Why you back under-performers? – An open letter to MS Dhoni

Author : Narbavi
New Zealand v India ODI: ANZ International Series v India

MS Dhoni

Dear MS Dhoni,

This is what you had to say a few months ago, stressing the importance of backing the players who are out of form – “It is often seen that once somebody goes out of the side, tendency is he is forgotten and people talk about the new bowler. I always feel that people who are in the side should be given the rope, doesn’t matter if he is a bowler or a batsman. Once he goes out of the side, the new guy who comes in again, the principle should be applied.”

Spot on captain, but seriously, are you sure it will be done in the future? I certainly don’t think any other captain in the world would have still persisted with someone like Ishant Sharma.

As much as I like your policy of backing players, making them feel comfortable and making them feel that they are pretty much part of the side and all that, I believe you are doing grave injustice to people who are waiting for their chances and also to the fans.

There are three people in this One day side whose spots are very much questionable. And I know that a lot of cricket fanatics around our country feel the same.

Rohit Sharma

CRICKET-NZL-IND

Rohit Sharma

I will start with the guy who probably is the only one among the three who can be given two or three more games before he is finally dropped for good. Chances after chances after chances finally resulted in a productive 2013 for Rohit. You made him bat in all possible positions from 1 to 7 hoping he will strike gold somewhere and he finally did as an opener.

But watching him bat over the last few games makes me wonder if he is again going back to where he was 12 months ago. His technique is to stay at the wicket initially and then explode in the end. But isn’t he wasting too many deliveries initially? And what if he gets out after wasting too many deliveries without backing them up with some shots in the latter part of the innings?

That’s exactly what’s been happening now. Rohit in his last six ODIs has made 76 runs off 159 deliveries. That strike rate is 47.8 which is a worrying sign in this modern age where batsmen are scoring a bit more freely.

You felt the need for Gambhir to be dropped when he made just a single fifty in his last five ODI innings which was acceptable as he looked completely lost in that period. But it’s about time Gauti is given a look in again considering the success he has had in Australia and also the fact that he is regaining his touch with the bat now.

I just wonder why you didn’t give Rahane a similar rope to the one that Rohit had over the years and I am pretty sure that he would have established himself as our opener by now had you done it.

Ishant Sharma

CRICKET-IND-NZL-ODI

Ishant Sharma

Well MS, your obsession with the Sharmas is certainly baffling. What has Ishant done to be playing in that team in New Zealand?

Stats say that he has the worst record for a fast bowler in Test Cricket who has played in a minimum of 50 Tests. And in ODI’s his economy is the second highest ever with the first spot going to a Zimbabwean and not someone from the top 8 teams.

No more menacing and the funny thing is he is bowling at 130kmph. No swing, no pace, no death bowling skills, then why is he still there?

If fitness and fielding is an issue with Zaheer, then that should no longer be the criteria in selecting Ishant ahead of him in the one day team. Okay, forget Zak, how about the others who have been sweating it out in the Ranji? Ishwar Pandey has finally made the cut; shouldn’t he be playing?

Suresh Raina

New Zealand v India ODI: ANZ International Series v India

Suresh Raina

It really makes me sad when people accuse you of favouring Raina because of the CSK connection. After the IPL, Raina has batted 22 times in the 50 over format with just one fifty which came against Zimbabwe. He didn’t have a chance to bat many overs on many occasions, but it’s his mode of dismissals that worries us a lot and considering the fact that the world cup is in Australia.

Calls for Pujara’s inclusion have grown louder and louder and I’m a huge part of that bandwagon considering Pujara’s technique which will be a welcome addition to our batting line up.

You once said that he is a top 3 material and currently we don’t have a spot for him there. That’s weird because this man never had his due in the first place. So why not have Pujara at 3 or 4 and Rahane at 5 for the world cup? Not only are these guys technically sound but also with the new rules in place, they have enough in them to accelerate at the death.

Raina as a total package is a huge asset to any team and that’s why you back him, but we cannot let his fielding and part time bowling make up for his batting failures. Yuvi was dropped due to his technique and form and the same should be applied to Raina.

One more guy who seems to be just a few steps away from this list is Ashwin. He has bowled in some really tough conditions over the last few games and I understand that he deserves his run for now.

Also MS, being our best batsman in this format alongside Virat, you should be batting at number 5. You literally don’t get out and it’s frustrating to see you run out of partners at times. May be you are the best solution to our middle order wobbles.

It’s just as an average Indian cricket fan, even if we don’t win the World Cup next year, at least I can console myself by saying that we tried our best with the best possible players with the best possible combinations rather than regretting some of the if’s and but’s scenarios.

Matches

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