India has already made it into the semi-finals of World Cup 2019 and have just one match in hand against Sri Lanka to cap off a brilliant run in league stages. From the eight matches so far they lost only one encounter to hosts England. The Indian team had an optional nets session at Headingley under the watchful eyes of Ravi Shastri and one player who spent a lot of time chatting with him was the veteran, MS Dhoni. Dhoni has been under severe pressure for his inability to provide the impetus to the team in the middle overs, especially against spin.
Playing spinners have become Dhoni’s Achilles Heal of late and with time as he has lost his aggressive streak, the problem has grown bigger. Even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar came forward and criticized him for lack of intention towards getting the run rate up in times of need. What many younger fans don’t remember is that apart from being a wonderful commentator and coach, Shastri was a fine all-rounder in his playing days.
With 151 wickets in Test cricket and 129 in ODIs, he is the ideal personality in the team management to help the 37-year-old fine-tune his technique. On Friday, Dhoni spent a long time in the nets and then had a lengthy, intense chat with Shastri.
Dhoni opts to take Ravi Shastri’s advice
The head coach was showing Dhoni how the spinners put revolutions of the ball and was turning wrists to explain how a spinner turns the seam as also gives it a rip which helps in getting them to drift in the air. Dhoni listened intently and the chat lasted for about 20 minutes or so.
Then Shastri walked back into the pavilion while Dhoni moved to have a look at the pitch. Team India will want to win the final match against the Lankans and hope Australia loses to South Africa in the second match of the day. In that case, India will face New Zealand in Manchester, where the Men in Blue have a very good record. If not, they will be up against England in Birmingham, where they lost to the hosts in league stages.