MS Dhoni is our batting template for death bowling: Eric Simmons


PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 11:04 AM IST

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the ”batting template” for Chennai Super Kings’ death bowling, their bowling consultant Eric Simmons has revealed, saying that strategies that succeed against him in training sessions tend to work out fine in match situations as well.

Dhoni came out for the final four balls of CSK’s innings and smacked the first three for sixes to help the team collect 26 runs off the last over from Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya on Sunday night.

His late blitz proved to be the difference as CSK pipped MI by 20 runs to take the third position in the IPL points table.

”They’re looking at restricting us to under 200 and then they’re suddenly facing 206 with an over like that. Every time — we live close to him — he continues to amaze us. To go out there and hit the first ball like that for six and then continue the way he does.

”But he has been batting exceptionally well in the nets…just another unbelievable MS Dhoni moment,” added the South African.

Simmons, the former India bowling coach, said Dhoni as a batter has been the template for CSK to test their bowling skills at the death overs.

”His calmness at the wicket… we use him as a batting template when we’re bowling at the death, the pre-season because he’s so good at it. If we can test out our theories against him, then we know we’re going to do well,” he said.

Simmons admitted Dhoni has been struggling with his knee injury but he has battled it bravely while not showing any pain.

”Everyone else is more interested in his injuries than he is. He’s one of the hardest men I’ve ever come across. I don’t even think we know to what extent he may or may not be in pain. He just carries on and does his thing,” he said.

”I’m sure there’s some niggles. He just has that ability to ignore what it is and do what needs to be done. We’re more concerned about his injuries. When I say we, I mean the public (which) is more concerned about his injuries than he is,” Simmons added.

Simmons said while Matheesha Pathirana (4/28) deserved the accolades for CSK’s win, Tushar Deshpande and Shardul Thakur were the ”unsung heroes”.

”Shardul bowled one of the best overs I’ve ever seen. We talk about execution, you go and look at his impact points in that over that he went for two runs. It was outstanding,” he said.

”Matheesha will get a lot of the accolades and he deserves it because of the way he bowled and the breakthroughs he did. But those two gentlemen did exceptionally well for us through that middle phase to push the rate out of the reach of the Mumbai Indians,” Simmons said.

Simmons, however, appealed for the wide rule to be defined further as he claimed that the current laws are not specific enough.

”If they give us the wide rules, proper understanding, we can then tactically structure overs. It’s not a criticism of the umpires, but because it’s an interpretation, it makes it difficult. If we knew black and white what it was and how it worked, we can then use the wide rules cleverly,” he said.

”Like for example, if a batsman is staying out of the leg stump, it doesn’t matter where he goes, if we’ve got a heel to target and he wants to move into the stump, that’s his problem. He’s moved the wide line. We can use the wide rule very cleverly and make it a little more even contest,” he added.

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