India almost ended up losing 5-0 as the 5th ODI went down to the wire but a magnificent and unbeaten century from young Manish Pandey ensured that India crossed the finish line and ended the series on a 4-1 note and saved captain MS Dhoni from a series whitewash.
India were in a commanding position chasing 331 but MS Dhoni who has been badly out of form used up a number of deliveries trying to get himself in and ended up putting a lot of pressure on the lower order. Dhoni found it difficult to hit the big shots and could hit just one six and one four before getting out and it was up to Pandey to steer India home with just two balls to spare.
Dhoni’s captaincy and batting form has come under a lot of scrutiny over the last 12 months as many believe it is time for India’s test captain Virat Kohli to take over. A number of former players including Ian Chappell and Erapalli Prasanna have said that its time for Dhoni to step down as the ODI captain and maybe continue as just a wicketkeeper-batsman if he still wants to play ODI cricket.
Chappell believes that every captain has a shelf-life and that it is important for them to know when they are at the end of that period. The former Australian captain and commentator believes that MS Dhoni’s shelf-life expired a long time ago and Dhoni is not able to inspire and bring new ideas to the team anymore. He believes that Virat Kohli is the right man for the job and considering his batting form, should be given the reins right away.
Dhoni also received criticism from former spinner Erapalli Prasanna who believes that Dhoni is now at the end of his career and it is the right time for the captaincy to change hands. In a statement, Prasanna said “If you ask me, let him keep the wickets and give Kohli the charge right away. It is in the team’s interest. If you look at the overall scenario, he may be a better batsman than Saha but wicket-keeping wise Saha is equally good. Perhaps Dhoni can carry on and you can still expect a 30-40 run innings from him in the slog overs.”
However Dhoni also received support from the likes of Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey who believe that Dhoni still has a lot of cricket left in him and that this poor run down under shouldn’t be the end of his captaincy considering what he has done for Indian cricket in the past.