Home > Features >

India tour of New Zealand 2014: MS Dhoni should be relieved from Test captaincy

MS Dhoni © Getty Images
MS Dhoni should be worried about his poor record overseas © Getty Images

By Manish Madhusoodan

 

Preamble

Back in 2008 after the infamous Monkeygate scandal during the tour of Australia, it was logical to hand the captaincy over to the man who had done well in the limited overs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He had proven track record of winning the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 2007 and the future of Indian cricket seemed to in safe hands. It has been 53 Tests, six years since that moment elapsed, India has gone on to the top, slipped down the ridges, stooped to the lowest possible point, dug deeper holes, shot more bullets into the foot and still finds a new Nadir each time.

Philosophy

Imagine a sailor with the best possible equipment, state of the art design and the best men in the business, takes his mighty vessels with loads of expectation on his shoulder every single time, to each country he takes his ship — to the West Indies, England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. He returns empty handed, and each time with new excuses. Wonder if the sailor would have held his job? Talking in context of Dhoni, it is true that the first part of the trip he had a old and out of form  players, but in the latter half of the stint he had what he wanted, young, agile charismatic men. If these losses are unacceptable in any walk of life and why should it be allowed in the game of cricket? If we praised and lauded the captain for the success, we need to do the exact opposite when the results don’t come by. Giving positive points for the captain for the success and the not giving negative points when he fails is unfair on the captain too!

Numbers

Five countries, four continents 12 winless Tests abroad is a lot of baggage any captain carry and yet remain the head of the ship. Dhoni’s Test record of 26 victories, 14 defeats and 13 draws in 53 games stands 10th in the all time list of captains, and the best for an Indian captain. Eleven of those 14 losses have come away and 10 in the last leg; thereby making him the Indian captain with worst away Test loss record.

If I were Dhoni, then I would be worried about the negative record more, even though my positive record is one to be proud of. Incidentally Dhoni is also the captain with best and worst win and loss record among all the Indian captains. If we still think Dhoni should remain the captain then there is either something fundamentally wrong.

The last time India won a Test abroad was in June 2011 in the West Indies. It was just before Google bought Motorola Mobility; since then Moto has replaced its CEO and when nothing turned into profit it finally sold the company to Lenovo. Though captaining a team isn’t akin running a business, but one can draw parallels from it.

In the last couple of months we have seen India hand over the platter to the opposition, first in Johannesburg, and now in Wellington. It’s not just about the results; it’s also about the misplaced field positions and bizarre team selection which needs to be questioned. When New Zealand were 200 odd behind, Ravindra Jadeja was bowling over the wicket to Brendon McCullum. Even though he was an attacking batsman, by bowling a negative line you are not giving your bowler an opportunity to pick a wicket. The onus was on India to pick wickets, New Zealand just had to bat time and runs would come and they came.

Dhoni is famous for his ‘leather-chasing’ field placement, as one could advise his bowler to bowl tighter line and length. There wasn’t any deep square leg and yet the bowler would bowl a short ball into the body that would easily get dispatched to boundary, and the captain would go through the motions. Dhoni certainly didn’t look the captain was in charge of the situation.

When India were batting in the seconded innings, we saw two mid-wickets and short extra-cover being place to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, thereby setting up a trap for the flick that goes in the air.

 

Being a good ODI captain need not necessarily translate into a good Test captain

It’s not a new for teams to have different captains for different formats. The game’s formats are as different as calk and cheese. You need different approaches, different skills and it won’t be wrong if you choose different men to lead them. India wouldn’t be the first country doing so.

Dhoni is a good limited-overs captain, but his captaincy doesn’t impress much in Test cricket, especially while playing abroad.  He doesn’t bring that same enthusiasm in Tests; either he is too defensive at times or just goes through the motions. The latter is a sign of a fatigued captain. It’s the right time to hand over the captaincy to Kohli, who has shown some maturity at least in his batting and the way he responsibly construct his innings. If not anything better, we can see some fresh ideas, and hopefully some interesting changes.

Also India have less than year before they begin their quest to retain the all important World Cup in 2015, and hence relieving Dhoni’s captaincy from Tests, might help India’s cause. Dhoni is 32-years-old, though he is fit as a fiddle he might be tired mentally. He is valuable to the India team, as a wicketkeeper and One-Day International (ODI) batsman and captain, he need to be preserved and taken care of. Who knows the Test captaincy sacking could be blessing in disguise, that one day Mahendra Singh Dhoni would realise.

(Manish Madhusoodan is a US-based software engineer who is a devotee of Test cricket. He blogs at desigiri.net)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

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

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

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

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Openers extend lead on fourth morning

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Haroon Lorgat expects WICB to sort out issue before South Africa tour

Yasir Shah delighted by Shane Warne’s tweet

Zimbabwe reach 77/2 at lunch against Bangladesh on Day 1 of 1st Test

VVS Laxman: Would love to watch ISL match during my stay in Kolkata

Wasim Bari likely candidate for Pakistan chief selector, team manager

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

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