Samir Chopra April 8, 2009

Dark cloud over Dhoni

When all the various defences about Dhoni's canny captaincy, India's dismal overseas records, the lack of a series win in 40 years in New Zealand, and the apparent incapacity of captains to plan for the weather are done with, something is still a bit
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The much-predicted rain came down soon after lunch on the final day in Wellington © Getty Images
 

Joy to the world, an Indian team has won a Test series in New Zealand! Let earth receive her kings. Congratulations to the Indian team. And a resounding well-played to the Black Caps. But reactions to the lack of a result in the third Test, forced upon us by bad light, and a forecast-well-in-advance-rain-shower on the fifth day, puzzle me. For, Dileep Premchandran says: "I don't think you can plan for rain" and Sambit Bal says "You can't really plan around weather". As do a few comments on my regular blog. I must be living in some alternate universe (entirely possible, given that I'm in Kings County, New York State), but for as long I've watched and followed cricket, the one thing Test captains have always done is planned around the weather. They have sent out instructions to batsmen, telling them to hurry up because rain clouds are threatening; they have sent out instructions to batsmen telling them to hang in there because the rain clouds are threatening; they have hustled to get wickets or overs completed for the same reason; and lastly, they have always, always, thought about how much time could be lost to rain (or light, or morning dew) when planning a declaration, or indeed, other tactical moves.

At tea time on the third day of the third Test, when Laxman and Gambhir were walking off the field to have a cup of Dilmah Masala Chai (and possibly some complimentary batata vadas and dhoklas sent over by the local Indian tea-shop), India were 448 runs ahead of New Zealand. Let's just stop for a second and examine these figures again. At tea-time on the third day of a Test, the world's No. 3 Test team, had a lead larger than any target successfully chased in the fourth innings of some 1918 tests played in 132 years. Over the world's No. 8 team, one they had bowled out for 197 runs in the first innings of the same Test. Two days later, when the Indian team trooped off the field, they were still looking for the last New Zealand two wickets.

When all the various defences about Dhoni's canny captaincy, India's dismal overseas records, the lack of a series win in 40 years in New Zealand, and the apparent incapacity of captains to plan for the weather are done with, something is still a bit rank in all of this. Something was rotten in the fair city Wellington on Tuesday.

Why did Dhoni need 600 plus runs on the board? To set attacking fields? Why were 500 runs not enough? Because New Zealand had scored 600 runs in the first innings of the last Test? And if he wanted to set attacking fields then why didn't he set them? I didn't see fields that were consistently the hyper-aggressive fields that a captain with 600 runs on the board could set. (If you want to see aggressive fields for spinners and pacers alike, go find a video of Imran Khan's field settings during the 1982 series against England, his first as captain). If the idea was to get 600 runs on the board and go on all-out attack, then why was the Indian team's demeanour in the post-tea session on the fourth day that of giggling schoolboys? They didn't look like meanies that had put 600 runs on the board and were in your face thereafter. This slackness affected their catching as well; three catches went down on the fifth day itself. (Dileep Premchandran notes that had those been held, India would have won anyway; perhaps; but perhaps the reason they weren't held was that the team's mind wasn't fully set on winning the game as opposed to the series).

Dhoni wanted to save the match first. A win was a bonus. He didn't get it and it didn't matter to him. A series win was more important. Fair enough. Those are his objectives. But if he is going to be a truly different Indian Test captain, he will need to snap out of a conservative mind-set that has been characteristic of most that have preceded him. And part of the way to do it is to back yourself and your team to win in lots of different settings. That might include thinking that 500 runs in a fourth-innings chase is enough for most teams in the world. It has been for every team in every Test played thus far in the history of the game. That might also include backing your bowlers to not get worried if someone does attack them a bit during their fourth-innings chase. Such expressions of confidence go beyond making your own team more secure; they also send out a message to your opponents. Doing it the first time might be hard but it can rapidly become a habit. Try it, MSD. I think you'll like it. You have the team for it.

[Editor's Note: Samir will be posting a follow-up article responding to the comments.]

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajneesh on April 18, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    Well, going by your logic South Africa should have surrendered their game against Australia when it scored 434 because it was the record nobody would have dared to touch? I don't see why Dhoni is getting criticized here? Had it not rained and Ryder and Ross Taylor went around hitting the ball all over the park or had Ishant not dropped those catches we would have got a result anyways.

  • LOL on April 17, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    I totally agree. But why isn't anyone blaming the match draw on Ishant Sharma?He dropped 3 vital catches that could have gotten India the game. Why isn't anyone blaming it one him instead of MSD. MSD is a strong captain and should no tbe crictised for what he did not do rather than what he did. You guys are all pathetic. I mean, COME ON!! What if they declared early and lost the match? THINK GUYS!!!

  • rahul on April 11, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Surprising to see so many bloggers defending the negative decision of Dhoni. When Dravid had done a similar thing in england 2 years back, every single person was criticising him for being defensive-no one came in support of Dravid, who had also won a test series in England after 36 years and that too without the support of a full time coach. The reason MSD is being hailed is because he has won a WC (saurabh was hailed because India were runners-up in 2003). If MSD loses the T20 crown in June, and does a rerun of his decision of the 3rd test, in a future series, all these bloggers will be baying for his blood. Poor Dravid, he was as or more effective than Ganguly as a captain in ODIs and Test, however the 2007 WC 1st round elimination will always get him labelled as a "bad" captain by the "discerning" Indian "cricket fans"

  • Wg Cdr Thomas Walker on April 10, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Can't really blame Dhoni.

    In these days of 200 runs in 20 overs it is hard to believe 500 is a safe target with two days' slow play available.

    However, note that NZ did make more than what they did on the first innings, so the bowlers did have good opportunity. Why weren't they serious in the available time is more of a complaint than the late declaration I think. Why Zaheer and Bhajji weren't pressed into attack immediately after Tea Break? Why couldn't Sachin be tried out earlier too ? Our bowling is good but not destructive in all conditions. So, I won't blame Dhoni. Also, he showed some respect to NZ too by not declaring too soon. Remember we couldn't get even Vettori out when we needed to !

  • Mugesh on April 9, 2009, 21:44 GMT

    I don't think Dhoni made any mistake here. It's the bowlers who were not capable of taking 10 wickets within the given time. So I don't see any point in criticizing Dhoni. Newzealand is given no, 8 in the ranking but it's a for better team that what its ranking suggests. Lots of time when India had won people used to say that Dhoni was a lucky captain(and not give credit to his captaincy). May be he was unlucky(according to me) this time to make it 2-0. That's it. And again, Dhoni would have consulted with other team members(like sachin, dravid) and coach b4 he decided to postpone the declaration. So no big deal. People are saying that if team India is thinking of becoming no.1 then it should take some bold decisions like declaring early as in this match. But I personally feel that team India is going in the right direction.

  • SD on April 9, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Post the match, Dhoni said that he was expecting 10 more overs. Point made, match over, series won! He made sure he closed any possibility of giving away the chance of winning this series and tried winning the match from there on... it didn't pay off, so what? We still bagged the series and for the first time in 40 odd years. I guess we can stop cribbing about what it could have been, and look forward to the future challenges that this team will have to stand up to.

  • Anup Das on April 9, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    We must criticize EVERY DAMN THING, must we? It's so easy being couch potatoes and pontificating with 'hind sight' - so safe and self gratifying! I am disgusted. Why can't we simply rejoice in the fact that Team India under MS Dhoni has achieved what several of his predecessors failed to achieve over the past few decades? He has brought that 'extra' bit to make this team worthy of vying for the crown and THAT is not enough for us the TV-watching-pundits!

  • Kumar on April 9, 2009, 11:34 GMT

    Samir: While I understand that aggressive captaincy is essential (at least sometimes), I would agree with Dhoni that this was one situation where preserving a lead was vital. Let me explain. India were ahead (in the series) 1-0. If (IF) NZ did manage to score around 400-450 runs (possible, yes, plausible, I don't think so), and win this test, India would walk off the field wondering why they'd declared so early. What is important in this situation is to win the series, not annihilate the opposition. A series win in NZ (or for that matter against any opposition) is what we (the fans) are looking for.

    I think you're expecting a little too much from Dhoni given that he's still in the infancy stages of test captaincy.

  • R. Jagannathan on April 9, 2009, 11:28 GMT

    Good article, Samir. What best Dhoni could have done is that on the 3rd day evening, he and Yuvraj should have continued batting without opting for bad light, added another 40 odd runs and let NZ batting from 4th day morning. This would have given additional 2 hours for Indian bowlers to dismiss NZ. Wasted opportunity.

  • mukul sharma on April 9, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    situation: 600 odd runs to be chased in 2 days. flat pitch. good and long batting line up with centurions and double centurions in it. 2 days to bowl the team out. weather forecasts can remain with the forecasters.

    this is what dhoni must have analysed.and he did the best under circumstances. as for his critics, analyse this; television on. remote in one hand. drink in the other. wife in kitchen, children on their own. "hello"

  • Rajneesh on April 18, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    Well, going by your logic South Africa should have surrendered their game against Australia when it scored 434 because it was the record nobody would have dared to touch? I don't see why Dhoni is getting criticized here? Had it not rained and Ryder and Ross Taylor went around hitting the ball all over the park or had Ishant not dropped those catches we would have got a result anyways.

  • LOL on April 17, 2009, 7:31 GMT

    I totally agree. But why isn't anyone blaming the match draw on Ishant Sharma?He dropped 3 vital catches that could have gotten India the game. Why isn't anyone blaming it one him instead of MSD. MSD is a strong captain and should no tbe crictised for what he did not do rather than what he did. You guys are all pathetic. I mean, COME ON!! What if they declared early and lost the match? THINK GUYS!!!

  • rahul on April 11, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Surprising to see so many bloggers defending the negative decision of Dhoni. When Dravid had done a similar thing in england 2 years back, every single person was criticising him for being defensive-no one came in support of Dravid, who had also won a test series in England after 36 years and that too without the support of a full time coach. The reason MSD is being hailed is because he has won a WC (saurabh was hailed because India were runners-up in 2003). If MSD loses the T20 crown in June, and does a rerun of his decision of the 3rd test, in a future series, all these bloggers will be baying for his blood. Poor Dravid, he was as or more effective than Ganguly as a captain in ODIs and Test, however the 2007 WC 1st round elimination will always get him labelled as a "bad" captain by the "discerning" Indian "cricket fans"

  • Wg Cdr Thomas Walker on April 10, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Can't really blame Dhoni.

    In these days of 200 runs in 20 overs it is hard to believe 500 is a safe target with two days' slow play available.

    However, note that NZ did make more than what they did on the first innings, so the bowlers did have good opportunity. Why weren't they serious in the available time is more of a complaint than the late declaration I think. Why Zaheer and Bhajji weren't pressed into attack immediately after Tea Break? Why couldn't Sachin be tried out earlier too ? Our bowling is good but not destructive in all conditions. So, I won't blame Dhoni. Also, he showed some respect to NZ too by not declaring too soon. Remember we couldn't get even Vettori out when we needed to !

  • Mugesh on April 9, 2009, 21:44 GMT

    I don't think Dhoni made any mistake here. It's the bowlers who were not capable of taking 10 wickets within the given time. So I don't see any point in criticizing Dhoni. Newzealand is given no, 8 in the ranking but it's a for better team that what its ranking suggests. Lots of time when India had won people used to say that Dhoni was a lucky captain(and not give credit to his captaincy). May be he was unlucky(according to me) this time to make it 2-0. That's it. And again, Dhoni would have consulted with other team members(like sachin, dravid) and coach b4 he decided to postpone the declaration. So no big deal. People are saying that if team India is thinking of becoming no.1 then it should take some bold decisions like declaring early as in this match. But I personally feel that team India is going in the right direction.

  • SD on April 9, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Post the match, Dhoni said that he was expecting 10 more overs. Point made, match over, series won! He made sure he closed any possibility of giving away the chance of winning this series and tried winning the match from there on... it didn't pay off, so what? We still bagged the series and for the first time in 40 odd years. I guess we can stop cribbing about what it could have been, and look forward to the future challenges that this team will have to stand up to.

  • Anup Das on April 9, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    We must criticize EVERY DAMN THING, must we? It's so easy being couch potatoes and pontificating with 'hind sight' - so safe and self gratifying! I am disgusted. Why can't we simply rejoice in the fact that Team India under MS Dhoni has achieved what several of his predecessors failed to achieve over the past few decades? He has brought that 'extra' bit to make this team worthy of vying for the crown and THAT is not enough for us the TV-watching-pundits!

  • Kumar on April 9, 2009, 11:34 GMT

    Samir: While I understand that aggressive captaincy is essential (at least sometimes), I would agree with Dhoni that this was one situation where preserving a lead was vital. Let me explain. India were ahead (in the series) 1-0. If (IF) NZ did manage to score around 400-450 runs (possible, yes, plausible, I don't think so), and win this test, India would walk off the field wondering why they'd declared so early. What is important in this situation is to win the series, not annihilate the opposition. A series win in NZ (or for that matter against any opposition) is what we (the fans) are looking for.

    I think you're expecting a little too much from Dhoni given that he's still in the infancy stages of test captaincy.

  • R. Jagannathan on April 9, 2009, 11:28 GMT

    Good article, Samir. What best Dhoni could have done is that on the 3rd day evening, he and Yuvraj should have continued batting without opting for bad light, added another 40 odd runs and let NZ batting from 4th day morning. This would have given additional 2 hours for Indian bowlers to dismiss NZ. Wasted opportunity.

  • mukul sharma on April 9, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    situation: 600 odd runs to be chased in 2 days. flat pitch. good and long batting line up with centurions and double centurions in it. 2 days to bowl the team out. weather forecasts can remain with the forecasters.

    this is what dhoni must have analysed.and he did the best under circumstances. as for his critics, analyse this; television on. remote in one hand. drink in the other. wife in kitchen, children on their own. "hello"

  • Bhushan on April 9, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    Good article, finally somebody had the guts to think beyond Dhoni Fanboyism! And for people who crib that the author has not played cricket to comment - are you guys serious? I mean if that is the case we all should keep our mouths shut and not comment on anything - cricket, politics etc. And, hilariously, these same people say 'what if NZ had chased 500+' - haha - you guys surely dont know your gulli danda from cricket:) Are you serious when you say that a no. 8 ranked team which got out at <300 in first innings will do something on 4-5th days which has never happened in 100+ years? the author has rightly called it 'defensive attitude'. On pitches which are more Indian type, against a lowly team, on a 4-5 day pitch if you cant get them out I perfer if the team loses. People even call declaring at 500+ lead a bold decision!! Dhoni is indeed a cenebrity who has made people blind of his obvious mistakes - I call him a teflon captain - no negative point sticks to him

  • Errol on April 9, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    Samir, You're damned if you do and damned if you dont. Yes, it would have been good to win 2-0 but what the heck - you err on the side of caution. This is what Dhoni has done. I agree with him given the position that India was in on the day. However, if this was the test that India needed to win the series, I would have agreed with you. Besides being fodder for your blog post, I do not think that Dhoni should be called out for his decision. He is a smart captain, a thinking captain and has had a success rate comparable with the best in the world. I live in NJ myself and unless we watch weather on a different channel, I do not think things are much different here. Even with all the available technology, weather forecasts are often wrong.

  • anjan bacchu on April 9, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    hi all,

    What is the role of senior players, vice-captain and the coach in this ? Could they, collectively have persuaded Dhoni to declare at 550 runs (550 is about 100 runs more than the current 4th wicket record score). Why did these guys NOT have the guts to prevail upon Dhoni ? Especially since there was half a day to ponder upon it ? I'm sure if Dravid, tendulkar, sehwag and the coach pushed for declaration, Dhoni could NOT have resisted!

    Dhoni made a wrong call -- that says something about the advice he gets; However, if he rejected a POSITIVE advice to declare, then he should be censured. I'm sure he will get some advice from the board when he returns. It's NOT often that an Indian team has a chance to win 2-0 abroad. Especially since Dhoni knows how to set a 8-2 field to prevent a defeat. The team has 6 bowlers(tendulkar, yuvrag, sehwag are the extras) who could have somehow done the trick.

    All said and done, a good job BUT with such great achievers, more was expected.

  • Roshan on April 9, 2009, 4:00 GMT

    The way I look at it, If india needed the extra runs they should have scored them quickly on day 3 and declared with say 5 overs left in the day. That way Zaheer would have got a good chance to take a wicket while the openers would be under pressure to survive the day. Then, the bowlers could use the bowler friendly conditions on the day 4 morning so inflict some serious damage with a almost new ball. Given rain was predicted on day 5 whether it rained or not India had a very good opportunity to go for the kill in the test without fearing defeat even if a coule of hundreds came from the opposition. I agree that the killer instinct was lacking in the last day's play which accounted for the dropped catches.

  • disappointed on April 9, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    I was really disappointed by Dhoni's decision. For all its worth, most of the people supporting his decision so much are the same people who were criticitzing Dravid for being defensive, but the reason to support Dhoni may be attributed to Hero Worshipping trait of the Indian supporters (or should I Hero supporters). Some may also be those old fashioned defensive folks, but I bet most people bitching about Sameer's credentials or putting forward the sitting on the fence theory etc are all those Hero worshippers. If you want to be the no. 1 team, you have to learn to win games not draw them. Why even the match in Napier could have done for an exciting declaration setting a target of 160 - 180 in 20 odd overs. After all Dhoni's team is 20-20 champion and in tests he would not have limitations of Zaheer and/or Bhajji bowling only 4 overs each. I can bet that this team can never be no. 1 in tests, after all winning a match gets you more points than drawing it.

  • Udai on April 9, 2009, 3:34 GMT

    India still need to improve on bowling and fielding, a well known fact. In my view Dhoni made a good decision in trusting his strengths which is certainly batting. With in form NZ batting, 500+ is a easy target and they might have played to win. With only 1 in form bowler, India would have prayed for rain on 5th day. It was a close match and we almost won.

  • manoj on April 9, 2009, 3:23 GMT

    what a bunch of idiots...

  • jogesh99 on April 9, 2009, 3:05 GMT

    Dhoni is a very good, naturally conservative, defensive captain. Watch him set ultra-defensive fields and have his bowlers bowl negative lines when the opposition batsmen are set, or when the pitch is flat. So he just went by his instincts, which is what you want in a captain, even if the decisions dont always work. He cost us a test win, but the same tactics have saved us some. Would he have continued batting had we been short of time - i doubt it.

  • sfnad on April 9, 2009, 2:54 GMT

    it showed Dhoni's inexperience !

  • vasanth on April 9, 2009, 2:46 GMT

    This was the first thought came to my mind when it starts raining. take minimum risk atleast to get reward.

  • Saibaskar on April 9, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    When India chased 400+ in west indies it was done for the first time in test cricket for over 70 years. So, will the author then say that WI team was a bad one? "Aggressive" captains would have given last 1/2 hour of 3rd day for NZ. So author would have liked a captain who did that but think of it that then there would have been 2 full days and the wicket had not detoriated at all. 500 is definitely achievable if NZ just has 2 good partnership. And Jesse showed how good a player he is in the previous tests. So, i do agree with Dhoni's decision of going for series win rather than gambling to win this test. He declared late to take the time factor out. He was correct in removing the time factor by batting out rather than expecting weather to do the job. But, i do agree with author's other assertion that India loses its intensity when they are comfortably near the winning post. In all recent famous wins there were late flourishes by the opponents. Best example being 20/20 Finals.

  • Prakash on April 9, 2009, 2:36 GMT

    "Oh well, some of you'll will never change. Be happy and enjoy the series win like the other half" This is the kind of mentality that I would like the Indian team to stay away from, if they want to become the No 1 team in the world. Obviously Dhoni made a mistake by not declaring at the end of Day3. I hope he reads this blog and doesn't lose another opportunity like this in the future. Let me be clear. I am not asking for Dhoni's head for this miscalculation. He is the best captain we have. His field placements and bowling changes are excellent and he motivates everyone around him. If there is some improvement that can be made with criticism, that is very reasonable. If you are satisfied with one win, you will never improve

  • Ian Landreth on April 9, 2009, 2:36 GMT

    This had to be the worst declaration in the history of test cricket!!! Surely winning each game is the object of playing. Dhoni is a chicken, there is no way Vettori would have batted that long regardless of the state of the series.

