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Dhoni`s batting style
By Partab Ramchand
Indian cricket has produced quite a few swashbuckling batsmen, and cricketers from Mushtaq Ali in the thirties to Virender Sehwag in the new millennium have done more than their bit to prove that when it comes to entertaining the crowds Indians are second to none. But even given this history, the batting style of Mahendra Singh Dhoni is absolutely unique.

It is not just about hitting fours and sixes, the eagerness to go for the big shots and his unorthodox methods of lambasting the bowlers. Dhoni is so prodigiously gifted that he is able to get away with the most enthralling of shots that at once has the spectators leaping with joy and leaving bowlers tearing away at their hair.

Dhoni revels in playing the most outrageous of strokes - most notably when he sends the ball high to long on with a flick of his wrist. He plays the paddle sweep with impunity, dispatches balls pitched outside the off stump to the mid wicket boundary and makes nonsense of field placings, cricketing theories and captains’ strategies.

Dhoni is frequently a law unto himself pulling, hooking, driving and cutting bowlers to the fence with strokes that might or might not be out of the textbook. Like when he slammed a dazzling 148 off 123 balls against Pakistan at Vishakapatnam in 2005 or when he plundered the Sri Lankan attack for an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls later that same year at Jaipur, surpassing Adam Gilchrist’s record for the highest score by a wicket keeper in ODIs.

In the course of this knock, he smacked 15 fours and ten sixes – a record 120 in boundaries for an ODI innings. The amazing thing about Dhoni is that he is able to carry this buccaneering approach into the Test arena symbolized by his 148 struck in inimitable style against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 2006 made at a time when India were struggling to avoid the follow on. A strike rate of almost 99 in ODIs and over 72 in Tests underlines his ability to dominate the bowling like probably no batsman before him in Indian cricket history.

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