Give Dhoni the same respect you gave Sachin Tendulkar, please

S Kannan
S KannanOct 23, 2016 | 12:06

Give Dhoni the same respect you gave Sachin Tendulkar, please

The knives are out for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and there is nothing new about it.

With India set to play New Zealand in the third ODI in Mohali on Sunday, India’s captain in the shorter formats will be under even greater scrutiny.

For a man who has all along taken criticism in his stride sportingly and never clamoured for attention, he does not care too much about what has been written about him.


That, perhaps, has helped him continue with cricket despite the controversies which were swirling time and again.

Away from the cricket field, Dhoni remains in news.

Biopic MS Dhoni, The Untold Story, is still running in cinema halls at home and abroad and is still making good money according to film critics.

Dhoni bashing has been a favourite topic or theme for cricket analysts.

One is not sure why Dhoni has so many detractors but all those who have seen him play for India will vouch he has been a selfless cricketer.

Images of the 2011 ICC World Cup are still fresh in memory. India won the Cup in Mumbai and Dhoni is hardly there in the main frame.

Even today, Dhoni remains the same person, a man who commands respect from the team, including Test captain Virat Kohli.

Yet, there are any number of people who say Dhoni must be removed from the ODIs. It’s actually a strange situation.

We have got so used to seeing Dhoni in the role of a dashing finisher that when he is struggling now, there is an urge to tell him to retire!

In India, very few cricketers have taken retirement voluntarily.


Unless push has come to shove, top cricketers, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar included, did not retire.

For all the millions of Sachin fans around the globe, it was unthinkable to suggest that he stop playing cricket despite runs drying up.

In the ODIs, towards the last phase of his career, Sachin played more percentage cricket rather than being a batsman who bamboozled the bowling like he did in Sharjah after which Shane Warne had sleepless nights.

Once Sachin retired from the ODIs, he focused on Test cricket.

It’s not as if he was scoring regularly in every match. Yet, very few people asked Sachin to retire and he continued till the farewell series against West Indies in 2013.

If Sachin deserved such royal treatment, one fails to understand why Dhoni is being marked out as a man who has to announce his retirement!

To be sure, when Dhoni retired midway through the Test series in Australia in 2015, it caught the entire world by surprise, Sandeep Patil included.

For a man who has played 280 ODIs and scored close to 9,000 runs, critics expect Dhoni to bat the same way like before.


At 35, Dhoni is still supremely fit and runs like a hare between wickets. He has been unable to finish matches like before but that’s not the only role he has to play.

Virat Kohli is next in line to be Team India's ODI captain. (Photo credit: Google)

As the limited overs captain, none can find fault with his captaincy and his keeping behind the wicket is just fine.

The truth is more than Virat Kohli himself, there are more people who want him to lead Team India in all formats.

It’s very recently India have claimed the No 1 spot in Test rankings. This is a crowded season at home and there are still ten more Test matches to be played against England, Australia and Bangladesh.

Virat has enough on his plate and there is less pressure on him when he bats in the ODIs.

Dhoni knows more than the others he has to score runs. The way he has shuffled his own batting position in the ladder has conveyed signs of desperation.

That, however, does not mean he has to retire because some people want him to.

In India, to deify and villify a sporting star is easy. As it appears, Dhoni looks set to be the ODI captain till next summer’s Champions Trophy in England.

Given the current turmoil in the Board of Control for Cricket in India and new selectors having taken over, focus is not on making needless changes.

New players are being tried out and the Axar Patel-Kedar Jadhav combo could well have won India the match in the second ODI at Kotla. Dhoni has been talking to players on the field and does look in command.

There is no denying the fact that as a mentor, Dhoni has groomed many players. Just that he will never take credit for it.

Dhoni would do well to focus on his own batting and for that he needs to spend more time in the middle.

As he does not spend too much time at the nets, he could well turn out for Jharkand in the Ranji Trophy.

India are not playing too many ODIs before the Champions Trophy, so he can iron out the flaws.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: October 23, 2016 | 12:06
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