MS Dhoni, who has been at the wrong end of criticism for his slow run-rate, especially after he made 51 off 96 deliveries in the opening one-dayer at Sydney, made amends with a consecutive fifty coming in quick time at Adelaide on Tuesday. @ AFP

MS Dhoni shut his critics with a sublime 55 off 54 in the unrelenting Adelaide heat to star in India’s series-levelling six-wicket win against Australia in the second ODI on Tuesday.

Dhoni, who has been at the wrong end of criticism for his slow run-rate, especially after he made 51 off 96 deliveries in the opening one-dayer at Sydney, made amends with a consecutive fifty coming in quick time. He gave a glimpse of his heydays with a six in the penultimate delivery of India’s run-chase that hammered the point that the finisher in him is still alive.

Dhoni, who reached his 69th ODI fifty, combined with skipper Virat Kohli as the duo forged 82 runs for the fourth wicket to put the tourists in command. (ALSO READ: Tonight was an MS classic: Virat Kohli hails MS Dhoni)

While the knock at Adelaide will hold Dhoni in good stead, former India captain and batting legend Sunil Gavaskar feels it’s important to realise Dhoni is not getting any younger and urged critics to be more patient with him.

“He keeps telling the bowlers to bowl a particular delivery, what a batsman is planning to do. He has a sense of what a batsman is thinking. Obviously, nobody can read precisely what is going on in a batsman mind…the best way to help bowlers, the best way to help field placements for a captain or wicketkeeper is to put himself in that particular batsman’s place or mind. What the batsman is looking to do now…is he looking to get out of jail kind of shot?” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by India Today on Tuesday. (ALSO READ: Team wants me to finish games batting at No. 6: Dinesh Karthik)

The 37-year-old Dhoni remains a vital member in India’s ICC World Cup 2019 plans.

“Is he looking to push the ball around for a single? These are the kind of things where Dhoni helps the bowlers and of course with the field placing because Virat is so important in the deep in the final overs when he saves those two runs diving around, takes magnificent catches in the deep. So, it’s not possible for Virat to maybe have a conversation with the bowlers or maybe to make adjustments to the square fielders. That is where Virat has complete faith and trust in Dhoni to make those little bit of adjustments for him.” (ALSO READ: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag lead congratulatory messages after India’s six-wicket win at Adelaide)

Gavaskar reckons that Dhoni’s presence of mind on the field cannot be discounted. “That value you cannot calculate at all. My prayer is to please leave the gentleman alone and he will continue to do well. He is also not getting younger. So, the consistency you might have at a younger age will obviously not be there and you have to bear with that. Bear with that little inconsistency. But he’s still tremendous value to the team,” he said.

He also feels that Dhoni will regain his form before the quadrennial event at England and Wales. “India now go to New Zealand for the one day series and T20 series then they comeback and play the one day matches against Australia and a couple of T20s. Then the IPL starts. So, he’ll be playing pretty much right through till the World Cup starts and he’ll be settled till then,” he said. (ALSO READ: We ran into that man MS Dhoni: Aaron Finch)

“He’ll get a 10-day break before the World Cup starts. I think it would have been ideal had he played a bit of cricket before he came to Australia. Not just he, but Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu also. We can see a little bit of rustiness. Let’s just focus on today, let’s just focus on tomorrow and hope that with the matches in store with the IPL together, India will be ready for World.”