Former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath says the time has come to remove Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy as his “defensive approach” has resulted in the country’s prolonged failure on foreign soil.
“Dhoni is a defensive captain who allows opposition to make a comeback in the game. His record is good at home pitches only like any other Indian captain. There is nothing special about it. We need aggressive captains like Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi to win matches abroad,” said Amarnath.
India had lost successive overseas Test rubbers in England (0-4) in 2011 and Australia (0-4) in 2011-12 and more recently in South Africa (0-1) and New Zealand (0-1).
India’s last overseas Test win came against the West Indies at Kingston in June 2011. Dhoni’s dismal away record stands at five wins out of 23 Tests, while losing 11 games.
“A captain has to lead from the front. Not a single Test captain in the world bats at number seven. What kind of example you are going to set. I sincerely feel that this is high time to relieve him from Test captaincy and although he is a match winner in ODIs, they should look at an option in shorter format as well,” said the hero of India’s 1983 World Cup triumph.
Asked about his choice for future captain, he said Virat Kohli looked good to shoulder the responsibility.
“Gautam (Gambhir) was an option who had the experience but since he is out of contention now, Virat is an obvious choice. He has shown leadership qualities at various levels. I think there should be different captains for different formats,” the 63-year-old said.
Amarnath also lashed out at India coach Duncan Fletcher whose appointment, he thinks, hasn’t yielded desired results.
“I don’t understand what is the use of having him (Fletcher) if he is not delivering. Everyone is talking about the players, captain but nobody is raising questions on coach and support staff. I think Indian team needs an Indian coach.
“A coach’s job is to help players to play to their potential and in the past we have achieved laurels with our own coaches,” the former selector said.
Amarnath blamed the poor technique of batsmen and lack of practice matches for the flop show in South Africa and New Zealand.
“Our batsmen found it difficult to adjust outside the subcontinent and their poor technique is responsible for this. They carry on playing the same shots which they play in the subcontinent. Barring Virat, no one was impressive but they will learn from experience. Virat’s footwork and technique is superb,” he explained.
“I also feel that it is must to have some practice matches on every tour so that the players could adapt.”
With the World Cup less than a year away, Amarnath feels the team should be picked according to playing conditions for the quadrennial event.
“Selectors should choose those players who can make runs or take wickets in those conditions. It is not necessary that those who are performing well in India will do the same there. Apart from fitness, form and experience, they should also keep the playing condition in mind while selecting the team,” he insisted.