  • Ravikant on April 9, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    Samir's comments reflect why the Indian team is better now but it is difficult to see this Indian team becoming the best in the world unless they have confidence in their own capabilities.Dhoni's late declaration clearly meant that he was playing for a draw in the match rather than win the match and the series 2-0.There is probably nothing wrong in playing for a draw but if the team had declared with 500-550 runs for New Zealand to chase then it would have reflected the true character of the captain and that of the team-that it is a team that thinks and acts like No.1!It is very much necessary for Dhoni not to be content with the present situation but to consider always ways in which they could continue to excel.“Excellence can be obtained if you ...risk more than others think is safe; ...dream more than others think is practical; ...expect more than others think is possible.”

  • Ashok on April 9, 2009, 2:14 GMT

    I think Dhoni did the right think by securing the win first. If we had set 500 as target and if they had got to a decent start like 100/1 or 150/2 their in form batsman Taylor, Ryder, McCullum would have made the most with a bit luck going their way. Though 500 is difficult target to chase, its not impossible target. We would have been praying for rain on the last day. Well Done Dhoni and India!!!

  • kris on April 9, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    Nice one sameer, I do agree mate.

  • Chirantan on April 9, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    I dont know if somebody has already written this above, but however different is Greg's MSD, and however Rajput blood he might have in him, and however idiosyncratic are his gut instincts - it is well nigh true that one cannot easily throw away the albatross of coming from the Great Indian Middle Class...look at why Dhoni hasnt married and am 95% sure he will end up having a conventional wife too - i can see quite a bit of how me and many others have behaved over many years in many professions, like Dhoni. Jai ho - Great Indian Middle Class Syndrome...

  • asodhi on April 9, 2009, 1:51 GMT

    India should have but did not win 2-0, but India still won the series. So India did not lose much. The thing that came out is that after all the brouhaha about Dhoni's captaincy, he is still the same old play-it-safe defensive Indian captain. So, Dhoni took a beating. A target of 500 in the 4th innings should have been good enough and safe enough and India should have easily been able to defend that. And if India were unable to defend 500 and if NZ were to make 500 in the 4th innings, then NZ deserved to win and India deserved to lose, and we would have had a fantastic game of cricket. A target of 550 was overkill and 600 was unbelievably defensive. I could not believe Master Dhoni coming out to bat with his toy in his hand on the 4th morning.

  • siddharth srinivasan on April 9, 2009, 1:51 GMT

    Samir's point is valid in that Dhoni could declared early on. However pithy as it sounds its very easy for us folks not on the hot seat, sipping our masala chais to pontificate on strategies. All in all this was a learning experience for Dhoni and the rest of the team in getting back to winning ways outside india. I am also very surprised at reading a lot of comments that attribute Dhoni's success to luck and nothing else. I would like to remind readers that 'luck' is integral to success. Successful leaders in all walks of life have recognized this. Notable examples of great sporting personalities who are victims of ill luck are Johan Cryuff, Eusabio, Fanie De Villiers and so many others. While its important to recognize the team effort (and Dhoni always makes it a point to attribute credit to the whole team) lets not trivialize the galvanizing force that Dhoni is on the Indian team.

  • raghuveer rawat on April 9, 2009, 1:48 GMT

    Guys, Please stop criticizing MSD and Indian team. It is time to celebrated, don't spoil the party. Indian Team has completely outplayed NZ team, and people who follow cricket know that series score might have been 2-0 if rain would have delayed for couple of hours or Ishant Sharma might have hold catch etc. Let's celebrate this major achievement of Indian Cricket Team...

  • Sandeep on April 9, 2009, 1:40 GMT

    Nice article, however, it is easy to say Dhoni should have done this and should have done that after the fact. Such ungreatful and unrespectful fellows. Interestingly you, Samir, would have written a similar article if the result was a NZ win. Oh well, some of you'll will never change. Be happy and enjoy the series win like the other half.

  • kaushal Bhatt on April 9, 2009, 1:32 GMT

    I agree with you Sameer, it was an opportunity lost.We were in a very comfortable position and it was a blunder by Mr.Dhoni to ignore the weather conditions out there. I believe Sourav Ganguly would have challenged the NZ team, as he was far more aggressive captain, and 2-0 win is always better than 1-0.

  • Vish Viswanathan on April 9, 2009, 1:31 GMT

    It's all very well for us arm chair critics to come up with theories after the fact. Dhoni must have assessed the pitch as getting easier to bat on and based on NZ's first innings at Napier, must have decided to play it safe. Who could blame him for that?

  • mahesh on April 9, 2009, 1:30 GMT

    While its easy to analyze sitting on the fence, one must understand that MSD is captain on the field and off the field as well since he is answerable to a billion+ people. Morover the Indian bowling is not consistent enough to take 10 wickets in a Test match with the opposition chasing 500. We are getting there folks..but not yet. Cheers to the team ! Keep it up MSD and the boys.

  • kaushal Bhatt on April 9, 2009, 1:30 GMT

    I agree with you Sameer, it was an opportunity lost.We were in a very comfortable position and it was a blunder by Mr.Dhoni to ignore the weather conditions out there. I believe Sourav Ganguly would have challenged the NZ team, as he was far more aggressive captain, and 2-0 win is always better than 1-0.

  • Mazharuddin on April 9, 2009, 1:29 GMT

    Are you all out of your mind. I do understand and agree Dhoni should have declared a bit earlier. But believe me being captain is no easy. He had close to 2 days to get NZ out and that is lot of time - and also he wanted to rule out NZ from entertaining any thoughts of having a go at the target. Everything was going according to his plan till the rain interrupted. If the target was 500 which means Dhoni should have declared on the end of Day 3, NZ would have had ample time to defend their time out and 250 per day would help their cause. You cant really predict the nature of the pitch. The way Taylor and Franklin were playing their game there were thoughts that NZ would be able to draw the game even if rain does not intervene. It was the fall of their partnership that triggered a major collapse and INDIA started entertaining wrapping up the match soon.

    You cant base your plans on predictions. There might be dark clouds through out the day and yet it might not rain. All the best MSD!!

  • danny v on April 9, 2009, 1:22 GMT

    As a kiwi (blackcaps) fan, I think Dhoni did the right thing. The most important issue by far was to win the series. Losing the last test to the 8th ranked country in the world would have set Indian cricket back heaps. Vettori had said his team would have taken risks to have a chance at winning. A target of 500 would definitely have been chased hard; based on the first innings at Napier, who was to say that Ryder and Taylor could not have got that by themselves. Kudos to the Indian team, they represented their country well and were very popular visitors.

  • Rob on April 8, 2009, 23:29 GMT

    Dhoni and Yuvaraj would rather score half-centuries and boost their averages than win a test match

  • sachin on April 8, 2009, 23:05 GMT

    Even a fool is wise after the even - Post match, one can sit down and analyse brilliantly with past matches as examples.

  • Indian Fan on April 8, 2009, 23:02 GMT

    While many of us criticise the daylight savings rule, let it be known that India were offered the oppurtunity to start earlier in the 3rd test and they DECLINED it. Also, they first two tests were started at 11am local time because India felt like a sleep in! Added to that the fact that Dhoni chose to bat for an hour too long, they only have themselves to blame for squandering such a dominant position.

  • Jay from Singapore on April 8, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    At the end of the day, it was not the rain that did us in but the bad light on Days 3 and 4, the direct result of not starting play earlier although the clocks were set back on hour in NZ on April 5. The NZ coach, Moles, is reported to have said that an earlier start was proposed but that the Indian team did not accede. Which dunderhead is responsible for this boo-boo ? Give Dhoni credit for inspiring leadership, blame the fielders for their casual attitude which led to dropped catches and a missed opportunity for a rare 2-0 win overseas.

  • Ravi on April 8, 2009, 22:49 GMT

    Where were this Samir from the first day of 3rd test and not predicting? Why he has not written a daily blog after 3rd day? Analysing and writing is a good art, but the match & play is not so easy. Dhoni is whole Indian Team, thats all, period. CONGRATS TO OUR INDIAN TEAM.

  • Srinivas on April 8, 2009, 22:44 GMT

    I vote for Dhoni, he has done the right thing. Everybody on this earth, including Dhoni, know that 500 run lead is enough to declare. You understand that there are 2 more days left after India got that lead. What Dhoni also very well know is his bowling attack needs just little over 100 overs to bowl out NZ. With 2 days play, which means 180 overs and if the match is started 30 mins early on 4th and 5th days, nearly 195 overs left afer day 3. If rain is predicted on the final day you can predict that a max of 50 overs will be lost and you can safely assume that 145 overs left in the match. So, what’s wrong playing another 15 - 20 overs on the 4th morning to take India to further safety? Another thing, I don't buy the story of Dhoni being lucky, as some people are still continue to say. Cricket is not a game of gambling where you go buy a lottery ticket and win a million $ with luck. And especially in test cricket where your skill is tested for 5 days, common folks stop doing that...

  • vishal on April 8, 2009, 22:36 GMT

    Mr.Samir, have you heard of the phrase 'Cricket is a funny game'.If you haven't, search for it online and know its meaning. The reason why Dhoni wanted a big lead because he though may be out of the clear blue sky New Zealand might bat well and achieve the winning target, which would have costed India the test and the series. He was just trying to be safe. Remember a draw is better than losing the match and the series. I know that stats from previous innings and game do back your opinion,but again Cricket is not about stats. Anything can happen. If Dhoni had declared the inning on 3rd day's Tea, and New Zealnad would have won, then you would be the first to cricitize Dhoni on his poor desicion making. So just give him a break and enjoy the series win that came after 41 years. Just look at all the comments that have been posted on this article,you will realize how wrong you are ! Thank you.

  • Sai Krishna on April 8, 2009, 22:25 GMT

    What would have happened if India had set a target of around 500 and New Zealand got there?The same folks would have gone for his throat.300 was a safe score in one dayers.Not anymore, right?So it is not correct to say it was not done earlier so cant be done now? While I would have loved a 2-0 victory (we almost got there) I am pretty happy with the 1-0. Dhoni is not like the earlier captains. Atleast not the ones who toured New Zealand for the past 40 years. Also the weather forecast was for late evening showers and not late afternoon ones.That proves you can't plan for weather beyond a point. India will need to build an effective bowling combination (I think we had only two effective bowlers in Zaheer and Harbhajan)if we want to become a relentless winning machine like Australia.

  • apoorav sharma on April 8, 2009, 22:21 GMT

    mr. samir, hats off to you for writing such a masala munch!!!! but what if you were the captain & the decision was left to you to you to declare???? wold'nt you have taken the safer side???? ok put it in other words, what if aftr dclaring d innings wit a lead of 450 & india would hv lost the test??? u would have been da irst 1 to blame MSD for his tactics??? dnt u think dt in da feild da situation is diff??? its vry difficult in da feild & iots vry easy to write articles on that n dts vy ur media hez a true sportperson???? blaming is vry easy sir!!! but i blv dt rather than making money fro ur MASALA MUNCH jst supoort indian team n our captain for taking a safe mode!!!! hats off to u MSD n commisurations to u mr. samir!! aftr even wining da series in nz aftr 40 yrs wsnt enuf 4 u press ppl to mk da news so u ppl wnt for da DARK SYD OF THE MOON to blame MSD captaincy!!!!b satisfied vt u gt rather than weeping on vt u dnt get!!!~! congrats MSD!!!! SOORY SAMIR FOR UR JOB!!!!

  • PD on April 8, 2009, 22:14 GMT

    History should provide you understanding and lessons. Just that. One should never take history for granted. You do not want to look like a stupid if the series would have tied, thereby, missing an opportunity that came along after 40 years. If you go by that, one that Dhoni or the Indian think-tank followed, it's what they got. They also had a fair shot at winning 2-0 while risking a possible draw. This was vindicated by the result. Had there been an extra hour of play or catches taken, a win was possible. But by virtually leaving no chance left for Kiwis the risk for a draw was there and that happened.

    Dhoni has taken risks before but he has been always pragmatic about it. He will not take risks if not warranted or there is some chance of success.

    In this case there was too much to lose and, yes, he took the defensive route and not look Stupid. That's a very pragmatic approach, certainly not enterprising - he would make a great CEO.

  • Rohit on April 8, 2009, 22:07 GMT

    I am fully agreed with Dhoni's decision. None of the captain will think about the whether and declare.If Dhoni would have declared earlier and by chance if India have lost the match then all the blames will be on Dhoni itself.. that time everyone will critisize him saying why he declared when India has enough time to play.. So Guys in both the format everyone will critisize you :) So better keep your self in a safer side and that's what Dhoni did in this test since this was the Golden decision from Dhoni's perspective and that's the reason TEAM INDIA WON A SERIES IN NEWZELAND AFTER MORE THAN 41 YEARS.. Series Win is a win either you win by 1-0 or 2-0. In my point of view if India was in a 2-0 position then Dhoni should have declared. That's why Cricket pandits and Lovers calls him a Genious Brain.

  • Varun on April 8, 2009, 22:02 GMT

    Ha ha....are you writing merely for the sake of writing an article? We (india) have not won a test series in NZ for 41 years. Its ok to play it safe with 600. Only a fool will put the entire test series at stake for a definite win. What if it had not rained and we were stuck sucking our thumbs watching NZ reach 500 odd? First off...Dhoni correctly did not underestimate NZ, secondly he played it safe guranteeing a series win....and lastly we almost won. So stop penning inane articles.

  • Amitoni on April 8, 2009, 22:02 GMT

    If India had managed to hold on to the 3 dropped catches - would you have made the same argument. There is no ifs and buts, you take a decision and live by it. People talking about this including the author, what experience do you have taking such a decision? I bet...zilch.

  • Hatrick on April 8, 2009, 22:00 GMT

    I agree with the writer that India could have been aggressive on the field setting and held on to their catches but not with the timing of declaration. Yes, captains plan for weather only if they actually see the evidence for it (like dark clouds on horizon). No one in the right mind would plan for weather 2 days ahead!! If you were so certain about the timing of declaration, why didnt you write this blog at the end of the 3rd day rather than after the fact. Afterall, your logic should be good then as well. 600+ runs for 5 & half sessions is fair game. If this is was a crumbling wicket or if they had batted till Lunch or after on 4th day, I could see your point. For me, the timing was correct. As some blogger posted, records are meant to be broken and who would have thought SA could chase 430+ against the best side in an ODI when the record was around 325+ at the time.

  • Jeet on April 8, 2009, 22:00 GMT

    If India had won this match, I don't think we will be here discussing this. If India has declared early as suggested by the writer, the same writer will be after Dhoni for declaring early. Critiques need to appreciate the hardwork from Indian team and the performance than sitting in their rooms and writing these articles to pay their bills. This is the most ridiculous stuff I have seen in media.

    This team is playing some of the best cricket under Dhoni. I am sure he will do things differently next time.

  • Kalyan on April 8, 2009, 21:59 GMT

    Guys, u're missing the plot here. Dhoni wanted his not out half century to increase his batting average. just like in the odi's. he plays slow and just increases his average a the cost of his teams 20, 30 runs every time. Same here. Just his greed for another 50 costed the match.

  • Engle on April 8, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    Dhoni didnt declare cause the hunger wasn't there.

    Many teams tend to coast when they're ahead and that's what India did. I doubt whether any other Indian captain would do differently.

    But I agree with Samir. Get out of your comfort zone, get out of the defensive mindset, get out of the groupthink, go for the win.

  • Bilbo Baggins on April 8, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    Dhoni's take on risking a loss to guarantee a win would be: extremely high downside, limited upside. History will probably forget this drawn test but remember the series win.

  • Shirish on April 8, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    Well What to say .. Indian cricket is definitely moving forward. Question here is how many overseas win are there in Indian teams pocket. 41 years in NZ is a long gap.. Every time we have come close to achieve this, every time we are one up. we have goofed it up in the very next test. After Hamilton we fumbled again at Napier, but managed to hold on and yes we could have won in the Wellington too. However it was more important to aim the series win then test win and not to give opposition any hope of doing a kolkota on India. We can see the change they are not celebrating like they have done it first time (like first win in SA). They are becoming more accustomed to Test win now is the time to move to series win. Once they start to win series more often, they will make most of the situation like in Wellington test.

  • Shirish on April 8, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    Well What to say .. Indian cricket is definitely moving forward. Question here is how many overseas win are there in Indian teams pocket. 41 years in NZ is a long gap.. Every time we have come close to achieve this, every time we are one up. we have goofed it up in the very next test. After Hamilton we fumbled again at Napier, but managed to hold on and yes we could have won in the Wellington too. However it was more important to aim the series win then test win and not to give opposition any hope of doing a kolkota on India. We can see the change they are not celebrating like they have done it first time (like first win in SA). They are becoming more accustomed to Test win now is the time to move to series win. Once they start to win series more often, they will make most of the situation like in Wellington test.

  • Kirit Barot on April 8, 2009, 21:52 GMT

    I am pulling my hair over the same for last few days. I think it is just the conservative thinking, 500 runs were good enough, everybody here in New Zealand knew very well that 5th day will be rain affected...lucky if we could get 2 hours...how come dhoni did not knew...it is just eh attitude...they were happy with the one test match victory...eager to go home... Real lapse on dhoni's part. he got it wrong... Irony is that whole india seems to be happy with one test match victory...it could have been 2-0 you Indians wake up and act like champions...

    May be Indian team needs Weather Manager...I volunteer

  • srikanth kotla on April 8, 2009, 21:51 GMT

    hello samir, sorry to say but the artical underestimates what Dhoni has done. And being in action makes hell lot of difference in taking a decision with various factors in mind. These black caps have got to 600+ in Napier, when they were clobbered in first test and 3-0 score was inevitable. With series WIN in NZ yearning since 41 years, who wants DHONI to make it 1-1. Surely, the FAB-3 doesn't want it to happen. Their long waiting has now been achieved under Dhoni. And Finally, what has made one think of the declaration by dhoni? Had catches been held on, presentation ceremony had been taken place well before it poured down.The criticism for 1-0 scoreline should go to the ones who took the decision to play in regular hours and indian fielding for not taking all the chances that came their way. DHONI HAS GOT NOTHING TO BE CHARGED FOR 1-0.

  • Sameer on April 8, 2009, 21:46 GMT

    I remember once Ravi Shastri, the only time he captained, set a target of about 400 something, on early 4th day to the touring windies side in the late 1980s.

    Sad that it didn't set any kind of precedent despite we having won that match comfortably....

    Sad that it didn't set any kind of precedent...

  • chembu on April 8, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    the writer of this article should understand that most of the 400 plus last innings targets in the past have been set with not much time to score or with the pitch doing its bit on the last day, which was not easy to score and most of the teams lost the matches. This match is wellington in different, if India is to declare at 500 on the third day, there will be two days left to chase the target and the pitch is not doing much and it is a small ground, anything can happen, Dhoni is in a better position to take a decision rather than you sitting in America.

  • Phattu on April 8, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Samir, what would you have done if you were the captain for the Indian cricket team? Mind you it was not 0-0 in the series, we had a comfortable lead and we had to build more around it. No one can predict weather, even local channels in NZ predicted passing showers not complete downpour.

    We are defensive in our approach and thinking, that is the way we are brought up from childhood, the mentality and the practices that we have all revolves around saving something to defend. That is why at this economic slowdown India is better off than most of the other nations in the world.

  • Hemu on April 8, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    It's not only the weather and Dhoni's defencive tactics to blame. Day light saving should be considered. Whey they dinn't start the match 1 hour earlier when the day light saving came in place on Saturday. This might have given 2 hours extra for two days. We lost some time due to bad light on 4th day.

  • Desi on April 8, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Duuuuuude ... Nonsense. Series win is enough for this one. Baby steps. Next time in NZ we will think about whitewash. Don't become Indian news channels who will critisize anything. Positive result is what is needed of Dhoni and he is delivering. Bottomline.

  • santosh on April 8, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    I completely agree with Samir. You don't need 600 runs against Kiwis to win the test. 500 or even 450 should have been enough. Agreed there were 2 full days to take them out, but that did not happen. Why doesn't India always act aggressively to win and are content with draws is perplexing. A team like India should have come back 2-0, not 1-0. Take a leaf out of Australia at their peak. They rattled the opposition and came back from losing positions to win games. Dhoni needs to be more aggressive and do case studies of Gilchrist's and Border's captaincies to mould into the great captains league

  • subra on April 8, 2009, 21:26 GMT

    what dhoni has done is rite when two clear days were left.no one takes a chance on weather as there is no D/L method in test.it was expected NZ will play it out for a draw if not for a win

  • bis on April 8, 2009, 21:24 GMT

    full marks to the writer. game of cricket is more important than any person or team - attacking cricket should be praised and defensive cricket condemned. That is why Ian Chappell is such a champion critic as he was a champion batsman and captain - because he understands this simple but essential truth about cricket. As the writer correctly points out, NZ are ranked no: 8 in the world - yet the Indians were petrified of them especially after the mauling they received in the second test. The Indians were also ready with the excuse of New Zealand pitches if they had lost - yet even the Cricinfo reviewers were forced to concede that the pitches were even truer for batting than Indian pitches (this is what Sambit Bal said in his review of the series). I found the whole Indian effort, with a middle aged lineup of batting greats, lack of an effective third seamer, lack of an all rounder, Sehwag batting like a sixth former, utterly unconvincing and unworthy of aspirants to cricket leadership.

