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By Dhananjay Devasper
Overseas tours continue to be India’s biggest headache. Sporadic individual performances aside, it has been a downhill ride for India. Right from the tour of South Africa, India have been roughed up, pushed aside and have allowed teams to come back from the brink of defeat to do what they were once famous for — ‘snatching defeats from the jaws of victory.’
But, all this will hit skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni the hardest. From a captain who led the country to every possible victory in every format of the game, to being at the helm during India’s humiliation overseas, it has to be the toughest time of his nine-year long international career. New Zealand’s brilliant fightback in the second Test underlines the turbulent times that Indian cricket has recently been going through.
When India were whitewashed in England in 2011, the knives were out for Dhoni’s captaincy. Then came the defeat in Australia; Dhoni remained the captain and even salvaged some pride in the one-day arena with the victory in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. And once India began playing at Tests at home and re-asserted their supremacy, the wolves were kept at bay.
One would have still expected India to go down in South Africa, but New Zealand should have been a different cup of tea. The noose is tightening around Dhoni’s leadership. It might just be the opportune time for Dhoni’s detractors to take advantage of the situation and call for his head. Based on current performances, it may be the time to look for another leader in Tests as Dhoni has been uninspiring overseas.
The age old excuse of “all teams perform woefully on overseas tours” isn’t plausible, especially for a side that was the ranked No 1 in Tests at a point in time. Dhoni has been found wanting and has been unable to unleash his ‘magic’ on overseas tours. It’s come to a point where the perception that Dhoni is nothing more than a “lucky captain” seems to fit him perfectly, numbers be damned.
With the end of the New Zealand tour, MS Dhoni could well pay the price for India’s dismal performance. And even Lady Luck that seemed to be his unfailing supporter, even when he made the most bizarre decisions that defied logic, seems to have deserted him now.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)
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