Ranchi : Ahead of the 4th ODI between India and New Zealand at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi, the sight of Indian Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni sweating it out in the nets during the optional practice session sent out a strong signal.
That local boy was not content with a resurgent knock in the third one-dayer alone, and that he has to shine in equal magnitude in the upcoming fixture, if not more brightly. Not just to seal the five-match series for his team, but to enthrall fans in Ranchi with a big score — which he is yet to produce on his home ground.
One cannot help but acknowledge the fact that the limelight will mostly be on India’s limited-overs captain in the forthcoming game. A rare occasion where batting superstar and Test leader Virat Kohli takes the backseat.
From the Indian point of view, Dhoni’s return to his old striking form, in addition to Kohli’s magnificence with the bat which was further embellished with an unbeaten 154 at Mohali, will be a massive boost in their pursuit of taking an unassailable 3-1 series lead in Ranchi.
It was Dhoni’s decision to promote himself in the batting lineup to No 4 that worked wonders for him with a 91-ball 80, and the wicketkeeper-batsman is expected to repeat the move in the penultimate match of the series.
The only concern with this move, however, is the lack of a tried-and-tested finisher in the middle order in his place in the squad, which was retained for the fourth and fifth ODIs with the exception of Suresh Raina, who is yet to recover from a bout of fever that cost him his place in the side.
The biggest worry for the skipper, however, will be the opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who have failed to get India off to good starts in all three ODIs so far.