Former India cricketer VVS Laxman has said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni should step aside from the shortest format of the game and focus on 50-over format. Laxman's comments came after India lost the second T20I against New Zealand on Saturday. Chasing a tall target of 197 runs at Rajkot, India fell short by 40 runs, allowing New Zealand to draw level in the three-match series. Captain Virat Kohli scored his 19th T20 half-century off 32 balls and became the second-highest scorer in T20 cricket behind former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
Kohli added 56 runs for the fifth wicket with Dhoni (49), but the asking rate kept creeping up and even they couldn't pull off a salvage job. India fell to their third-biggest loss by runs in T20s.
Laxman slammed Dhoni for his slow scoring rate and said it was "not good enough".
"In T20s, MS Dhoni's role is at No 4. He requires more time to get his eye in and then do the job. But today [Saturday] was a classical example because when Virat Kohli was batting, Dhoni had to give strike to Kohli. Kohli's strike rate was 160, MS Dhoni's strike rate was 80. That's not good enough when India were chasing a mammoth total," Laxman said in a post-match show.
"I still feel it's time for MS Dhoni to give youngsters a chance in T20 format. It will be an opportunity for a youngster to blossom and get confidence playing international cricket. He is definitely an integral part of ODI cricket," he added.
Meanwhile, former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar felt that India should look for options other than Dhoni in T20Is.
Agarkar said India will not miss Dhoni as a batsman in the T20 format.
"I think India must now look at other options, at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem to be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don't think so. In T20 cricket, it is lot easier to make that transition as there is lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now," Agarkar told ESPNcricinfo.
"You had a chance (in the second T20 against New Zealand) if he (Dhoni) had got going immediately but that has been his problem for a while now. It's not tonight or over the last few games. He takes a little bit of time to settle down and in twenty 20 cricket, there is no time," he said.
"I heard people say that he should bat at different number, but he came into bat in the 10th over in this match. How many times you get to bat 10 overs in T20 cricket and in my opinion, there was enough time," he added.