  • Indian cricket fan in West Indies (Naresh) on April 8, 2009, 21:23 GMT

    Dhoni knew the weather conditions well in adavnce and his decision not to declare at the lead of 550 was one of his worst decisions he has ever made, If we are planing to be a number one team in the world (Which I am sure of Dhoni and his men are capable of doing it in very near future) Dhoni has to be an attacking and different captain than all other captains of India. Anyways congratulations for wining the series. See you soon here in West Indies with the same attacking stroke play from your blades and some real superb bowling action by our heros.

  • Viraj Purang on April 8, 2009, 21:19 GMT

    What everyone keep sforgetting is that Dhoni was the guy on the battlefield. He had the best view and hence the judgement should be respected.

    As a player, do understand this ... you are not talking about a typical 5th day pitch in Calcutta here. You are talking about 3rd and 4th day pitches outside the sub-continent. That being said, the pain of a win slipping away, when it seemed like it was in our bag isn't too good.

  • Tushar Radke on April 8, 2009, 21:17 GMT

    Very well said Samir. My sentiments exactly. Anyone defending the declaration is an idiot. If 530 was not enough and could be chased down, 610 could also be chased down. The problem is with the mindset. It was obvious in Mohali, it was obvious now. I should mention that the problem really started when Tendulkar got out. Laxman and Gambhir slowed down when India led by 391 shortly after lunch on Day 3. That is essentially a joke. You have nothing to lose and you still want to consolidate. It boils my blood as an Indian supporter that our captain has zero faith in our bowling after the first innings score of 197. And not planning around Rain is the lamest excuse I have ever heard. Everyone knew about the forecast and he just wanted to bat on and on because he was having fun batting. This is gully cricket mindset being played out at the international level. The moment, some of the players lose their form, Dhoni is on his way out.

  • Aakash on April 8, 2009, 21:13 GMT

    For the record, I would like to commend both teams for the spirit in which the series was played -- it harkened back to the late seventies, early eighties where the focus remained on the game and the elegance of its participants. I for one am glad that the Indian team did not act like "meanies" -- frankly, we have "The Ugly Australians" for that.

    That said, I do agree that a relatively more sporting declaration and attacking fields could have helped secure a well deserved win despite the weather and should have been seriously explored given rain was forecast.

  • Girish on April 8, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    We indians have defensive mentality. And that is one of the reasons why we had dismal performance despite personal heroics. I don't see a point Dhoni not declaring on day 3 stumps and exploiting first hour windy condition on day 4. Mostly it looked like he was chasing his personal target of half century. If he thought his team cannot defend 550 or so then where on earth he would dream of becoming number 1 team. Remember SA, AUS are riding on top not because of 1 or 2 series wins. They have done something special,pulled victories from the dead matches (e.g. declaring whole innings by both teams). Sorry to say Mr.Dhoni, you can't make no.1 team with orthodox thinking/strategy....and also you can't just ride on luck for a long...

  • Mehul on April 8, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    I'd back Dhoni here. He planned well enough - play the first ball on Day 4 to take advantage of the roller, postpone the declaration till about halfway into the session, so its not ridiculously obvious, and back your bowlers to get you 10 4th inning wickets in the 3-4 sessions of play left.

    What has not been criticized adequately is the ability of the fielding side to bowl out their so-called inferior counterparts in that period, what with catches being dropped and passive passages of play.

    My verdict - well done Dhoni; shame on you, Sharma, Patel and co.

  • sandeep chauhan on April 8, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    well, i think dhoni is going through a learning curve as a captain so its not entirely fair to criticise him. he might have thought that india would get kiwis allout before the rain comes.eventually it didn't happen.don't go by the number of hours the fourth innings lasted,but see the no. of overs bowled.a few more deliveries bowled and the game was ours.nevertheless i am sure now everyone can feel the strength this msd squad has got.better luck next time.

  • cricketfanatic on April 8, 2009, 21:07 GMT

    i think dhoni wanted to make it absolutely sure that India wins, which is fair enough. had he declared earlier and somehow against all the odds had NZ managed to bat the 2 days then he would have been blamed for not being conservative enough. series win surely comes before a test match win. after some years, no one will even remember this test match but the series win will be. i dont blame dhoni for declaring late. however i do feel that when the ball does seam around a bit in the morning, india should have been bowling and not batting!(day 4) so i think that going for a 600+ lead was a good tactic but maybe India should have batted a bit more aggresively on day 3 last session. but all in all India won after 41 years and thats all that matters really! so well done dhoni!!

  • Indian cricket fan in West Indies (Naresh) on April 8, 2009, 21:04 GMT

    Dhoni knew the weather conditions well in adavnce and his decision not to declare at the lead of 550 was one of his worst decisions he has ever made, If we are planing to be a number one team in the world (Which I am sure of Dhoni and his men are capable of doing it in very near future) Dhoni has to be an attacking and different captain than all other captains of India. Anyways congratulations for wining the series. See you soon here in West Indies with the same attacking stroke play from your blades and some real superb bowling action by our heros.

  • Sanjay on April 8, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    I guess the Indian fans are never going to be happy with what India does if India won the 3rd test match than the Indian would still not be happy. You should take what you get. Good Job Dhoni you are a great captain.

  • cricketfanatic on April 8, 2009, 21:00 GMT

    i think dhoni wanted to make it absolutely sure that India wins, which is fair enough. had he declared earlier and somehow against all the odds had NZ managed to bat the 2 days then he would have been blamed for not being conservative enough. series win surely comes before a test match win. after some years, no one will even remember this test match but the series win will be. i dont blame dhoni for declaring late. however i do feel that when the ball does seam around a bit in the morning, india should have been bowling and not batting!(day 4) so i think that going for a 600+ lead was a good tactic but maybe India should have batted a bit more aggresively on day 3 last session. but all in all India won after 41 years and thats all that matters really! so well done dhoni!!

  • Sunil Kurian on April 8, 2009, 20:56 GMT

    Samir, Good writing but really bad thinking on your part. If you were out to patronize the fact that talk is cheap, you won that battle. You keep forgetting that Team India can be so schizophrenic. This is a team that can dominate any attack in the world and yet fall like a pack of dominoes when caught off-guard. Even if Dhoni wanted to attack badly and win, I guess that was the scenario that he would have played in his head. An to further my point wasn't it the same dreaded bowling attack that couldn't dislodge Ross Taylor and James Franklin both of whom seemed pretty pedestrian in most of their earlier innings. As for me I will take a 1-0 result any day as opposed to a 1-1. I still don't know what you prefer.

  • Youvi on April 8, 2009, 20:55 GMT

    Especially by the 4th day, many India fans had an uneasy feeling that weather will be a huge factor in ensuring a draw. Even after a sizeable lead and with wickets in hand India seemed to be ambling along. This seems to be a pattern - be content with 1-0 (as was Dravid against England) and now Dhoni. It is irritating to keep reading the term "historic" to describe this win. Hardly, I say - it still doesn't match up to Tiger Pataudi's team beating NZ 3-1 in 1967-68. This is considering now India is bracketed with Australia and SA. Plus many current players are used to playing in cold/damp conditions. Other than Pataudi most others in 1967-68 were not used to conditions such as those found in NZ. Dhoni describes it as a "benchmark" for future tours. No, converting a potential 2-0 win to an easy satisfaction of a 1-0 series win - that shouldn't be the benchmark. Especially not against NZ which is not Australia or SA.

  • bharat on April 8, 2009, 20:51 GMT

    It is clear that Dhoni is not a Ponting (in terms of ruthlessness) or a Sobers (in terms of self-confidence). He should have declared before close of play on Day 3 and wrapped up the test on day 4. This Indian team is the best ever but they are not playing to their full potential because they dont fully believe in themselves (yet)

  • Venu on April 8, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    Please note that's it's not just captains who brings the success to the team. The simpe reason for India winning matches because most of the players are playing. Dhoni is just luckie than ganguly, dravid and sachin.

  • Krishna on April 8, 2009, 20:41 GMT

    I don't agree with Samir.I think what Dhoni did is 100% correct.First of all Winning the series for india is important as we haven't done it before in 40 yrs and then play safe.I whole heartedly congratulate Indian Team for the feat.Having 600+ gives a phsycological advantage for the team and they can go for all win situation which Dhoni did and was almost successful and also he had 2 days of time to defeat kiwis .Lately teams have been chasing down big totals and playing safe is always the best bet with already 1 NILL ahead in the series.Instead of whining abt 3rd test draw we should enjoy the series win and be proud of what our Heros has done.They dominiated the Kiwis all through out the series.

  • Animesh on April 8, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    I am sorry to say but this type of useless articles and advices have been submitted on net since many years now. People who have no idea about cricket try to show that they have too much knowledge. Since it was a historic series win, no doubt the first thing was to keep the test match out of NZ's reach, winning should not be the priority at all. Any intelligent cricket captain will do that. Now once we have won a series in NZ after so many years, surely in next series in NZ winning will be priority and u will surely see Dhoni going for the kill whenever India gets opportunity. I salute him for his decisions and his attitude towards the game. At the moment, Indian are playing like no.1 and Dhoni is captaining like no.1. By the way if India had won the controversial 2nd test match in Australia and won the series 2-1 (which did not happen thanks to umpires) then right now India would have been already no.1 in rankings. Congrats India.

  • Dhiraj on April 8, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    The most surprising thing in the entire article is that New Zealand batsman are labelled as hopeless. I think New Zealand team has a fantastic batting line up and Dhoni clearly respected that.

    His declaration timing was a very good balance between safety and victory. He nearly achieved the latter. Some dropped catches went against India. India would've finished New Zealand in another 30 mins. So blaming Dhoni for not calculating the weather to perfection is like asking for a bit too much from a human being.

    Its quite clear that India actually won the 3rd test and the much needed reversal of Psychological damage has been done, which is more important than aesthetic value of 2-0.

  • Dhiraj on April 8, 2009, 20:29 GMT

    The most surprising thing in the entire article is that New Zealand batsman are labelled as hopeless. I think New Zealand team has a fantastic batting line up and Dhoni clearly respected that. His declaration timing was a very good balance between safety and victory. He nearly achieved the latter. Some dropped catches went against India. India would've finished New Zealand in another 30 mins. So blaming Dhoni for not calculating the weather to perfection is like asking for a bit too much from a human being. Its quite clear that India actually won the 3rd test and the much needed reversal of Psychological damage has been done, which is more important than aesthetic value of 2-0.

  • Rahul on April 8, 2009, 20:25 GMT

    What the hell? Such a BS article and more BS by most user supporting such stupidity. What does have a man do to earn respect? He won a bloody series(mind you a first in NZ in 41 yrs) and almost won the last test in question too.

    You say he was defensive, I saw it calculation. Had the forecast been wrong or rain held off for a little while, India would have won. BUT, if NZ did have a miracle day and rain not interfered, India possibly could have risked the series and a world record chase if declared too early. Then these same bloody critics would be rooting to sack Dhoni. And the person you are questioning has yet to lose a series and has 100% positive results to back him. And you say you didnt see aggression? Asking Sachin to bowl eventhough Sachin hasnt bowled in a match situation over a year and doesnt bowl in the nets either. Why? Because looking at how much drift Bhajji was getting, Sachin was sure to fare well (although it was expected that Sachin would be inconsistent)

  • Keyur on April 8, 2009, 20:25 GMT

    It was just a matter of two good balls being bowled that could have got the wickets. We cant put that blame on Dhoni. He has had enough time to get those wickets. And in any case saving the test match was a lot more important when we know that the match was already bagged. So i dont really feel this topic was worth discussing. As we all indians tend to do...always criticize about everything and nothing !!!

  • Prabhushankar Srinivasan on April 8, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    I dont agree with you Samir. Had India declared at 531 with 6 sessions for NZ to bat and they do it, BCCI will not be "talking" to Samir or others who think 531 is enough. Decisions are taken after a lot of considerations. Dhoni's (Kirstens ?) decision was fine for them when they took it. India came back as series winner. What more do we want as spectators? Dhoni seems to be a guy with the right thinking. Should we ALL not shut up and just watch them perform? Enough said!

  • Keyur on April 8, 2009, 20:23 GMT

    It was just a matter of two good balls being bowled that could have got the wickets. We cant put that blame on Dhoni. He has had enough time to get those wickets. And in any case saving the test match was a lot more important when we know that the match was already bagged. So i dont really feel this topic was worth discussing. As we all indians tend to do...always criticize about everything and nothing !!!

  • Manny on April 8, 2009, 20:16 GMT

    I think nobody is talking about the fact that aprt from Zaheer & Harbhajan the other 2 bowlers struggled in the first innings. I am sure this had to play into Dhoni's midset of safety first. The pitch from all accounts was still playing true.

  • Prithvi Paul on April 8, 2009, 20:12 GMT

    I don't agree with you Samir and all others whose opinion is that Dhoni delayed in declaration and hence the draw , Its very easy to write comments and be critical of India's Best Captain , than ground realities , He made correct decision , its been 41 years without a series victory , there comments that Dhoni is lucky , well every captain needs luck , but luck is 50% , rest is effort and captaincy skills , Dhoni has won T20-20 world cup , luck yes and effort , he won one series in australia, Srilanka , New zealand and all home series he has captained in ODIs , so that is all luck , i will say Hats off to MSD , just look how India played when Sehwag captained one match , and talking about being defensive ,teams these days can score 500 , did you see the pitch how true it behaved even on 5th day , that tells me that MSD is very clever and thinking captain

    In End we won over seas Series , no mean achievement. So i will best of luck MSD for T2020

  • Rahul Vivek on April 8, 2009, 20:09 GMT

    I still stick to my word! Dhoni was correct in declaring the innings at that time. I would like to ask a question which by many means seem rhetoric, Would you guyz have the same say in blaspheming Dhoni had Newzealand outclassed a modest 450 total and recorded a win here ? In cricket nothing is rated as impossible, it is always improbable. But, did you ever expect a modest West Indian batting line up would crack a total of 420 against the best cricketing side Australia ? In terms of ranking which the author refers to, West Indies was No. 7 or No. 8 then and Australia, the Champions. Dhoni was right in every stance declaring the innings only after securing the series win and then going for the kill. Who in the world would expect about 80-85 overs (A day's play) to be washed out ? Please let him do something he is good at and making merry for our Indian Cricket!

    - Rahul Vivek

  • Harsha reddy on April 8, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    I totally agree with the writer , if we aspire to be world number one we need to win as many test matches as possible. We are a good team now but to be a great team we need to win more test matches, we cannot keep killing test matches(dravid did it in england, kumble did it in india, ganguly did it in sydney and now dhoni) this has to change to be world number 1..I would rate S. Waugh highly for this one factor as he always went for a win ...

  • DuBois on April 8, 2009, 20:05 GMT

    Perhaps Dhoni does have the utmost confidence in his team-mates. A pattern seems to me to be emerging with this team. Do their utmost to set-up a series winning lead then defend it. Additional wins are a bonus. Reminds me of the MO of Italian soccer. Extremely skilful technically, be it in attack or defence, and capable of effortlessly changing from one mode to the other. They are technically as good as any team that has ever been. Gambhir, Shewag, Tendulkar, Darvid, Laxman, Dhoni, and even the bowlers have become adept at attacking or defending when the situation demands it, and thus at winning and perhaps have even become a little ruthless. And thankfully Dhoni will be the making or remaking of Harbajan Singh. He is by far a better bowler than Vettori, well as an attacking one anyway. They are great to watch and follow, and enjoy this while it lasts. Sadly Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman and Zaheer will very soon be gone, and we will so much the poorer.

  • sriram on April 8, 2009, 20:02 GMT

    It wasnt that Dhoni was cautious - I think it was the opposite, that he was over-confident, thought he could bowl out NZ in 3 sessions, before rain came. He then wanted to take maximum batting practice, for himself and for Yuvraj, boost their averages, before declaring. Obviously he cant admit to it after it backfired, so he said something about needing to be safe.

  • ashirwad on April 8, 2009, 20:01 GMT

    Another one of those hindsight-being-20/20 article. Give guys some credit. Yes they had a lead of a score that hasnt been surmounted before but that doesnt mean you'd just give it away. playing till about an hr before lunch on 4th day was very much the right decision. Now that that weather ruined the plan is just unfortunate.

  • Rohitaswa Chakrabarti on April 8, 2009, 20:01 GMT

    Completely agree with Samir. We Indians by nature are content with smaller things when we have the ability to achieve much bigger things in life. Dhoni's decision stems from the same psychology and it was disappointing to see India not being able to beat NZ 2-0. Amidst all the admiration, it has to be realized that this NZ side was nowhere near as strong as they used to be and the attitude of the Indian team on the last two days was disappointing to say the least. I am not a cricket expert but i have watched enough to understand that this is the reason why India have not won a lot of test matches before due to the same attitude shown by the past captains-be it Ganguly, Dravid, Azharuddin, Sachin or anyone else and Dhoni followed it. If he has to take India to another level and be the number 1 test side, he has to be a lot more positive. The field placings were inexplicably defensive at times. I don't see an Australian side doing the same ever.

  • vimalan on April 8, 2009, 19:58 GMT

    that's what the difference between a conservative Indian side ( generally Indians going by most of the comments here ) and an adventurous Australian side. That's why they remain on top. People here are talking about a 0.01% possibility of NZ winning the game by scoring 500 instead of 99.99% possibility of an Indian win if they had declared a little earlier. I would always take the later.

  • Abith on April 8, 2009, 19:56 GMT

    i guess u guys didnt c wat dhoni had to say for this.he was planning to bowl 110 overs.he needed 110 overs to bowl them out.he know how his bowling attack is but unfortunately he didnt get 110 overs.Dhoni declared with 600 plus runs bcoz in new zealands mindset it was impossible to achieve.if a huge partnership take place between ryder and taylor then 500+ will be nothing.how can anyone criticize dhoni? With his captaincy india havent lost a single test match!!!!!! he is a cool guy with modern plans which will be hard for us to think so just enjoy the way they are playing instead of criticizing.

  • karthick on April 8, 2009, 19:55 GMT

    well..dhoni's intention was to mentally pshche out NZ out of the game. It is his style of doing things. He bowled to an 8-1 field against Aus last year and it worked exactly as he expected. The same was the case here and but for the rain, we would have won the series 2-0. Considering the ease with which targets are chased down these days..remember last year SA were 414/4 or something when they defeated australia..and India were 386/4 against England when they successfully chased down the target in Chennai.. who knows NZ scored 620 runs in the last test match.. Ross Taylor clicked..what if Jesse Ryder had clicked? What if one of their openers had scored a century..or Brendon McCullum had scored a century..there is a better chance of getting a batsman our when he is psyched out! That is exactly wat he tried.. and rain was not with him during the last day! Dhoni has won so many series or India over the last 1.5 years..he won a t20 world cup, a series in australia etc..lets hail the hero!

  • Ed on April 8, 2009, 19:54 GMT

    After all the brilliant test cricket of late, with Eng, Aus, WI etc all playing there part in enthralling enconters, Dhoni again gave the crowd a reminder that there are players who are still really keen not to compete whenever the chance arises - some nails have been removed of late from the coffin that was thought to be test cricket, but Dhoni has put his weight back on the lid with the very obvious negative tactics - rain was forcast five days in advance - virtually guaranteed - and with all the technology they have in the weather centre these days - it ofcourse arrived on cue to spoil the crowds day. NZ were NEVER going to get 400 ever mind about 600 - what a poor show by India.

  • CP on April 8, 2009, 19:53 GMT

    Point very well made by Pankaj. How many team have declared having 600 runs or less with almost 150 overs left in the match. Its very easy to comment sipping you tea sitting in you sofa with a ottoman for your legs. If this article might have been written on the second day of the game, then the authors point might have been looked upon.

    Moreover, saying MSD doesnt bother about winning the 3rd test is totally rubbish. How do you know that, did he announce that in a press meeting?

    We saw what happened when MSD was missing for the second test. Also, whats wrong in having good luck. We always wish people for good luck, maybe Dhoni always wished by people whose wishes comes true.

