| On Nov 24, 2021 2:06 PM IST

Ben Stokes attacks MS Dhoni for World Cup 2019 performance

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England’s Ashes and World Cup hero Ben Stokes revealed that he was baffled by India’s strategy during their chase at one of their World Cup game against England last year. He added that he found Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s approach mystifying and saw no intent from India’s most experienced player Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the run chase.

Dhoni showed no intent says Stokes

In his new soon-to-be-published book ‘On Fire’ by Headline Books and distributed by Hachette India, Stokes analysed each of England’s games in the World Cup. In that he wrote in detail about the only match in which India lost during the group stage of the tournament. It was his team, England that thrashed India on that occasion.

The game was played at Birmingham, where India were comprehensively beaten by 31 runs after failing to chase England’s massive score of 337/7.

He criticized the Indian legend for not showing the required intent during that important match. He also took a dig at Dhoni’s partner at the other end, Kedar Jadhav for not providing the necessary support.

“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won.

“…there was little or no intent from him [Dhoni] or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” Stokes wrote in his book.

Dhoni was criticized heavily even in India after that knock. Many legends of the game came in live television and on social media after that match to voice their displeasure regarding Dhoni’s approach in that innings.

The English view on Dhoni

He revealed the England dressing room during that match felt that as he normally does Dhoni tried to take it deep so that the run-rate remained intact. But in that one occasion he failed to be on the right side of the victory.

Dhoni remained unbeaten on 42 off 31 balls but most of the runs came in the last over when the match was practically over.

“There is a theory in our camp that Dhoni’s way of playing has always been the same. Even if India can’t win the game, he takes it right to the end to try to make sure that India’s run rate stays relatively healthy,” Stokes wrote.

“His big thing has always been to give himself a chance of winning by being at the crease for the final over, but he generally likes to stick around to get as close to a target as possible even in a losing cause.”

Virat and Rohit played mystifyingly

Rohit and Kohli who both usually dominate the opposition bowlers was kept silent that day by the fast bowling pair of Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes. They consumed nearly 27 overs for their 138-run stand while chasing a a huge score of 338.

“The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre.

“They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands.”

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Midhun M Menon

An engineer who watches, plays, and writes cricket. Out here to tell you interesting stories from 22 yards and beyond.

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