The Indian cricket team’s defeat at the hands of England at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Sunday has shifted the focus of the debate to Mahendra Singh Dhoni with many squarely blaming the former India captain for India’s loss.
India needed to score a little over 10 runs an over when Dhoni and Hardik Pandya were batting. Pandya’s blistering cameo innings of 45 showed that the last-minute acceleration was possible. But, Indian fans and cricket experts appeared incensed after Pandya returned to pavilion in his attempt to score boundaries, Dhoni and the next batsman Kedar Jadhav did not allegedly increase the run-rate.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who was commentating on the match, was heard saying in exasperation, “I have no explanation for that.” Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar too found Dhoni’s reluctance to go for the run-chase ‘baffling. He wrote on Twitter, “If there was any team that had the ability to stop India’s winning run. It was England. Dhoni’s approach in the last few overs, however, was baffling.”
If there was any team that had the ability to stop India’s winning run. It was England. Dhoni’s approach in the last few overs however was baffling. ?
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) June 30, 2019
Social media users were even brutal in their criticism for Dhoni with the microblogging site Twitter inundated with criticism for and memes mocking the former India captain.
I don’t understand what Dhoni is doing? Atleast give it a go! Now the fans are leaving
I have no explanation for this
People on twitter:
Match is fixed bro, match is definitely fixed.
— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) June 30, 2019
Dhoni & Jadhav scored 39 runs off last 31 balls for the SIXTH wicket! That is beyond explanation! #INDvENG
— Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) June 30, 2019
#indiavsEngland match good in parts. Only @SGanguly99, spoke frankly. Shammi bowled badly in death overs with multiple fulltosses sealing Indian fate. Dhoni content with singles in last overs shocking. @imVkohli losing focus after scoring 50 worrisome. Did team peak early?
— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) June 30, 2019
— Ali Rizvi (@Alirzv717) June 30, 2019
Ravindra Jadeja for Kedar Jadhav in the next game is tempting. Is it time to drop Dhoni and play Dinesh Karthik too? #INDvENG
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) June 30, 2019
However, there were many, who called those baying for Dhoni’s blood a bunch of ungrateful fans who had forgotten the laurels earned by Dhoni for his country as the captain of the national team. India won the inaugural T20 World Cup under Dhoni’s captaincy before winning the 2011 World Cup. Two years later, the charismatic skipper also led India to win the Champions Trophy.
This is what fans wrote in Dhoni’s support:
Before you troll @msdhoni, do care to cast your mind back at everything that he has achieved for India up until now. Poor form in one game or few games can’t take away all laurels that Dhoni won for his country in his cricketing career. Don’t be ungrateful! #ENGvsIND
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) June 30, 2019
— Whistlepodu (@Whistlepodu5) June 30, 2019
Absolutely. It got really tough in the end, and England were bowling beautifully; managing NRR became the only option. Madness to suggest that Dhoni was deliberately trying to lose the game. No one more than him plays in the spirit of the game. Amazed at the hate he is getting. https://t.co/KwL9Zhb7b0
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) June 30, 2019
Could not understand what they want from Dhoni. I am not here to justify the scenario but blaming one person is not something you should always come up with . #IndVsEngland #CWC2019 pic.twitter.com/YaaKPe9YcZ
— Utkarsh Burman (@Utkarshburman) June 30, 2019
— Vinod Kapri (@vinodkapri) June 30, 2019
What Dhoni’s haters failed to notice that the English captain had changed his game plan at the beginning of the last power play when he introduced his top bowler Jofra Acrher once again. Known for bowling at a speed of 145-150 km speed, Archer was seen bowling almost like a leg-cutter at an average speed of 120 km. This made Indian batsmen’s ability to go for big shots that much difficult. Even Liam Plunkett, who followed Archer considerably slowed down his pace in the dying overs.
According to many experts, the wicket too had slowed down considerably towards the end of the match.