  • Pran on April 8, 2009, 19:52 GMT

    Very well said. While everyone is going gaga over Dhoni's captaincy I think this article puts things in perspective. Dhoni really missed a chance here to go for the kill and win 2-0.

  • Govinda Gopala on April 8, 2009, 19:48 GMT

    Hindsight is 20/20!!! Our Indian upbrining teaches us to always be critical of what was not done, rather than focus on what was done, and that happens to the be fact that WE WON THE SERIES. Finally, we have Dhoni focussing correctly to deliver for us, and here we have a bunch of people questioning that!!! Ever wonder why progress doesn't happen quickly in India??? Because we are all just too critical - we were raised that way. Our parents always asked why you got 98/100 instead of 100/100 - you were rarely appreciated for getting 98%. To me, there are 98 reasons to be happy and I'd rather enjoy that happiness than focus on the other two. ......Maybe y'all should read the book on 'the power of positive thinking'. (I am sure the readers here are itching to ask me if I have read it!!)

    You go DHONI!!! Great job to you and everyone in the Indian Cricket Team.

  • Hari on April 8, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    Easier said than done my friends..If India can chase big totals, so can other teams.. and trust me Its different when you are actually in the middle.. Postmortem and hindsight is always easier.. so what if they played safe..they were ahead and its better safe than sorry.

  • Raj on April 8, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    All I know we came back home with a historic win! Hope to see more historic wins from Indian team in near future. Cheers to Indian team!

  • cricfan on April 8, 2009, 19:41 GMT

    To continue on previous post - how many of you agree that had the series score been 0-0 or 1-1 Dhoni should have still waited for a 600 target before declaring?...maybe just about 500 is enough now huh? If your answer changed, the author's point and my point is made - that Dhoni played it safe to conserve the series lead, thats all - same as Dravid in England. He is still a very good captain - but he is no Steve Waugh or Clive Lloyd - at least not yet :)

  • Simanshu on April 8, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    In retrospect, it is easy to say all this. Even the weather prediction was not certain (even local people also said). It was not clear how many hours of play will get affected. In such cases you can not plan things considering the uncertain weather. Another thing is when you have not done something in last 41 years, let us be sure we first make sure we win the series and then we try our best to win the match. However, I agree the intensity and fielding standard during the third session of fourth day was below par. They could have attacked more. These wins will surely give them courage and confidence to make a sporting declaration in future.

  • Aakash on April 8, 2009, 19:39 GMT

    For the record, I would like to commend both teams for the spirit in which the series was played -- it harkened back to the late seventies, early eighties where the focus remained on the game and the elegance of its participants. I for one am glad that the Indian team did not act like "meanies" -- frankly, we have "The Ugly Australians" for that.

    That said, I do agree that a relatively more sporting declaration and attacking fields could have helped secure a well deserved win despite the weather and should have been seriously explored given rain was forecast.

  • Adil Zaman on April 8, 2009, 19:36 GMT

    Catches win Matches!Thats something that has been said in the game of cricket for long. If the dropped catches would have been taken we would have won the game much before the weather god came to rescue New Zealand.Last couple of series Dhoni approach has been to play safe and try to win the series rather than winning every single game, nothing too wrong about it because end of the day its the series win that matters the most.When people criticize MSD for being defensive,what also needs to be thought of is the fact that decisions like declaring are not taken by one man solely, its a collective decision of atleast few senior pros,coach and captain.This series might be the last one in New Zealand for Sachin,Dravid and Laxman. They would have definitely wanted to change the memories of defeat with a win atlast.Indian team is trying to set in the habit of winning and i am sure with time we will see matches being won along with the series,till that time atleast i will take the series win

  • Anuj on April 8, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    India started the series with 118 ICC rating points, and ebded with 117. This clearly shows underperformance in the series. A 1-0 -2 victory by 1 number 3 side over number 8 side is considered a sub-par performance. And Dhoni will have to take the blame for that. He has a very defensive samidsttreak, as was shown in the Mohali Test against England , when he just allowed Yuvraj and Gambhir to bat on to enable them to get 100 and 200

  • cricfan on April 8, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    I totally agree with the author's viewpoint. Shame on you all trying to bash his viewpoint and calling him names - people like Shashank are reflective of the majority opinion - very conservative and traditional, like the 'old' India and un-Ozzie or un-Springbok like. to quote him - "How does 1 test matter when you look at the greater achievement? ..blah blah ..t doesn't matter whether you win by an inch or a mile...A win is always a win!" This is the biggest load of #@$@$ that I heard ! Winning the series by 1 test margin or 2 test margin makes a difference in the ICC rankings - in this case we actually lost a point to those who are keeping track! If our aspiration is to become the #1 team and better than teams like Aus and SA , we have to take leaves from the pages of their books and be RUTHLESS and efficient - Aussies would win a series 3-0 if a 2-0 win is to be taken. My explanation is that - we are just 'learning ' to win - and getting the monkeys off our back like past losses.

  • CricketisMyPassion on April 8, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    If MSD had declared when Yuvi was out he wd have had another 10 overs more. That shd hv been enough. Of course all 'if's are what they are!

  • Raj Goraya on April 8, 2009, 19:15 GMT

    Rain would have changed strategy if India was one game down in the series and had to win the game to not loose the series. Given the situation, it was the right thing to do. You would be complaining about Dhoni's strategy if India had declared earlier and New Zealand had managed to chase the target. Then the headline would be. DHONI'S LOST CHANCE TO WIN NZ SERIES

  • Ram on April 8, 2009, 19:13 GMT

    Fantastic article. Dhoni is doing fine but...he should know what separates a successfull captain and a captain who can take the teams to more success and to the top of the world. The delay in declaration in the 3rd test shows his utter lack of confidence on his bowlers. This is bound to send wrong signals. Having said that...is Dhoni alone to be blamed for this? Isn't that a collective decision to adopt safety first. Once that is conveyed to the team...the mindset of the whole team changes and the team looses interest in the match further once it becomes very clear that the opposition cannot win the match. "Dhoni...if you want to take India to what Auz have achieved and South Africa is trying to...you need to come out of this kinda of a mindset". All the best for your future matches.

  • Jay Padia on April 8, 2009, 19:13 GMT

    but perhaps the reason they weren't held was that the team's mind wasn't fully set on winning the game as opposed to the series -- indeed. This has been a problem with the Indian team always. They have to come out of it; especially if they want to be compared to the top 2 teams in the world. India is a good team, but it also has to have the mindset of a great team. Saurav Ganguly might have taken the risk; but than he had been a successful captain for some time. Maybe Dhoni was too new a captain to try that. But anyways congratulations India for playing dominating cricket. More than that, congratulations Gautham Gambhir for being the anchor.

  • Gursharan Sandhu on April 8, 2009, 19:12 GMT

    If you see Indian team in there #rd test first innings made 375 runs in one day.Back in Napier 2test NZ were scoring at a rate of above 4 an overs.The people who are saying Dhoni would have declared by seting 500 or 550 runs are simply dreaming. As Dhoni said during presentaion he did'nt banked on weather to loose or win a match.I think Dhoni did'nt gave a any chance to NZ in the there second inning in the 3rd test.

    So Mr.Samir chopra,insted of being crictical on Dhoni and team try to be happy with the results.And try to be more logical next time.

  • Pankaj on April 8, 2009, 19:10 GMT

    To some who question India's rate of scoring, I ask - in how many tests have you seen an average of 4.11 and 3.74. Give me 3 examples in modern day cricket where a team scored better.

    To some who question India's ability to win and beating NZ, ranked 8th in the world - Indians did beat Aus, Sri Lanka, England lately, didnt they? To them I ask another question - Under Dhoni, which series did lost badly (I wouldnt count 2-1 or 1-0 loss as a bad loss - if any).

    And to all who question Dhoni's captaincy, I ask "Exactly Who do you have in mind, if we were to replace Dhoni"?

    To all I ask - Exactly what margin did you set for India before the start of the series? Or after they lost both the T20s?

  • Deo Bhushan Tiwari on April 8, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    though i couldnt see any of the match due to my job and time difference ( I stay in Dubai)I had been following it thru this site.....

    however i really dont agree with the author of this blog and people supporting him..

    i dont want to put the same comments which already have been made by others, as it will be a repetition....however want to make one point....

    just think when india will tour NZ for the next time..will they have the same psycological pressure like this team had of not being successful for 41 long years?

    even if dhoni's approach was defensive and self content with the 1-0 series win, so be it. its better to have a calculated and defensive win then risking a 1-1 draw....after all Cricket is unpredictable and no target is big. even bangladesh has beaten australia and pakistan when these teams were in their prime.

    I really want samir to reply on this and on others.

  • Kailash on April 8, 2009, 18:51 GMT

    Jesse has proved that he can get a double without much effort and in no time, add taylor who can score at a quick pace and then Mccullum.. it probably would have been an Indian team bowling to save the test on fifth day. Remember the pitch was still batting friendly so it was not about showing less confidence in the bowlers.

  • vellani on April 8, 2009, 18:43 GMT

    This was a wimpy response from Dhoni. Pushing the Indian innings into the 4th day with a staggering lead like that was way beyond playing it safe. If India wants to be the king of the world in this game, it needs to think and act like one. If you look at some of the most successful captains in the game, they were also the most aggressive. I cannot imagine Clive Lloyd or Steve Waugh being so much on the defensive. And if there is any chance of test cricket surviving it has to stop producing damp squibs like this.

  • vellani on April 8, 2009, 18:42 GMT

    This was a wimpy response from Dhoni. Pushing the Indian innings into the 4th day with a staggering lead like that was way beyond playing it safe. If India wants to be the king of the world in this game, it needs to think and act like one. If you look at some of the most successful captains in the game, they were also the most aggressive. I cannot imagine Clive Lloyd or Steve Waugh being so much on the defensive. And if there is any chance of test cricket surviving it has to stop producing damp squibs like this.

  • Prateek on April 8, 2009, 18:37 GMT

    Fact is that critics of Dhoni were thinking about target of 600 themselves.Its just good job done by Indian bowlers that NZ's lost 8 wickets otherwise nobody knew what's best target.Dhoni did what he thought was right.If Dhoni would have declared at 500+ and match would have ended up in draw then these critics would have complained about that too. Remember these critics get paid to write this kind of crap.Why no one asks the author if he has ever Captained a side even in home tournaments e.ge Ranji or may be street cricket.Answer is no.Then why are we listening to someone who does not know anything about captaincy or even cricket.Guys!! fact is don't waste your time reading this kind of crap. Enjoy cricket its just a game after all.

  • Sujay Datar on April 8, 2009, 18:36 GMT

    Well it was Dhoni's call, he made the call, you didnt like it, many others did not like it(including me), however Dhoni cannot take every decision to please every member of the public(He would be better off joining politics in that case). After all he is the captain because there is a certain amount of faith invested in him by the administrators, and he has very much repaid it by winning the series. Before the series, had anyone said that India would win the NZ series 1-0, with the 3rd test drawn because of late declaration + unaggressive disposition + weather, I am sure a majority of the fans, all the administrators and all the players would have taken it gleefully. As to your statement "if he is going to be a truly different Indian Test captain". Dont you think he already is a truly different *Indian* test captain ? After all he just won a series in NZ, that too comfortably. How many *Indian* captains have been truly different enough to do that ?

  • Tarun on April 8, 2009, 18:35 GMT

    I do not agree with the author's point of view. There are two reasons for it. 1. If you see the statistics, this ground behaves quite opposite to a traditional test wicket. In typical wickets, the batting gets very difficult for 4th innings whereas statistics show that this ground has a better average on the fourth innings compared to the first three. In the traditional pitches (of India, Australia, etc) defending even 400 runs in the 4th innings would be a cake walk. 2. India has a chance of breaking a 40 year old jinx of not winning a test series in NZ. Your first priority would be to shut the series. In the previous match itself India struggled to restrict NZ for under 600 runs. If you have 180 overs (you can not take chances on over reduction due to weather) to bat and a target of 500, if things go NZ way there was a chance of India losing the match. And in such scenario, Dhoni would have repented his decision and would have faced much severe criticism from authors like you.

  • Prateek on April 8, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    Fact is that critics of Dhoni were thinking about target of 600 themselves.Its just good job done by Indian bowlers that NZ's lost 8 wickets otherwise nobody knew what's best target.Dhoni did what he thought was right.If Dhoni would have declared at 500+ and match would have ended up in draw then these critics would have complained about that too. Remember these critics get paid to write this kind of crap.Why no one asks the author if he has ever Captained a side even in home tournaments e.ge Ranji or may be street cricket.Answer is no.Then why are we listening to someone who does not know anything about captaincy or even cricket.Guys!! fact is don't waste your time reading this kind of crap. Enjoy cricket its just a game after all.

  • rajvir on April 8, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    well said man,dhoni shows his defensive mode,the same happening in england when rahul was the captain,we could easily won tht series also 2-0,but bcoz of poor captaincy of dravid,we won tht series 1-0,same happen here,dhoni was so defensive,i don't quite understand this,if this type of cricket dhoni plays,then indian can be no.1 but frm the bottom,i think if u not go so far ahead then just saw maohali test between england and india,we could easily won tht match also,but bcoz of poor captaincy of dhoni and late declaration and after tht he said i wanted to yuvraj n gambhir to make centuary,what the hell is this,seriously australia and south africa are far better side than scary indian team

  • P on April 8, 2009, 18:28 GMT

    Vivek, It's called an opinion- just like you have one in the comment of yours. And everyone is entitled to it.

  • Libin on April 8, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    Everyone who said MSD should have declared earlier, are doing so with the benefit of hindsight. Now we know that there were 2 wickets left to take, rain intervened, and NZ never got anywhere close to the score India set. But in hindsight. How could he have predicted an accurate future? He was almost correct and would have got those wickets if there were a few overs with the new ball.

    And why does everyone think that if they changed one variable in the past, everything else would have remained constant? Whats the surety that we would get the win if we declared on 500 and it didnt rain earlier ? Maybe the NZ batsmen would have held out ..

    Lets look at the positives.. He won the series and thats a great step towards the future ...

  • rajvir on April 8, 2009, 18:25 GMT

    well said man,dhoni shows his defensive mode,the same happening in england when rahul was the captain,we could easily won tht series also 2-0,but bcoz of poor captaincy of dravid,we won tht series 1-0,same happen here,dhoni was so defensive,i don't quite understand this,if this type of cricket dhoni plays,then indian can be no.1 but frm the bottom,i think if u not go so far ahead then just saw maohali test between england and india,we could easily won tht match also,but bcoz of poor captaincy of dhoni and late declaration and after tht he said i wanted to yuvraj n gambhir to make centuary,what the hell is this,seriously australia and south africa are far better side than scary indian team

  • Srini V on April 8, 2009, 18:24 GMT

    This NZ team is one of the worst teams..so beating tem after 41 years no great achievement...Just look at the stats difference between two teams...it was no more than a good club team... Dhoni is good captain.....

  • Ajit on April 8, 2009, 18:24 GMT

    Sensational headlines and arcmchair criticism is great for getting page views. Indian cricket fans are ridiculously binary - extreme adulation or extreme criticism.

    Not being an international cricketer it is hard for me to put myself in the captain's shoes. However Dhoni ensured the team returns with a historic series win. The bar has been set for future tours. I'd recommend all the fair-weather "fans" put that in perspective.

  • Libin on April 8, 2009, 18:23 GMT

    Everyone who said MSD should have declared earlier, are doing so with the benefit of hindsight. Now we know that there were 2 wickets left to take, rain intervened, and NZ never got anywhere close to the score India set. But in hindsight. How could he have predicted an accurate future? He was almost correct and would have got those wickets if there were a few overs with the new ball.

    And why does everyone think that if they changed one variable in the past, everything else would have remained constant? Whats the surety that we would get the win if we declared on 500 and it didnt rain earlier ? Maybe the NZ batsmen would have held out ..

    Lets look at the positives.. He won the series and thats a great step towards the future ...

  • Achinthya on April 8, 2009, 18:21 GMT

    I don't agree with you. By scoring the extra runs New Zealand was in more pressure they would have been if they set a target of 500 runs. The New Zealand team obviously had the in form players like Ryder and Taylor who could come in and hit. The Indian bowlers obviously bowled their hearts out and if it were not for dropping catches, we would have won this series 2-0. In the end The Indian team did not lose to the NZ team in the last test, they lost to the weather.

    ;)

  • Achinthya on April 8, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    I don't agree with you. By scoring the extra runs New Zealand was in more pressure they would have been if they set a target of 500 runs. The New Zealand team obviously had the in form players like Ryder and Taylor who could come in and hit. The Indian bowlers obviously bowled their hearts out and if it were not for dropping catches, we would have won this series 2-0. In the end The Indian team did not lose to the NZ team in the last test, they lost to the weather.

    ;)

  • Sameer Joshi on April 8, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    Well here is the calculation,he had faith in the indian bowlers and confident that they would bowl out the NZ team in abt 110 over. If indian bowlers could bowl out the NZ team in 4 session of the 1st innings why do you think they need two day when it was predicted the rain were expected in the later part of the day. So if there is time left in a test match why not use it to put NZ team in a situation where there is no chance at all to win!

    Dhoni is a guy who wants the team to win and is not worried about getting to top of the table as soon as possible(thats what most indian fans want)!!

    Have some patience guys and stop criticizing the guy who can take us to the top (I challenge any one who thinks Dhoni cant take us there).

  • GV on April 8, 2009, 18:14 GMT

    I don't think you and everyone that is agreeing with you has any experience being in the hot spot. Arm chair commentators like you make me sick.

  • sangram on April 8, 2009, 18:14 GMT

    i think all of you think of early declaration has forgotten taylor and ryder and on top Mcmullan. one of them on the go well rip 450 or 550

  • Gaurav Bhat on April 8, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    Dude, I dont agree with your article at all. Before posting this article, you perhaps forgot that Daniel Vettori was adjudged not out by the best umpire in the world, Mr. Simon Taufel when he was plumb in front. And this happened 15 mins. before the downpour began. The very next over, Ian O'Brien was dropped by Ishant Sharma (a sitter that should have been taken). Dont forget that NZ's last man was Chris Martin who cant hold a bat. If either Vettori would have been given out or had Ishant taken that catch, the scoreline would have been 2-0 and you would have praised Dhoni's decision. Moreover, like Dhoni said, captains can never plan for weather disruptions. Wellington is the second most windiest city in the world and one can expect the wind to blow away the clouds. So, for me, Dhoni's decision was accurate but his fielder Ishant with the fluffed chance and the umpire who is supposed to be the best in the business let him down with a pathetic decision.

  • GV on April 8, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    I don't think you and everyone that is agreeing with you has any experience being in the hot spot. Arm chair commentators like you make me sick.

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    What's the big deal; India won the series. That's why Dhoni could afford to be extra defensive. Had India been trailing the series, I am sure Dhoni would have declared much earlier. For putting things in perspective think that India had not won a test series in NZ for 40+ years. So ensuring that there was no chance of loosing 1-0 lead makes total sense to me. Wining individual games is important but wining series is more important.

  • Pankaj on April 8, 2009, 18:06 GMT

    one more point - almost everyone who is in agreement with the author says - "India's 80 odd minutes on 4th day cost us the match". To them I ask - If Dhoni would've declared on 3rd evening, What if the rain had started 80 minutes earlier?

    I am sure everyone's in that frame of mind is saying - "Well, in that case, India should've declared after tea with a lead of 400"...

    Can you really work on a game plan on rain predictions? I mean, because of the rain, India did lose 60 overs, no? And BTW, predictions were that the rain would stop because of the heavy wind sweeping the clouds away...

    Stop trying to be smart after the event. Hail Dhoni for what heh has brought to the Indian side in the past 3/4 yrs - the ability to win across the globe. Isnt that something we wanted to start with?

  • Krishna Naishadham on April 8, 2009, 18:05 GMT

    I fully agree with this article. Perhaps the reason that India just recently started winning abroad may be a reason for Dhoni's defensive tactics. India has a long long way to go before they can be called the "best team" and put in the same league as the West Indies of the 80's or Steve Waugh's or Ricky Ponting's great Aussie teams. These teams always took the battle to the opposition and challenged them mercilessly, more often winning than losing, or worst contributing to a tame draw from a position of dominance. Indian team gets complacent whenever they win a Test and this was obvious in the Second Test at Napier. They arrived at Napier half a day before the Test and went into it with little practice. The fact that NZ scored 600 and still did not win speaks about a weak NZ bowling attack. If it were the bowling attack of AUS or SA, India would have been squarely beaten! They need to learn from these mistakes and not get into such situations to be called No. 1 team.

