New Zealand vs India: Ahead of the ODI series, Mike Hesson sets a new challenge for MS Dhoni

New Zealand vs India: Ahead of the ODI series, Mike Hesson sets a new challenge for MS Dhoni

The 37-year old, meanwhile, can break legendary Sachin Tendulkar's record of most ODI runs by an Indian batsman in New Zealand.

Mike Hesson
Mike Hesson. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

MS Dhoni has started 2019 on a stunning note. The former India skipper had faced criticism from every corner last year due to a string of poor performances with the willow. Dhoni could manage only 275 runs in 20 innings and in the process he recorded his worst average and strike rate in a calendar year since his debut in 2004. But if 2018 was a disastrous year then 2019, the year of the World Cup, is turning out to be a promising one.

Dhoni starred for India in the just-concluded ODI series in Australia. He had a mixed start to the year as although he scored a fighting fifty, he faced criticism again for his slow approach. However, Dhoni shrugged off the concerns regarding his declining form in the very following innings with a match-winning fifty.

He scored 55 not out to help India win the second ODI and level the three-match series. Dhoni had saved his best for the last. Chasing 231 on a tough pitch, India were in huge trouble after being reduced to 113 for 3 in the 30th over. However, the legendary player scored 87 not out as India won their first-ever bilateral ODI series Down Under.

Dhoni finished the series with 193 runs at an average of 193 and walked away with the Man of the Series award. It was his first award since 2011 and it also made him the oldest Indian to win the Man of the Series gong. All eyes will be on him again when he comes out to bat in the upcoming series five-match series against New Zealand, starting Wednesday (January 23). And ahead of the series, former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has set a challenge for the veteran batsman.

“Challenge for Dhoni is going to be when the side is batting first, how hard he needs to go. In terms of chasing a total, which is still the hardest thing in cricket, he is a genius,” Hesson told Cricket Next. Hesson also had a word of praise for Dhoni for the way he mastered the chases in Australia. “Runs just shows the value of experience. Most players in the world would have panicked considering the situation Dhoni was in but he looked calmer than anybody else. It suggests that he has been in this situation many times before and knows how to pace a chase,” he said.

Dhoni on verge of achieving a milestone

The 37-year old, meanwhile, can break legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI runs by an Indian batsman in New Zealand. Dhoni is currently third in the list behind Tendulkar and Sehwag and needs 197 runs more to go past Tendulkar. So far, Dhoni has played 10 games in New Zealand, scoring 456 runs.

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