In what may put a smile across the faces of many, MS Dhoni has been handed captaincy duties for India's Super Four match against Afghanistan today. The talismanic wicket-keeper batsman temporarily takes over the reigns after a brief gap of 696 days.
In what will be the Captain Cool's 200th ODI game in charge of the Men in Blue, sees the Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan been rested in order to remain fresh for the summit clash of the 2018 Asia Cup which will be played on Friday, September 28.
Incidentally, adding another feather to his cap, he becomes the first Indian to have captained the side to most games, wihile Mohammad Azharuddin sits on the second spot having led the team on 174 occasions. He also becomes the third cricketer behind Ricky Ponting and Stephen Fleming to have been named skipper 200 times.
Mahi had last skippered the Men in Blue way back in October 29, 2016, when India defeated New Zealand by 190 runs in Visakhapatnam. Hence this would be the perfect occasions to add to his tally 110 wins, 74 losses, 4 ties and 11 no result matches.
However, in his 200th appearance as Indian captain, Dhoni lost the toss and Afghanistan opted to bat first. India made 5 changes to their squad with Deepak Chahar set to make his ODI debut.
Speaking about the change in team composition and the prospect of leading his side for the 200th time, Dhoni said," Both our openers are missing. Bhuvi, Bumrah and Chahal are missing too. The bench strength is important and when it comes to their talent, they’re up there. Captaining my 200th game is just destiny.”
India has been invincible in the six-nation tournament and will look to continue their dominance against under-dogs Afghanistan, who have proved that they can be no pushovers after narrowly losing out to Pakistan and Bangladesh.
With that being said, Afghanistan has already crashed out of the contention for the final and thus the concluding Super Four fixture between Bangladesh and Pakistan becomes a virtual semi-final.
However, the Men in Blue cannot afford to be complacent as the match serves as great preparation ahead of the final. With all-rounder Rashid Khan at the helm, it won't be easy as it seems for India.