March 26, 2013 3:44:05 am
A more expressive Dhoni has grand plans for his young team
In those cynical days after Indias series loss to England last year,Rahul Dravid sounded refreshingly out-of-sync with the chorus of criticism that lashed the team. Instead of listing the problems,Dravid was offering a solution. Unlike most,Dravid didnt want a change at the helm. He gave suggestions,instead,on how Mahendra Singh Dhoni could alter his captaincy approach to suit the teams changing dynamic. Be less instinctive and more expressive,he suggested. Also,plan extensively and keep the youngsters in the loop.
After the 4-0 win against Australia,Dhoni talked about his changed approach but insisted the shift wasnt radical. The Indian skipper said that with several new 20-something players in Team Indias batting and bowling line-ups,he had become more vocal now. This was evident during the latest series. Dhoni shouted at fielders when they misfielded,the bowlers got a cold stare when they lacked discipline and even the Australians got an earful when they made a feeble attempt at sledging. After the series win,the Indian captain went on to add that he now wanted to put in place a system that promotes good habits amongst the youngsters.
A string of good results can make cricket captains think long term. But for Dhoni,setting sights on the future has more to do with stamping his authority over the team than overwhelming the opposition. With the seniors gradually sidelined,this truly has become Dhonis team. In the squad for the final Test,only Sachin Tendulkar had played international cricket before the Indian skipper and except Ishant Sharma,everyone else had made their debuts during Dhonis reign. Good habits,the ones Dhoni wishes to inculcate in his young team,will certainly come in handy when India tour South Africa later this year. Dhoni also needs to see that the youngsters dont forget the good habits learned in Tests during the slam-bang IPL months to follow.
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