  • Manish on April 8, 2009, 18:00 GMT

    90 minutes of batting on day 4, dropped catches, rain gods not being generous, not keeping track of the impact of day light savings and weather forecat, wanting to have 600 plus runs to defend a much weaker team with Zaheer & Bhajji raring to go... I think MSD "designed" a draw for the 3rd test, rather than a win !!

  • Nihal Gopinathan on April 8, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    I beg to differ, Samir. Yes, it does look bad when a draw was forced with 2 wickets to go, but you've got to be kidding me when you say that captains have to PLAN for weather. Sorry, sire, that's the management/organisers headache. Dhoni as a captain had FIVE AND A HALF SESSIONS to bowl out New Zealand, and which would have been possible had it not been for that absolutely STUPID daylight saving thing (which I haven't understood, frankly). I believe Dhoni did everything in his power to force a result, and please, it's high time we stopped blaming captains and actually looking around at the overall scenario. Dhoni did what was right, and I support him. And if records are the last thing to prove people wrong, well, he has won a series in New Zealand—something no Indian captain has done for 41 years. So that's that.

  • Pankaj on April 8, 2009, 17:55 GMT

    I am really glad Dhoni is not too concerned about point of views like Samir Chopra. Think about it - India has not won a series in NZ in over 40 yrs. This was the last battle that India needed to win. Do you think any captain would've left any stoned unturned as far as winning the series was concerned, let alone MS Dhoni? The kind of form Jessi Rider was in - what if he would've smacked another double? The author can shed smart ideas after the fact. And why are people questioning MS Dhoni's trust on his bowlers? There have been so many occasions that MD left the leadership to Zaheer Khan. India lost almost 2 sessions. If rain had started a bit earlier then we would've asked "Why didnt Dhoni declared with a lead of 400"?

    A lot of people look into statistics and ask - "After all, how many teams in the world have successfully chased a target of 400"? Let me ask you this - With 2 days remaining in the game, how many teams have declared with less than 600 on board?

  • Suchit on April 8, 2009, 17:53 GMT

    One thing the article fails to mention is the stupid decision taken by the authorities to not start the test earlier after the time change. The test lost 20+ overs due to bad light, which could have been easily avoided and the result would have been more likely.

    As far as the concept of 500+ being more than enough for a team to have confidence to win a test match, I totally agree to that. With the form of Zaheer and Harbhajan, Dhoni should have declared earlier. Also putting in NZ batsmen to face about 10 overs at the end of the day after being in field for so long might have benefited.

    But before all the analysis and criticism, Indian team deserves to be congratulated on their successful tour and the progress they are making.

  • Paji on April 8, 2009, 17:53 GMT

    Samir must go into event prediction. Apparently probability of forecasts for New Zealand weather are better understood in Brooklyn, NY than at the site itself. I suppose he's never experienced a day when the sun shone when it was supposed to rain and vice versa. Being a captain requires you to consider all possibilities and take the risks that make sense. Given recent experience of teams willing and able to chase down big targets, Dhoni made the sensible decision, not the risky one. Of course the risky decision would have been more entertaining. And if the rain didn't show up, Samir would be the first one to write a blog post demanding why Dhoni didn't bat on to ensure that the series would still be won.

  • naaaag on April 8, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    Don't agree with the writer ! It'z totally an uncertainity game. Stats are just for stats in cricket.

    1. What if india set 500+ runs and the rain interrupted in the very next day .

    2. What if india set 500+ score, and by all the heavens NZ chased it . ( Sure, I'll see another article in cricinfo , titled "Stupid indian captain" ).

    You dont need 2-0 to show you as an aggressive captain. All you need is , how many session you won in a test compared to your opponent , and how much you demoralized them.

    Hail Dhoni ! Hail men in blue ! We just enjoyed all 3 test matches played this time ( can't forgot 2004 : by the time you woke up , 11 might have slept ).

  • Sri on April 8, 2009, 17:45 GMT

    Well it is easy to say but to put it work is always hard. I agree with this article that may be 500+ target would have been enough but the fact that the NZ had scored 600 in the previous test make me think that Dhoni was right.

    In all it is the weather and the dropped catches which spoiled India's chances for acheiving 2-0.

  • ACM on April 8, 2009, 17:41 GMT

    Perfect analysis and conclusion. This Indian team is still hanging on its "play safe" tactics of the older era. Guess that comes down to the fact that the Indian team has not seen too many wins in the past. Hopefully they'll evolve to become more aggressive. You have to give some to get some. I do like the fact that the experienced players have shown the importance of playing time but at the same time, India should work harder at enforcing results and not worry too much about statistics and it's possible that the statistics mad media will highlight some rough numbers but the objective of any sport is to win a game first and foremost and that was not on Indian's minds in the final test. They wanted to first ensure that they do not lose. They did the same in the series in England and ended up winning 1-0 when it could easily have been 2 - 0.

  • Shashhank on April 8, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    I ask u ppl...What the hell? You draw your own conclusions...Who says Dhoni does not have faith in his bowlers? We all saw how pathetic Munaf was in the final ODI but dhoni still stuck with him! U people can just talk...Go there, be there out on the field...U people blame Dhoni because the rain came when just 10 overs early. All of you people want big wins...Want to see India thump the opposition...What if they had scored 450...Would you have got that big win. Learn to appreciate the fact that we have won a series in New Zealand after 4 decades. How does 1 test matter when you look at the greater achievement? What difference does 1-0 make. You have won the series. As the saying goes: "It doesn't matter whether you win by an inch or a mile...A win is always a win!"

  • vic on April 8, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    I think they should have palyed the last 20 over on 3rd day with 20/20 style and should have let new zealand play last 10 overs with their tired fielding batsman and make our resting pacers go for a kill. Result would have been so very diffrent. I think Dhoni was totally lost in dreams and forget to declare. we could have bagged another test and also win series with better looking 2-0

  • praveen on April 8, 2009, 17:35 GMT

    Is it impossible a team like NZ to score 500 odd runs on a flat track in 180 overs.

  • ratesh on April 8, 2009, 17:34 GMT

    Samir , your views are on the money. Dhoni has a fan -fare following which is all good so people find the obvious stats you have stated a no-no. The lack of a killer instinct and lethargic fielding make this team pretty far off from South Africa or Australia. Those teams do the basics well and when your down they make sure they go for the kill. They should have thought about blowing through NZ without the 5th day. Dhoni thinks the viewers are stupid - he needed more than 600 runs to set attacking fields - ha!! . Our captains allow the game to drift and seldom break from the past. They are usually content with the game working itself out as we even saw with Sehway - but Dhoni had more energy to work with.

    On the positives there are improvements in the team showing more fight when they are down but still need to show more purpose when they field. Munaf Patel's low energy and lost look in the field have no place in my choice for an Indian 11 going forward.

  • Valesh on April 8, 2009, 17:33 GMT

    I do not agree with people saying Dhoni is an ordinary captain & he is just lucky to win games. He has the ability to take right decisions at right time on 90% of times. Nobody is perfect. So lets accept it. There is lot to praise about Dhoni and present Indian TEAM. So dont be greedy & keep cribbing about small things. Cheers Indian Cricket TEAM....!!!!

  • Anand on April 8, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    why doesn't anyone appreciate the fact that it was MSD's decision to give the ball to SRT and hence yield 2 more wickets. that helped us get so close to victory. Imagine if they were only down 3-4 wickets and then it rained. I am sure u guy may have not made such a big fuss about declaring early or late. and talk about weather forecast, how many of u trust the forecasts in India. U dont make ur decision in cricket based on weather or the previous records not being broken. weather forecast will still be wrong and records will always be broken so stop being such a sissy and enjoy what u have and forget about that could have happened.

  • Kishore Sharma on April 8, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    I cannot understand why people are congratulating this Indian team. They beat a very weakened New Zealand (without Shane Bond etal thanks to the BCCI's blackmail)and, in that case, were outplayed in the second test. It reminds me of our unconvincing victories - and defeats - at the hands of the weakened Aus and Windies teams during the Packer era. Come on, let's plaease have some perspective when talking about this so-called 'historic' victory.

  • Raj on April 8, 2009, 17:26 GMT

    Finally! Finally! Someone who makes sense...EXACTLY. We didn't need 600 runs. If you are going to pretend to be the ruthless, aggressive team in the world, then act like one...

  • Rocky on April 8, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    It is so very easy to sit on computer and criticize and pass a judjement on what happened...and its so difficult to make a real decision (not fantasy) on the field when they play for the pride of the country, play with peer pressure and more than a billion peoples' expectation...What Dhoni did was a decision he made, what he felt is right at that moment. You cannot know what is going to happen in next 2 days in advance..duh!!..Remember all this so called "thoughtful discussions and blogs" are done after the match is over...Think about it!!!!...

    Cheers- Rocky Cheers,

  • shravan on April 8, 2009, 17:15 GMT

    are all the guys whoz criticizing dhoni capable of predicting the weather tomorrow? cricket is played on field. Dhoni is a marvelous captain, a very good team man. Do u all guys think that the idea of declaration was only Dhoni's? Dhoni is a man who listens and collects views from all the team members especially the senior cricketers. I am surprised by this post and the comments posted by people who dont even know the rules of cricket completely.Dhoni is a modern days captain with a lot of attacking instincts.All you guys who are criticizing dhoni now have no right to do that.

  • Sri on April 8, 2009, 17:14 GMT

    Anything could have been possible. I wonder, how the critics would have reacted if Dhoni had declared earlier and Jesse and Ross, given the form they are in and would have made it a nail biting finish. Records will be broken. Like they say, it is a "big if" and anything is possible. I support Dhoni's decision as he was staring at a series win. Nevertheless, the Indians came really close to winning the test explains that Dhoni was pushing to win as well.

  • Anand Krishna on April 8, 2009, 17:13 GMT

    Hindsight is 20/20. Combine that with the power of armchair critiquing and you have a potent mix. With rain having denied India a 2-0 series win, the daggers are out as experts and fans decry Dhoni's decision to wait to get to a 600+ total before declaring. But perhaps what really cost us the match (the rain on Day 5 notwithstanding) was the lackadaisical attitude in the last sessions of Day 4 (sloppy fielding, the general lack of intensity etc). Had India been bowled out for a smaller total on Day 4 or had Ishant held onto O'Brien's catch or had Vettori been given out lbw.... the blog posts and comments would arguably have been quite different in tone and content, I suspect. But these things did not happen and that's why cricket is referred to as a game of glorious uncertainties. Let us just savor the victory in an away series!

  • Mahesh on April 8, 2009, 17:11 GMT

    Dhoni no different from other captains? Show me a captain who has led India to victories against Australia, England and now New Zealand. Big deal we didn't win the third test. We accomplished something much bigger. Winning a series for the first time in New Zealand in 41 years.

  • Immanuel on April 8, 2009, 17:10 GMT

    I totally disagree with you all saying, Dhoni's decision was wrong. A series win in NZ after so many years was that every Indian would have wanted first. Any other hasty/greedy decision which could have led to a series level, only should be criticized. I think what Dhoni did was absolutely correct and with the series win, next time the Indians can go for a Kiwi hunt with many more brave discussions. Bravo Dhoni... Bravo Indian Team....

  • Ranjan on April 8, 2009, 17:04 GMT

    If you knew for sure when the rain was going to arrive, why did not you write this at the end of day 3 or even day 4?

  • kapil Dev on April 8, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    Anything is possible in cricket.And never underestimate your enemy.These two things help me to go with Dhoni.Please don't cry U will be the first guy to comment if declare earlier and black caps able to score a win in this test match. That makes series a draw.I worst result.But it sure India needed more fielding practice to complement bowlers.

  • Kannapiran on April 8, 2009, 16:57 GMT

    This is for Samir Chopra (Dark cloud over Dhoni) I was quite annoyed by the activity of Indian batsmen on Third day evening. Playing a stretch of maiden overs. They were in no thought of finishing the match. It could have easily been over on day 4. Then I went back to weather forecast (i keep track of regularly) to find that there is cloudy 4th day & rainy 5th day. I did know then for sure that if we are not going to score aggressively and leave atleast few overs that day for kiwis to play the match is going for a draw. I could sense the ability of our players and I was confident that this team can do it. But things went the way I didn't want to. This team is no team like the past and should not think like the old days. To secure greater heights there needs something more than usual. The mind needs to go with the talented Indian team and decisions are the need of the hour. The team has the rest to take care of at all conditions.

  • Balasubramanyam on April 8, 2009, 16:57 GMT

    Samir, it is not nice to see u talking negatively when India has done itself proud by winning a series in NZ after decades. Whether u agree or not a target of 600 plus with nearly two days play to go was instrumental in putting the Kiwis in a defensive frame of mind and thereby the Indian bowlers were able to get those 8 wickets pretty cheaply. Nature has been quite fair I think. Rain saved India from blushes not more than two years ago in Australia.

  • Sai on April 8, 2009, 16:56 GMT

    I totally agree with the author. For others who keep Dhoni changed the team to the winning ways, tell me one single thing he did, tell me one player he has changed, tell me one incident where he improved the team's morale?.... We have more quality batsmen and bowlers than ever, along with constant criticism and equally capable players waiting for place made the team stronger. It is a shame that we didnt win in 3rd test, I consider it as a loss. Remember, you can always bowl wides in test match to control the scoring rate.

  • Vinit on April 8, 2009, 16:50 GMT

    One thing's for sure..People like Dhoni and Sehwag don't give a shit about what people say or think or write..They have their style of getting results and that's what they will do..So all you living-room-experts can keep criticizing everything that happens..

  • Manju Lakshmipathy, USA on April 8, 2009, 16:49 GMT

    Samir, You have answered the questions you raised to begin with. Dhoni is not to be blamed for the draw, but could have been little more adventurous to declare with 550 on the board. Again, Vettoru and O'Biran could have played out the next 40+ overs had it not had rained. So, the odds are that its ok not have a result. The daylight savings and the mistakes of adjusting times and dropped catches -- kind of added to the logjam. So, let's give benefit of doubt to Dhoni. But your points are valid too. What is cricket without some adventure ? May be MS will learn from all this.

    I would not add him in the same bucket as our previous captains. He certainly is different.

  • Sumit on April 8, 2009, 16:47 GMT

    Fine article indeed, I was myself scratching my head when the declaration did not come at the end of day 3. I would have rather seen a 1-1 drawn series than a game drawn by 2 wickets. If Dhoni and company want to beat the Australians to the top, they have to as aggressive if not more than the Aussies.

  • Kumar on April 8, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    Well you never plan a match keeping rain in mind. Dhoni did what he thought is good as he the one who play on the ground not like writer of this article who is commenting on Dhoni's decision like the writer is ultimate scholar of the cricket and he knew before starting the match that if India declare at ~530, India will win.

  • purush on April 8, 2009, 16:46 GMT

    I totally agree with Basav.

  • Jishnu Bhattacharya on April 8, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    Well said Sameer! Indian bowlers deserved more respect and faith from their captain. Dhoni is a cool man and a very good communicator which are great factors to be a good caption. But he has to prove his foresight as a strategist too. He has the best team India has ever produced. Hope Dhoni would prove himself worthy of leading it in future. Something on different note, let the selectors not make sehwag the captain after what happened in Napier and find a proper test batsman as a replacement of Yuvi.

  • jay on April 8, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    What if newzealand win the final test and india lost it , because we dont have enough runs to defend. That means you declare with a lead of 540 something and newzealand chase it and make a history. Then all you idiots would say we should have more runs on board and dhoni shouldnt have declared with 500+. First of all we have a series in our hands and dont want to let it go by doing some early declarations.

  • Samuel John on April 8, 2009, 16:43 GMT

    I am afraid; I tend to agree with the article especially with the attitude of the Indians in the field. Its fine that Dhoni wanted 600+ runs on the board; but Indians definitely lacked the fire power to bowl out the Kiwis! The never ending problem with Indian Cricket team is all of a sudden they perform too well and come up with a under par performance in the next match. I like Dhoni for his modesty and leadership skills, but he should ensure he has a fiery winning attitude rather than a soft easy-to-go attitude!

  • More Cowbell on April 8, 2009, 16:41 GMT

    Your article is spot on. There are too many Indian fans who are happy to be the #3 team in the world. To them I ask this question.."Would Australia have won this test?" Dhoni is a breath of fresh air, and his captaincy has already had tremendous impact on the Indian team. But, to be #1, you need an unrelenting killer instinct. Not sometimes, but all the time. Ponting would have won this game for Australia...even those on this forum who despise him would admit this. So, back to Dhoni...I sincerely hope he takes a lesson from this and drives his team's intensity level to a new high. Test cricket wins are rare and to be treasured. Letting them slip through your fingers will cause regrets in the long run.

  • Rajan John on April 8, 2009, 16:39 GMT

    Good one. And, towards the end of Indian innings, I never saw Dhoni in a hurry to make more runs to extend the lead over 600. He had enough wickets in hand, and he himself in good touch along with Zaheer, I didnt see the urgency in scoring except the last 2 overs. Dhoni seemed to have been more interested in being 50+ not out.

  • Ron on April 8, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    Nice article and shame on the Indian cricket team for being lethargic on the field and taking it easy! On another day they will be on the receiving end and will notice how the opponents will go all out for the kill.. like the Australians! I suggest that the BCCI implement some bonuses for the Indian team; should they win the series with a margin of 2-0 and above each player is rewarded a monetary benefit. That way I suppose Dhoni and company will think again and take into consideration the weather factor and make decisions more rationally. On the other hand if the captain does not take advantage of the big lead, factor the weather and the end result is a draw, then he should be dogged a penalty of his salary/match fee and so should the team. At the end of the day cricketers need some motivation to win!! Fame, glory and showing the cricketing world that India is the best test cricket playing nation does not mean anything to this team, so perhaps money may motivate them!!

  • Vishal on April 8, 2009, 16:32 GMT

    All I can say is the column is aptly named "Views fom the OUTSIDE"!!

  • G.Ravilla on April 8, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    We all have one advantage that Dhoni did not have, HINDSIGHT. Yes he could have declared with more time but what if he thought that is what he did anyway, but for those dropped catches India would have won by a long way. Did you consider Dhoni wanted to be ruthless ? Nothing shows ruthlessness better than kicking the enemy when he is down. In my opinion I think that is what Dhoni was doing and he should have thought that India can bowl out NZ in 5 sessions.

  • Vishal Anand on April 8, 2009, 16:29 GMT

    It's ridiculous to think why do we always think of criticizing. Here are the reasons for which I support MSD for Test3: 1) He wanted NZ to completely get demoralized 2) Didn't went berserk about scoring quickly because India might have been all out for 500. Remember all out that might have given NZ immense pleasure and moral support even after being thrashed. 3) Time is a factor. Do you know why a team never scores 500 runs in 4th innings because there's is not a lot of time left in the game. Last year much records have been achieved by chasing in 4th innings..chk the stats and see how much time did the team chasing to win had in their hands. 4) 2 days to go ..530 target..think again if you were the captain i bet you also wouldn't have declared. That's a fact. 5)And about weather, on 3rd day and 4th day it was predicted that it will rain on Day 5 but it was not certain. 6) There are already lot of factors that come in the game to criticize, please lets not get in the "Weather" factor.

  • Preshant Sekar on April 8, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    I totally agree with Samir.Vivek it is totally immature to say that only a person with captaincy experience should comment on Dhoni.Don't tell me Tony Cozier and Harsha Bhogle are just people commenting from the fence.Then Shouldn't Holding not be allowed to talk about irresponsible batting while commentating? Journalism doesn't require expertise,all it needs is enterprise of ideas.

  • Sri on April 8, 2009, 16:23 GMT

    Come on.. This looks like a blog just for the sake of it. I agree with the main premises of the author, but remember to also emphasize the reverse possibilities - 1. If rain clouds had decided to change direction, which is not a rare occurrence, NZ would have 2 days to chase 531 runs - 150 to 180 overs => 75 overs each for 215 runs per day! 2. The pitch had not deteriorated as much as expected - If India could learn from her mistakes in one inning in the previous test and apply themselves, so can NZ - two NZ double century partnerships can change the character of the game like the previous one! 3. Recent history and second inning wins - MSD was justified in going for safety first in every book - Granted that the total was mammoth - but come on, in an alternate universe, 8 wickets may possibly not have gone down!! 4. Can you understand the reactions from everyone, however improbable, if NZ managed to make it 1-1 ?? Also, does any1 even now attribute all the wins under MSD to pure luck

  • Smit on April 8, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    ok this is pissing me off....if they would have lost after declaring early... the same people would be saying Dhoni should have declared later on, after securing a draw... Dhoni said repeatedly that he wanted the NZ batsman to be in a defensive mindset... where they wont think about attacking at all... if it was 450 -500 the NZ batasman thought lets go all out and and just try getting it... and through sheer luck they managed to get it...India would have to wait another who knows how many years to get their first series win in New Zealand

  • Anu Vehvaria on April 8, 2009, 16:21 GMT

    This writer is an idiot. You never plan for weather. Also, I did not see any reason why India should risk the match by declaring early - however miniscule the chances of a NZ win was.

