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)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Live Cricket Score: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Live Scorecard: Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Practice Match at Adelaide

Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood named in Australia’s squad for 1st Test against India

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

Mithali Raj: India women confident ahead of ODI series against South Africa

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina in interesting tussle ahead of India’s Test series against Australia

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here