The Indian team is missing the “skill and character” of M. S. Dhoni during run chases, according to former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding.

The Indian team looked out of sorts in the opening One-Day International (ODI) against Australia. After a listless bowling display that helped the home side reach 374 for 6, India crumbled under pressure, slumping to a 66-run defeat .

“It was always going to be difficult for India to chase that down. One thing India will struggle with is the loss of Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” Holding said in his YouTube channel.

Holding further said that India missed the composure and control of Dhoni, who retired from international cricket in August this year. “Dhoni comes in to this Indian batting order halfway down and he usually takes control while chasing. India have chased so well in the past with M. S. Dhoni in the team.

“This batting line-up that they have got is still very talented - we saw some talented players and fantastic strokeplay. Hardik played a beautiful knock but they still need a player like Dhoni. Not just his skills but his strength of character,” he added.

'Never see Dhoni panicking'

Holding said the Indian team felt more confident going about run chases with Dhoni in the side. “They have never been afraid to win the toss and insert the opposition because they know what M. S. Dhoni is capable of and their batting is capable of.”

Dhoni’s calmness was a big factor in run-chases.

“We never see Dhoni panicking at any stage while India are chasing. He usually paces that chase so well because he knows his ability and he knows how to go about the chase.”

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Holding said Dhoni not only assessed the situation well but also provided support and insights to the person batting alongside him.

“Whoever is batting with him, he is always talking with them and helping them. Fantastic batting line-up, but M. S. Dhoni was a special man in the run-chase,” Holding said.

Holding slammed India’s sloppy display in the field. “India didn’t help themselves with their fielding. The SCG is a big ground but the boundary rope was still in from the extremes of the boundary.”

Kohli and company dropped at least four catches, missed a run out opportunity apart from several sloppy fielding efforts. “India slipped up on quite a few occasions, with balls going over the fielders’ heads and not going for sixes. There’s no way you should be that far within the boundary. In any ground, it’s a basic principle that you should not be that far in that the ball can go over your head and land within the boundary. If it goes over your head, it should be six and that is just basic,” he added.