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Don't push Dhoni into retirement; once he's gone, there is no getting him back: Nasser Hussain

ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final - India v New Zealand - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - July 10, 2019 India's MS Dhoni in action
©Reuters
 

Nasser Hussain was on-air, alongside Sourav Ganguly, when he was "baffled" by Dhoni's approach in the chase against England at the World Cup. He has now urged fans to not push Dhoni into retirement, saying that the game was only an anomaly.

 

India needed 104 runs in the last 10 overs, with six wickets still intact. In the modern game, it was still well within reach, though some top-notch bowling from Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett and Jofra Archer meant that it was going to be a Herculean task for the Indian batsmen. 

 

But there was still nervousness for England, and hope for India. MS Dhoni was at the crease. The chase master had done it many a times in the past when no one gave him a chance. So, the match was very well poised, with any result possible.

 

Rohit Sharma (102 balls off 109 balls) and Virat Kohli (66 off 76 balls) may have been a bit slow to get off the blocks (read very, especially the 28-run powerplay) but they had at least ensured that the game was taken deep. In fact, when you look at it, both batted at strike rates of around 90 which was not ideal, but not disastrous either. They accelerated towards the end, but unfortunately got out at just the wrong time.

 

With Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya at the crease, MS Dhoni to follow, and a required rate of around 10, it was set up for another hair-raising chase. But, the way Dhoni approached the game, it shocked the commentators and disappointed the fans.

 

"I am completely baffled. What’s going on! This is not what India needed. They need runs. What are they doing? Some Indian fans are leaving now. Surely they must want to see Dhoni go for his shots, even if he slogs it off in the air. It's a World Cup game, top 2 sides, give it a go! Indian fans would want their side to do a little bit more. They want their side to go down with a fight. Risk it to win it," said Hussain during the last 10 overs of India's chase.

 

India scored only 72 runs in the last 10 overs and lost the match by 31 runs. What was ever more troubling was that they lost lost only one wicket in the last 10 overs, that of Hardik Pandya (45 off 33 balls) who, when batting with Dhoni, seemed the only one trying to reach the boundary.

 

The same Nasser Hussain has now come in support of Dhoni, urging the fans to not push him into retirement too early.

 

"Once Dhoni is gone, there is no getting him back. There are some legends of the game, appreciating while around, because they are once-in-a-generation cricketer and dont push him into retirement too early. Only Dhoni knows his mental state and in the end the selectors select and players turn up when asked to," 52-year-old Hussain told Star Sports on its new show 'Cricket Connected'.

 

"Is MS Dhoni still good enough to get in the Indian side? It is as simple as that. That should apply for anyone across the board. What I have seen of Dhoni, I still think MS Dhoni has a huge amount to offer for Indian cricket," he said.

 

Hussain also refereed to the game against England at the World Cup, but maintained that it was only an anomaly. 

 

"Yes, its been one or two occasions where he (MSD) got it wrong in run chases, there was a World Cup game in England where he sort of blocked at the end for some unknown reason, but in general MS Dhoni is still a really good talent and be careful what you wish for," Hussain emphasised.

 

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