Dhoni’s move to send Shivam Dube at No.6 baffled the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan, and Graeme Swann.
Chennai Super Kings at 121 for 3 in the IPL 2023 opener against Gujarat Titans when Ambati Rayudu lost his stumps trying to charge down the track and hit debutant Josh Little out of the park in the 13th over. Ruturaj Gaikwad was still batting like a dream at the other end. Much to the dismay of many, in walked Shivam Dube at No.6 instead of Ravindra Jadeja or MS Dhoni himself. Considering the good start that CSK had got and the long batting line-up – perhaps the longest one in the tournament with all 11 capable of striking it big – they had, sending someone as inexperienced as Dube in that situation was hard to understand, especially when Jadeja and Dhoni were yet to bat.
The move did not turn out to be a successful one. Dube failed to get going and wasted a lot of deliveries, allowing GT to claw their way back into the game. The tall left-hander’s inability to cope with the pace and bounce of Alzarri Joseph mounted pressure on a well-set Gaikwad. CSK scored only 30 runs in the next 4.2 overs. Gaikwad had to do something. He tried to hit another one out of the park but got holed out for 92.
Ravindra Jadeja lasted only two balls and was dismissed in the same over by Joseph in search of quick runs. CSK had lost all momentum. Dube did hit a six in Mohammed Shami’s next over but he got out in the following delivery playing a laborious 19 off 18 balls.
Dhoni hit Little for a six in the last over of their innings to take CSK to 178 for 7. Everyone knew they were short. They were well on course to get close to 200 or even beyond at the halfway mark.
Dhoni’s move to send Dube at No.6 baffled the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan, who were in the commentary box at that point in time.
And after GT chased down CSK’s target with five wickets in hand thanks to a sublime 63 off 36 balls from Shubamn Gill and good supporting acts by Wriddhiman Saha (25 off 16) and Vijay Shankar (27 off 21), former England spinner Graeme Swann too criticised Dhoni’s call. “CSK got their middle-order wrong, it cost them. Dhoni should have come in (in place of Dube),” he said on Jio Cinema.
“We all knew there would be dew. We could have done a bit more with the batsman ship. Ruturaj (Gaikwad) was brilliant, he times the ball well and he’s a pleasure to watch. The way he picks his options, it is pleasing to watch. I think it’s important for youngsters to step in. I think Raj (Hangargekar) has pace and he will get better with time. Think the bowlers will get better, a no-ball is something that’s in your control, so you need to work on that. I felt two left armers would be a better option so I went ahead with them. Shivam was an option, but I felt comfortable with the bowlers overall,” Dhoni said after the match.