Hyderabad: West Indies cricket great Michael Holding came in support of Indian team and MS Dhoni against England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ criticism of Kohli-led side that they lacked intent to win the World Cup match against England.
Chasing England’s 337-run target, India managed 306/5 but Stokes raised questions over Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav’s approach to the innings. “Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger,” Stokes wrote in his book On Fire.
“He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won. There was little or no intent from him [Dhoni] or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke,” the Englishman added.
However, Holding didn’t agree with Stokes’s observations. “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. 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 said in an interview on Youtube.
“I watched that game and it appeared to me as if India weren’t putting up their 100%, but I realised it wasn’t the case when the expression on MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I don’t think it was a team decision to not try to win,” Holding added. “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.”