Cricket Expert & Columnist
MS Dhoni innings in India's second ODI defeat 'odd', says Nasser Hussain
'Who are we to criticise MS Dhoni? But, I'd rather India have gone down with a bit of a fight than a whimper'
Last Updated: 15/07/18 11:07am
Nasser Hussain pondered whether the Lord's crowd got their money's worth from "the greatest-ever finisher in white-ball cricket" MS Dhoni after his "odd" innings in the second ODI against England.
India slipped to an 86-run defeat at Lord's on Saturday, bowled out for 236 chasing 323 to win, with Dhoni managing only two boundaries - and seeing off 31 dot balls - in a 59-ball 37 as the required run-rate rocketed.
Dhoni came to the crease with India 140-4 after 27 overs, needing a further 183 to win but, while wickets tumbled at the other end, the former captain didn't play his typical array of attacking shots and the match reached a rather drab conclusion.
"I thought it was a very odd innings from the greatest-ever finisher in white-ball cricket," said Hussain on Sky Sports Cricket. "This is the same bloke that in the 2011 World Cup final promoted himself up the order to whack the ball out of the ground and see them beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
"Dhoni, more recently, has taken longer to get going, especially when spin is on, so I wasn't surprised by his start, especially against the leg-spin of Adil Rashid. But I was surprised he never really played a shot in anger until he got out.
"Who are we to criticise MS Dhoni? But, I'd rather India have gone down with a bit of a fight than a whimper.
"I wasn't surprised at all by captain Virat Kohli's answer at the presentation, saying Dhoni cops a bit of unfair criticism. Believe me, in this Indian side, the regime and culture is you do not criticise your 'seniors' as they call them.
"What would the Indian press be like if Kohli had a go at Dhoni at a press conference? It's just not going to happen. You back your seniors all the time.
"But it was a very odd innings - it looked like he was just having a net and preparing himself for the next game.
"It didn't cost India the game - I don't think he'd have got them over the line anyway - but there were a lot of people in here who had spent a lot of money to watch the game, a lot of them coming to see Dhoni, and I don't think they got their money's worth from him today."
Hussain asked Kohli about Dhoni's innings at the post-match presentation, with the Indian skipper saying the team is behind him.
"This comes up again and again when he [Dhoni] is not able to play in the normal way he does," Kohli said. "It's very unfortunate people just jump to conclusions very quickly.
"When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever and when they don't go well, they all pounce on him. We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.
"Also, you want to take the innings deep; you don't want to just lose by 160-170 runs, and he has the experience to do that, but some days it just doesn't come off.
"Other people jump to conclusions, but we don't - we totally believe in him."
Watch the third ODI between England and India from 12pm, Tuesday on Sky Sports Cricket.