Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day January 15, 2012

Dhoni for gradual phasing out of seniors


MS Dhoni has said he is not aware of any ultimatum the BCCI might have given to VVS Laxman after the batsman's lean series in England and Australia. It was reported in some Indian newspapers, quoting BCCI officials, that Laxman might have played his last Test in Perth. "As of now there is nothing like that that I know of officially," Dhoni said when asked about the development.

When asked if he would try to talk him out of it if Laxman indeed decided to call it quits, Dhoni said: "I won't like to answer something where there is a big if and big but. I don't know where this came from, but unless Laxman comes and tells me I don't know whether it's happening or not happening. I really don't have to think about it [now]."

Dhoni, however, spoke about the importance of phasing out the seniors thoughtfully. He said he hadn't sat and thought about it, but the end of the series might be a good time to start. "Not really right now," he said. "May be at the end of the series will be a right time. We also have to see what the senior's thoughts are. I think there is a bit more emphasis right now about getting rid of the seniors but it will be a very careful decision. Because of what they have done for the country, and the amount of experience they can share with the youngsters."

Dhoni spoke of getting a right combination of youth and experience. "Very important to have the right mixture at the right time," he said. "You can't have all the seniors missing out all of a sudden, and all the juniors coming in. We will have to thoughtfully decide the best option. Give a bit of exposure to youngsters coming [in], at the same time have the fair mix of experienced guys and youngsters.

"Ultimately [in] Test cricket a lot of people will be tested, but once they transfer that experience or share that experience, the job of the youngsters will become slightly easy. That's something we need to be very careful about."

There has been widespread criticism that India have already delayed the phasing out of their three great batting stars. There have been calls to lose with young players if they have to keep losing, like they have done over the last seven overseas Tests. The Adelaide Test will be India's last away from home over the next two years. "Ultimately we know that most of our batsmen who will come in or will be part of the team will perform in India because we have played in India," Dhoni said. "But we need to find ways as to how we perform outside India. Definitely it will be a good option to see the youngsters coming in. Of course we are playing quite a few games in India, but we are playing tough opposition at the same time. I think it will be a good exposure for them."

Dhoni was asked if the Indian set-up lacked the courage to drop legends of the game when they were out of form. "It's not about courage," he said. "It's about taking the right decision. Just for example, if you see in this series, people went after Virat [Kohli] to be dropped, and he batted really well in this series. You have to give that span of time to people. Especially when you know somebody is a really talented guy, you have to give that extra time to that particular batsman to keep going on."

Dhoni was also asked how he would like to see the transition happen. "I have not sat and thought over it," he said. "It's something everybody needs to be a part of. The players and the BCCI also. It will be a process rather than just an event. We will be carefully deciding as to what needs to be done in the best interest of the country."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    ppl are saying to drop dhoni i agree performance wise he is useless in tests .but look at sri lanka for example once sanga stepped down as captain and board named a horrible captain dilshan and horrors started !! sanga was a great captain like dhoni .

    same will happen if india make sehwag the captain horrors will happen and we saw in the one day series against west indies sehwag playd defensively and lost his wicket evry tym .instead gambhir is the best choice for captaincy !! he is an very agressive captain and when he was captain his stats improved drastically he wants to lead frm the front. he sets agressive fields and wins the matches.he has 100 % record as a captain. 5-0 against kiwis and 1 win against wi in last odi .he is the only option for a captaincy right now.he is experienced enough to lead the team. just luk at kkr. a team tht never reachd semis has reachd semis under gambhir's captaincy .atleast he will make a better captain thn sehwag and sehwag can play aggrressivly

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Dhoni..should be the first to go how many test match he won for India. He has been terrible with keeping and his batting average overseas is so pathetic

  • Allan on January 18, 2012, 1:26 GMT

    All this time I have wondered why Sourav was forced to retire. At the time I thought, wow BCCI has a really smart plan here to avoid the same 'transition' that many teams have - they will force players out one by one and blood youngesters this way. And then nothing - Kumble retired also but then Dravid was allowed to continue despite very poor form, although he did then play himself back into good form, SRT has been up and down since then and maybe 99 would be a more memorable number, just like 99.94?!? Laxman now looks to have lost the fight. it is a shame, as an England fan VVS is my favourite non-English player in the world but even i think it is time for him to go. Dhoni looks frazzled as well and gambhir has lost his off-stump. At least Kohli brings some atheliticism to the field, perhaps they could give Raina another shot as well, Sharma, Kohli, raina at 4,5,6?

