Mahender Singh Dhoni and the great Indian downfall




4-0 at England, 4-0 at Australia and now a 2-1 drubbing against England at home! The Midas curse one may call it, for everything that Dhoni touched seemed to be turning to gold a few years ago. Bowling an inexperienced Joginder Sharma in the finals of the T20 World Cup was called a masterstroke and promoting himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh to play the innings of his life in the World Cup final. Mahender Singh Dhoni could do no wrong!

Mahender Singh Dhoni and the great Indian downfall

Mahender Singh Dhoni and the great Indian downfall

The external pressures, the media always breathing down your neck and an expectation to do well, no matter what the circumstances, make captaining the Indian Cricket team the toughest job in the world. Dhoni was remarkable in many ways. His ability to maintain his composure, not only while chasing huge totals but also while responding to the media, his ability to isolate himself and protect his team from the cacophony that surrounds Indian cricket was admirable.

But somewhere deep down, Dhoni got lost in his own glory! A loss is not blamed on the team anymore: but on the curators, the pitches, the weather conditions and the format of tournaments. He was deemed as an instinctive player, a gambler who always seemed to come up with the right cards. Where was this gambler’s instinct as Cook and Bell in England, Clarke and Ponting in Australia and Cook and Pietersen at home were churning away tons after tons?

True, India’s bowling attack is to take a part of the blame. Ashwin and Ojha haven’t threatened to run through oppositions with the exception of West Indies and New Zealand.  A couple of years earlier, Dhoni would have pulled a rabbit out of his hat; he might have turned to Sehwag, Kohli or even Sachin to do the trick for him. But rotating his prime bowlers for hours and hours when there was a need for wickets on a dry, flat batting paradise didn’t do him any favors. His field placements lacked imagination and why the tailenders blocked out an entire session on the fourth morning in Nagpur will always remain a mystery.

After 10 defeats in 12 tests to Australia and England, Indian cricket has plunged to a new low. But where do they go from here? A string of ODIs lined up may bring us some temporary respite but with Australia touring in a couple of months, a few big questions will have to be raised. Is Dhoni the right man to take India forward? If not, who else? How long are we going to persist with Gambhir with atleast half a dozen young men waiting on the sidelines? Has Sachin’s career come to an end? From where are India going to unearth a fit, young quick bowler who can actually bowl quick? Are Ashwin and Ojha going to be our frontline spinners for years to come?

In my opinion, an assessment of Dhoni’s reign should be made at the end of the Australia series and see who can take India forward from there – Sehwag and Kohli being the prime contenders. Sehwag can be a brilliant captain as he has showcased in the few times he has donned the skipper’s hat. The only case against him is his fitness levels and you can’t have a skipper missing a few tournaments in between. Kohli has prior experience of leading the country to a junior World Cup victory but does he have the temperament to make the transition to leading the senior side? If batting was the same as captaining the country, then the answer would be YES in bold letters.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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