  • Hari Padmakar on April 8, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    To start with,I don't like this guy DHONI at all.He deserves as much credit as Balaji or Kulkarni for winning the series.He just rides on his luck and thinks that he is the best captain in the world.Just because India is on a winning run,it need not mean that India is unbeatable.The only team that deserves the word Unbeatable is Australia(a couple of years back).They beat England 5-0 which Inida can never do.

    Coming to this match,Dhoni obviously cares about only winning this series.He doesn't want to give the slightest chance for New Zealand to win.He wants to be seen as a winning captain.He doesn't risk his neck on losing even if it might mean not winning a match that had to be won in 4 days.

  • Sameer on April 8, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    Only question to Mr. Chopra and the others who criticize Dhoni's decision - How much experienced are you all in playing cricket at international level? And if you have any iota of it, have you ever made decisions on the field? Be happy atleast for once that we've won the series. The same people who flayed Dhoni for his defensive tactics in Nagpur were the same who were singing his praise the next day when India made it 2-0. We almost made it here too. We just can't leave everything to chance and thats what Dhoni has done. For those who criticize Dhoni, my only advice is - feel disappointed when we loose, rejoice fully when we win,admire the play, but please do not act as if you have played 300 tests, won all of them and are the most experienced of all. I feel if anyone's criticism deserves any merit, its those of the ones who have been there, done that and experienced it all.

  • Aparajithan on April 8, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    okay, think you did not get the message... how many tests have india lost in the recent past batting fourth, and it started raining cats and dogs almost as soon as the match ended??? well, we really cannot plan around the weather... :)

  • Sam on April 8, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    I think we Indians have yet to get away from the 'chalega sab, adjust karlo sab' type of submissive mind set and get aggressive. Dhoni is after all said and done, is an Indian. As I have seen, even in highly qualified Indian IT professionals in USA, they are yet to get out of that submissive mold.

  • Bujji on April 8, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    Thanks for speaking the unspeakable. Indian media is prone to kiss the ass of the latest superstar. Dhoni wanted to get his fifty is what the problem was. He cannpot sustain his place in side strictly on captaincy and about average wicketkeeping. He needs to up his batting average too. This side will never be the Australia of the nineties if they are not aggressive enough to ALWAYS go for a win. A draw is not an option.

    Dhoni's explanation is laughable.

  • Sam on April 8, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I think we Indians have yet to get away from the 'chalega sab, adjust karlo sab' type of submissive mind set and get aggressive. Dhoni is after all said and done, is an Indian. As I have seen, even in highly qualified Indian IT professionals in USA, they are yet to get out of that submissive mold.

  • Girish on April 8, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I think Dhoni was correct. Winning the series was important, for many years to come (read: till the next NZ series in NZ), the talk will be that India won the series in 2009 rather than they won it by 2-0 margin or they won the Hamilton test or Basin Reserve test, etc.... Although, the writer here is not wrong, but I would say winning the war is more important than fighting each battle....

  • Chiranjeevi on April 8, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    I just think the strain of captaining the Indian cricket team and whole pressure of it all is getting to Dhoni as well! This is definitely not the Dhoni who captained the T20 team in South Africa back in '07. I am 100% sure 'that' Dhoni would have declared on the 3rd day itself, with 500 on the board!

  • Aniket on April 8, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Really have to salute the galls of such bloggers. These very arm chair critics would have jumped to criticize Dhoni and company, had India lost due to early declaration. Me and all the people I know (in my organization, home, friends and neighbors) are glad that Dhoni did what he did. Its very simple to bark out, after the match is done and dusted. Its equally tough to be facing heat had he made any mistake leading to India's loss. Dhoni-Man, you are Da Man! We are proud of you! Cheers to India's series win...

  • Dinesh Devaraj on April 8, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Hmm.... Its obvious that this was always on the cards. After I saw the 7-2 off side feild aginst Australia at home....I've been prepared to expect this. But he (MSD) is not a conservative kind of guy but a strong "anything to win" guy. If the first 2 tests were drawn then he would have had a different approach to this game...TRUST ME. Previous captains and MSD....only Dadda comes close to this guys aggressive attitude....but people trust me you have not seen any Indian Captain like him.......

  • Mithun on April 8, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    Very unfair criticism...Dhoni has done an outstanding job so far and he is still learning. It is impossible to predict the weather and if the catches had been held then India could still have won.

  • AJ on April 8, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Nothing can be taken granted in the game of Cricket.If Dhoni declares on 3rd day and incase if NZ scores the runs and wins the match, result would be totally different, series would be drawn then the same critics will be at the other end criticizing Dhoni about early declaration and his over confidence of winning match with 2+ days in spare. Its better to win a series at any given moment then risking it for a Draw.

  • ANNA on April 8, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    umpires faulted on 3 occasions in the 4th innings - vettori LBW - plumb in front was not given; fielders dropped 3 catches; games started very later (shud hve been at least 1 hr earlier) declaration came at least 10 overs late; India didn't set aggressive field; fielders were complacent and not in a mood to force a win all were factors for this draw; it's very disappointing to see a draw after dominating for 4.5 days. To be honest, there should be an inquiry on this.

  • ashish singh on April 8, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    I think complacency crept into the approach of the Indians on the field the last day. Agree that 600 was required as the kiwis had about 2 days to chase them and the pitch was not bad for batting. But the team lacked the aggression required on the 5th day morning......very sad indeed, not expected from a team aiming to be no 1. The rain actually should have taught them a lesson, and all the criticism is absolutely justified.

  • Ajay on April 8, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Sameer, and all the friends who have given comment on this article,i want to say that cricket is the game not only for the players but for many more peoples who follows the game by their heart.Myself, being a ardant cricket lover really not agree with Dhoni decision of declaration so late.The game should be played for winning, it doesn't matter wheather you are winning or not. India did just opposite and it was certainly a timid approch. He has done nearlly the same thing against ENG last year.This is the attituude with that nither a team nor a person can become the best in the bisness.Dhoni you may have won the series but this is not the way we want a series win.in my point of view what Indian team has done in Napier test was a much batter performence as compared to last test.Finally a series win is always sweet specilly if it is comming after 41 years and horrible privious tour of NZ.Dhoni may become most successful captain of India but he will never be the best captain of India.

  • Sha on April 8, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    Well, I've noticed this about Dhoni... even during the England series... I don't understand it but not being a supporter don't mind another chink in his armour.

  • Krishnanand on April 8, 2009, 16:04 GMT

    Great! Let us assume that Dhonidecided to declare the innings and sets up NZ a target of 505 to win. Without rain intervening, if their batsman had scored those runs and won the match, Dhoni's house in his home town would have beengot burnt down by irate Crciket fans. No one knows this better than Dhoni. Of course, the same author then would have criticised Dhoni no end for his hurried declaration! Bravo!

  • DSK on April 8, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    Safety first is an approach not admired by many, the author is just one of them. End of the day, it does not matter if the series is won 1-0 or 2-0 or 2-1 for that matter. End result matter: SERIES WON. Besides, we drew the second test after a huge deficit. Why can NZ repeat the same, however unlikely it might be? It's either support a winning captain, or be calm. There is no point in criticizing MSD for declaration. As many pointed out, what if MSD declared and we lost the match and at the end, drew the series? Would u have accepted that?

  • Ganesh on April 8, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    Very good article and exactly what I was trying to understand if I was missing a trick when we managed to draw the game instead of being victorious.

    A team which is 232 runs ahead at the end of 2nd day still manages NOT to win the game. Something is missing, yes rain and bad light one factor, but still there is a something called initiative, and we lacked it, the urge and drive to win 2-0 was there but only if all goes according to what Dhoni called team "PLan".

    No team would escape defeat after being 232 runs behind on day 2 and while batting last.

    Also day light savings time change on Sunday did no good wherein we had to wait extra hour for the 11 am start. Who decided against starting the game at 10 am ??? We will never get an answer.

    Let us cheer team India for winning, that's great achievement, but 41 years might sound long time, but there were only 5-6 tours and few of them were with set of players who accepted defeat even before reaching foriegn land.

  • Satish on April 8, 2009, 16:00 GMT

    Kudos, Samir for bringing this viewpoint to the fore. Every other article was conveniently ignoring the defensive ploy that resulted in India not winning this test. Fact is that it is complacency and lack of a killer instinct. We need to step beyond that to get to #1 spot.

  • Anil Mehra on April 8, 2009, 15:59 GMT

    Congratulation to MSD and the team. Like quite a few of us and Samir mentioned above - This Indian team should start cranking it a notch up and get away from the past o'say 2006 Dravid mindset becuase this is how not only professional sports teams play but also every school boys team will play - who wants to be noticed.

  • Tarun on April 8, 2009, 15:58 GMT

    Samir, try and celebrate the win instead of crying about ifs and buts. If your aunt had a penis, she would have been your uncle. Lets not talk about the weather and stuff. The real thing is India won the series after 41 years. And I hope we don't have to wait another 41 years to win a series in NZ. We critisize them when they lose and we do the same when they win. i think if we have more people like samir, them India should actually give up playing the game and play something like gulli danda. Best of luck team India. They did India proud.

  • Sid on April 8, 2009, 15:57 GMT

    In cricket just like in life, actions are dictated by incentives or by fear. In this case, India did not have a great incentive to win the game but more incentive to ensure nothing freakish happens and NZ gets an oppertunity to win. Because a series win is a series win, never mind if it is 1-0 or 2-0. On Dhoni, I think he has a mind of his own and I think we should look at his tactics holistically rather than pick on specific situations. I definately think he is a different type of captain than any other captain because he has an amaizng ability to be calm under stress and constantly motiviate and inspire the team.

  • Nihar on April 8, 2009, 15:57 GMT

    This is a pathetic article. Instead of focusing on the positives of winning the series and what Dhoni has done to change the team, you are looking at the fact that weather stopped the team from winning 2-0 instead of 1-0. Instead of talking bull-crap like this, why dont you take a look at the facts and appreciate that Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan have emerged under Dhoni. Samir and whoever has written negatively about Dhoni should stop talking and start appreciating!

  • Gaurav on April 8, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    Dhoni was interested in boosting his average by scoring a 50 and remain not out. Thats it. No way NZ would have chased 500+. That extra session cost us dear.

    Really good team would have won 3-0 and really great teams don't wait for 5th day for a result. They wrap the test match in 3-4 days.

  • Dev on April 8, 2009, 15:56 GMT

    I guess everybody who watched the match knew whether forecast was rainy for last two days. Nobody wrote a blog or article after 4th day, then why cant you accept that weather spoilt the party. Also, if one has to go by weather forecast, we should have declared on 3rd day after lunch since it was forecasted to rain for last two days......

    Lets enjoy the success !!!!

  • Balaji Lakshmanan on April 8, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    I can't believe people criticize MSD so much. Having not won a series in more than 4 decades what Dhoni has done is totally acceptable. He has brought pride to our country that most of other captains were not able to. so, lets appreciate the fact than criticizing him.

  • Madhav on April 8, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    If INDIA wants to become number one rank team in TEST cricket then they have to go for WIN in the situations like 3rd test.

  • tejas on April 8, 2009, 15:50 GMT

    I am not sure Dhoni ever promised to be a "truly different Indian Test captain". Our current psyche following Obama's election and the rise of India's "Gen Y" have made us think he did.

  • Mahendrasinghisking on April 8, 2009, 15:48 GMT

    It all depends on what you aspire to be. 2 options you settle down for mediocrity or press for excellence. Australia is a team which won 16 test matches in a row, twice. Now that is excellence. if we really want that, then think about winning and winning only. If you play with this chicken attitude that dravid brought into team, then just dont claim india as probably the number one side, batting legends, zaheer and ishant best opening pair, blah blah etc. If you want to be number 1, you always want to win, you always have to win. period. No draw, no saving the game, no safety first. producing results in 16 matches in a row, needs a lot if winning attitude, india does not have that. and from many of the comments here, even fans dont have a winning attitude. Just settle down for mediocrity. Geez!!!

  • cricketnyc on April 8, 2009, 15:48 GMT

    Totally agree with Samir. What distinguishes SA and Australia from India (based on current form) is that these teams will go for the win. "Dont take your foot off your enemy's throat". Its also time to give the resurgent Indian bowling the final facelift; give them the confidence to defend smaller totals. Thats what makes the bowlers hungry for wickets and puts the fielders on notice not to miss chances. Comfort buffers with these large totals only leads to complacency on the field. As for lack of depth in bowling thats baloney. While most teams have succeeded with one spear head, we had two - a pacer and a spinner. Against a lower order team thats enough.

  • Arun on April 8, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    Everyone is a hero from distance..

  • Dipen on April 8, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    You have raised some interesting questions as to what might Dhoni be thinking in terms of strategy, but I think the most important one that might be on his mind is Vettor's comment that they will risk a loss in order to win the last test match, therefore, he did not wanna take any chances so that he would risk a series loss in order to gain a win.

  • Anand on April 8, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    "Prevention is better than cure". When you had not seen any success in 40 odd years with "super talented" players on the side, you have to make a decision like that to taste the success. What if Jesse blasted like Sehwag did in SL series? I would go with Dhoni's decision. He's an intelligent captain india got in its entire history, who brings continuous victory for India. Luck might've assisted in one or two matches, not for the whole year - four series in a row. "Think b4 you Ink" - All the MSD & Team

  • shitiz on April 8, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    The article brings out a valid point regarding the conservative mindset which has always hampered indias growth in sport. winning 1-0 against this newzealand team is not out of world. This is arguably the best side india has ever had.To become number 1 and be there you have to have killer instinct like the australians and west indies team of 80's had. They used to clean sweep the series. But i cant see this indian team doing that unless they change their mindset. In the end the series win was somewhat diminished in stature after seeing india approaching the game on last two days. One final comment that if this indian team cant become number 1 team in the world , then i doubt whether there will be any indian team ever which will accomplish this.

  • Marsh on April 8, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Indians had close to 150 overs to bowl out NZ. If that is not enough, then even 180 won't be enough.Indians were unfortunate that they couldn't complete even 100 overs. In places like NZ,Eng , even 3 days is not enough to bowl out oppositions thanks to the bad weather conditions that prevail there. And here we have people criticizing dhoni for no fault of his. It is really ridiculous to plan for 2 days of a Test cricket because of a weather forecast. I can accept if it was ODI, definitely not Test Cricket.

  • Shantan on April 8, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    I fully agree with Samir! If India wants to be the best team in the world, they can't just get there by winning the first match of the series and then try to draw the remaining matches. They have to look to win and win big. I was really surprised, actually disappointed, with Dhoni for not declaring right at the start of Day 4 or even better, with about 10 overs to go on Day 3. New Zealand like England is a fickle place - weather wise - for playing cricket. So, the danger of time being lost is always there. So, why didn't Dhoni keep that in mind? A 1-0 victory doesn't show as much dominance as 2-0 victory would have!

  • sanjay gupta on April 8, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    m totaly agree with u..why everybdy thinks ricky ponting team is best because he has full faith in his bowling line..bt wat abt us..why did india batting on final day,while they cud declare their innings a day before...no team made more den 418 in 4th innings..didn't dhoni know this fact...in future history will tell india win the series by 1-0 bt it cud be 2-0..if u want 2 be a best team (nt good team) ,den u hv 2 learn how to win a test,nt 4m draw mode,4m loosing mode 2...dats it..

  • An Aussie on April 8, 2009, 15:34 GMT

    Samir, you are SPOT ON. Let me say as a disclaimer than I really rate Dhoni as a player/captain/leader of men - as do many Aussies.

    One of the reasons why Australia has been no.1 for so long is that we are harsh but fair and above all honest in what is our favourite national pasttime: critiquing our national cricket team.

    If Ponting had done what Dhoni had done the media would have been all over him, and rightly so. This is the nz batting line up we're talking about! They would said: good for winning the series, but not good enough for not declaring earlier. By the way, I'm pretty sure most Indian posters here would be jumping on Ponting if he'd done the same thing.

    The fact that many (not all) Indian posters have attacked Samir (and that apparently the papers haven't criticised Dhoni at all) shows that India will have trouble dominating world cricket for a long time, as they should given their talent and population.

  • Vishwa on April 8, 2009, 15:34 GMT

    Very well written. I dont agree with the author on the declaration point. It is very subjective. However, I do agree that the plan after having 600 on the board was not executed when India was fielding. Even when Tendulkar was bowling, MSD did not have a gully until a boundary sneaked through that gap. For a team sitting on 600+, this field was not at all an attacking one. India deserved a 2-0 win for the way they played. Too bad, the big picture was closer to their eyes than the smaller one!

  • Basav on April 8, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Well... I think Dhoni made the right decision. Indian fielders and bowlers would have panicked quickly if they were defending only 450 and the Kiwis made a good start. you are able to make these comments now because you know the result. He was very sure what he wanted to do and I think we can contemplate about the decision now but when Dhoni had to make a decision he would have thought of the following - Ishant wasnt bowling well in the match Pitch was getting slower so Harbhajan would have been a little easier to negotiate if someone settled Munaf wasnt getting wickets either

    So effectively he had only Zaheer and Harbhajan and i dont think thats enough for a captain to make a bold decision.

  • santosh john samuel on April 8, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    Agree with Sambit word for word -- except that i would have preferred 448 as the declaration target, not even 500. There is that bit of gambler's instinct in 448, but it's just a game. Bold, attacking cricket is what will excite and win support -- not just playing for records. And nothing like a thinking gambler to scare opposition teams. A few months down the line there might still be statistically minded fans (and writers) -- for those of us who watched the game, we'll remember the ultrasafe approach of the Indian side. There is an article in 'cricinfo' that says Zaheer has become more or less a complete bowler (i agree) and Dhoni trusts him to set his own fields. Didn't Dhoni trust the Indian bowlers enough to defend 450 odd runs on days 4 and 5? Dhoni possibly is waiting for an attack like the West Indians of the 1970s/80s to set challenging targets. As a postscript, our number 3 team needs to get tested against the South Africans immediately to puncture the 41-year hype a bit.

  • Ashwin on April 8, 2009, 15:31 GMT

    lets not be too harsh on Dhoni, he has been doing a great job as captain. He might have made a mistake in Samir's opinion but then who doesn't.

    and after all, hindsight is 20/20.

  • hari on April 8, 2009, 15:30 GMT

    Yes, maybe he could have dangled the bait at around 450, or mayb givn a bit more time to the bowlers. But hey, India was ahead, such mistakes can be taught as a soft lesson. you dont have to go slam bang on this. better learn this when we are 1-0 up rather than 1-0 down.

  • batawada and dokhla on April 8, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    Samir, It is different to take a decision for oneself, and different when you take a decision for others. He made the decision for you, so you can sit down and write this article either way. I am absolutely positive he(MSD) doesn't give a damn about this article either. He will play safe. You accolade him for 8-1 play, and you criticise him for the same.

    Look at MSD himself, when he came in - he was a dasher, now when we look at him - he is a team player and accumalator.

  • JV Ravindranath on April 8, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Definitely a 2-0 win would have been better than a 1-0 win.What could have happened if the target was 450 and NZ had achieved it. The Chopras and his fellow s(t)ribes usually from the TV news channels would have turned volte face!Typical of these people who indulge in sensational journalism.We do not require these couch potatoes passing irrelevant comments bordering on ignorance and stupidity and who would not have even touched a bat or a ball!The team which must be celebrating will after sobering down introspect and identify areas, if any, which requires improvements and work on them.The team has ONE goal- be the first to attain the No.1 status in all the three formats of the game. Today we celebrate the achievements of the team which has done our country proud, tomorrow we encourage and support our cricketers to bring further laurels to the country.Hail and Cheers!

  • naveen on April 8, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    MSD respected his bowlers,so only he gave more time to batsmen.he might have thought that two days enough to bold out kiwis...he should b respected for his captaincy.

  • Rohit on April 8, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    I think the approach Dhoni took was right. The pitch was but obviously a good batting track, this was proved by the Indian batsmen and also by the New Zealanders in the second innings. They had notched up a good score before they tumbled because of some poor umpiring decisions. They were cruising along with a nice run rate at which, if they continued, without loosing wickets, they would have made it.

