Stumped by Dhoni and his experience

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India’s Champions Trophy victory presents a good opportunity to bring this post about Twenty20 wicketkeeping to prominence once again. In a 20-over match, two of England’s top three were stumped by MS Dhoni and he could conceivably have had a third dismissal of that nature towards the end of the innings.

There were several pivotal events during the match, but you can certainly argue that Dhoni’s performance was match-winning, even though he didn’t score a single run. Set aside the debates about whether certain batsmen should or shouldn’t have been given out. Credit to Dhoni for giving the third umpire those decisions to make in the first place.

In low-scoring matches, the margins are finer. Byes are costly and missed catches are debilitating while a conjured stumping can all but decide a match. A makeshift keeper is something akin to a false economy.

This isn’t meant as an attack on Jos Buttler, by the way. He’s a cracking batsman and we feel he deserves his place in the side. His dismissal was as bad as anyone’s but if you want a reason for it, look to the fact that this was only his 14th one-day international (ODI). In a difficult final, the batsmen who did okay were Virat Kohli (103 ODIs), Ravindra Jadeja (70 ODIs), Eoin Morgan (102 ODIs) and Ravi Bopara (89 ODIs). In fact, Bopara’s confidence during the match is a good example of how a seemingly mentally fragile player can grow more robust with experience. Dhoni has played 224 ODIs, incidentally.

While confidence is hugely beneficial, skill is vital and Buttler’s keeping is not yet anywhere near Dhoni’s. Perhaps we should celebrate the fact that the team with the proper keeper won a global tournament.


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  1. Bad Things

    Given that T20 is officially a different form of cricket from 50-overs, this ODI tournament was effectively decided by a game of darts, when some simple realism about Britain in June could have allowed a proper conclusion.

    When an umpire makes a mistake, it is accepted as part of the game because umpiring is very difficult and umpires are human. When a third umpire makes a mistake, it is hard to think of any valid reason. A decision like that needs to come with an explanation – I gave him out because I think his foot is in the air when the bail is clear of the groove – or something like that. This one smacks of not applying, or maybe not knowing, the laws.

    Good Things

    India won, which is a) the right team to win, and b) allows English fans of my generation to wallow in prolonged misery into the future.

    England’s dream test team still has a place for the pure talent of Bopara and/or Morgan, so I hope their stand in tough conditions gives them and others a nudge in that direction.

    Special mention to Australia for generously making us feel better about English cricket this morning.

  2. Some thoughts.

    Hard to know what to make of the Bell decision. But I feel he would have got out soon anyway. He had started charging down the track to the spinners which never ends well.

    Shame Morgan and Ravi couldn’t see it through. After they both went England never had a prayer.

    Do England see Buttler as their long term ODI keeper? If so he is going to have to improve with the bat. It’s all very well scoring a 17-ball 50 in a meaningless match against NZ, but since then he’s done nothing.

    There’s a lot of rubbish still being spoken about the England team. Jonathan Agnew keeps going on about how they have been “prickly” and defensive all summer and how something is not right. He reckons this result will haunt them for a long time. It won’t. How long did the 2004 CT final haunt them for? This will all be forgotten as soon as the Test series starts.

    Finally, another call for perspective. For Frigg’s sake, look at how far England have come as a one day side. They have a settled team, a strong strategy and came within a whisker of winning a global tournament. Remember the 90s.

    1. “Remember the 90’s” -indeed! These days we are competitive in all formats; it wasn’t always so.

      As everyone has stated already, Australia appear to be concocting their own version of England’s ’90s. Very good.

    2. very good point(s). never mind the 90s, it really isn’t long ago at all that everyone was saying that england had got their act together in tests but couldn’t crack ODIs for toffee. coming within one ball (sort of… tredwell was never gonna hit that for six, was he) of winning the CT is definitely a vast improvement

  3. Yesterday I was of course a little disappointed, yet resigned to England’s defeat. A natural reaction one might say, from a seasoned follower of our great game in our often less than great cricketing nation.

    But after a night of reflection, quiet contemplation and meditation, my attitude has, naturally, changed somewhat.

    Self-immolation is the only way to demonstrate enough utter contempt for England’s miserable capitulation, snatching defeat from the very jaws of victory and depriving true fans of the morale-boosting victory they deserved. Self-immolation along with some suitable effigies (Buttler, Bresnan, Morgan, Bopara, Oxenford…) would be even better. This posting is a call for volunteers – sadly I am otherwise engaged this week.

  4. I’m still too fed up to be reasonable. Balls to India, balls to Dhoni, balls to the fact they deserved to win the tournament, balls to cricket. Why cant England just be good? They have to be good with a caveat that as soon as they look brilliant, they start nausing stuff up. Even Australia being utterly pathetic hasnt cheered me up.

  5. I am happy India won, but I see no reason why they “deserved to win” any more than England did. They both did well to reach the finals and the game was pretty much even. And if the third ump didn’t have a brain freeze, the result could well have been different.

  6. What do we make of Compton being discarded? Harsh I reckon. Thought they would stick with him. Bairstow’s stock seems to have risen (sorry) while he’s been out of the team. Has criticism of slow scoring got to the selectors? Do they feel they can’t have a top three of Compo, Cook, Trott? Surely this wouldn’t be a factor in choosing the Test side. But you never know.

    They’ve obviously seen something in Boyd Rankin. My guess is that they got a list of the top ten tallest bowlers in county cricket and stuck a pin in it. He’s not even Warwickshire’s third best English qualified bowler.

    1. Bairstow is craptastic. Wouldn’t make my squad unless it’s as a ‘keeper.

      Honestly, I’d rather have Bopara or Morgan at #6.

    2. does seem harsh on compton. it really isn’t long ago at all that everyone thought he was a natural test player… then he has a couple of shit matches and suddenly he’s dog food. so he goes back to county cricket, hits a daddy hundred in his next innings, and the selectors aren’t interested. i think you may well be onto something with this “criticism of slow scoring” theory. three grinders at the top of the innings… are they just worried no-one will watch?

    3. (sometimes this happens though, doesn’t it… i remember around ten years ago, bit more perhaps, india were touring england; shiv sunder das was out of favour, got plonked back into the team playing the warmup matches to see if he could push his way back into contention, hit 250 – admittedly against a university side iirc – and still didn’t get picked. sometimes the selectors have just made up their minds… but wouldn’t it be fairer to tell the player, stop him getting his hopes up?)

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