  • Al on January 17, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    No need for gradual phasing. Drop all of them immediately. If a patient has cancer, surgeon has to take quick action and get rid of that part. Similarly if players are not performing - get rid of them immediately. If they happen to be seniors - so be it. This is not a government job, where seniority counts. In a highly competitive sport, if you don't get rid of the non-performers, you will be annihilated.

  • Allan on January 17, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    @ jeevan - I like your idea of pushing Sehwag down the order. Abroad what we need is a steady start, not a blistering one. And Gambhir should be allowed to take risks and play the disruptive role if the conditions permits. Sehwag down the order could play the disruptive roll as well, in case the bowlers break-thru. Anyway against the semi-new or old-ball or spinners he would be a riot to watch and PURE ENTERTAINMENT! I can guarantee people would get their money's worth, because every single ball he will be trying to manufacture runs. I certainly would pay good money for that, regardless of win or lose :)

  • Allan on January 17, 2012, 22:36 GMT

    Just wanted to share my feelings in case others feel the same: I've been more interested in a young team India for almost 2 years now (even more that the much-hyped No. 1 test status which I felt would lead to humiliation because the Indian public would actually believe it!). It started with Gambhir's resurgence in NZ, followed by Pujara's debut against OZ. Can you guess what was my highlight of the SA tour? it was Pujara's vigil on the 2nd day of the Durban test when India could have easily slid to defeat. Gambhir quietly walking away with credit to his reputation at the end was also a pleasure, much more so than any 100 by the seniors, because it represented a promising future! I was crushed when Pujara did not make it to OZ, but elated by Kholi and YADAV! And I am eager to see Rohit and Rahne! Please don't deny this pleasure for all the forward looking cricket lovers in India.

  • Allan on January 17, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    @stormy16 - beautifully said, hitting all the salient points! @ Abdussalaam Jenkins & others have mentioned county cricket & developing a program for the India A team to tour abroad - 100% correct! Personally, while I really respect & admire the veterans, I am more excited to watch a young energetic Indian team evolve (hopefully into a world class team). I'm fine with losing, if the progress curve is forward. For one thing it would take away the expectation of winning (unrealistic with this aged team anyway) and even better the tiresome need to defend the team when we loose. We can all say India is in transition. It would make watching test cricket more enjoyable regardless of win or lose. There is also the very important need to ACKNOWLEDGE good opposition, which when the seniors fail we obsessively forget to do. And that's a shame! The pleasure in sport is also in crediting a worthy opponent. With the seniors gone all this can return.

  • Anand on January 17, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    If Dhoni keeps the same team and winless then he have to take responsibility fully. As a captain he should be aple to pick the right player. Tendulkar/Draivid have to take the responsibility and captain the team for the next series. Such a senior player should either captain the team or retire from the team and cannot give problem to young future captain. Why there is no merit system and accountability in Indian always?

  • Dru on January 17, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    I dont see what the IPL has to do with this - both Warner and Hussey played IPL. Any chance of accepting that the Aus bolwers have been fantastic in helpful conditions while the Indian batting order has been found wanting away from home - again! There are no more overseas tours for two years so I dont think India needs to panic and throw people out for a lost cause test. Having said that the time has come for Lax and Dravid to bow out. I think it was justifiable keeping them going in the hope of winning that ellusive series in Aus but now it makes no sense. I would give them a grand send off at home.

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Sachin is worst performer from indian side in this series.

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