Home > Features >

MS Dhoni may still remain India’s Test captain for want of options

MS Dhoni may still remain India’s Test captain for want of options
In a tenure spanning close to six years, MS Dhoni (left) has won only four Tests outside subcontinent © Getty Images

MS Dhoni’s terrible record as captain outside the sub-continent makes a compelling case against him. However, he may still lead India Down Under later this year during the Test series, for want of options, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

In a tenure spanning close to six years, MS Dhoni has won only four Tests outside the subcontinent. Some may say that Mohammad Azharuddin did not win any during that drought in the 1990s. However, what makes the case against Dhoni compelling is that in the interval, he has lost 13 Tests outside Asia.

Overall, Dhoni is India’s most successful captain with 27 wins in 58 Tests. Bring the limited overs record into perspective, it gets only better with the two World Cups and a Champions Trophy. But, India’s third embarrassing defeat outside the sub-continent under his leadership should only increase the pressure on him.

During the Lord’s Test, Dhoni’s captaincy looked innovative and shrewd. His players had given him the cushion, the confidence to push England. He had the runs on the board and backed his tactics to come good. To ask Ishant Sharma to bounce England out was a masterstroke. There was a touch of audacity, with the short boundaries square of the wicket and a bowler who is not renowned for consistency. At the end of the day, it was Dhoni’s tactic that made the difference and helped India clinch the memorable victory.

But, where did it all go? His slips were dropping easy chances, the batsmen weren’t applying themselves all too well etc. It all went awry from the point where Ravindra Jadeja dropped Alastair Cook on Day One of the third Test at Southampton. As a batsman, Dhoni did much better than his teammates and weathered the storm on more than an occasion. As a captain, he failed to lift his side when their morale was dropping. He failed to inspire them to maintain their dominance after the performance at Lord’s.

As a captain, you are bound to fail at some point in time — it is but natural. What you do after failing is what can define you in any field. Sadly, Dhoni continues to fail as a captain outside the sub-continent. India have been frustrated with each passing series.

Back in 2011 and 2011-12, many felt that the old guard had perhaps overstayed and the mismanagement of injuries is what caused that. But, in 2013-14, India had a young unit, inexperienced. There are reasons why India did not perform well, but they cannot be used as excuses for abject failure.

Take the example of the number of runs India have conceded through third man. In fact, even England did not keep a fielder in that region. But, with a weak slip cordon in place, India’s woes only compounded. The England batsman merely guided it through third-man and milked runs. India could have saved numerous boundaries and plugged that gap. Perhaps England would have only got singles if India had a man in the deep. This is just one example as to how Dhoni had been rigid with a few tactics. Plus, he stuck to the same batting order and didn’t try to perhaps give it a new-look.

Will he hold on to his seat as Test captain?

Dhoni will lead India at the 2015 World Cup and his post for the limited-overs format is safe. No doubts! But, in Test cricket, there may be calls to replace him at the helm. In the past, when Dhoni’s captaincy has come under scrutiny, it was reported that N Srinivasan had played a role in retaining him.

Though Srinivasan isn’t the BCCI president for the time being, he is undoubtedly the most powerful man in world cricket.  Also, Dhoni may still remain as Test captain as Virat Kohli, the next man in line has struggled with the bat. He is also yet to inspire confidence as captain from the limited opportunities he has got in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). And, ultimately, India will face the West Indies at home and Dhoni would be back in his own den, dominating as usual.

Though the arguments against Dhoni are compelling, he nevertheless seems set to remain as Test captain. As of now, there isn’t anyone who can don the role for India. Perhaps it is just a reflection of the phase India are in. Dhoni’s contemporaries such as Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag have fallen by the wayside and the others are simply too young and inexperienced. Thus, Dhoni may still lead India Down Under during the Test series.

Unless, he resigns on his own volition.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s double ton puts Pakistan on top against Australia at stumps on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

WICB officials should visit India to minimize damage: Andy Roberts

Younis Khan: I want to be remembered as team-man

ICC World Cup 2015: New Zealand prime minister urges Indian fans to attend the tournament

Mohammad Yousuf: Muttiah Muralitharan would not have been allowed to bowl under current ICC rules

Mohammad Azharuddin’s son included in UP One-Day squad for Vijay Hazare Trophy

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here