England all-rounder Ben Stokes recently stirred the social media when the excerpts from his new book ‘On Fire’ got viral on the internet. The Durham player questioned MS Dhoni’s intent during the India versus England game in the 2019 World Cup. Stokes claimed that the former India captain prioritized on taking singles rather than going for boundaries when the ‘Men in Blue’ required 112 runs in 11 overs.
“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. There was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” Stokes wrote in his book.
As expected, Stokes’ comments didn’t go down well with Indian fans as they had slammed him on various social media platforms. Now, West Indies legend Michael Holding has also reacted to Stokes’ analysis.
Holding expressed his anger and said people write anything in books in order to make headlines. He stated that the majority of fans who watched the game wouldn’t have judged the way Stokes did that India were not making efforts to win the contest.
“Well, people will write anything in books these days, because people are a lot more free with their opinions and when they are writing books, they need to be making headlines at times. But, to be honest, a lot of people watching that game perhaps wouldn’t have arrived at the same conclusion that Ben Stokes arrived at that India were not trying to win,” the 66-year-old said on his official YouTube channel.
Holding further said he watched that contest and could see the expression on MS Dhoni’s face, which clearly reveals the story that the latter was desperate for victory.
“It wasn’t the game that India had to win, but I don’t think anyone can say that was a team tactic to lose the game. I watched that game, and it appeared to me as if India weren’t putting up their 100%, but I realized it wasn’t the case when the expression on MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I don’t think it was a team decision not to try to win,” Holding added.
In his book, Stokes also dropped his thoughts on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s partnership, stating that the duo took too much time to build a run-stand and didn’t try to put any pressure on England.
“The way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli played was mystifying. I know that we bowled brilliantly well during this period, but the way they went about their batting just seemed bizarre. They allowed their team to get so far behind the game. They showed no desire to put any pressure back onto our team, content instead to just drift along, a tactic that was clearly playing into our hands,” Stokes had claimed.