Home > Features > Facts and figures >

Numbers prove MS Dhoni is one of the best batsmen in the history of One-Day Internationals

Numbers prove MS Dhoni is one of the best batsmen in the history of One-Day Internationals

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always been a floater in the batting order and boasts of good numbers at most positions © Getty Images

Nishad Pai Vaidya does a statistical analysis of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career and asserts why he is amongst the best in One-Day International history.

Coming into bat in at 29 for five, Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced one of the true gems one-day cricket has ever seen. If ever there was a captain’s knock, it is the one he produced against Pakistan on Sunday at Chennai – a splendid innings which gave India a fighting chance against their arch-rivals. Dhoni has often been termed as the ultimate finisher in One-Day Internationals (ODI) – a man with the Midas touch whose calculated gambles pay off. Statistics reveals that he is one of the best batsmen in ODIs in the recent times and it does show the kind of value he adds in the said format.   

Dhoni has always been a floater in the batting order and boasts of good numbers at most positions. His spot has been determined according to the situation as he is a real game-changer for India. What allows him to adjust is his ability to change gears. He can play the sensible role – where he rotates strike and builds a platform for a late surge. He can also attack and play the big shots to provide the finishing touches. He started off as a slam-bang batsman who tore apart bowling attacks, but has mellowed down over the years. And that has made him a more dependable batsman.

Stats at various batting positions

The interesting thing is that Dhoni average bloats up as he moves higher in the batting order. Let us have a look at his numbers at each position in the line-up:

  I Runs Avg 100s 50s Highest
Opening 2 98 49.00 0 1 96
Number 3 16 993 82.75 2 6 183*
Number 4 18 910 70.00 1 9 109*
Number 5 46 1873 55.08 3 9 124
Number 6 76 2284 42.29 0 16 88*
Number 7 28 812 47.76 2 5 139*
Number 8 3 51 17.00 0 0 20

 
The Indian captain has been fantastic at numbers three, four and five. That is because it gives him a lot of time to adjust and plan his innings out. With a plenty of overs ahead, he can plan his innings and then blast off at the end. At number three, he has got those two memorable tons – the 183 not out against Sri Lanka and the 148 against Pakistan – with which he announced his arrival on the world stage.

There is a case for him to bat higher up the order considering the weight of these numbers. However, being the floater, he is always the best poker card. He can be played when the situation demands his presence the most. The most relevant example being the 2011 World Cup final – where he walked in to bat at number five in a high pressure run-chase.

Outstanding at No six

The No six spot is where Dhoni has played a majority of his innings. He averages a good 42.29 and has scored 16 fifties. Now, where does he stand in comparison with others who have batted at that spot in their respective careers? 

Here are the relevant numbers: (arranged according average)

Players I Runs Avg 100s 50s Highest
Michael Bevan 87 3006 56.71 1 23 102*
Russel Arnold 59 1703 44.81 0 14 91*
MS Dhoni 76 2284 42.29 0 16 88*
Michael Hussey 63 1942 40.45 1 11 109*
Suresh Raina 53 1529 38.22 1 9 106
Yuvraj Singh 59 1799 36.71 0 15 98*

Qualification: 50 innings or more

Dhoni ranks third in terms of average among those who have batted over 50 times at No six. The one-day legend and perhaps the greatest finisher the game has seen – Michael Bevan is unchallenged at the top of the list. Sri Lankan Russel Arnold is second and Dhoni follows them in the third spot. These are some of the best middle-order batsmen one-day cricket has seen in recent times and Dhoni clearly has a place amongst them.

Responsible as captain

Captaincy has brought the best out of Dhoni as he has been more consistent and played more responsible knocks. As a leader, he had to show the way and he has done it exceedingly well in ODIs. There are two phases to Dhoni’s batting in ODIs — the pre-captaincy era and the captaincy one. 

Let us have a look at the stats:

  M Runs Avg SR 100s 50s Highest
Pre-captaincy 84 2477 44.23 96.26 3 14 183*
Captaincy 128 4544 57.51 84.71 5 32 124

 
As a captain, Dhoni’s consistency has touched a new pinnacle. In his 84 games without the responsibility, he averaged a good 44.23 and his strike-rate was a whooping 96.26. He took on the mantle in 2007 and then reworked his game to become a greater asset to the team. His average of 57.51 is emphatic proof of that. However, his strike-rate has dropped to 84.71. What is important is that he is winning games and is a reliable batsman in any situation.

The only thing Dhoni should be wary of is his tendency to take run-chases too late. It has worked for him on most occasions, but there is always a lurking danger of his plans backfiring.

When Dhoni burst on to the scene as a youngster with an awkward technique, not many would have given him a chance of being as successful as he is. It isn’t so much about ability, but the attitude and the will to succeed. The latest hundred at Chennai proves that point.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Dubai

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes

Phil Hughes passes away: Former England cricketers feels for Sean Abbott

Phil Hughes passes away: Sourav Ganguly expresses grief

Bengal announce 14-member squad for Col CK Nayudu tournament

Phillip Hughes passes away: Sri Lanka Cricket expresses grief

Phil Hughes to be remembered during Australia-England Rugby International

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Kolkata is where Kolkata was

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Yo Yo Honey Singh goes into depression? His whereabouts unknown!

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Shocking: Priyanka Chopra’s property a part of a sex racket?

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan to share stage with Rajat Sharma to celebrate 21 years of Aap Ki Adaalat!

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Kanika Maheshwari aka Meenakshi of Diya Aur Baati Hum: Gautam needs to control his anger a little

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here