    There will be always people criticizing the team whether they win or loose. For once, can't you guys be true fans and support them in their good and bad times. This is a high moment in the Indian cricketing history. Celebrate it. Leave the thinking to the players.

    We as spectators have absolutely no idea what goes on in the player's mind when they are on the field. And it's just not the players, its a collective decision, the captain, the players, the coach everyone. You cannot single one person out and outright blame them for a lame strategy. Get together and celebrate!

  • Brij Garg on April 8, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    I disagree with the author.

    First of all, I dont think being defensive is wrong. India was agressive when they had to be and they were in a position to step back and be defensive. It was New Zealand's turn to be aggressive and they didnot step it up a notch.

    Secondly, Dhpni said in the post match interview that he was expecting 110 overs of bowling. So the author suggesting that Dhoni didnot consider rain playing a role in the game on the 5th day is wrong.

    We also forget about missed chances. Ishant, late on the 5th days, dropped O Brien. If he had held on that, who knows, India might have won the game.

    Also, if India lost the game due to "aggression" and drew the series, that dark cloud over Dhoni would be a thunder cloud. And I take a dark cloud any day over a thunder one.

  • Vam on April 8, 2009, 15:19 GMT

    I think who ever is crying foul of Dhoni's captaincy in this match is just being very very Greedy. What is wrong in being safe than sorry in this situation? I think we should appreciate the efforts put forward by the Indian team in winning the series. We should appreciate the way they drew the second test from the verge of loosing it. We should appreciate and encourage the team for winning a series in NZ after 41 years. People should should stop ignoring all the positives. They should stop looking at minor negatives in a microscope and making big issues out of them. I think Dhoni and this current Indian team is doing a terrific job. Hats off to them.

  • Frank on April 8, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    I don't think what has happened in the past 1900+ tests apply anymore. The approach to batting in test matches has changed completely with the advent of more One-day and T20 playing time. This year alone, teams chasing have scored the 2nd and 4th highest last inning score to win matches. Moreover, Dhoni declared with 5 1/2 sessions left to play and the argument about declaring the 2nd innings on 3rd day of play because of rain anticipated on 5th day is plainly ridiculous. Dhoni anticipated having about 110 overs out of the allotted 165 overs due to rain delays and there was no reason to take additional risks with the series already in the bag.

  • riddler on April 8, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    " I must be living in some alternate universe (entirely possible, given that I'm in Kings County, New York State), but for as long I've watched and followed cricket, the one thing Test captains have always done is planned around the weather" - - - Samir...i live in NYC...just now it was snowing here...and now its Sunny outside...the weather forecast was for cloudy weather throughout. Did you really plan your day!!! NZ weather has been famous for the changes. As Dhoni said, the wind speed was high and there was a big possibility that the clouds be blown away. But it didn't happen. Statistics given by you are correct and its past. You are really confident that no other team can ever make 600+ to win. Cooooool....Please promise me you will stop writing if any team makes 600+. Thanks.

  • Swan on April 8, 2009, 15:14 GMT

    Look at you people. You are not satisfied with what India has achieved. You want more. Human nature. We should not blame Dhoni for this.If you can't get a team out in 1.5 days, then may be you cannot in 2 days also. And yes, what if it had started raining on 4th day itself. There are lot of if's and but's, so please don't spoil this win by arguing on it so much.

  • Annadurai on April 8, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    I dont agree

  • Jits (Zambia) on April 8, 2009, 15:10 GMT

    Rejoice India won and would have won the 3rd test too if not for the rain. Well played India under the stewardship of MS Dhoni. Why the negativity. I suppose some people can never be happy.

  • Harish Srinivasan on April 8, 2009, 15:09 GMT

    Its crazy, that people find it easy to critisize even when we have won the series. If Dhoni had declared 500 and lets say NZ had won it, I can imagine this same peson writing a completely opposite article saying "knowing India have never won series in 41 years, and being 1-0 up, how can Dhoni take such a risk". Lets learn to appreciate the indian cricket team. Well done, you did your best and you deserve all credits.

  • ViralP on April 8, 2009, 15:08 GMT

    I think dhoni was playing for his 50. For him, 50 was more important than a test win! Sitting here 8000+ miles away from Wellington even I knew that it was going to rain on day 5 and could not understand why did dhoni declare this late - ohh wait a minute - he was waiting for his 50. India has already won the series - who cares about winning one more test!! 2-0 would have looked much much better than 1-0. I think Indian players worked hard and deserved a 2-0 result. When India wins first test overseas they prefer to play for draw (remember India's tour of England - when Dravid was captain). For me, this is a difference between a good team and a great team. India has a lot lot more to achieve before becoming a #1 test team. Just by winning tests outside India does not make them #1.

  • Harish Srinivasan on April 8, 2009, 15:06 GMT

    Its crazy, that people find it easy to critisize even when we have won the series. If Dhoni had declared 500 and lets say NZ had won it, I can imagine this same peson writing a completely opposite article saying "knowing India have never won series in 41 years, and being 1-0 up, how can Dhoni take such a risk". Lets learn to appreciate the indian cricket team. Well done, you did your best and you deserve all credits.

  • Shankar Mazumdar on April 8, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Samir Chopra is bang on target here. Dhoni's decision was inexplicable for all the reasons Samit notes. I would just add this: Dhoni himself and many of the readers here who have posted comments seem to not take the weather forecast too seriously. Is this because in India the mets don't usually get it right? In NZ and other developed nations, forecasts, especially ones made a day or two prior are usually quite precise even about the expected temperatures, and almost always on target about rain or snow. Also, as Samir observes, the body language of the team indicated that a win would be nice but not essential. Having said that, I don't think this incident should detract from Dhoni's otherwise very positive captaincy so far, and I'm sure he will learn from this. In the end, I was suprised at how leniently Dhoni was treated about this obvious goof-up by the media, Cricinfo included.

  • Saxon on April 8, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Ah, another armchair general sitting in the comfort of his living room and indulging in a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking!

    It is not the innings that matter - it is the pitch. The second innings pitch was much easier to bat and NZ had scored 600 runs on a batting pitch before. So, pardon the captain for not wanting to take any chance to ensure his team wins the series after 41 years in NZ.

    Samir, you have nothing to lose and Dhoni (and India) did - that should explain the difference in his thinking on the field and your bloviating (from NY). Hindsight is 20-20. Sure, he could have declared and won the test, but he didn't have to. When 1-0 series win doesn't meet expectations then he will go for a 2-0 result. For now, he did the right thing.

  • Aditya Kapoor on April 8, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Dear Samir

    Please take note history is not a guide to future. Lets say if India decalared on 500 and lost, I think you would have written History was made today, Newzealand chased what has never been done in history before.You would also have written What was Dhoni thinking with 1-0 lead he should have made sure that India does not loose. I know it is your job to make money by writing. Let me tell you a joke: There was Chief minister and he had flood in his state. He went by helicopter to see damage, the newspaper wrote, There is damage on ground and minister was enjoying flying in sky. Next time minister remebered what newspaper said and when there was flood he went by car and newspaper said there is flood and minister is slowly coming by car could he not have used helicopter to the survey. I think you get the point.

  • Abdul on April 8, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Noce article Samir! there is deiffrence between ruthless and content and a content unit can't gran number 1 position. To become number 1 one has to be ruthless which Dhoni is not, as he showed it in the last test in NZ. He did the same also against England when he went for the stats (to get his batsmen get 100s) instead of pushing for a victory. So under MS Dhoni, India has to content for any ranking they get by the stroke of luck. Its a pitty that in the presence of such a talented combination, India (Dhoni) doesn't like to dominate.

  • P.Satish on April 8, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Interestingly, we do not seem to realise the dropped catches played an important role. Its tough to take 10 wickets but the fielders turned that into 12-13 wickets.

  • Viks on April 8, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Like always..we only know how to criticize. Why can't people just be happy for attaining such an amazing feat!!!...We remember the losses of world cup...we dont remember the wins in tests in australia... Dhoni was perfect in his decisions. Cricket is a game of great uncertainities...Australia didn't think that SA will make 434 and win the match...but it happened. Just because the match is over and NZ was in a bad situation we know they could not have made more than 500. But what if they did? After all records are meant to be broken. I wonder what would be the reaction of people criticizing Dhoni: if the situation were to be NZ needing 50 runs with 5 wickets remaining...and it rained!!!

  • JV Ravindranath on April 8, 2009, 15:02 GMT

    A 2-0 win is better than 1-0 win - but still a series win is a series win.Dhoni is the Captain who knows what was the best for the team. We do not require these couch potatoes like Chopras and others like him seen in news channels who perhaps would not have even touched a bat or a ball.These tribes indulge in sensational journalism to pick cheap thrills or for making a quick buck or two.Our team not only won the test series but batted in a very sensible manner to thwart a possible NZ win in the II Test.But it was rain which saved NZ more blushes in the III Test.Assuming that Dhoni had declared with a lead of 450 runs and NZ had achieved the impossible target the Chopras and the s(t)ribes would have turned volte face!Having said all this,I am of the opinion that the fielding though it was good generally could have been sharper.Our batsmen could have looked out for scoring in singles too just to keep the scoreboard moving especially since there are two lefthanded batsmen.Hail the heroes!

  • JV Ravindranath on April 8, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    A 2-0 win is better than 1-0 win - but still a series win is a series win.Dhoni is the Captain who knows what was the best for the team. We do not require these couch potatoes like Chopras and others like him seen in news channels who perhaps would not have even touched a bat or a ball.These tribes indulge in sensational journalism to pick cheap thrills or for making a quick buck or two.Our team not only won the test series but batted in a very sensible manner to thwart a possible NZ win in the II Test.But it was rain which saved NZ more blushes in the III Test.Assuming that Dhoni had declared with a lead of 450 runs and NZ had achieved the impossible target the Chopras and the s(t)ribes would have turned volte face!Having said all this,I am of the opinion that the fielding though it was good generally could have been sharper.Our batsmen could have looked out for scoring in singles too just to keep the scoreboard moving especially since there are two lefthanded batsmen.Hail the heroes!

  • Satish on April 8, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    This is not the first time India has failed to finish a series with a comprehensive 2-0 scoreline.

    Dravid in England(2007), Kumble in India against Pakistan(2007), Dhoni in India against England(2008) and again Dhoni in New Zealand(2009). All series where India was one up with one test to go but have held back from going all out after having dominated three of the five days of the matches. It has lost India important ICC Test points too.

    However, I am also glad the Indian teams have reached a stage where we ask why not a 2-0 instead of feeling despondent over a 0-1 or 0-2 defeat.

    And finally Toto, I guess India played wimps with a series win in the bag like Ponting did in the fourth test in India?

  • Raj Ganesh on April 8, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    First of all, Dilmah tea is srilankan, Not Indian. That just shows how "informed" you're about India. LOL!

  • Avi on April 8, 2009, 14:56 GMT

    Hello from Nassau County, Samir Chopra. I agree completely with you. As a matter of fact, I was getting frustrated as I watched the Indian innings going on and on beyond the 'safety' zone. 450 runs would have been sufficient and might even have imparted some life to the proceedings. While,for a change,this Indian team is showing a lot of resolve (second test) and aggression, if Dhoni truly wants to take it to the number 1 spot, he would have to be aggressive, brave and take calculated risk. Messers Waugh, Ponting, Imran, Clive Lloyd, all had that. The big Question is, did he take the decision to keep going unilaterally or were the key players also in agreement with him. If they were, then they too are responsible for robbing the team of glory that was their's for the taking. If they weren't, they should have counselled him to declare. Dhoni, come out of your comfort zone.

  • Vinay Subramanian on April 8, 2009, 14:55 GMT

    Samir

    You're dead on target with your comments. I have been frustrated and praying over the last few days that someone writes an article about it. If you are aiming to be the No. 1 team in the world then you have got to start winning lots of test matches, grab every situation and make it into a winning one. In this case, it was a full blown winning situation!!! The problem was not that Dhoni slightly miscalculated the Kiwis defensive qualities and the last wicket pair held on for 10-15 overs so it seemed like a late declaration in hindsight, as it happens in some matches. Here, everyone knew the weather forecasts and what was going to happen. I don't think Dhoni and the team ever wanted to win this test unless it was handed to them on a platter. Now, I'm a great fan of his, so this is not a personal attack on him but probably shows the kind of pressures our captains are under, and hence their attitudes to ensure things don't go wrong rather than going for broke.

    Vinay

  • Sreekanth on April 8, 2009, 14:52 GMT

    Hello.. I have never before posted a comment but this was a bit too much starting from the Title.. I read it and was scared that Dhoni might have had an injury or something.. Could you imagine what would have been running on Dhoni's and the whole team's mind on day three.. Do you think they hadn't thought of every single scenario that you have commented about.. and about being school boys they should be having fun out there and it is good to see they are enjoying their cricket.. but yes their fielding could have been better and i don't think both of them are related.. you are free to write your opinions but i guess you should choose your words properly.. or else people wouldn't worry about choosing their words about the article..

  • Yuva on April 8, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    Whoa whoa ! Fellas, how long are we gonna lament that LUCK is Primary for Dhoni's success ? I remember, Ganguly was also criticized the same manner. Enough of this BS folks. It is afterall a game and the captains & think-tank of the team brainstorm about the strategies in the due-course of a match. Samir, just because you have a blog can't write dirt about everyone. What level of qualification you have on the International Cricket other than being a critic or a mere spectator ?

  • Subramanyam on April 8, 2009, 14:50 GMT

    I fully and completely agree with Samir Chopra. Champions are made of different material. They dont just win matches. They seek an opening and having found one, quickly close on it, choking off their opponents. It is indeed incomprehensible why the declaration was not made much much earlier. A lead of 450 was more than enough and I fully agree that Dhoni should have set a field much much more attacking. And while India have now established themselves as a fantastically good team, fielding and catching are still nowhere near world class and Team India would do well to recognise and improve in these areas. Hats off to Team India for their success in NZ, but yes, an Australia, in their hey day (not many years ago) would have atleast made it 2-0 and that too very very comfortable. MSD does need to be a more attacking captain and must take more risks. Fortunate, after all, favours the brave!

  • Nick on April 8, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    Well, you can't really plan about weather. What we talk about declaring earlier and all, are just ifs-and-buts. If we had declared earlier and rain had come earlier still the result would have been a draw. If we had broken the Taylor-Franklin partnership, then we would have won way before the rain. So I do not think there was any wrong with the declaration. What the criticizers say is more like a knee-jerk reaction. Because the match went draw because of rain, we blame Dhoni for late declaration.

  • SAJIL on April 8, 2009, 14:45 GMT

    Excellant article! This is the third time (previously in Oval and Banglore) within the last two year in which negative mindset of three different captains cost much deserved victory. In this context, Dhoni does not look different from Dravid or Kumble. We should have killed the match on fourth day by scoring quickly on third day and inviting to bat NZL after tea on 3rd day instead Dhoni thought that he could score a half century against a tired and bored NZL attack. I feel most of the Indian players see test cricket as an opportunity to improve their batting statistics, and they put team interest only in second place.

  • Vaibhav Garg on April 8, 2009, 14:44 GMT

    I think I would like to go with Dhoni for the declaration of the Indian second innings in wellington. It was quite right for Dhoni to think that India could wrap up the NZ second innings with in four sessions and India had almost done that. If India had not dropped three catches in the first session of the fifth day, they would have completed a 2-0 win over Newzealand. If a team drop so many catches then the captain should not be blamed for declaring the innings late. So Dhoni was absolutely right in his decision.

  • suraj on April 8, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    I think what samir said is correct, Dhoni should be aggressive in fielding and in case of batting also, especially when india came on to bat on 2nd day last session they should go at more speed than they did, even dhoni the captain did the same on the 3rd day which is not one should do who want to win . India actually don't need 5 days to win this match ,4 days would be more than enough if they want to do it.

  • Niraj Kumar on April 8, 2009, 14:43 GMT

    Wow! unbelievable article. Samir you are a late thinker... that's what I can say :) I think Dhoni played safe and square. That's the right way of thinking. If he had declared early and lost... something tells me you would have badly criticized him and would have found a gazillion points to blame him. IMO he made sure the following to win: - Post a target that is unreachable in 2 days time frame (in a way kill time on 4th day to make sure that at an average of 4 runs per over will not win the match and hence draw the series for NZ) - Put NZ in defense to save the test - Actually thought that the fast bowlers and spinner will get NZ out in 4-5 sessions. - Overall thought pragmatically and slightly defensively.. but that's OK.

    And for those people who just see the -ve side of the coin.. shame on you! This is what in general wrong with Indians!! Rather than celebrating the achievements, too much sulking and lack of self respect!! As if the -ve posters have always done wonders in life!!

  • Anil on April 8, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    I really think its the dropped catches that cost us the last test instead of declaration. We can't really comment on the declaration with just guessing what could have been done. It might be the team seniors' decision too apart from Dhoni to go for a total of 600+

  • Toto on April 8, 2009, 14:25 GMT

    Hooray, the 3rd ranked team beat the 8th rank team. India shouldn't get carried away, they played like wimps in the 2nd innings, after living in and watching Australia play for years I see a very obvious difference in why Australia will stay no.1.

  • Observer on April 8, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    Truly Different Indian Captain - Being different is not about carrying a chip on your shoulder about being different - rather it is about developing a team that will set new benchmarks. how about having a W/L/D stat of 4/0/2 in his 6 odd matches? This Indian team, and Dhoni, are very conscious of history. You can almost sense, that for him it is a matter of putting check marks against a lots of items. Reclaiming Border Gavaskar Trophy was one, Winning the series in Newzealand was another. Doesn't matter what the scorelines were. I agree that this was an over cautious captain. But who said that great captains (or generals) are only the ones willing to put everything on line. There is a time for being bold and that would have been if we were leading 2-0 or even when it was the first match of the series with an initiative to be wrested. Certainly not when the lead was 1-0 and a historical series win at stake.

  • vasu on April 8, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    I think dhoni made a mistake by delaying the declaration. At the end of day 3 India had a lead of 537 which was a good target. If Dhoni wanted to set a target of more than 600 then he would have advised laxman and gambhir on day 3 to score quickly. I dont agree with the dhoni's statement that he wanted more runs on the board to set an aggressive field which he didn't when taylor was batting. All the fielders were on the boundaries which allowed him to rotate strike easily.

  • tej on April 8, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    I'm shocked that you are allowed to write for cricinfo.. we have won 1-0, there is a reason for that.. its very easy to sit back and think in hindsight, while there no the field decisions have to be made instantly.. if we had lost the set after a 500 run lead, Dhoni's house would probably have been set on fire.. higher totals are being chased down in tests these days, so its not very logical to use history to talk against Dhoni's decision.. Do us a favor - stop writing!!

  • Edwin D'Cruz on April 8, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    I am totally in synch with your commnents in your well articulted article. India had a great opportunity to go up 2-0 in this series and washed away their strong hopes of doing so by prolonging the agony of batting on...

    I believe India had capable bowlers to bowl the Kiwis out twice in the third test but Dhoni played like an ultra cautious captain! Pity India missed such a strong opportunity of coming back home with a 2-0 whitewash of the Kiwis. Well done anyway Team India!

  • Ali on April 8, 2009, 14:21 GMT

    well i think he took a great decison as the kiwi has 2 whole day to play and the pitch seemed good for batting... as indians scored good runs.. beinga captain u have to take only calculated risk.. and what dhoni did.. what if they had chased 500+... what you have said then.. a bad startegy by dhoni!! thing that mattered is winning the series... and india actually were near to winning the last test also... but the weather comes in.. Neways.. well played india and Dhoni.. salute to him. jaye ho!!

  • Raghavan on April 8, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    I understand the agony of not winning 2-0 against a side ranked 8th in ICC table. But you pepole remember even this is acheived by only our fast bowlers got early strikes which our earlier bowlers could not. Why you people didn't cry in the second test against our batsmen for not attacking the bowlers when they already 1-0. That time you the same people praised the defensive approach when on saving the match. and eventhough i am disappointed as not being 2-0 but happy with 1-0 rather than 1-1 result. Let me expect some comments from others

  • Debasish on April 8, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    Thank god! Finally, I see an article that raises the question. I've been getting the impression that the rest of journos have been trying really hard looking the other way. It is very puzzling. The previous captains were always chewed out for such attitudes. I love Dhoni, he is from my home town, and until now I never doubted his intent. But, his actions in the last two days left me with complete open mouthed incomprehension. It almost seemed to me that there was a purposefulness in avoiding a win. And, really, what was that girlie giggling going on... and Harbhajan's antics? I do not recall seeing such strange things in a Test match before. It was embarrassing. It was a shameless display of utter lack of professionalism. What a way to end a series! I still can't get over the fact that the media (and I am sure BCCI) is so happy with a series win in 40 years that nobody is even thinking of asking the perfectly valid and important question to Dhoni, "Why did you throw away a Test match?"

