Sachin Tendulkar, in an interview to India Today, post the match against Afghanistan on Saturday, criticised MS Dhoni for his slow strike rate and lack of strike rotation. Tendulkar asked Dhoni to bat with more intent in India's future games. "MS Dhoni is a senior player and should show positive intent. We batted 34 overs of spin bowling and scored only 119 runs. Afghanistan's bowling is good but no side can make do by with such a dismal strike rate."
In India's match against Afghanistan on Saturday, the Afghans managed to reduce India to a measly 224/8 which is India's lowest score in the tournament thus far. For India, Virat Kohli top-scored with 67 off 63 balls. However, barring Kohli, most other batsmen who got starts couldn't convert them into big scores. MS Dhoni scored 28 off 52 balls at a strike rate of just 53.84.
Tendulkar also spoke about how Dhoni's innings left India in a difficult position. "He faced too many dot balls and this hampered a strong finish for India," he added. "I believe MS Dhoni needs to up his ante when it comes to strike-rotation in the following matches," Sachin Tendulkar said.
According to Tendulkar, the partnership of 57 runs for the fifth wicket between MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav was too slow with too many dot balls. "I was also not happy with the partnership between Kedar and Dhoni, it was very slow. This was one area where we didn't look comfortable at all. There was no positive intent," Tendulkar said. "There were more than 2-3 dot balls per over. After Virat got out in the 38th over and till the 45th over we hadn't scored many runs. There haven't been enough outings for the middle order batsmen till now and that put pressure on them. But the intent could have been much better by the middle order batsmen," Tendulkar said.
Kedar Jadhav who scored 52 off 68 balls against Afghanistan was taking the field only for the fourth time in the tournament. However, he had hardly got a chance to bat in the tournament, having faced just eight balls in the match against Pakistan while he did not bat in his two matches before that against South Africa and Australia.
Tendulkar outlined how Dhoni didn't do enough to relieve the pressure off Jadhav. "A senior player Dhoni should have taken charge as Jadhav’s batting had been hardly tested in the tournament. However, that didn't happen and both couldn't do much about the dismal strike rate."
India, who remain unbeaten in the tournament were on the verge of suffering their first defeat as Afghanistan had recovered from their middle overs slump courtesy the former captain Mohammad Nabi scoring a half-century at a brisk pace and taking the game till the last over. However, Jasprit Bumrah's exceptional death bowling skills and Mohammad Shami's final over Hat-trick — only the second by an Indian in a World Cup match — saved the blushes for the two-time world champions, eventually winning the match by 11 runs
Post Tendulkar's comments on Dhoni's batting against Afghanistan, Dhoni loyalists and fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment with Tendulkar's comments. Many also trolled Tendulkar for having been a selfish batsman himself who only cared about personal milestones while Dhoni has always been known for putting his team first.
For me Dhoni>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Sachin
Admit or die
— Twinkling Sania(Miss you Omi)✨✨ (@Twinklingsania) June 24, 2019
Pic 1 : Sachin about missing his 200
Pic 2 : Dhoni about missing his 100
One said disappointed and upset for missing his miletone.
The other said it's doesn't matter for him whether he get 100 or not. pic.twitter.com/79Rnd816g3
— #theCSKguy (@whistIepodu) June 24, 2019
The same man that won you the World Cup which you couldn't win in your whole career with one of the best Indian players around. Sachin acting like he was some big hitter, man used to struggle in his 90s. Someone should pull up his strike rate when he's been in the 90s♂️ #Dhoni pic.twitter.com/hCVQ5aBI9h
— Nim (@Nirmal_A) June 24, 2019
Sachin Runs in 2003 and 2011 Worldcup finals combined : 22 Runs Dhoni's Runs in one Worldcup final:91 Runs — . (@_cleanbowled) June 24, 2019
With all due respect, @sachin_rt Sir, everybody seen that pitch was reacting very slowly and ball was not coming to the bat properly. I am not saying that dhoni played very well but i must say again that nobody can teach what is @msdhoni's job and how to do it. #CWC19 #INDvAFG
— A 2.0 (@AStrangeSoul) June 24, 2019
Mumbaikars have always been anti Dhoni. be it Sachin, gavaskar, manjrekar all of them don't like Dhoni. may be the epicenter of cricket has been shifted from Mumbai to rest of India that hurts these guys. Dhoni is a legend & he will bounce back. — Rajan singh (@Rajansi74877574) June 23, 2019