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An open letter to MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni © Getty Images
MS Dhoni gets into a completely different mindset when it comes to Test cricket © Getty Images

Dear Mr. Dhoni,

All we cricket fans, particularly Indian cricket fans, will eagerly look forward to the Old Trafford Test that begins tomorrow.  And look forward with some amount of trepidation as well.

You are indeed someone with the most coolest and calculating brain in the cricketing fraternity today. You do think and act out of the box, and we have seen some fabulous successes in the past. Who can forget your own batting promotion ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the World Cup 2011 with stunning success!

Why then do you get into a completely defensive mindset in Test cricket, Mr. Dhoni? The 2011 Dominica Test against the West Indies when you opted not go after 86 runs in 15 overs with seven wickets in hand still rankles a few of us who want to see India as a dominant champion side.

Much has been said about this series and the three Tests till date; it doesn’t warrant a recall.  But the key question that bothers many of us is: How will Mahendra Singh Dhoni approach the forthcoming Test? Yes, there are injury concerns, but India has a big squad and replacements, if not the ideal in the squad, can be flown in.  And the guys on the bench have earned their place to be there.  The key question: Will you enter the field with a view to win the game? Will the bowlers perform as an ‘attack’, or will it be a ‘squad’ with a defensive mindset right from the word go?

We accept a failure with the bat or ball or even a poor performance in the field. We understand that everyone has talent as well as limitations and it isn’t an Utopian existence for anyone, where everything goes well for us and everyone performs to his ability.  In fact, when in trouble on difficult wickets and you come into bat, we feel as anxious as a crowd outside a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where a butcher has arrived in place of a heart surgeon to perform a life-saving procedure.  Yet, we still hope that you would battle it out. If not the technique, you have the grit and determination — in addition to a smart brain. So, win or loss is not an issue at the end of the day. It is the effort and approach that matters in the first place.  If that is in the right earnest, the changes for success are manifold.

So please, Mr Dhoni, approach this Test the way you approach the shorter version of the games!  If the T20 and One-Day International (ODI) games had an option for a draw, you perhaps would have topped the list of such games as captain with the most number of drawn T20/ODI games!  But you have better mettle and we are hoping to see a Test where we don’t end up feeling ashamed a non-performance as in the last game!

Thank you!

Vincent Sunder

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Vincent Sunder aspired to play Test cricket, but had to struggle to play gully cricket! He managed a league side to title triumph in the KSCA tournaments. He was debarred from umpiring in the gully games after he once appealed vociferously for a caught-behind decision when officiating as an umpire! After two decades in the corporate sector, he became an entrepreneur with the objective of being able to see cricket matches on working days as well. Vincent gets his high from cricket books and cricket videos and discussing cricket)

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