Trust Dhoni to finish off the job in style!

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 12, 2013 10:48 hrs

So the Indian team under Dhoni has registered yet another victory in a tri-series competition. I can almost hear Indian cricket followers say "so what’s new" and dismiss it as one of no consequence.

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The win in the Caribbean is by no means a notable achievement and yet there were significant factors behind it. In any case it is good to make winning a habit and that is what the Indians have been doing for some time now.

With West Indies and Sri Lanka the other teams in the competition, it made for worthy opposition. Secondly the conditions in the Caribbean were very different from England from where the Indians flew directly after their triumph in the Champions Trophy.

Thirdly the team was without its lucky mascot for most of the campaign. The role of Dhoni in his triple role as batsman, keeper and captain cannot be overemphasized and as his match winning knock in the final underlined he was sorely missed.

It is to the credit of the Indians that they rose to the occasion and made the title clash against all odds. Losing the first two matches meant that they were virtually out of the reckoning. But stand-in captain Virat Kohli led from the front, the team members responded admirably and under the circumstances it constituted a win to be savoured.

With the selectors making it clear that they are going to continue with their far sighted approach of encouraging youth, it was important that the younger members of the squad proved their worth. And almost everyone pulled in his weight, some excelling more than others.

Pride of place among the achievers has to go to Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right arm medium pacer had a bright start to his international career and it is clear by now that he is a long term prospect. He is not going to falter along the way for he is totally focused on the job of troubling batsmen and taking wickets.

His shining in helpful conditions in England was one thing; his repeating the feat on less helpful surfaces in the West Indies quite another. Ten wickets in four games at a remarkable average of 9.70, an impressive economy rate of 3.34 and an unbelievable strike rate of 17.4 all make for the kind of figures that a bowler sees in his best dreams.

What he lacks in pace he makes up for accuracy and late swing, bowling them in the corridor of uncertainty and always making the batsmen play. He is obviously a bowler who has the happy knack of doing well anywhere. A bowler who can go far has been unearthed and it is hoped that he remains injury free for in racing parlance, he is a stayer and not a sprinter.

Another who made quite a name for himself was Rohit Sharma. That he is among the most talented among the younger batsmen has been known for some time but what has irritated the Indian cricket follower is the manner in which he has not delivered in keeping with his potential.

Whether he could serve the cause of the team as opener or in the middle order is a debate that will continue but it was commendable that he took his chances at the top of the order and made the most of them.

His approach, coming as he does from the famed Bombay school of batting, is perhaps more suited to Test cricket but he is gifted enough to make the transition to limited overs game successfully.

A Sehwag he is not but with strokes executed with timing and placement he keeps the score moving and in the tri-series he played the sheet anchor role to perfection. And keeping in mind that Shikhar Dhawan had a poor outing, he was invaluable to the Indian cause.  

Most of the other players performed up to expectations. It was always going to be a moot point whether the additional responsibility of captaincy would affect Kohli’s batting but his century against West Indies quelled any such fears. It was this hundred that shaped the turnaround.

Suresh Raina continued to be valuable in the middle order with his ability to give the scoring rate an impetus whenever required.  All the five main bowlers were among the wickets and if Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma were on the expensive side they made it up with their strike rate.

And what can one say about Dhoni? The dream finish he conjured up in the final against Sri Lanka would be one for the fiction books had it been authored by anyone else. From Dhoni one has come to expect such feats.

Fifteen needed from the last over with No 11 at the other end? No problem. Trust Dhoni to finish off the job in style with a couple of deliveries to spare. It is now beyond doubt that he has now put other great finishers like Michael Bevan and Mike Hussey in the shade.

For those watching it might appear that Dhoni leaves it too late. But he knows what he is doing, is supremely confident and almost every time he has shaped a triumphant denouement. Port of Spain on Thursday marked the latest chapter in a long line of such eye rubbing and mind boggling achievements. 

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