Dhoni’s decision to go for a draw surprising: Former players


New Delhi: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to settle for an early draw in the third Test against West Indies has sparked a debate on whether the World’s No.1 Test team lacks the “killer instinct”.

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The match was poised for a thrilling finish with India, chasing 180, needing 86 runs to win in 15 overs with seven wickets in hand. Dhoni, unmindful of the huge crowd in the stands at Roseau which was hosting its maiden Test, decided to play safe and agreed to shake hands with West Indies captain Darren Sammy to secure a 1-0 series victory.

Former players said they were surprsied with Dhoni’s decision. They also felt the wicket was not as bad as reasoned by the Indian captain.

“I was very surprised. I still thought with Dhoni and Virat Kohli to come, they could have given it a bit more push. I was surprised that they closed up shop as early as they did,” former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop told ESPNCricinfo.

“(V.V.S) Laxman and (Rahul) Dravid were still there. They could have continued just working the ball around with 4-5 overs an over and then see how they went for 6-7 overs and if they needed to make a little bit more charge.”

“(For) the best teams in the world across (the) board, it is not just a matter of closing out a job but closing it out with a sense of killer instinct.

Dhoni’s decison was in complete contrast to his bold declaration in the second Test in Barbados.

“I thought there was room to go when I consider that Dhoni declared and set the
West Indies 281 in Barbados in 83 overs. If he gambled then, he probably had the spirit to do here (Roseau),” said Bishop.

“But the other thing is that in Barbados he did not know what to expect while in Dominica he was trying to close out the series. He had to just settle for a draw so maybe that perspective opened up for him.”

“I don’t think the pitch was goving that many problmes,” Bishop added.

Former India player Arun Lal critcised India’s approach right from the start of the chase.

“It’s just the new ball that you had to negotiate and 180 runs in 47 overs is gettable. They had to get 3.8 runs an over to win a series 2-0. It was never before achieved by any Indian team. It was a very achievebale tagrget. They have missed a trick in the book and I am extremely disappointed, in fact disturbed,” Lal was quoted as saying by a television channel.

“India has one of the best batting line ups and you are playing against West Indies on a wicket, although it was a fifth day wicket, it was not as bad as people would have believed.”

Sanjay Manjrekar highlighted the fact that West Indies were an inexperienced side.

“This is a West Indies team with an inexperienced bowling attack led by a very inexperienced captain. This captain would have panicked had India got close. I don’t think India put Darren Sammy under enough pressure,” he told the Indian media.

About coach Duncan Fletcher defending Dhoni, Manjerakar said: “The coach has to defend his team. He hightlighted all the cricketing issues. Fair enough, but those cricketing issues and the conditions that you talked about, it would have convinced me had it been Australia, South Africa or England for that matter.”