MS Dhoni is ageing like wine. He is getting better with every and 2019 has definitely turned out to be a good one so far for him. He started the year with three consecutive fifties in as many ODI innings. In his fourth ODI innings of the year, he cracked an unbeaten 48 to steer India to a match-winning total of 324/4 in the second ODI against New Zealand. But it was not his quick innings of 48* that got the cricket fans to go crazy.
It was Dhoni’s sharp stumping of Ross Taylor that made cricket fans go berserk for their ‘Thala’. It’s not the first time that Dhoni has done such a lightning-quick stumping.
In fact, he has made a career out of brilliant stumpings and kept his place in the team last year due to his keeping skills alone as his batting form eluded him.
Now, with his batting started doing the talking, it spells doom for the opponents. And it’s a great winning combination for MS Dhoni.
So, what makes MS Dhoni unbelievable and lighting quick in effecting those smart stumpings in cricket?
Cricwizz delves deep into Dhoni’s mind to unravel the mystery.
MS Dhoni’s excellent keeping technique
Dhoni would be rarely seen making a keeping error. His keeping against the spinners is above par. His keeping technique makes him an unbelievable gloveman, especially in effecting those sharp catches and stumpings.
His body and hands are in line with the bounce of the ball. It helps him in grabbing the ball quickly and hitting the bails off in a flash. He keeps extremely close to the stumps so that he does not need to reach out to disturb the stumps. In fact, he is so near to the stumps that he can even hear the breath of the on-strike batsman. This closeness to the stumps makes him grab the ball quickly, hit the stumps in less than nanoseconds.
Other keepers use the technique of flashing the stumps sideways. But Dhoni does not do so and saves time in moving his hands sideways. Hence, he is able to hit the stumps extremely quick and lightning fast even before the batsman could realise he is out of the crease or has not grounded his backfoot.
MS Dhoni is a good reader of spin bowling
Dhoni is an excellent reader of spin. He knows which way the ball will turn, which is crucial for a keeper’s success. If the keeper is clueless against spin bowling, he would struggle to keep wickets. It helps that Dhoni bats regularly against champion wrist spinners YS Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the nets and understands their variations and trajectory. That helps him keep and effect those brilliant stumpings like a walk in the park.
Dhoni also guides the young spinners to bowl particular type of deliveries to effect a dismissal and knows what’s coming. Hence, he is one step ahead of the batsmen in effecting those brilliant catches and stumpings.
MS Dhoni can read the opposition’s batsmen
His experience has helped him understand what particular batsman’s weaknesses are. Hence, he is ready to pounce on those mistakes whenever the opportunity arises. He is also able to read the batsman’s mind when he is keeping. He knows whether the batsman is struggling to any kind of spin bowling and suggests the same to the bowler.
He then gets a step ahead of the batsman and is ready to send the opposition player home with his smart keeping. A case in point is the Napier ODI when Dhoni suggested Kuldeep Yadav to bowl the other one to dismiss Trent Boult, who gave an easy catch to slip fielder Rohit Sharma at the very next delivery.
MS Dhoni reads the game well and is well ahead of others
Dhoni anticipates extremely well. He can visualise what can be the possible action next delivery and gets ready for it. For example, the last-ball run out of Mustafizur Rahman in the 2016 World T20 clash against Bangladesh. Dhoni took off the glove of his right hand and instead of throwing the ball to disturb the stumps, he ran full speed to effect the run-out.
With this, he did two things, rule out the possibility of missing the stumps if he throws at it, and second, he trusted his running and sprinting skills to beat the Bangladesh batsman to the stumps. And he was successful as India posted a one-run win.
He too does the same when he is keeping to spinners and affecting those sharp catches and stumpings. In an ODI against New Zealand, Dhoni dismissed Jacob Oram twice – caught out and stumped – to rule the opposition batsman out through all means.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli once told in a post-match press conference that only Dhoni knows what’s going on in his head. Similarly, it’s difficult to tell how fast Dhoni’s mind is working when he is making those lightning-quick and unbelievable stumpings.