18 January 2008

The evolution (or regression?) of Dhoni

Dhoni has just crossed the 25 Test landmark. Since he is now ODI captain, it is clear that he will be given a longer rope than other contenders for the wicketkeeper-batsman's spot. So instead of talking in terms of drop-him-retain-him, it is more useful to evaluate how much Dhoni has grown or regressed in his time as a Test wicketkeeper and batsman.

Dhoni's batting brings to mind contrasting images. There is the memory of him hoicking the ball in the air to give a catch to Panesar, a few balls after he was dropped playing the same shot, by the same fielder, hastening India to defeat in Mumbai. Then there is image of him counterattacking Shoaib Akthar with fierce pulls. Then the stoic resistance to avert defeat at Lords after he was worked over by Anderson in the first innings like he were a schoolboy.

Has he evolved? Is he a better batsman now than when he started out? What about his wicketkeeping abilities?

I feel that India has made a good investment with Dhoni. He is a much improved 'keeper, particularly with Kumble and Bhajji, and standing up to Pathan in ODIs, he has made some amazing stumpings down the leg. As far as his batting is concerned, he has done well in the subcontinent and adequately enough in England. Though subdued, he did pull his weight in the second innings today on the pitch that was supposed to suit his style the least. He will be a much better batsman for his graft today.

What say?

5 comments:

Ottayan said...

I would say he has lost his flair.
Take today for example,with Laxman for company he should have torn into the bowling.

His wicket keeping is as good or as bad as Karthick.

Straight Point said...

i beg to differ...

today its bcoz of dhoni and laxmans partnership that aussies are staring at 400+ score...

he applied himself and arrested another collapse...aggression is always not there when you are scoring boundaries...its also when opposition team is on roll...staying there withering the storm and he did exactly this today...

and we all know what would have been reactions had he got out playing his 'aggressive shots' specially early in his innings...

Uncle J rod said...

If he batted like the old Dhoni today, Australia would have needed wither 350 or 500, he chose the middle ground, thats a sign of maturity. However if he did this and went out cheaply anyway, people would have said why didn't he attack.

John said...

Ottayan,
Lost flair or hid flair to take it out when the situation is right? We don't want an Afridi on our hands, do we?

Unc J,SP,
whichever path it is that he wishes to walk, it has to be his choice, and he should walk it as long as he is confident of doing it. If he is confident of keeping out Lee for ten overs while Laxman makes the runs, then I don't see anything wrong with it.

Soulberry said...

Battingwise, Dhoni is in the greyzone of transition. This phase is bound to be as confusing as a teenager is. While assessing most talented kids, such a nebulous phase is indeed a cloudy indicator of their eventual adulthood, for the observer.

A chivvy here may prove apt or overcorrective, a tight reign here could prove as apt or too retrictive, while a lax one could prove apt again, or fallacious.

Hope, confidence and support are the only spurs one can apply...the results will emerge from from this churning reactor of transition....we'll have a new particle for sure....remains to be seen if it is a stable compound, inert material or an unstable fissile loss of energy.