravid and Tendulkar, I cant think of a more selfless batsman the Indian team has produced in the last couple of decades. While he is playing for the team, the media wants him to play to the galleries. The amount of hard yards he puts in the cricket field is unbelievable. I just fear for his fitness and mental appetite, as he cannot go on batting the way he does, keeping wickets and captaining the side in all forms of the game ( and he bowled not too badly in Champions Trophy as well! ). I think the selectors should seriously think of cutting his workload and do what Sri Lanka is doing with Sangakkara, by grooming another wicket keeper for test matches.

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on October 29, 2009, 2:38 GMT

    Let MSD be The MSD of Himself. No old and new! He should be just himself.

  • Nata on October 29, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    It was a wonderful innings by Dhoni. Great to see him back to his old style!

  • TAMOOR.QURESHI on October 29, 2009, 3:43 GMT

    Well played Mr. Dhoni... He really showed his class against Australia and I personally think he desperately need such innings after criticism even on his attitude by some people.. he is really such a class act and come back nicely to hit his reply... This innings was also special because the opposition against which he scored "bambo century" is Australia.. he really likes to play against them... The way he built his innings watching on tv is a pleasure I like his attitude... Well played Mr. Dhoni U deserve it...