While the 4th ODI between India and Sri Lanka on Thursday will have no impact on the outcome of the series, but it is bound to be a special occasion for former India captain MS Dhoni. The wicketkeeper-batsman will be playing in his 300th ODI match when Virat Kohli’s men turn up at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium. In 299 ODIs so far, Dhoni has accumulated 9608 runs with 65 fifties and 10 hundreds. The right-hander has not just led India to a World Cup win in 2011, but also set several records during his ODI career. On Thursday, Mahi could set two new records – one with the bat and the other with his gloves.
Ahead of the second ODI against Sri Lanka, Dhoni had 98 stumping to his name, one behind Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara. He equaled the Sri Lankan at 99 when he claimed the scalp of Danushka Gunathilaka off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. With two ODIs remaining, Dhoni needs just one stumping to become the first wicketkeeper in ODI history to reach the three-figure mark. Dhoni has now 72 not outs on his ODI resume, on level with Shaun Pollock and Chaminda Vaas for the most ODI not outs. Another unbeaten innings will help Dhoni achieve the maximum not outs in ODI cricket.
Dhoni has played two crucial knocks in the series already. He and Bhuvneshwar Kumar anchored India’s chase in the 2nd ODI after a stunning batting collapse as the visitors edged past Sri Lanka by three wickets. Dhoni, who scored 45, then put on an unbeaten 100-run stand with Kumar, who made 53, to steer the team home in 44.2 overs and take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The ice-cool Dhoni kept the chase on track with the gutsy Kumar. While Dhoni kept picking the singles and twos, Kumar was happy playing second fiddle before unleashing his power and register his maiden ODI fifty.
The former India captain followed this up with another sterling knock in the 3rd ODI. The visitors rode on an unbeaten 157-run fifth-wicket stand between Rohit Sharma and Dhoni, who made 67, to clinch the series.
Apart from delivering with the bat when it mattered, Dhoni has been consistent with his glovework behind the stumps.
The jury may still be out on whether Dhoni should be a part of 2019 ICC cricket World Cup squad but former India cricketer Virender Sehwag strongly feels that the Indian team is “yet to find suitable replacement” for the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman. “I don’t think anyone can replace Dhoni at this point of time. Rishabh Pant is good but he would also need time to replace him. But that can only happen after 2019. Its then when we should think about Dhoni’s replacement. Till then let Pant gain experience,” Sehwag told PTI. He added that the experience Dhoni brings to the table is invaluable.
“We should not worry about whether Dhoni is scoring runs or not. We should only pray that MS Dhoni is fit till 2019 World Cup. The experience that he has in the middle and the lower middle order, no one has that,” he said.