‘Slow-mo’ Dhoni gets trolled as In­dia lose ODI in Syd­ney

For­mer crick­eter Das­gupta says MSD’s form im­por­tant in run-up to the World Cup

Mail Today - - FRONT PAGE - By Ro­hit Paniker in New Delhi

FOR­MER In­dian crick­eter and com­men­ta­tor Deep Das­gupta has sug­gested Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni’s form will be im­por­tant for In­dia to as­sess their stand ahead of the ICC World Cup come April in Eng­land.

The for­mer In­dia cap­tain re­turns to squad for the ODI se­ries against Aus­tralia and New Zealand and de­spite a de­cline in his bat­ting form, Dhoni re­mains a cen­tral fig­ure in In­dia’s bid to claim the cov­eted tro­phy.

Speak­ing to MAIL TO­DAY, Das­gupta ex­plained that Dhoni can pro­vide the ex­tra edge for In­dia by suc­cess­fully play­ing the role of a fin­isher.

“I don’t think there are any doubts about his po­si­tion at the World Cup but be­ing in form does help. I think if he can score runs here in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, the team can play ac­cord­ingly. If you know what kind of a form he is in, what kind of a role he can play in the match, then it’s eas­ier for the team to plan for the World Cup.

“There are just 13 ODIs to be played be­fore the start of the tour­na­ment and I don’t think much will change in terms of team se­lec­tion,” said Das­gupta, who is part of the Sony Six’s ex­pert panel for the se­ries.

With Dhoni’s pres­ence be­hind the stumps and Di­nesh Karthik as back-up, Rishabh Pant’s chances to play a role at the World Cup are re­stricted. De­spite his im­pres­sive show­ing in the Test se­ries, Das­gupta

Dhoni be­comes the fifth player to score 10,000 runs for In­dia ‘ I think if he (Dhoni) can score runs here in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, the team can play ac­cord­ingly. — ’ DEEP DAS­GUPTA, FOR­MER WICK­ET­KEEPER

agrees that the Delhi lad is one for the fu­ture but doesn’t fit into schemes for the tour­na­ment.

“World Cup is too soon for Pant. I think with Dhoni play­ing, he won’t have the chance to per­form. He is one for the fu­ture for sure,” he added.

For the up­com­ing ODI se­ries, 41-year-old has pre­dicted a 2-1 win for In­dia, adding that the matches will come as a great op­por­tu­nity for young Mo­hammed Si­raj.

“I think In­dia should win the se­ries. Aus­tralia has ex­pe­ri­ence and have play­ers to fill the ab­sence of the likes of Starc, Ha­zle­wood and Cum­mins. I think, with Bum­rah rested and a pos­si­ble rest for Shami as well, Si­raj should get the op­por­tu­nity to lead the line. I think it will be a great chance for him to show his strength and make a claim for him­self head­ing into the World Cup.”

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