Indore, Oct 13: Facing the toughest phase of his cricketing life, an under-fire MS Dhoni will seek to revive his career and change the fortunes of a dispirited Indian team when the hosts take on an unbeaten South Africa in the 2nd ODI here tomorrow. (5 strategies for Dhoni)
India are yet to taste victory since South Africa's arrival in the country, having lost two Twenty20 Internationals (the third one was abandoned) before suffering a close 5-run defeat in the first ODI.
With critics gunning for his head, Dhoni, in particular, finds himself in very challenging situation. The year 2015 has not been a particularly happy one for Dhoni after the semi-final loss in the World Cup.
The loss in the IPL final was followed by the humiliation in Bangladesh in the ODI series and the T20Is against Proteas proved to be yet another no-contest. (Dhoni takes blame for loss)
His own form has been patchy and 'Dhoni the batsman' evidently does not strike fear in the hearts of bowlers anymore. (Team India unbeaten in Indore)
It seems Dhoni, the ultimate finisher, has lost somewhere. In the first ODI in Kanpur, it was an ideal platform for the Indian skipper to get back to his critics but he faltered in the botched chase.
With India needing 11 runs off the last over, the stage was set for Dhoni to finish off, as he has done many a times in the past, but the Captain Cool seemed to have lost his big-hitting skills and turned more into an accumulator. (Dhoni, Kohli to stay in 'Rahul Dravid Dressing Room')
During his 30-ball 31, he struck just one boundary. With the World T20 not too far away, time seems to be running out for Dhoni, the man once considered indispensable in limited overs formats.
Come tomorrow, the spotlight solely would be on Dhoni and his leadership skills and the remaining four matches of the ODI series will definitely be a test of character for the Indian captain.
As usual, Indian batting line-up is a formidable one with opener Rohit Sharma in rollicking form. After the sublime ton in the first T20I in Dharamsala, the Mumbai batsman struck a delightful 150 in the lost cause in Kanpur.
But Rohit's opening partner Shikhar Dhawan's form is a cause of concern. He would be looking for a bagful of runs after failing in the T20s and then the first ODI.
India: MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh.
South Africa: AB De Villiers (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Chris Morris, Khaya Zondo, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada.
Match starts 1.30 PM IST
3rd ODI on Sunday (October 18) in Rajkot