World Cup 2019: Shastri defends holding back Dhoni


12 Jul 2019

Shastri explains why Dhoni was sent at number seven

India's dream of being crowned world champions was shattered after they fell short against New Zealand in the semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2019.

While the match witnessed a collapse from the top-order, there was criticism about sending MS Dhoni at number seven in such a critical situation.

Meanwhile, coach Ravi Shastri has explained as to why he held off Dhoni.

Team decision

It was a team decision to hold off Dhoni: Shastri

It was a team decision to hold off Dhoni: Shastri

According to The Indian Express, Shastri said the decision to not send Dhoni at five was taken by the team.

He even said that allowing Dhoni to come out early, and risk the possibility of an early dismissal would have dented India's hopes.

Shastri added that since Dhoni is a finisher, it was crucial to save his match-winning skills for the later stage.


Shastri hails Dhoni's composure

Shastri went on to praise the composure, shown by Dhoni, in the crunch situation.

He even believed had it not been for the unfortunate run-out, Dhoni would have seen India home.

"You could see his brain was ticking. He wanted to do it so desperately and it was clear on his face when he came back to the dressing room," Shastri said.

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Shastri backs Rishabh Pant, feels he is already maturing

Shastri backs Rishabh Pant, feels he is already maturing

Shastri also backed young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, and defended his action of sending Pant ahead of Dhoni.

Shastri was impressed with the way he managed to hold off Trent Boult and said he is already learning.

"But, I am happy that the team showed spunk. They didn't give up even after losing Pant and Pandya. What a fight back that was." he added.


Shastri claims India need a strong middle-order batsman

Shastri, however, voiced his concern regarding India's unstable middle-order, which was evident during this World Cup.

He said that the team needs a strong middle-order batsman for the future.

"(KL) Rahul was there but then Shikhar Dhawan got injured. Then Vijay Shankar was there, and he got injured. We just could not control it," lamented Shastri.

The story

How did the match pan out?

How did the match pan out?

It all happened during the chase, as India's top-order completely failed, and top three were dismissed within fourth over.

Following their dismissal, Pant and Hardik Pandya took control of the situation and managed to hold off.

The pair of Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja managed to pull off a 116-run stand, triggering the debate.

However, the author feels Dhoni could have batted at number five.

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