After India were decimated by Australia in the first ODI at Sydney, former cricketers and fans alike are noticing a lot of loopholes in the Virat Kohli-led side, which is otherwise counted amongst the best in the world.
Australia defeated India by 66 runs in the tour opener, with the hosts posting a mammoth 374/6 on the board after clinical tons from skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith. In reply, India could manage only 308/8 -where they never looked like chasing down the huge total.
Legendary West Indian quick Michael Holding pointed out one big cause of worry for India, which was evident in the loss. He said that MS Dhoni’s absence is biting India, who have chased so well in the past in his presence.
“It was always going to be difficult for India to chase that down. One thing India will struggle with is the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. MS Dhoni comes in to this Indian batting order halfway down and he usually takes control while chasing. India have chased so well in the past with MS Dhoni in the team,” said Holding on his YouTube chat show ‘Holding Nothing Back’.
Holding remarked that Dhoni, who was infamous for his cool headed persona, never panicked in the middle and that the legendary keeper-batsman was a truly remarkable during a run-chase.
“We never see MS Dhoni panicking at any stage while India are chasing. He usually paces that chase so well because he knows his ability and he knows how to go about the chase. Whoever is batting with him, he is always talking with them and helping them. Fantastic batting lineup, but MS Dhoni was a special man in the run-chase,” he added
While chasing Australia’s total, Hardik Pandya had played a brilliant knock of 90 (off 76 balls), which prevented India from a shameful loss. Holding, however, opined that India were missing Dhoni’s strength of character in the middle.
“They’ve never been afraid to win the toss and insert the opposition because they know what MS Dhoni is capable of. This batting lineup that they’ve got is still very talented – we saw some talented players and fantastic strokeplay. But they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just his skills but his strength of character,” he added.
Dhoni had retired from international cricket on August 15, 2020 and India have been struggling to find someone to fill his big boots. They will take on Australia in the second ODI on Sunday (November 29).