“Best Finisher”, “Captain Cool”, “Lightening fast hands”. As one sees these phrases, the first person that clicks to the mind is none other than MS Dhoni. MSD has always been given various names like these by his fans.
In this blog, we’ll look at where MSD stands among other players in ODIs in different scenarios. In the first part, we’ll look at his overall batting numbers, and then we will break down the analysis into different parts, such as home and away, batting position, etc.. Then we’ll analyze his performance as a finisher and his match finishing ability, followed by his Wicket Keeping skills and concluding by discussing on his Captaincy numbers.
Below is the table of the top 10 batsmen, who have played at least 100 ODIs, sorted on the basis of batting average.
As observed from the table, MS Dhoni has a batting average of around 50, securing the 5th position in terms of the batting average amongst all the batsmen considered. If we talk in terms of batting average, then Dhoni surely finds himself in the top 5 batsmen of all time indicating at his skills as a batsman.
People usually believe that MSD doesn’t perform up to the mark when it comes to away venues, so now, let’s breakdown our analysis into the home and away matches
As it is seen from the table, MSD has the 10th best batting average at home venues amongst all the players who have played at least 40 ODIs at home. On the other hand, if we look at his away stats, he stands at number 7 in terms of batting average amongst all the considered players, defying the general belief that he isn’t able to score at away venues. This indicates that although Dhoni has been batting at a higher average at home than at away venues, he is performing better at away venues on the relative scale, and managing to be in the top 10 in both the cases. Now let’s look at how Dhoni has performed while batting first and while chasing.
Regardless of the innings of batting, Dhoni finds himself in the top 10 in both the cases in terms of batting average out of all the players who have played more than 40 matches. This indicates that he has been able to perform equally well (relatively also) in both the innings of a match. Also, he has a slightly higher batting average while chasing hinting at his higher number of not outs while chasing (We’ll look at it in a later part).
Moving on now, let’s see where he stands if we filter the data in terms of batting positions. The batting positions were divided into two parts, first from 1 to 4 and the other one from 5 to 11 and then analyzed separately.
When it comes to batting at positions 1–4, MS Dhoni surpasses everyone to top the list by having the highest batting average amongst all who have played at 1–4 for at least 40 matches. This indicates that Dhoni is that type of a batsman who once gets set, goes on scoring big. On a similar basis, for batting positions 5–11, MS Dhoni appears at fourth position scoring at an average of 47.56. This means that even after playing so many matches(301) at these positions, he has managed to keep an average around 50.
This was the discussion on his batting performances, now let’s shift to his finishing capabilities by looking at the number of matches he remained not out and what impact these not out created on the match result.
The following table gives the list of batsmen who have scored at least 3000 runs sorted by the number of times they remained not out.
As we can see from the above table, MSD has remained not out for the most number of times than any other player considered, indicating that Dhoni has always been a follower of taking the game deeper and deeper and remaining on the crease till the last ball.
The above stats contained both the innings in which Dhoni was a part of, batting first side as well as the chasing side. To get an idea of his finishing abiltities while chasing, let’s filter out the data to include only those matches in which Dhoni was part of the fielding first side.
So, similar to Overall Stats, It’s observed that Dhoni remained not out for the most number of times in the chasing matches as well. It can also be observed that the number of innings he played is lowest among all the other top 5 (excluding Arjun Ranatunga). This table indicates that while chasing, MSD tries to remain not out and play till the last ball most of the time. Now let’s look at how many times he was successful in winning the match when he remained not out while chasing. The below table gives the top 5 batsmen on the basis of their batting averages while chasing.
As one can see, MSD has the highest number of not outs and the highest batting average while chasing as he manages to win 47 matches out of the 50 matches in which he remained not out. Also, as a matter of fact, only Dhoni has a batting average greater than 100 amongst all the batsmen who have scored at least 500 runs while chasing.
This analysis indicates that most of the time if MSD remained at the crease till the last ball, he has managed to finish the game in a happy note.
Now, in the next section, we’ll look at MS Dhoni as the wicketkeeper and compare him with the other wicketkeepers.
Let’s start by looking at MSD’s batting performance and where he stands relative to other Wicketkeepers. Let’s look at the total runs scored by the all the players in those matches where they were designated as wicketkeepers. The below table shows us the total matches and total runs scored by any wicket-keeper sorted in the order of most runs scored.
As we can see from the table, MS Dhoni stands second in terms of the total runs scored by any Wicket-keeper in the history of cricket. One could argue that since he has played more number of matches, total runs are bound to be among the highest. To answer this doubt, let’s now look at the wicket-keepers having the best batting average among those who have to keep the wickets for at least 40 matches.
In this list, MS Dhoni stands at number 3 having an average of around 50 even after playing more than 300 matches as a keeper. So, the above two analysis shows that MS Dhoni is not only useful as a keeper, but also as a batsman.
Now, let’s look at some Wicket keeping stats of MS Dhoni and see where they stand overall.
In terms of total dismissals made behind the stumps, MS Dhoni comes after the two legends Gilchrist and Sangakkara having dismissed 444 players behind the stumps. The following two tables show the number of Catches and Stumping, respectively.
As it can be seen that in terms of the number of catches, MSD stands at number 4 amongst all the Wicket Keepers. On the other hand, If we look at the number of stumpings, then MS Dhoni leads the table with a fairly higher margin than the next in the table. He is the only wicketkeeper in the history of the game to execute more than 100 stumpings in ODI Cricket. This analysis clearly confirms his lightening-fast hands behind the stumps. In the last section, we’ll look at the final aspect of Dhoni’s performance, i.e. Captaincy.
In captaincy analysis, we’ll look at how the batsman Dhoni has performed when he was Captain Dhoni and then his numbers as a captain. The below table shows the performance of the top 5 batsmen on the basis of batting average when they have played as the captain of the side.
It can be observed that MSD is the 3rd best batsman in terms of batting average while playing as a captain, clearly indicating his ability to keep Captaincy and Batting separate from each other, one among three who have successfully managed to keep their average above 50 while being the captain of the side.
Now, let’s look at the overall stats of MSD as a captain and his numbers after winning the toss or after losing the toss.
As it can be observed, Dhoni has won the second most number of matches as a captain in the entire history of the game making him one of the best captain the game has ever seen. Also, he comes at the third position in the overall number of matches won after winning the toss and comes at number 2 after losing the toss. Apart from that, who could not mention the two ICC ODI trophies that he won as a captain. The stats also confirm that he is the best captain the game has ever seen, maybe just after Ricky Ponting.
From all of the above analysis, we can conclude that Dhoni has clearly made his impact as a batsman with scoring more than 10,000 runs at an average of more than 50, coming in top 10 for all the filters/divisions that we applied. Dhoni still holds the record for gaining the ICC ranking 1 in the least number of innings. Talking about his finishing ability, it can be concluded that the tag of finisher given to him is not a myth, he has come out not out from the ground the most number of time as compared to any other batsman in the history of the game. Also having an average of greater than 100 while chasing, and winning 94% of the matches in which he remained not out, all concluding that he’s one of the best finishers the game has ever witnessed. Coming to the wicketkeeping numbers, he has developed himself into one of the finest Wicketkeepers of the game with more than 400 dismissals behind the stumps and the only player to do more than 100 stumpings in international cricket. The number of stumpings says all about the lightning-fast speed of his hands. Also, he holds the record for the fastest stumping ever recorded in cricket history. And as a captain, he is one of the most successful captain with winning 110 matches, second-highest for a captain, and leading the team to win both the ICC Trophies of 50 over format. All in all, he is “MSD — The Silent Destructor”.