India vice-captain Rohit Sharma has defended MS Dhoni after he received criticism from Pakistan fans and a number of cricket legends following the World Cup defeat to England on Sunday.
Dhoni scored 42 off 31 balls in a 31-run defeat at Edgbaston but his fairly subdued innings in India’s chase left many scratching their heads. Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum called India’s finish to the match ‘bizarre’ while former Indian spinner Murali Karthik said Dhoni should at least have ‘gone down fighting’.
A number of Pakistan fans took to social media to criticize Dhoni after a defeat which severely impacts their own hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup. After beating India, England knows that victory over New Zealand on Wednesday will see them through to the knockout stages.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain also questioned Dhoni’s approach, “I am completely baffled. What’s going on! ‘This is not what India needed. They need runs. What are they doing? Some Indian fans are leaving now. Surely they must want to see Dhoni go for his shots, even if he slogs it off in the air,” he said while speaking on Sky Sports.
However, Rohit Sharma, who top-scored for India with 102, has blamed the pitch for Dhoni-Jadhav crawl in the end.
“When Mahi and Kedar were batting, they were trying to hit (boundaries) but were not able to because of the slowness of the pitch,” he said.
“Towards the end, it got pretty slow. We got to give credit to the English team, they used the conditions very well.
“They mixed up their variations quite nicely and kept us guessing all through the game,” Rohit added.