Former West Indies pacer Michael Holding has come out in support of MS Dhoni, saying that the wicket-keeper batsman indeed wanted to win the match against England in the 2019 World Cup. India’s performance in the World Cup match against England last year has once again become a matter of debate as all-rounder Ben Stokes in his book titled ”On Fire” questioned the intent of the Indian side.
Stokes also said that Dhoni’s intent was questionable as he did not go for big shots when India still had a chance to win the match.
However, Holding said that nowadays people tend to write anything in their books.
“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,” Holding said on his official YouTube channel.
“But, to be honest, a lot of people watching that game perhaps wouldn’t have arrived to the same conclusion that Ben Stokes arrived at that India were not trying to win,” he added.
Holding did say that it seemed like that India did not have the same intensity as they would have had if the match was a do-or-die match.
“It was not 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 per cent, but I realised it was not the case when the expression on MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I do not think it was a team decision to not try to win,” the former Windies pacer said.
“But I don’t think they went with the same intensity of wanting to win the game, say, if it was a do-or-die situation. If it was, we would have seen a different game,” he added.
On his official YouTube channel, Holding also said that no team goes in with a set pattern in terms of chasing targets.
In the round-robin stage match against England in Birmingham, India failed to chase down the massive target of 338 and fell short by 31 runs.
That was the only game that India lost in the premier tournament last year before the semifinal loss against the Kiwis.
India’s chasing approach, in particular of wicket-keeper batsman Dhoni, was criticised by many, including the fans at home.
As soon as Stokes mentioned Dhoni’s lack of intent in his book ”On Fire”, Pakistan fans started saying that India deliberately lost the match to knock out their neighbours.
However, Stokes clarified that he never said India lost deliberately and some people were twisting his words.
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