Over the years, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has added value to the Indian cricket team in multiple roles. His wide array of stroke-making has aided Team India in crunch situations. Then, his leadership skills allowed the Indian team to scale new heights in international cricket. And, when it comes to his wicket-keeping skills, not many can match Dhoni's brilliance from behind the stumps.
Such has been his know-how of the game that despite renouncing his captaincy, Dhoni is still seen setting up the field and guiding bowlers as to where to bowl. Dhoni's advice has, for long, been hailed by the Indian bowlers who've often credited the former Indian captain for their wickets.
Following an impressive outing Down Under, the Jharkhand cricketer continued to make his presence felt during the 1st ODI between India and New Zealand at McLean Park in Napier. Mohammed Shami's effective first spell had already pushed the Kiwis on the backfoot when the spin-bowling duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal came together to bamboozle the opposition batsmen.
In the 38th over, the hosts were nearing their end with just 157 runs on board at the loss of nine wickets. With Kuldeep bowling his final over in the match, the likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult were looking to get as many runs as possible to give their side a chance of defending the total. And, those intentions bore fruit as Southee clubbed the Indian chinaman for a six over the square boundary.
A single on the second-last delivery of the over brought out-of-sorts Boult on the strike. Fancying the opportunity to claim the last wicket, Dhoni was heard instructing Kuldeep before his final delivery of the game. "Ye aankh band karke rokega. Andar nahi aana chahiye. Idhar se daal. Isko doosra wala dal sakta hai," Dhoni quipped from behind the stumps in his usual baritone.
"Yeh aank band karke rokega. Dusra waala daal sakta hai isko." MS Dhoni from behind the stumps reads Boult, suggests Kuldeep to bowl a googly. Kuldeep obliges and Rohit takes a simple catch at first slip.
NZ have been bowled out for 157. #CricketMeriJaan #NZvIND
Soon after, Kuldeep followed suit, bowling the googly - advised by Dhoni - from around the wicket. The trick worked like magic as a clueless Boult tried his best to defend before edging the ball straight into the hands of Rohit Sharma at the first slip. Following Boult's departure, Kuldeep, who finished off with impressive figures 4-39, beamed with joy and disbelief as to how exactly Dhoni managed to predict the nature of the dismissal.
How wonderfully @msdhoni set up the last wicket for Kuldeep if you heard his instructions to the bowler! Terrific performance by India, terribly disappointing by New Zealand: dented by Shami, demolished by the spinners. Should be an easy chase— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 23, 2019
It was, once again, one of those priceless moments where Dhoni, on the back of his vast experience, helped a bowler in effecting a dismissal. The 37-year-old might not be able to do a lot of things he once used to pull off with relative ease, but Dhoni, in all the ways possible, continues to prove how important he is for Team India.