Home > Features >

Dhoni Test captaincy faces a defining moment at Nagpur

Dhoni Test captaincy faces a defining moment at Nagpur

This is MS Dhoni’s test not in cricketing terms alone, but also his leadership in a humanistic sense © Getty Images

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy faces its biggest acid test as his side has to defend its honour at home. The eight successive defeats overseas marred his otherwise fantastic record, but a likely home series loss to England could prove to be the coup de grace. The whole lead-up to the crucial Test has been very distracting for the team with reports of disharmony within the team leaking out and an ex-selector on a revelation spree. Never in the past has Dhoni’s captaincy been under such intense scrutiny.

Dhoni has majorly faced questions on the field of play. He has been a gambler of sorts – fearless in chancing his luck which most captains won’t. How many captains would have thrown the ball to a Joginder Sharma for the final over of the ICC World T20 2007 final? Would any captain promote himself up the order in a big run-chase in the World Cup final, ahead of an in-form batsman? Dhoni’s ploys often baffled and surprised people, but invariably produced the right results.

In a sense, India needed that calm and fearless head at the helm to help break the shackles of the past. In the early 2000s, the Indian team had lost a number of tournament finals after breezing through the initial rounds. That it became a psychological block was evident and even some of the stalwarts weren’t able to push down the walls. Thus, someone who could defy history and set his own course is what Indian cricket needed and enter Dhoni.

It is said that fortune favours the brave and Dhoni’s victorious journey has been proof of that. While some might say that he has been lucky or that he has the Midas touch, one cannot ignore the fact that he has the conviction to back his decisions. They worked for quite a while until India hit a trough last year. Automatically, the fingers were pointed at him and that he had lost that element of fortune. Since then there have been occasions when he hasn’t been his usual fearless self and which is why the “luck” may have eluded him.

A very pertinent hurdle in Dhoni’s way since the last year has been his man-management skills. There were reports about his rift with Virender Sehwag as early as 2009, but they weren’t heeded as India were doing well then and were winning consistently. However, these reports butted their ugly heads during the nightmarish overseas run and this time no one was going to ignore them. In defeat, human beings tend to over analyse and in victory they revel to eclipse all the Achilles heels.

The frequency of the reports about certain rifts, disagreements or dissatisfaction have been flying thick and fast for quite some time and some might say that there is no smoke without fire. With the team going through a rough phase, there are bound to be problems and it is nothing but natural. However, it is all about handling such situations and that is where Dhoni would be tested.

This is Dhoni’s test not in cricketing terms alone, but also his leadership in a humanistic sense. He has to shield his men from all the disturbing reports and pump them up for the battle on the field. If there are certain problems within the team or with a particular player, he has to take charge and handle it pragmatically. He should be in a position to tell his men, “Look, what has happened has happened. What we can do now is go out there and give it everything for this game.” The leader – not the cricket captain – has to come alive in Dhoni to steer the Indian ship through this storm.

Nagpur could be the Dhoni’s defining moment which could make or break him as a Test captain. Will he survive the big challenge?

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts


India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala


Pakistan A vs Australia, Day 4: Highlights

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Peter Siddle says putting on weight helped to regain speed

South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014: Visitors eying No.1 spot in ICC ODI rankings

New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui Preview: South Africa aim to improve record at NZ

BCCI Working Committee meets tomorrow to discuss WI pullout

West Indies continue hunt for head coach

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here