FORMER Zimbabwe youth international, Sam Curran, has hailed Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as “genius.”
The England all-rounder justified his surprise promotion in the batting order in their Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket opener against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
After Ravindra Jadeja fell in the 19th over, leaving Chennai needing 29 off 17 deliveries, former India captain Dhoni, or fellow right-hander Kedar Jadhavm was expected to join Faf du Plessis in the middle.
Dhoni sent Curran instead and the 22-year-old clobbered two sixes and a four in his six-ball cameo before Chennai triumphed by five wickets with four balls to spare.
“It was a six or out mentality so that’s how you have got to play this game,” said Curran.
He played for Kings XI Punjab last season and was making his CSK debut against Mumbai.
“To be honest, I was very surprised I went in but he’s a genius and he obviously thought something,” added Curran.
“But a great win in the end and a great start.”
India batsman Ambati Rayudu top scored for Chennai with 71 from 48 balls, while South African Faf du Plessis was unbeaten on 58 from 44 balls.
The tournament is being played in the United Arab Emirates instead of India because of the coronavirus pandemic and taking place six months later than originally planned.
The left-handed batsman reckoned his promotion was partly because Dhoni wanted a left-right combination and said his aggression against left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya was premeditated.
“That was the over we wanted to target — a six or out approach mentality. Take the risk, and if it comes off it comes off, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Dhoni’s penchant for springing tactical surprises was most famously illustrated when he asked all-rounder Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over in the final of the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup which India won.
“At some point, I thought we needed to give Jadeja and someone like Sam to go ahead in the batting order and express themselves,” Dhoni said after Saturday’s win.
“They still had two spinners remaining, and we tried to intimidate the bowler a bit, it was just a psychological aspect. Although Sam was born in Northampton, England, he grew up at the family farm in Rusape and represented the Zimbabwe Under-13s cricket team at the 2011–12 CSA Under-13 Week tournament. He is the son of the late former Zimbabwe all-rounder Kevin and his brother, Tom, also plays for England. Sam went to Springvale House, in Marondera, for his primary education, before moving to the prestigious St George’s College in Harare. — Sports Reporter/AFP/BBC Sport.