Dhoni admits captaincy has changed his style of batting

August 25th, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 25 (IANS) It’s not been long since Mahendra Dhoni took charge of the Indian one-day team. And the young captain hasn’t let his team down. From being an explosive batsman, Dhoni has altered his batting style to suit the needs of his side. Thanks to his new role, he is no longer the daring Dhoni who used to attack from the word go.In the ongoing Sri Lanka ODI series, Dhoni has been the backbone of the Indian batting and in the two games the tourists won in Dambulla and R. Premadasa Stadium, he top- scored with 39 and 76 runs, respectively.

“I had a different role when I made my debut. I was batting at a different slot. We had a person who would carry on an innings and be there till the end. I was among those batsmen who will go out and look to accelerate. Even if I get out, it was okay,” Dhoni said.

In Sri Lanka, the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag has forced Dhoni to bat at number five at times and he admitted that his style of play has undergone significant changes since he made his debut in 2004.

“There’s been a transformation in my career. I am playing for the last four years and during the latter half of my career, I was under a bit of pressure to take up the responsibility and play through the innings,” he said.

And unlike in most cases, captaincy has made Dhoni a better batsman. The 27-year-old has a much better average as a batsman while captaining India. His average while captaining the side in 34 ODIs has been an impressive 56:54, during which he has scored over 1200 runs and it’s way above his career average of 47:70. Whereas before being a captain, Dhoni averaged 44:23.

No doubt, the captaincy has brought more responsibility in his game.

Hailed by the bigwigs of Indian cricket for his commitment to the game, Dhoni has made rapid improvement as a wicketkeeper and captain too. He captained India to victory in the inaugural ICC Twenty-20 Championship in South Africa and then won the tri-nation ODI tournament in Australia beating the World Champions in straight finals.

He has not been afraid to back his young side and has defended the players whenever they have been under pressure and resisted calls for seniors to be recalled for ODIs.

India’s youngsters were criticized for their sloppy fielding during the third ODI, where they dropped three catches, but Dhoni blamed the spectators instead of his fielders for the misfields.

“The crowd is very colourful here. So it becomes difficult to spot the ball,” he said.

“Till the ball is new, you can see it, but once it gets mingled up with dirt and all that, it becomes very difficult to spot it. And at times we see the fielders not really reacting or we see a late reaction. It is tough, but you cannot really do anything about it” he added

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