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ICC World Cup: Still want an all-rounder, says MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni, who led India to victory for the 100th time in ODI on Thursday, speaks about what his side desperately needs

Ashwin FerroMelbourne: Imagine India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, of all people, getting philosophical. But he sure can. And he proved this on Thursday, after his defending champions beat Bangladesh by a whopping 109-run margin in the quarter-finals of the World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday. The win was Dhoni’s 100th ODI victory as captain making him only the third captain to achieve this feat, after Australians Allan Border (107 wins) and Ricky Ponting (165).

“Cricket is a great leveller,” said Dhoni at the post-match press conference, as members of the fourth estate listened in rapt attention, knowing fully well that the otherwise emotionless-seeming 33-year-old was about to go down memory lane recalling the road to his 100th ODI win as skipper.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni sips a drink during a during a training session in Melbourne on Wednesday. PIC/AFP
Mahendra Singh Dhoni sips a drink during a during a training session in Melbourne on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

“The first time I was captain, we played Australia in India (in 2007) and we lost that series (2-4). So ups and downs are always going to be there,” said Dhoni who has played 261 ODIs for India since his debut in 2004 at Chittagong.

The Ranchi man went on to explain India’s ills in the pace bowing department over the years he’s been in charge. “In the middle, we struggled a lot — we didn’t have death bowers. The exceptionally quick fast bowlers that we had were unable to bowl consistently in the right areas and those bowlers who could bowl consistently in the right areas were not as quick. We have suffered for way too long looking for an all-rounder… it’s four years now and we’re but still looking for that all-rounder. So we have to play with what we have,” he said.

His lowest ebb in Team India, however, has not been under his captaincy, he said. “2007 was a very tough phase, I was not the captain then, but it was very tough not to qualify even for the second phase of the 2007 World Cup,” said Dhoni. He concluded with an expression of gratitude to the game that has taught him so much. “Cricket teaches you a lot. The first time you experience something (on tour) you learn from it and then second time when you come back to the same place again, you learn to respect that place a lot more.”

Dhoni himself will earn respect manifold if he does manage to get his hands on that World Cup trophy once again.

62
Number of ODIs India have won under MS Dhoni’s captaincy on foreign soil in 114 matches

56.49
India’s win percentage under Dhoni’s leadership in ODIs

Kapil lauds MSD's brave leadership
New Delhi: Lauding MS Dhoni’s brave leadership, Kapil Dev feels it is the Indian captain’s confidence in his players’ ability that makes them believe they can retain the World Cup. “This Indian side is truly Dhoni’s team, he is a leader in the actual sense of the word. Most of the boys have played under him for some time now and seem to have a real connection with the skipper,” Kapil Dev said. — PTI

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