MS Dhoni received some flak from former cricketers, especially VVS Laxman, following the second T20I against New Zealand on November 4. Despite scoring a solid 49 off 37 when India had already lost half their side in the chase, the likes of Laxman and Ajit Agarkar decided to criticise the former India captain, saying that it was time he gave up T20 cricket. Laxman had said it was time Dhoni gave youngsters a chance in T20 format. However, Dhoni's former teammate and swashbuckling India opener Virender Sehwag provided the perfect counter to Laxman's statement.
"Team India needs MS Dhoni at the moment, even in T20 cricket. He will step down at the right time. He will never block the way for any young cricketer," the big-hitting opener said.
Sehwag had earlier said that the Indian team was "yet to find a suitable replacement" for Dhoni.
But Sehwag did have a small advice for Dhoni,"Dhoni should realise his role in the team. He has to change the momentum early while chasing a strong total. He has to score from ball one and the team management should make him understand this point".
"The team management needs to tell him that he has to play freely from the first ball. The management should assure him that even if he gets out, he should keep on playing attacking cricket," he added.
Chasing 197 for a win in Rajkot, Dhoni came into bat with 67 for four in 9.1 overs. Despite Virat Kohli going great guns at the other end, India didn't have too much batting left after Dhoni. The likes of Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were the players left.
Dhoni made a slow start and failed to rotate the strike as regularly as some of the experts would have liked. During his stay in the middle, Dhoni scored 26 runs in boundaries from five deliveries (3x6, 2x4) but managed only 23 from the remaining 32 deliveries.
India lost Kohli in the 17th over with the score on 123 and Dhoni departed in the final over as India fell short by 40 runs.
India play the series-decider on Tuesday and certainly Dhoni's batting position will be under spotlight as the home team aims to go for the kill at Thiruvananthapuram.