While there have been all sorts of analysis on Dhoni’s strike rate and hitting prowess, there has been very little attention paid to other aspects that make Dhoni a genuine all-rounder in ODI cricket with his experience, leaderships skills and astute tactics especially in field placements and bowling changes.
Also, not to forget his success with the DRS and his wicket-keeping skills.
Dhoni has been a great keeper for India in limited-overs cricket and has been particularly good against spinners affecting brilliant stumpings and taking tough catches.
He has even mastered the art of ‘back-flick’ run-outs.
His dismissal tally is the third-best ever in ODI cricket history – a testimony to his effectiveness behind the stumps.
He has effected 429 dismissals behind the stumps in ODIs, and is third behind Kumar Sangakkara and Adam Gilchrist, who have 482 and 472 respectively. What sets Dhoni apart from the rest in the list - which incidentally has no other Indian in the top 10 - is his work against spinners.
The former Indian skipper has a whopping 118 stumpings, which is not only the highest for any keeper in the history of ODIs but also the only one with more than 100 career stumpings in the format. Asian keepers tend to induce more stumpings but even then the likes of Sangakkara, Moin Khan or Rashid Latif haven't managed to come close to Dhoni.
Much of Dhoni’s success behind the stumps has come in partnership with the duo of Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja - 27 dismissals each in 137 and 121 matches respectively. The rate of stumpings is pretty much similar with both these bowlers.
Dhoni has also had success with Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh with 23 and 22 dismissals each but it is his success rate with Chahal and Kuldeep that is attracting attention now. Having kept to the duo in 36 matches apiece, Dhoni has 15 (Kuldeep) and 11 (Chahal) dismissals respectively.
What's interesting is the number of stumpings Dhoni has affected with Kuldeep – 11. The enticing manner in which the left-arm spinner draws batsmen out is ably supported by Dhoni who has quick hands behind the stumps.
As India head to the World Cup, Dhoni the batsman might still be fighting some detractors but Dhoni the keeper is doing more than a decent job behind the stumps.
First Published: January 25, 2019, 1:00 PM IST