MS Dhoni’s credibility as captain and batsman cannot be questioned. During his 11-year cricket career – eight years as India captain – the wicketkeeper-batsman has won every trophy.
When Dhoni took over captaincy in 2007, questions were raised about his leadership skills. But he put them to rest by winning the 2007 T20 World Cup. For the next four years, Dhoni was at the top of his game and captaincy. The 2011 ICC World Cup has been his greatest achievement. Then came the Champions Trophy in 2013, making him the only Indian skipper to win every ICC trophy.
The scenario, however, changed after he announced retirement from Tests and a young, aggressive Virat Kohli took over. Leading India to win in Sri Lanka raised voices for Kohli to handle captaincy in all three formats.
But Team Director Ravi Shastri has backed Dhoni to remain the captain in the shorter formats. And rightly so.
“He (Dhoni) has done the dirty work for the last donkeys years. Give him the chance to enjoy himself,” these words by Ravi Shastri aptly describe the way Dhoni should be allowed to play his cricket.
He has all the right to enjoy his cricket.
A lot has changed since the Bangladesh tour – Dhoni led the side in the ODIs. Kohli led India to the historic win in Sri Lanka and a young crop of players have taken the center stage. Every player in the current team has debuted after Dhoni and accept it or not, Indian cricket has moved on from the MSD-era.
Dhoni now has become the senior most player and to allow him play his natural game will only bring out the best in him. Playing at number four, he will have more time to settle and then launch the onslaught.
As far as his captaincy is concerned, his skills and experience will help India challenge the current world’s best touring side.
Dhoni has 101 wins from 181 games he has captained India and with a winning percentage of 60.58, there is little doubt that he has what it takes to captain the Men in Blue in the upcoming series.
Captaincy apart, it’s time to ease the burden off Dhoni’s shoulders and allow him to do what he does best – play cricket of the highest order.