June 6, 2023

Sachin Tendulkar has become the recent victim of online trolling, with fans leading a vitriolic campaign against him for his statements on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s limpid performance during India’s jolting World Cup clash against Afghanistan in Southampton.

Expressing disappointment at the team’s slow batting display, Tendulkar said the middle-order batsmen, including Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, lacked positive intent. After all, this was the first time India’s top-order failed in the tournament although skipper Virat Kohli scored 67 as the Gulbadin Naib-led side restricted the two-time champions to a below-par 224 for eight.

“I felt slightly disappointed, it could have been much better. I was also not happy with the partnership between Kedar and Dhoni, it was very slow. We batted 34 overs of spin bowling and scored 119 runs. This was one area where we didn’t look comfortable at all. There was no positive intent,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by India Today.

When Dhoni had walked in during the 27th over, his jaunty gait was met with rapturous cheers that turned into boos in a matter of 75 minutes. In a painstakingly slow innings of 28 runs in 52 balls, Dhoni’s formula had clearly flopped. At one point the tension was threatening to boil over and when Rashid stumped him, his departures was actually met with relief and joy. People wanted to watch Hardik Pandya play instead.

It now seemed that Afghanistan had managed to beautifully exploit India’s only weakness. If it wasn’t for Mohammad Shami, whose last over hat-trick flipped the script, coupled with legendary death over bowling by Jasprit Bumrah, who knows, history would’ve been scripted that night.

In Tendulkar’s words, “A senior player Dhoni should have taken charge as Jadhav’s batting was hardly tested in the tournament.” The Maharashtra batsman had faced just eight balls (against Pakistan) in the only tournament before the encounter against Afghanistan.

“Kedar Jadhav was under pressure, he had not had an outing up until now. He needed someone to take charge of the situation early on but that did not happen.Both Kedar and Dhoni were not able to play at the required strike rate that they would have wanted,” he had said.

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