Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes MS Dhoni needs to change his batting approach in Twenty20s to be successful. Ganguly also said Dhoni still has a lot of one-day cricket left in him, but he was more concerned about the wicketkeeper-batsman's record in T20s. Ganguly's blunt appraisal followed strong words of support Dhoni received from coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli last week.
However, Ganguly felt the pair needed to tell India's senior-most player to express himself more freely if they were to derive the most out of Dhoni's batting. "His record in T20I is not that good compared to ODIs," Ganguly said in Kolkata on Sunday. "I hope Kohli and the team management will speak to him separately. He has immense ability. If he approaches T20Is differently, then he will be successful. I think he should keep playing one-day cricket, but he has to play differently in T20Is. He has to play T20Is freely. It depends on the selectors and how they would like to play him."
Dhoni's place in the T20 team became the topic of discussion after India's 40-run loss in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rajkot. His 37-ball 49 raised questions as it elevated the required run rate in India's chase of 197, even as Kohli struck a more aggressive 65 off 42 on a flat pitch. It prompted former players, most notably VVS Laxman, Dhoni's former India team-mate, to question his strike rate and inability to hit big shots.
Even as the debate has raged on about his future, Dhoni remained unruffled. In his first reaction, Dhoni refrained from responding to criticism, brushing it off gently while launching his first cricket academy overseas. "Everybody has views in life and it should be respected," Dhoni said in Dubai on Saturday. "I have always felt that sport is one way of learning about life. How you deal with disappointments, how you are supposed to come in front of people when you have either you have won or lost a game. At the same time, how you stand up to criticism, and how you have an open mind about learning and improving yourself."
Dhoni stressed he was still inspired to play for the country and his hunger to perform had not diminished. "Representing the country is the best motivation for me. We play cricket for only a span of time. We play for one year to 15 years, some play for 20 years. But in a lifespan, say you live for 70 years, 10-15 years is nothing.
"The only thing I can say is that I am representing my country. My biggest motivation is being part of the Indian cricket team. I have always believed that the process is more important than the result. At the end of the day when the match gets over, if I look into the mirror and say to myself that I have tried my best, then I am satisfied."