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Shame Dhoni does not believe in himself any longer

S Kannan
S KannanApr 03, 2016 | 11:33

Shame Dhoni does not believe in himself any longer

If humans can be blamed for what happens in life, the two events on March 31 in Kolkata and Mumbai could well have been avoided. As probe panels will sit over the flyover disaster in the City of Joy, there is no scope for restoring the loss of lives. The damage has been done and nothing can reverse it.

On the same night in Mumbai, the Team India debacle inspired by skipper MS Dhoni at the Wankhede Stadium in the ICC World T20 will go down as one which could have been avoided.

It may be unfair to make a comparison between the architect of many Indian wins - Dhoni - and the architects who messed up with the Kolkata flyover. But the fact that both took place on the same day conveys a feeling of helplessness.

As Kolkata prepares for the final between the rising team of the tournament, West Indies and strong-willed England, it would be an understatement to say that fans are sad that Team India did not make it to the Sunday bash.

The best analysis and post mortems, following India's loss to West Indies, have been done in pubs and parks, offices and workplaces, but none is willing to forget or forgive the behaviour of Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the post-match conference. In the best of times, his press conferences are laced with humour and sarcasm.

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Naming Kohli as captain is imperative as Dhoni's shelf life as captain is over. (Reuters) 

Yet, when he made an Aussie scribe sit next to him on Thursday and asked him questions on his fitness and abilities, it became clear Dhoni does not believe in himself any longer. For a man who has never bothered about criticism till the last few months, it's interesting how he is suddenly using an overseas scribe and wants to convey messages on his abilities.

Yes, Dhoni runs between wickets like a true sprinter, keeps wickets with poise and energy, and supports Virat Kohli well in partnerships. But the magic as captain is no longer there.

To my mind, there is no doubt Dhoni made huge tactical blunders while picking the side against West Indies. Two left-hand batsmen were out and to go for two right-handers was a wrong decision.

A specialist bowler should have been accommodated and in the end, it was the lack of a quality bowler which hurt India. Dhoni, please take the blame for it.

Post mortems become pointless after a point of time. Just as life cannot be restored after death, a post mortem in sport, at best, attempts to point out the cause for the loss. In the case of India's exit, Dhoni's captaincy is the reason.

India needs to look ahead. Let's place on record the service Dhoni has rendered to Team India as a great leader who won us two world titles and now appoint superstar Virat Kohli as the captain in shorter formats as well.

As the stand-out player, Kohli has done everything possible, almost singlehandedly, though Dhoni thought with the ball, too, he would show his magic in the last over against the West Indies.

From here on, there is not much T20 international cricket in the calendar and preparations for the Champions Trophy in 2017 need to begin soon.

For its part, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has rarely played a proactive role, needs to make a few quick decisions.

Naming Kohli as captain is imperative as Dhoni's shelf life as captain is over. Indian cricket needs fresh ideas with a new leader and for someone who has proven himself in Tests, Kohli is mature at 27 to take over.

This will be a transition phase for Team India as from here till the 2019 World Cup, there has to be a proper build-up.

With Ravi Shastri's assignment coming to an end, a new overseas guru must be hired to work with Kohli. Given the young Indian leader's ability to play at such high intensity, there is need to groom a side which will have fresh faces as well.

It's almost certain that it's goodbye to Ashish Nehra, the best Indian bowler on view in the World T20, Yuvraj Singh and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who must have found it tough sitting on the bench for so long. The fast bowlers who India invested in - Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav - need to be back in the mix.

There is no way you can go into the Champions Trophy with bowlers like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. For that matter, all captaincy is handed over to Kohli, India must find a leg-spinner to bolster the attack.

Dhoni seemed averse to leg-spinners but if one looks at all good sides in the T20 and ODI formats, there is room for a leggie.

So, does Dhoni have any utility in Team India? Yes, as the country's best wicketkeeper even now in shorter formats and a much superior strike rate when compared to a Parthiv Patel.

By asking the Aussie scribe questions which were answered in the affirmative, Dhoni has conveyed his viewpoint that he is still fit and hungry to play for India. The final decision, of course, rests with the selectors.

PS: I have no relative who is a wicketkeeper and wants to take over Dhoni's job.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: April 03, 2016 | 11:33
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