Has MS Dhoni, India's most senior player, made an impact this World Cup? Depends on who you ask.

Outside the Indian dressing room, the verdict is largely against Dhoni. Within it, there is only support for him. India captain Virat Kohli has made it clear he sees it as a non-issue whenever he's been asked about it. On Monday it was the turn of Sanjay Bangar, India's assistant coach, to dismiss questions over Dhoni's batting and its perceived lack of intent.

Bangar's belief in Dhoni, he says, is based on his numbers. What do those numbers say, though?

So far at the World Cup, Dhoni's scores are 34 (46 balls), 27 (14), 1 (2), 28 (52), 56* (61) and 42* (31). His strike rate of 91.26 puts him 10th among the 19 batsmen who have faced more than 100 balls at Nos. 5 to 7*. Above him are some of the best performers of the tournament so far, including Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Colin de Grandhomme, Alex Carey and Haris Sohail. Dhoni's strike rate isn't in the same league as Buttler's (128.98) or de Grandhomme's (112.31), but it isn't a whole lot worse than Stokes' (97.82) or Haris' (95.83).

The biggest criticism of Dhoni has been how many dot balls he's eaten up. Of the 206 balls he has faced so far, he has failed to score off 95, or 46.12%, which again puts him in tenth place among those 19 batsmen. Tenth out of 19 on both counts: bang in the middle, largely inconclusive, just like the debate over his batting.

But what about his approach against England? He made 42 not out off 31, so it wasn't a sluggish innings on the surface, but set it against the task India had when he walked in (they needed 112 off 65 balls) and especially after Hardik Pandya's dismissal (71 off 31), and his approach could be seen as questionable. Despite India having five wickets in hand, Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav kept taking singles, even as the asking rate multiplied, and by the time the final over began they needed an impossible 44 runs.

Dhoni and Jadhav had been involved in a grinding partnership against Afghanistan. Against England, the sight of the same pair seemingly settling for a reduced margin of defeat perplexed plenty of watchers, including the TV commentators.

Bangar wasn't perplexed, though.

"I felt MS was striking the ball really well," Bangar said during the mixed zone on Sunday. "He had good intent. It is just that the English bowlers stuck to their task really well: they used the angles, and used the large boundaries to their advantage. When they were bowling to the shorter side of the boundary they were bowling a pretty good line.

"I didn't really find anything wrong in MS' innings. He was batting beautifully. He struck a few big blows. It is just that in the last 4-5 overs the difference between runs required and balls left just kept creeping up."

According to Bangar, Dhoni had done his job in five out of seven games. Given that he has only once failed to get a start - against Pakistan - the other not-so-good performance may have been the one against Afghanistan: Dhoni's 28 consumed 52 balls, and the bowlers, led by Mohammed Shami, made sure India didn't suffer one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

"Except for one-odd innings, he [Dhoni] has done the role," Bangar said. "We have already played seven games now? Five times out of those seven games he has done the role or the job for the team. In the South Africa game he stitched together a partnership of 70 [74] with Rohit [Sharma]. After that what was required of him to go out there and accelerate against Australia, he did that. In Manchester, on a difficult track [against West Indies], he got a vital 58 [56*] for us.

"Here also (against England) he was striking the ball really well. So I'm surprised that this question continues to come up every now and then. He is doing the job for the team and overall we are very happy with the intent that he is batting with."

As was the case with his innings at Lord's last year - when he made 37 off 59 when India were chasing 323 - Dhoni's knocks against Afghanistan and England have made his ODI batting approach a subject of intense debate. In his defence, India had one eye on their net run rate, and given that they were playing a long tail at Edgbaston, he may not have wanted to risk the team getting bowled out.

But the chances of India going out on net run rate are slim, so there was a feeling that Dhoni and Jadhav could have chanced their arm a little more.

Bangar disagreed that it was a case of the pair not showing enough intent, and instead credited England's bowlers for tying the batsmen down.

"I don't think so," Bangar said, when the intent question was posed to him, "because if you look at the way the English bowlers bowled towards the end, they used the dimensions [of the ground] really well and they created difficult angles for our batsmen to hit. And with those large boundaries and the type of balls they were bowling - slower bouncers and a lot of into-the-wicket deliveries, slower balls [it was difficult to score].

"Maybe in the last one or two overs the difference between runs required and the balls left was a bit too much. We just felt that right up to the 47th, 48th over, had we tried bigger shots earlier, we might have probably been a few runs short. It also helps the NRR a bit, those extra runs."

*Stats updated up to the England-India match

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo