On a laidback Saturday afternoon, M.S. Dhoni captured the attention of the spectators at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium when he raced towards the backward square leg boundary and put in a full-length dive to complete a catch.
Barely a few hours after he was left out of the squads for T20s against Windies and Australia, the 37-year-old proved he is far from over. If the catch was the highlight of the day, Dhoni added gloss to his performance with another catch, this time of Marlon Samuels, and a clever stumping of Shimron Hetmyer.
READ| Dhoni left out of Australia, Windies T20Is
Former India wicketkeeper, Deep Dasgupta, was watching the game from the commentary box and felt "it was a very professional (approach) from him (Dhoni)."
"If you see him right now, you won’t even realise that something like that has happened (that he has been left out of the T20s just the last night). It is kind of big,” Dasgupta said.
Having seen Dhoni from close quarters—both as a cricketer and a commentator—Dasgupta believes that even Dhoni understands the 'bigger picture'.
READ| Clock ticking on Dhoni, with World Cup in sight
“Obviously he has been rested to give an opportunity to others. I practically don’t think there is any difference between the MSD I saw today and the MSD I saw in the last game (in Visakhapatnam. He wasn’t left out from the T20s then). I don’t think there is any change in his approach.”
During Friday’s press conference, chief national selector, MSK Prasad, had said that even though Dhoni was not part of the next six T20s, it was not the end of the road for him. The message, however, was quite clear. By omitting Dhoni—who is considered one of the finest finishers in the limited-overs format—the selectors and the team management wanted to test the second-line of keepers with the next World T20, to be held in Australia in 2020, in mind.
And Dasgupta believes that’s the reason, Dhoni changed his batting approach in the second ODI. “He did not get too many runs, but you could see the intent of going after the bowlers from the very first delivery. In the last game, he was looking to rotate the strike. In the last year-and-a-half, he took time to settle down. But the approach was different (in Visakhapatnam). He realises what’s happening around him,” Dasgupta explained.
In his long and illustrious career, Dhoni has never shied away from challenges. And as he stands on the crossroads of his international career, Dhoni perhaps tried proving that he still has enough power left in him.
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