ms dhoni
MS Dhoni (IANS Photo)

MS Dhoni continues to be be spot on with his wicketkeeping skills and tactics but with the bat, 2018 was a dry spell. It’s only the second time in his career (after 2016) that Dhoni will end a calendar year without a half-century against his name.

At the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE, he scored 77 runs across four innings while in the recently concluded bilateral ODI series against West Indies, he scored 50 runs in three innings.

Dhoni, 37, is in the twilight of his career and he was dropped for the upcoming T20I series against West Indies and Australia. Later, India captain Virat Kohli revealed that it was Dhoni himself who stepped away as he wanted to vacate the space for young Rishabh Pant.

Ashish Nehra has launched a passionate defense of Dhoni saying the record and aura of the former India captain is unmatched and despite others knocking on the door, he still is a vital member of the squad.

“Anybody can have one or two bad series,” Nehra told Cricketnext in an interview. “MS Dhoni is that kind of a guy in the dressing room – whether he scores 100, 80,0, takes a brilliant catch, misses a catch – it will make news. We should leave MS Dhoni aside. Yes there’s Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik who have done reasonably well but MS Dhoni is MS Dhoni – nobody comes close to him Not only as a cricketer but the kind of aura he has.”

Dhohi is often heard passing instructions to bowlers while fulfilling his duties behind the stumps. Nehra, who played 17 Tests, 120 ODIs and 27 T20Is, felt Dhoni’s ability to read the game and his experience is invaluable for this time and that he will be back among the runs soon. “He’s a big help to somebody like (Yuzvendra) Chahal, Kuldeep (Yadav), be it any bowler. And most importantly to Virat Kohli. Dhoni knows what he’s doing. Obviously, he didn’t have that good Asia Cup or this series. But he has whole of November and December [to work it out]. I am sure he will come out and do well in Australia. If Dhoni wants to play the World Cup, he will definitely work hard,” he said.