MS Dhoni puts opposition under pressure when at the crease, says Brendon McCullum

MS Dhoni puts opposition under pressure when at the crease, says Brendon McCullum

The former New Zealand cricketer feels Dhoni is perfectly fit and is striking the ball very well

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

One of the top draws of the ICC World Cup 2019 will be MS Dhoni, the veteran Indian wicketkeeper-batsman. The 37-year-old former World Cup-winning captain will be playing in the showpiece event for one final time but his significance for Team India’s prospects will be crucial. And former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum also buys the theory.

McCullum, who led the Black Caps to their first-ever World Cup final in 2015 without dropping a game but lost to Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in the summit clash, feels Dhoni still has the ability to put pressure on ace bowlers when at the crease. Dhoni had a poor run with the bat over the last one year till he hit the purple patch during the ODI series in Australia earlier this year, hitting three fifties on the trot. He was also in good touch in the just-concluded Indian Premier League, scoring the most runs for his side Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

Dhoni’s fitness has been great, he is striking the ball beautifully, opines McCullum

“He (Dhoni) is invaluable to the Indian team, he has a blueprint in his mind along with an approach to the game. He always puts the opposition under pressure when he arrives at the crease and reads the game perfectly. His fitness has been great, and he has been striking the ball beautifully in the recent past,” McCullum, who has played with Dhoni for the CSK in the past, was quoted as saying while the importance of the veteran Indian wicket-keeper batsman on Star Sports — the official global broadcaster for the upcoming World Cup.

Dhoni though had an ordinary run in his last outing in England in limited-overs cricket. In the three-match ODI series last year, Dhoni scored 79 runs in the two innings that he played and was criticised for his slow rate of batting. It was a race against time for the Ranchi cricketer and a timely return to form with the bat helped him earn a berth in India’s World Cup squad. His agility with the gloves was though never questioned.

India will be playing South Africa in the first match of the World Cup starting May 30. The game will be held in Southampton on June 5.

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