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Australia-India ODI series 2018-19: Does Man of the Series MSD still deserve a place in India's World Cup squad?
It's really historic that India has not only won a Test series (2-1) but also won their first ever bilateral ODI series (2-1) in Australia.

Some may argue that Australia has become weak because of the absence of its former captain Steve Smith and former vice-captain David Warner, who are facing ban for ball tampering. But I don't buy that argument because a team like Australia can't depend on just two players especially playing at home. Every team loses key players due to injury or otherwise but it would be wrong to take away the pride of the historic success by Team India in Australia.

MS Dhoni, who had earlier been dropped from ODIs and T20Is, was brought back for this ODI series. He successively scored three half centuries and was adjudged as Man of the series. The commentators claimed that the vintage Dhoni had returned to form and it was a good sign for India's World Cup prospects. My question is whether Dhoni deserves a place in India's World Cup squad? Let's analyse his performance in this three-match series.

In the first match at Sydney, India lost the match by 34 runs while chasing a score of 289. No doubt there was a collapse of top order when Dhawan, Rayudu and Kohli went out cheaply. MS Dhoni scored 51 out of 96 balls. On the other hand Rohit Sharma was there and scored a 129 ball 133. Many experts say that very slow batting from Dhoni made the asking run rate climb high thus the following batsmen couldn't do anything. Dhoni although scored a half century but couldn't do the finisher's job and rather made the condition precarious for rest of the batsmen in chasing a modest total.

In second match, he appeared to be a finisher but not to ignore that without Kohli's century and Dinesh Karthik's explosive 25 runs in 14 balls, the match might not have been won. However, I would say that Dhoni at least finished the match at Adelaide. In last match also, Dhoni scored an unbeaten 87 runs. But not to forget that it was Chahal who made the Aussies end up with a meagre 230 runs besides Kedar Jhadav's 57 ball 61 which was really the key in that chase. Well, Dhoni deservingly got the Man of the Series but that doesn't make him an automatic choice for the World Cup team.

What are my negative observations?

In batting, Dhoni's slow batting is never an issue as he mist of the times makes it up. What Dhoni lacks at the moment is that he's not able to find singles. It's not that getting single is difficult for others. Be it Rohit Shrma, Kohli, Karthik or even Kedar Jhadav very well finds singles but Dhoni remains static not able to get those easy singles. That creates pressure on the batsman he is partnered with. That's one big problem for him in finding a place in the upcoming World Cup team.

The second problem we witnessed in both second and third match was how Dhoni got tired while batting. In the World Cup you won't always get the opportunity to bat first. Thus, he needs to improve his stamina if he wants to be in the World Cup team.

The third problem is his below par wicketkeeping. The entire series saw how his wicketkeeping wasn't up to the mark.  

I am an admirer of Dhoni as a player. But I would like to include him as the best fit player and not due to his past records. The point to remember is that our 2007 World Cup team was by record the most capable team at that time but was ousted from the tournament in the league round itself losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the same year (2007) a young team went to South Africa for first ever Twenty20 World Cup and became the champion. That means sometimes we have to trust on young blood instead of tired old champions who might have enviable records.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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