Paul Nixon, the former England wicketkeeper, believes that India captain MS Dhoni has "sore hands" which could be affecting his wicketkeeping on the ongoing England tour. "I have been watching and studying the way he is keeping. From what I have seen I think he has sore hands," Nixon said.
"He normally catches the ball strong and aggressively. I have seen him keeping the ball in an exaggerated manner. You do that as a keeper when your hands are sore."
Dhoni came to England in 2007 on India's previous tour as a wicketkeeper-batsman, unburdened by leadership duties. It was his first trip to England and he was keen to learn the right habits from the likes of Nixon, who, at 40, is still keeping wicket for Leicestershire. "We looked at certain body positions and did a few drills," Nixon said.
A combination of a relentless schedule, captaincy duties and, importantly, questionable positioning behind the stumps culminated into Dhoni committing frequent mistakes during India's 4-0 defeat to England in the Pataudi Trophy. Embarrassingly, Dhoni missed some easy takes while his indecision to go for catches at times affected the slip fielders. In a way it also had an impact on his batting when he could muster only two half-centuries in eight innings.
Nixon, a veteran of 22 first-class seasons with stints at Kent, Leicester and briefly England, could only sympathise with Dhoni. "England is one of the toughest places in the world to keep because of the conditions and pitches mainly. The touring is relentless, and as a captain you have other things to do rather than go on a little bit of practice after the odd game," Nixon said, adding, however, that there was always a way out.
"That is when you need good guys around you to say, 'come on, let's go and do a bit of [keeping].' Because most times you sacrifice yourself and say, 'I will be alright,' and that is the type of character Dhoni is. He is a giver and a magnificent character."
Dhoni skipped the optional training session today and decided to travel to Old Trafford to watch the Premiership football game between his favourite club Manchester United and Arsenal.
Nixon said that if their "paths cross tomorrow" he would be more than happy to have a chat again with Dhoni. "He is a strong character, has got a lot of pride. I am intrigued to talk to him tomorrow."