Is MS Dhoni your captain for World T20?

India, under MS Dhoni, have now lost four limited overs series/tournaments on the trot. Is he the right man to lead the Men in Blue at World T20?

Kolkata | Updated: October 9, 2015 5:50 pm
MS Dhoni, MS Dhoni India, India MS Dhoni, Dhoni India, Dhoni India South Africa, Ind vs SA, SA vs Ind, MS Dhoni Cricket, Dhoni Cricket news, cricket MS Dhoni’s captaincy has come under scanner after India’s fourth consecutive series/tournament loss. (Source: PTI)

It started with the tri-series defeat in Australia earlier this year where India couldn’t even reach the final. They came back well to win eight matches on the bounce in the World Cup but the end result was a failure; bowing out in the semi-final. The ODI series loss against minnows Bangladesh was the most humiliating of them all. And they went down to South Africa in the three-match T20 international series on home ground with one game to spare.

Does the losing sequence put a question mark over Dhoni’s future as the limited-overs captain? Of course, for India can’t afford to go into the World T20 that they would be hosting early next year, with someone at the helm who has lost his winning mojo. The ODI series against the Proteas is going to be a big test for India’s most successful skipper.

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A look back at the couple of T20 internationals that the two sides played and India have problems top-down. The team is no longer revelling in Dhoni’s defensive style of leadership, it’s still unsure about the batting order – who will bat at No. 6, the pace bowling combination is not settled yet and India don’t have a second spinner after Ravi Ashwin.

India’s spectacular Test series win in Sri Lanka was down to Virat Kohli’s aggressive captaincy. He didn’t beat a retreat after losing the first Test. Kohli, in fact, increased the level of aggression.

It was heartening to see the Test captain backing his fast bowlers and giving confidence to his spinners. He didn’t mind conceding a few boundaries as long as his quicks – Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav – were imposing themselves. Kohli also had a big role to play in leg-spinner Amit Mishra’s revival.

As Dhoni returned to take charge for the T20s against South Africa, we saw India embrace a regressive attitude again under the pretext of playing according to the conditions. Dibbly-dobbly medium pace replaced 90 mph bowlers, Ajinkya Rahane’s quality once again had been sacrificed to accommodate Ambati Rayudu’s bits and pieces utility and left-arm Axar Patel was brought in at the expense of in-form Mishra.

Why Patel? Dhoni wanted his “second spinner” to be a capable hitter at the backend of the innings. It begs the question: why did he want an extra batting option at No. 7 or 8 in a 20-overs contest? Was he unsure of his own form?

Recent figures will attest to Dhoni’s slide as a game-changer at the death. Maybe it is a reason why he dropped Rahane and moved himself up to No. 4 in the ODIs in Bangladesh. In the first T20 at Dharamsala, he came in at No. 5 but went a place down the order in the second match at Cuttack.

“One of the reasons why I want to bat up the order is that somebody else takes the responsibility of batting lower down the order, say No 6. No 6 is a very crucial position. Unless they’re exposed, you cannot tell who is good at it. We’ve played a lot of cricket and (a) lot of guys haven’t been successful at No 6. We’ve seen them perform well at the top of the order but have struggled lower down. Someone has to take the responsibility of batting down. If I start batting at No 5, at least someone else will take up that responsibility. You need to have it in your back-up plan,” the captain reasoned.

Dhoni is still not sure about the right combination, six months before the World T20. Maybe it would help if he takes a cue from South Africa’s approach who stuck to their strength – fast bowling – despite not having Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel for the T20 leg of the series. The backup line, led by the excellent Kagiso Rabada, managed to get under the skin of the Indian batters in Cuttack.

There’s still no replacement for Dhoni in this limited-overs Indian team as far as his batting is concerned. As for captaincy, his replacement is ready. And Kohli has a very clear idea about what he wants. There would be a clamour to give him the job across formats if India lose the ODI series. The selectors would be under pressure. At the end of the day, the buck stops there.

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  1. D
    Deepak
    Oct 9, 2015 at 9:18 pm
    Absolutely horrible the way media plays the blame game if India loses then it's dhoni's fault! Ridiculous. Please do not forget that this is the man under whom India reached the semi finals of the world cup this year and final of the t20 world cup last year. It's not his fault if the entire team under performs. Lay of him a bit
    Reply
    1. V
      vikas
      Oct 9, 2015 at 11:03 pm
      Win or loss .....part of our life..I think ppl of India support dhoni
      Reply
      1. A
        ams
        Oct 10, 2015 at 3:06 am
        Fools like you make these cricketers larger than life figures without asking for any accountability.. Make them superheroes, god and what not build a frikking temple. Dhoni should have been fired after consecutive series whitewashes against Aus and Eng after 2011 World Cup. No other major cricketing nation will tolerate such humiliation. Unfortunately, for us Indians, sab chalta hain..
        Reply
        1. A
          ams
          Oct 10, 2015 at 3:07 am
          He is not going anywhere any soon. lot of sponsor money is running on him.. fact of Indian cricket
          Reply
          1. A
            Alok
            Oct 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm
            Poorly written article. Writer has no knowledge of sports.
            Reply
          2. C
            Chirag Soin
            Oct 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm
            MS DHONI is the TEAM otherwise no INDIAN CRICKET TEAM. Media is the only reason for making kohli captain but first ask him the meaning of captain. There will be another Sachin Tendulkar in future but There will never be another MSD7. If the World is also against Mahi then I am against the World. So MS DHONI will remain Captain till 2019 World Cup. We dont want World Cups but we only want to see MSD
            Reply
            1. S
              Shubham Agarwal
              Oct 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm
              Such a One sided Tone of this article is, against Sir Dhoni. Yes, i am his Fan but this comment is not affected by it. What is the Guarantee, Kohli would win series?? What can he do, when the line up is not being perfect? Is that a Single person decision? To decide which XI would play?It was a Joint decision which should had included Ravi Shastri. Sir Dhoni has given so much to Indian Cricket winning back ti back series! He brought pride to Indian Cricket with such heights. Aand we all should be behind Him , supporting him when he is not in form. He build this team.
              Reply
            2. K
              Karthik
              Oct 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm
              As long as MSD had long hairs, his innings was long & the fielders were standing for many farlong close to the boundary line. This is true, check with old matches.
              Reply
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