India’s captain Kohli and Bumrah back ‘legend’ Dhoni’s go-slow tactics - GulfToday

India’s captain Kohli and Bumrah back ‘legend’ Dhoni’s go-slow tactics


Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot against West Indies during their World Cup. Agence France-Presse

MANCHESTER: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s calculated batting in the middle overs has the full backing of the India team, skipper Virat Kohli said on Thursday amid criticism that the former skipper’s slow approach has not worked in the World Cup.

Leading pacer Jasprit Bumrah also praised former skipper, saying it was because of the “top-rated” inning from the 37-year-old that helped India post a competitive total against the West Indies which they defended quite easily on a tricky batting wicket at the Old Trafford. Dhoni made 28 off 52 balls against Afghanistan, absorbing many deliveries before trying to accelerate and perishing as India had a narrow escape in the low-scoring game.

Against West Indies on Thursday too, Dhoni found it difficult to get going before hitting two sixes in the final over to remain not out on 56 off 61 balls.

His early struggle was even more conspicuous with Hardik Pandya hitting a breezy 46 during their 70-run stand. Former team-mate Sachin Tendulkar has questioned Dhoni’s approach but Kohli threw his weight behind Dhoni after the team’s 125-run victory over West Indies.

“He knows exactly what he wants to do out in the middle,” Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.

“The best thing about having someone like him is when you need those extra 15-20 runs, he knows exactly how to get them with the tail.

“Keeping strike in the end and finishing off with two big sixes gave us a boost as a team. We were looking at 250 but we got close to 270-odd because he was out there in the middle.

“Hardik also played really well, but his experience has come good eight out of ten times for us.”

“He is one guy in the middle who always sends out a message for the team: ‘I think this is the par score on this pitch’...he has such a keen understanding of the game.”

“He has always been that way, that is his strength, to play calculated cricket, to always stay in the game, equal to the opposition and then find ways of winning.

“He’s a legend of the game, we all know that. He’s doing a tremendous job for us and hope he can continue.”

Bumrah said: “Such type of innings is highly underrated. Sometimes, it appears as if he (Dhoni) is playing slowly and takes a lot of time. But while batting on such wickets, it is important to take your time.”


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A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...

The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.

Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

21 hours ago