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Sight Screen

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Dhoni effect

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's maiden career hundred, broken down by region, makes for interesting reading. Sometimes, such weightage on one side of the wicket could argue a predominantly one-sided player -- but in this case, the profusion of runs on the leg side was more a result, IMHO, of the barrage of short stuff he was subjected to, and which he countered by hooking and pulling with unexpected ferocity.
In fact, yesterday's innings settled, for the time, one question I had in my mind. Dhoni has till date come across as a batsman who is very happy on the front foot; what was unclear was how he would cope with short stuff directed at him. Yesterday, he did very well; well enough to infer that the short ball per se does not bother him. What remains is to see how he goes against that line on a more responsive wicket.
Dileep Premachandran, meanwhile, points out that while Dhoni shares some traits with Adam Gilchrist, the Indian is his own man, in the way he goes about his batting.
What Dhoni shares with Gilchrist in his prime is an unshakeable self-belief and the ability to turn a match on its head with thrilling counter-attacks. The similarity ends there though. Gilchrist has made the vast majority of his runs in classical fashion, with splendid drives and cuts and precise lofts over the infield. Though he has improvised often enough, he rarely flirts with the unorthodox or the plain outrageous. Dhoni, by contrast, seems to revel in that realm, and that was exemplified by the cheeky paddle-sweep off Danish Kaneria, and the whipped-tennis-forehand-like shots with which he picked up several runs.
At 281 for 5, with India in a mess largely of their own making and the Pakistani bowlers scenting further success, a counterattack of some ferocity was required. Dhoni provided that with some shots that will linger long in the memory. The savage pull for six off Shoaib announced that he wasn't going to be intimidated even by lightning pace, and the two successive sixes off Kaneria provided the proverbial middle finger after the bowler had stupidly decided to rile him. But each time you thought that he would get carried away, he knuckled down and patted back a ball or two, regaining composure before once again launching an onslaught.

As he showed in a couple of run-chases during the one-day series against Sri Lanka, there's far more to Dhoni than just the big-hitting. Sloggers usually fail because they let the adrenaline take over, but in his case, the rushes are interspersed with periods of relative calm. As with Shahid Afridi during his devastating knock of 156, there's a method to the madness, even when it's not easily apparent.


  • Now Gilchrist has now admitted that Dhoni and Yuvi are better hitters than him !

    G Kumar

    By Blogger Zodiac Astrology, at 06:03  

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