Friday, March 5

Former India batting coach reveals how Dhoni became ‘such a great finisher’

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MS Dhoni has created the reputation of being the greatest finisher of all time, but according to former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, there is an interesting anecdote attached to it. Remember the early years of Dhoni, when his batting had brashness like no other Indian cricket before? Those innings of 148 against Pakistan and 183 against Sri Lanka not long after his India debut escalated Dhoni to instant stardom, but the biggest takeaway was his big-hitting batting ability.

Dhoni would go after the opposition and hammer huge sixes, which was unheard of by an Indian cricketer. And this is when India had produced the likes of Kapil Dev and Virender Sehwag. However, Dhoni’s brute power and strength was second to none, and after being appointed captain, Dhoni became a lot more calculated in his shot-making.

Bangar, the former India batting coach has revealed an interesting story about why Dhoni began curbing his natural attacking self, sharing details of how the former India captain realised the many layers that come with batting.

“I came to know recently as to how – in his formative years, because he is such a hitter of the ball, has that natural ability to clear – Dhoni curbed his natural instinct. He used to write on his thigh pad – 1, 2 – Tick Tick and 4, 6 – Cross Cross,” Bangar said on Star Sports.

“So every time he would go out to bat, and he’d be putting on his thigh pad, he’d probably have a look at that. It would remind him that he has to follow a process. And that is how by running those one and two he became such a great finisher.”

As a matter of fact, Bangar reckons it was the same ability to pinch singles and twos that made Dhoni the ‘best finisher in the world’. “Most finishers in world cricket have realised the importance of singles, doubles. You look at Michael Bevan, look at MS Dhoni. They have this thing in common, which helps them win cricket matches. It’s not those fours and sixes. And that is the process that MS Dhoni follows,” he said.

Bangar also weighed in on Dhoni’s struggles in the IPL 2020. The CSK captain has appeared a pale shadow of his former self, scoring only 164 runs from 10 matches. His highest score is an unbeaten 47 against Rajasthan Royals and on Monday, he was dismissed for 28 off 28 balls with two fours.

“What I have seen so far of MS Dhoni in this season is that he’s stopped doing his pre-delivery movements. Because of that he’s slightly late on the ball and when you’re 38-39, you have to give that extra bit of time when you’re playing pace bowlers in excess of 140-145. If he starts getting that extra slit of a second again, the ball will start connecting the middle of his bat,” Bangar said.