Vaughan hails Dhoni for India's strong shows at last two Cups

Vaughan hails Dhoni for India's strong shows at last two Cups

If Michael Vaughan had his way, he would have installed MS Dhoni as England’s captain because he believes the Indian skipper knows how to win World Cups.

Dhoni has presided over India’s triumphs in World T20 (2007), World Cup (2011) and the Champions Trophy (2013) and has now got the team within two wins away from adding another World Cup to the list. Few would have given India a chance to emerge as one of the serious contenders to win the title before the start of the tournament forget making the semifinals in such emphatic fashion. The seven wins on the trot have convinced Vaughan that it’s mainly because of Dhoni’s charisma and his leadership skills.  

“Australia played India some 10 times and Australia won on every occasion,” Vaughan began in an interaction with the media here on Tuesday, when asked about India’s chances against Australia in Thursday’s semifinal. “… But there is something about Dhoni and World Cups and what he did after the tri-series is remarkable. Change of team and change of mentality. The change in the way they are playing in the World Cup compared to the way they played in the tri-series…

“So I really do think it’s a 50-50 caller. In all semifinals a team that plays well in the first 15 overs of the match, be it with the ball or bat, is the team that gets ahead and wins that game. They have all got power, all got finesse, they have got different kind of angles to create in the field. Dhoni knows how to win World Cups  and that goes quite a long way,” he explained.

Vaughan felt that it didn’t matter whether you bat first or chase a target if you are a good side but hastened to add that SCG was a bat-first wicket. “If you are a good side, you can win irrespective of whether you are batting first or chasing,” he noted. “The last 10 out of 13 games at the SCG have been about the team that’s chasing but I think it’s a bat first wicket. Get runs on the board on one of the best pitches in the world. I say winning the toss gives you a 20 percent sway. Come Thursday, it will be about which of the team plays better.”

Vaughan felt there was nothing to choose between the two teams when it came to batting strength but singled out Ajinkya Rahane for some special praise. “I like both to be honest… Indian team has a wonderful array of batsmen who have been there and done that. They have got a couple of young players like Rahane.

I think he is the best technician among the Indian players. He plays quicks and spin as well as anybody. With MSD, they have a firecracker finisher. For Aussies, (Glenn) Maxwell has had a wonderful tournament – he has the ability to hit the ball 360 degrees from ball one. If Maxwell has his day, India can’t win as he would score 100 in 50 balls.

MS can do the similar but it’s generally down to the foundation. Aussies will come out powerfully with (David) Warner and (Aaron) Finch. There is solid batting in terms of (Michael) Clarke and (Steven) Smith but spin twins R Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja’s combination will be very important. Smith and Clarke will be crucial for Australia as these two are the best players of spin and one of them at least will have to get a decent score,” he analysed.

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