What if: MS Dhoni captained Team India in the 2019 World Cup
Few decisions taken by Kohli and the management had come under the scanner.
Updated - Nov 8, 2019 11:12 am
Team India played some top-class cricket during the World Cup in England this year. They were on top of the points table in the league stage losing only a solitary match out of the nine they played. But their run in the tournament came to a screeching halt after meeting New Zealand in the semi-final. As usual, the Black Caps punched above their weight against all odds to end the Virat Kohli-led side’s dream run.
India once again struggled in the knockout game as their top batsmen Kohli and Rohit Sharma got out early to leave the team reeling. The middle-order struggled as well and despite the partnership between MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, the Men in Blue agonisingly fell short of the target to get crashed out of the World Cup.
Few of the decisions taken during the tournament and in the semi-final raised a lot of eyebrows even as many pondered if Virat Kohli was correct in his decision making. However, many felt that MS Dhoni wouldn’t have made changes to the batting order at the last moment if he was the captain.
If Dhoni had been the captain of the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup, according to me the following would have happened:
He wouldn’t have experimented much with the number 4 slot
India had been struggling to find a player for the number 4 spot in the One-Day matches, and according to me, if Dhoni would have been the captain, instead of giving opportunities to multiple players, he would have stuck with a player irrespective of his performance.
Since the 2015 World Cup, the Indian team has tried many batsmen at this position, but none of them worked well for the team. Ambati Rayudu was doing a decent job at this position, but he was surprisingly not selected in the World Cup squad. Rather, India backed Vijay Shankar for the spot at the start and Rishabh Pant ended up batting at four due to injury to the former.
In the semi-final, MS Dhoni might have batted up the order
When the Indian team was struggling in the semi-final of the tournament, if Dhoni would have batted up the order, the result might have been different. I agree this point is contradictory, but considering what he did in the final of the 2011 World Cup when he promoted himself up the order, I feel that the same result would have occurred.
Dhoni came in to bat at number 7 and by the time he came in, he had only 20 overs left. Although he did an excellent job in the match, it would have been great if he batted up the order considering his potential and experience. India missed a trick here big time I felt.
He would have picked Rayudu in the India squad
Rayudu was not included in the 2019 World Cup tournament. I feel if Dhoni was at the helm, he would have picked Rayudu and made him play at the number 4 spot. Rayudu was doing well at least amongst the player who competed for the same and dropping him from the World Cup was unfair according to me.
If we see Rayudu’s performance at number 4, in the 24 matches he played at this position, he scored 750 runs at an average of 41.67 which is quite good. Instead of Rayudu, Vijay Shankar was picked up in the squad for his 3-D abilities in the field. Dhoni never liked tinkering with the team combination at the last moment and he wouldn’t have left out Rayudu from the team.
He would have given more chances to Jadeja and Shami
In the World Cup, Mohammed Shami, despite performing well, got to play only 4 matches. He took 14 wickets in those at an economy of 5.48. On the other hand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar who played 6 matches was able to fetch 10 wickets. Although he performed well, Bhuvi was not able to pick wickets in the death overs which Shami did and I believe, if Dhoni had been the captain, he would have given more chances to the latter.
The same goes for Ravindra Jadeja too. He also got the chance to play 2 matches in which he proved his capability in both batting as well as bowling department. In the two matches he played, the left-arm spinner took 2 wickets with an economy of 3.70 and almost won India the game from nowhere in the semi-final against New Zealand.
~Written by Rohit Sharma