Home > Features >

MS Dhoni taking on England in England and BCCI at home!

At odds with the BCCI... MS Dhoni finds himself in an unwanted situation ahead of the ODIs against England © Getty Images
At odds with the BCCI… MS Dhoni finds himself in an unwanted situation ahead of the ODIs against England © Getty Images

MS Dhoni is currently playing two series — on the field against England , and off it against the BCCI officials.  H Natarajan writes about the predicament that Dhoni finds himself in and which is not helping Indian cricket in any way.

At a time when Team India needed all the support from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), it is doing things that is only precipitating the crisis that MS Dhoni finds itself in England.

First, the timing of BCCI to get rid of the team’s bowling and fielding coach midway through the English tour did nothing positive for the team. The decision was mindless and insensitive. It was mindless, because it only served to disrupt a team that is already battling many demons; insensitive, because it showed little care to two men who have been long with the team. If changes were felt necessary, it could have waited till the end of the tour. The decisions did not affect either the players or the coach [Duncan Fletcher], which further underlined the mindlessness.

Even as reports swirled around that Fletcher’s wings have been clipped by the appointment of Ravi Shastri as Director of Cricket, Dhoni told the media before the first One-Day International at Bristol that Fletcher “will lead us into the World Cup.”  He further added, “He [Fletcher] is still the boss. We have Ravi Shastri who will look into everything, but Fletcher is the boss. It’s not as if his powers or his position have been curtailed. I don’t know what you feel from the outside, but operations still remain the same. We have a few other support staff coming into the dressing room, but overall the operation remains the same.”

This was a strong, emphatic and public statement. It was most uncharacteristic of Dhoni, who is known to hold his cards close to his chest. In all likelihood the BCCI decision would have created great uncertainty and unease within the team. So, against his nature, Dhoni would have felt the need to do what was best for the team as a damage control measure by putting Fletcher on a pedestal.

Going by the various statements flying in the air, it seems that Dhoni was not consulted before the decisions were made to sideline the existing coaches and get replacements from India, as also to make Fletcher report to Shastri. As the skipper said: “It’s a bit tough on Trevor [Penney] and Joe [Dawes], especially when fielders drop catches and the fielding coach has to miss the series.” It left nobody in any doubt that the captain has no grievance against the coaches.

When the captain is making such a statement, how confident will the new coaches — Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar — be stepping into the Indian dressing room?

A more potent is: Why did BCCI not consult the captain, as it always does, in such matters?

It’s well possible that BCCI decision would have irked Dhoni — and other team members — and which resulted in Dhoni going public with what he felt. But Dhoni touched a raw nerve on two counts:

1. By saying that Fletcher is the boss, which contradicted Shastri’s earlier statement that all coaches, including, Fletcher will report to him [Shastri].

2. By saying that Fletcher will lead Team India into the World Cup.

Though Fletcher’s tenure as coach extends till the 2015 World Cup, Dhoni seems to have overstepped the mark by making the second point as the BCCI is well within its right to get rid of the coach and find a replacement. In fact, the general feeling among the cricketing fraternity, and the appointment of Shastri was seen as hint for Fletcher to make way gracefully.

But worse was to follow. The Indian Express, published a story quoting an unnamed BCCI official that “Dhoni can’t decide who should be coach. BCCI will decide it. At the same time, we also want to add that it is the selection committee that will decide the coach and captain for the World Cup.”

The situation got messier when Shastri told Times Now that Dhoni is the “only boss” of the team, which was a subtle way to downplay the captain’s statement that Fletcher was the “boss”. In all the cross-firing, Fletcher has remained a mute spectator, which he is anyways at all times — much like Dr Manmohan Singh was when he was India’s Prime Minister.

The future of Fletcher and the other support staff will be taken at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM) before West Indies begins their tour of India on October. But October is still more than a month away. The knee-jerk reaction of BCCI in sidelining the coaches midway through the tour, the contradictory statements made by Dhoni and Shastri, the plight of Fletcher and the immaturity with which BCCI functionaries are making statements against the captain when Team India is still touring are all contributing to push India deeper in the quicksand that it finds itself in. What is needed is a statesman-like approach from all concerned so that the team recovers quickly before it starts the defence of the ICC World Cup. Egos need to take a backseat in the larger interests of Indian cricket.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(H Natarajanformerly All India Deputy Sports Editor of the Indian Express and Senior Editor with Cricinfo/Wisden, is the Executive Editor of CricketCountry.com. A prolific writer, he has written for many of the biggest newspapers, magazines and websites all over the world. A great believer in the power of social media, he can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/H.Natarajan and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/hnatarajan)

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

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 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

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Hosts hope to return to winning ways

Kepler Wessels suprised with Jesse Ryder’s inclusion in New Zealand squad

Younis Khan deserves to be in 2015 World Cup squad, says Zaheer Abbas

Misbah-ul-Haq supports polio drive launched by UNICEF

Pakistan on top against Australia at Lunch on Day 3 despite David Warner century

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

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

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