  • Satish Raj Pathak on April 8, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    I think New Zealand had drawn this test match by bowling poorly in the second inning. They could have finished indian innings earlier but they were aware of the fact that if they will do so then their team will be in trouble because they donot have players to survive on that kind of pitch for more than 120 overs. So newzealand had done what they wanted to as you can see the smiles of on the face of Vettori when they were coming back after rain.

  • Satish on April 8, 2009, 14:13 GMT

    This is Dhoni's most forgettable moment of his life. It is because he is MSD that he hasn't been questioned. In India, I feel tooooo much is being made of a series win. In fact once they are up 1-0, they will snatch a draw from the very intestines of victory, if they have to. The Test win was on a platter waiting for them to have it. At tea 3rd day, with 450 runs ahead, they should have gone crash-bang wallop, made NZ chase leather for an hour may be at most and declared. I am certain Zaheer would have put Mcintosh out of his misery and gotten India one wicket that evening itself. Even if NZ came close, which they would not have, Dhoni could have chosen his famous 8-1 offside heavy field placing, which he has now made his own patent. NZ if they were desperate to win would have had to take risks and lose wickets in the bargain.

    BCCI should talk down to MSD. The worst memory of this test match for me - MSD did not even pretend that he is disappointed in not being to win the test.

  • sampath on April 8, 2009, 14:12 GMT

    Samir Chopra rushes in where Dhoni Fears to tread.Absolute Nonsense dished out by chopra in the name of journalism

  • prahlad on April 8, 2009, 14:10 GMT

    I think the statement that "... this also affected their fielding" is absolute crap. the truth is the wicket was getting easier to bat on as predicted by Vettori and if you take a look at the 4th innings the NZ batsmen werent really troubled. what cost us the match was Ishant dropping Iain O'Brien. Cos anybody who has seen Chris Martin bat knows that he can't... bat. Stop all this expert criticism without accounting for ground realities. If you can't get a team out in 5 sessions you either lack the bowling or the pitch is downright benign. With a hundred runs less and an attacking Ross Taylor we'd not be able to set even as attacking a field as we did and the runs would come freely and we, the audience, would be cursing and biting our nails.

  • venkat on April 8, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    Real rubbish from chopra. This article clearly follows the trend of cricinfo from last two years to publish something blatantly unfair about Indian cricket and thereby attract all those BCCI haters and people who are jealous of Indian Cricket wealth to drive traffic to cricinfo website and monetise it using any of those umpteen ad algorithm like adsense to drive up their bottomline. Cricinfo's journalistic ethics has really hit rock bottom.

  • Sumit Agarwal on April 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    The “good enough” attitude.

    Spot on brother! When I checked the weather forecast for the 5th day, there was a 50% chance of rain. Bummer! MSD probably didn’t see that or didn’t think the weatherman knew what he was talking about. It turned out that the weatherman had nailed it. Rain came down after just about half day’s play was over with India left bowling 38.3 overs on the last day. Was MSD trying to be too cute. Or better yet, in the post game presentation ceremony MSD said he was expecting 110 overs of cricket in NZs second innings. I will always wonder how on god’s earth he came up with that prediction, but what’s more appalling is that we weren’t confident that we can defend a 531 run 2nd inning lead (by end of day 3) in 110 overs. At the end it didn’t matter. Each of them got Rs.15 lakhs bonus from BCCI, because the performance was good enough. This might very well be the difference between India and the top two teams. Because, being number 3 is good enough.

  • Ramki on April 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    I accept with wat dhoni did by aiming for a 600+ total.if he had declared at a 500+ total and when there was about 2 days remaining,NZ would have scored easily.I wouldn't rely too much according to the weather forecast.imagine if the rain hadn't come,then India would have won like a piece of cake.

  • kkvarao on April 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    good luch team india. but its very easy to win to india in nz becoz nz team very weak and its very diifferent to compare 2003 conditions.

  • Ramki on April 8, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    I accept with wat dhoni did by aiming for a 600+ total.if he had declared at a 500+ total and when there was about 2 days remaining,NZ would have scored easily.I wouldn't rely too much according to the weather forecast.imagine if the rain hadn't come,then India would have won like a piece of cake.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 14:05 GMT

    I hv got a short n simple comment...IT IS VERY EASY TO SHOUT AT THE STRATEGY ONCE D MATCH IS OVER N MOREOVER IF U WEREN'T A PART OF THE DECISION MAKERS...INDIA BOWLED ABOUT 80 OVERS SHORT(23 ON THE 4TH DAY N ABOUT 60 ON THE 5TH DAY) N STILL WERE JUST 2 WICKETS SHORT...I GUESS THIS WAS A VRY SATISFACTORY RESULT...N IF U R STILL NOT SATISFIED...DEN I GUESS U DONT WANT TO B SATISFIED...U WANT TO RELIVE UR 1982 83 DAYS OF IMRAN KHAN ERA... SORRY BUT THEIR TIME'S UP...N AS IT SEEMS...SO IS URS...

  • rasmit on April 8, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    Dhoni has never scored a 50 in T20 match, and see the strike rate. Its only 104 which is far below the T20 standard. But he got all the credit for T20 world cup win. 13 12 3 215 45 23.88 207 103.86 0 0

    Secondly Dhoni got Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna just after playing 20 test matchs which Dravid and Kumble could not get. I hope Dravid and Kumble are more deserving than Dhoni. You accept or not, Dhoni is not a champion rather a celebrity.

  • guruguhan on April 8, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    what a great victory and i would like to wish all indian players to made us proud.Dhoni means innovation and he is maturing a lot and this is the great example for that. You may think that why does he need 600 plus runs to bowl them out rather than declaring at 500 runs. Few things to be taken care. 1.pitch was batting friendly, 2. Nea Zealand is having big tail for batting. Franklin and Vettori played like a regular batsmen and dhoni would have had great faith in his bowlers that they will finish them in 100 over( probable they bowled 100 overs they would have been bundled black caps very easily) so lets enjoy the victory rather than complaining the captancy.If your bowlers are not bundled them in 125 overs there is no fun in dreaming no.1 position for ever. Nature played the major role

  • anup gupta on April 8, 2009, 13:59 GMT

    I think we still need to work upon our bowling attack and that I assume would be the primary reason for Dhoni to wait. He knew that for this attack, taking 10 NZ wickets even in two days is quite difficult (more so in a placid wicket like that of Wellington). Anyways we all should celebrate the victory right now.

  • Arvind on April 8, 2009, 13:58 GMT

    Someone mentioned in the Cricinfo commentary feedback - Dhoni did the right thing by scoring 16 runs after 600. Kiwis would have fancied their chances of scoring 601 runs, but 617 was far beyond their reach!!!

  • Ramki on April 8, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    Why don’t we talk about the drop catch of Ishant Sharma which was a dolly? I am not blaming even Ishant this is what cricket is all about. If we would have won the match we would have been talking something else over here. It would have been nice if we have won with 2-0 lead but still 1-0 lead and breaking a 41 years wait was incredible. All the kudo’s go to Indian Cricket Team. I have read couple of comments like Dhoni luck factor wins the matches for India really hurts. Did we see any player like him in Indian cricket who always tries to win matches? He is the one who scored the highest number of times the winning run for India. 1% of luck is always there when you put an effort of 99%.

  • Vinay on April 8, 2009, 13:56 GMT

    It is easy to say after a match has completed that those 10-15 overs made the difference.

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    This is not the first time we have done it - rememeber Rahul Dravid playing safety first against England, then Dhoni doing the same against England in India. The difference between the Indians and the Australians is the killer instinct and that is why our road to the top will be slow. Once the mindset will change so will our rate of success. Having said that let's rejoice in the victory we have achieved.

  • Avi on April 8, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Just let the captain ...lead the team...too many cooks spoil the meal. By declaring under 500 runs or even at 500, you never know even if something that hasn't been achieved in history can happen to you. No one ever thought a team would make 400 runs in an ODI , and then chase it down too.

    Full support to Dhoni and the boys for this one, never leave anything to chance as much as possible.

  • Sai Prakash on April 8, 2009, 13:54 GMT

    Dhoni's "defensive" mindset was a let down, no doubt. He's a very good leader, but still has ways to go to be a great one. There was no need at all to set a 617 run target. Precious time was lost. Captains must plan for weather. That said, he and the team did an excellent job overall.

  • angshuman on April 8, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    I think everyone who is 'appalled' and 'dissapointed' to see the defensive tactics should stop watching indian cricket under Dhoni. If you can't love this Indian team (the best ever) just leave it - please... I think this new zealand batting line was cabable of scoring 500+ on this pitch - ryder, mccullum and taylor are all very fast scoring talented players. I don't think the English team was capable of doing that last year.

  • Nirav Shroff on April 8, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    If Dhoni would have declared on the 3rd day evening with the light diminishing there was a full chance that NZ wouldnt even have come out to play. Plus Dhoni had to consider the attacking nature of some of the batsman and had to have the few extra runs. If we scored 444 and there was no weather delays or rain delays. NZ could have batted out and won the Test. Doesnt mean that I dont trust the Indian bowling it just means rather play it safe and then attack. Take Australia - India 2001 Eden Gardens for a instance. Ganguly was criticized at lunch for playing late into Day 5 and setting up a big score but India won and everyone forgot. Same thing here. I believe Dhoni expected that he would get the 2 full days and he can get them out.

  • Nitin Vaidya on April 8, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    While I can understand the "winning the series" focus, there is one other objective that the Indian team aspires to - reaching the #1 rank. We had the opportunity to tie South Africa at #2 but we blew it. Why were only 170 runs scored between lunch and close on day 3 at only ~3/over? Another 50 runs on that day could have gotten a lead of 575 by close; enough to push for a win. Since rain had been forecast for the final day, we could have declared at an even lower total and bowled a few overs on day 3. And if NZ could have reached 500+ to win a test match kudos to them. Defensive tactics by India captains have been a problem for many many years. I thought Dhoni was more attacking, but he is not.

  • Sumit on April 8, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    I disagree...India took 4 wickets on the 4th day AND the play was called off 28 overs early...judging how the light situation will be in one thing but 28 overs??? come on that 1/3rd of the day's play...I anything the blame should be laid upon the dropped cathes where India (i admit) did seem to get clumsly....I agree with one of the comments below. Please leave journalism!

  • vk on April 8, 2009, 13:49 GMT

    Well there are good arguements on both sies, guess Dhoni didn't want to be the one who "came close" to erasing India's poor run in NZ. So he opted for safe but still in his mind attacking approach. Except the 600 plus by NZ, they looked really out of sorts to repeat that and India would have fancied its chances to bowl them out within less than 2 days. Yes, extra time for bowlers could have secured a win, but again its predictable that if some partnership is developed then even a draw was still possible. Blame management for scheduling such tour mostly marred by weather all throughout. If anybody says India didn't dominate NZ in ODI and tests then they're out of their mind, regardless of 3-1 and 1-0. It only helps India going forward, maybe after doing so consistently, where we don't have the stigma of string of defeats, future teams will go for the kill a la Aus.

  • Roger on April 8, 2009, 13:47 GMT

    I would have agreed with Samir if he wrote this piece on the 3rd day or 4th day. It is just silly that he waits for the result and then blames the captain, as if Dhoni knowns in advance that rain will come when NZ loses 8 wickets. Samir's article reflects the typical Indian attitude - we just can't stomach one of us doing well.

  • Nijnoz on April 8, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Only the ones that play to win, be the no 1. Team. Those who's aim is to survive and draw are not worthy of the name winners. That is why Oz and SA are 1 & 2, and India 3. If you don't trust your players to bowl out the no.8 team, c'mon. If you want to win so badly, play Bangladesh all year long. All in all poor leadership and bad for the image of ( Indian) Test cricket.

  • Karthik on April 8, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Vivek, if you have basic cricket knowledge you would know what the author is trying to say. Not just author so many long itme cricket fans. So many people including the likes of Martin crowe was puzzled at his move of using Sehwag and Munaf after tea when Habrhajan was turning and bouncing. Don't defend Dhoni for the sake of defending. This is amaturish defense. Dhoni was wrong in many ways. He had Munaf at short extra cover. Who would have a man in that position when it is a crucial catching position. He made copious blunders after declaration. All were swept under carpet because of a series win against an 8th ranked Test side. You know what. India lost 1 point in ICC ranking because they couldn't beat them 2-0.

  • Suhaib on April 8, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Very interest indeed. But let me remind you Samir of one important fact - Winning on Form is totally different from Winning on Professionalism. And the latter is the trait only Australians have proved to have over a number of years. And more interestingly, professionalism has a catch. It induces the urge to win each game irrespective of series result or records achievement. So do remember each one of you, India's current success owes to the collective form of its individual players only. And as they say "Form is temporary, Class is permanent"...try replacing "Class" with Professionalism and Positive mindset and you have a prediction for India's fast approaching future without this "Class".

  • Yeshu Aggarwal on April 8, 2009, 13:43 GMT

    Well, if you feel so, lets remove Dhoni from captaincy and make you the captain. You think he is a goddam fool..man its easy to criticize anyone.....had we lost the test then also you would have blamed him. I cant understand why we Indians always look for the negatives.

  • Bijoy on April 8, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    If MSD declared at 500, NZ gets 30 overs extra. Also if Raider and Mc stays for 3 hrs each on the ground will these people say the opposite? MSD has done the wrong decision , He could have played till 600+ as there were 2 days left its easy for NZ who has long batting line up etc etc. Criticism is very easy off the ground. It should not be like gavaskar calling dravid as snail.

  • krisbharath on April 8, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    Remember India scored 470 odd runs for loss of 4 Wickets in 2nd innings of 2nd test. MSD might have though that 500 is reachable if Kiwis manages to bat for 4-5 sessions. With Jessie Ryder & Taylor in team, there is a chance of reaching target as well. By declaring with over 600, MSD ensured that NZ cannot reach the target even if they bat till end of 5th day at a normal pace. Had Ishant held on to OB's catch, we had 90% chance of winning.

  • subash on April 8, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    i think dhoni wanted india's 100th test win to be in india !lolz.

  • david lazarus on April 8, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    Very well written Samir. After the 3rd day, I would get up in early in the morning to watch the match. I must say I am very dissapointed. The body langauge of the Indians even when they were batting towards the end of 3rd day was as if this was a 10 days match. They showed no urgency in scoring quick runs. This was repeated on the 4 th day. While feilding, Dhoni didn't have an attacking field especially when Harbhajan was bowling. Wonder why the coach coudnt put some sense into Dhoni.

    Everyone was aware of the fact that rain could play spoil sport. But Dhoni and his boys played as though they felt pity for the NZs and did not want to spoil their freindship with the NZs,.

    This attitude certainly will not be help to reach the No.1 position. Well that can remain a dream. South Africans and the Australians are far ahead of the Indians on this count.

    I just hate to see players joking and giggling on the ground and making it look as though it is some kind of a charity match.

  • rc on April 8, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    Being different does not mean being dumb.

  • Karthik on April 8, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    This is exactly i wrote under Richardson's article. They wanted to set 617. Fair enough. But did they attack NZ enough? I doubt so. Sehwag/Munaf after tea for 12 overs? That was the most perplexing move of Dhoni. I am sure some of the Indian players on the field must have been tearing their hair off. Dhoni's captaincy after declaration was largely mediocre. Sorry to say this. But i have to say this.

  • Sagar on April 8, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    I for one don't agree that every test needs to be won. Draw is as much a win in some situations. Cricket and especially test cricket are unique in this aspect. We have a draw that can be as fulfilling as a victory. All of those who are used to instant gratification of new age sports, need to wake up to this concept in test cricket. Winning by drawing.

  • Arun on April 8, 2009, 13:39 GMT

    I totally disagree with the author's comments. You have 150 and odd overs left to get NZ out. If you can't get them out then another 10 or 20 odd overs won't make any difference. I just wish Dhoni tried more attacking fieldset rather than being so very defensive, if he really wanted to win. I just wanna re-quote some one here, "A good team tries to win, but a better team makes the WIN."

    Well done Dhoni for letting us get this far. Hope you bring more victories to the team.

    Kudos to you...

  • Tapo on April 8, 2009, 13:35 GMT

    Do not think that the same is a fair comment... Too early to start thinking about series sweeps and winning dead rubbers... This is India's Mark Taylor era (Sourav was our Allan Border) we will wait till the Steve Waugh era starts... one step at a time.

  • sriram on April 8, 2009, 13:33 GMT

    This article is a good one to debate on ,but before even going for a debate one should remember the amount of pressure we indians put on any team which has played cricket for india ,lately media has also come down very hard on team and captain and coach ......so keeping this in mind lets analyse the situation ...Yes Dhoni had an oppurtunity which he had squandered but he would have been a sorry figure if he had declared early and NZ go for a win ..u never know with sides like NZ remember the match against AUS they played with Astle and Cairns for the last wicket ...so wat Dhoni done was the safe thing ...wat if it had not rained and NZ had a target of 450 for two days so benefit of uncertainity has to be given to Dhoni ,in future he can be a bit aggressive as many of u have said but firstly he needs to prove to world that this team creates history and breaks records wihch he has done so lets enjoy the series win more than anything

  • Ajay Arora on April 8, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    Totally agree. Dravid as a captain sacrificed a 2-0 win in England to secure an overseas win and so did Dhoni. If they really want to be number 1, they need to be agressive by thought and action and believe in their capabilities. All praise for Zaheer and Bhajji in post match conference does not lead to belief that they can defend 500. I fully agree that there are lessons to be learnt even when they are celebrating a rare oversears win.

  • Sarma on April 8, 2009, 13:27 GMT

    I wonder why we are discussing this topic. It is not a big deal. At the end of the day, we have never won the series in the past and we need to safeguard first. That is what Dhoni has done. It is easy to sit on the fence and speak. Even I would have done the same thing if I were on the ground. Congratulations Dhoni.

  • Enigma on April 8, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    You can plan ahead for the weather in a one day game, you cant plan ahead for the next day...captains don't have a divine connection with the rain gods. Dhoni made the right call.

  • Sanjib Ghosh on April 8, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    Disagree almost entirely with article. Captaincy and team decision just right. 1st and only objective is have unbeaten test and win series. That winning and not taking unnecessary risks mentality sends the right message itself. India should still have won as you've noted - had the catches stuck and a little less rain, but that variable cannot be ACCURATELY accounted for. How can you say the leadership is conservative when they do things like (correctly) let inexperienced Joginder Sharma bowl critical overs in final, sf of wc? This is one of the most innovative teams ever seen - but only in the right circumstances (I think they would have declared earlier and run the risk of losing the test and series if the series was at 0-0, andeven earlier if they were behind). Well done leadership/management of India - you're doing the right job and very well!

  • Rasmit on April 8, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    Why did not India declare when Yuvraj got out? At that time, the lead was 580. India played 10 overs after that to score 37 runs out of which Dhoni scored 17 of 30 balls and got his 50. Even India did not declare when Bhaji got out. This shows Dhoni waited for his 50 and in the process we lost 10 overs which would have been the deciding factor at the end as Dhoni said later.

  • Seize on April 8, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    For all those who agreed with the author are in th category of "eat more and digest less!". Folks give Dhoni SOME credit for winning a SERIES(part by part) which hadn't been accomplished by how many other GREAT captains?

  • lakesidey on April 8, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    I believe he did the right thing. Samir, you're right in saying no-one has ever chased 500 to win a test match - yet. But that is not the same as saying no one has *scored* 500 "in the fourth innings of some 1918 tests played in 132 years". That has happened, more than once. High 4th innings scores were a feature of 2008 (heaven's Bangladesh almost pulled one match off...) And New Zealand has a nasty habit of making a spirited effort at unrealistic chases - remember Nathan Astle? Or even Tim Southee, not so long back? And with hitters like McCullum and Rider around, and two full days to go, I wouldn't put a record chase in the realm of impossibility. So I can sympathise with the urge to play it safe and say, so to speak, "a 1-0 series win in hand is worth a 2-0 in the bush" The dropped catches are a different matter - those were inexcusable evidence of taking it lightly having won the series. Not surprising, those, just unfortunate!

  • Manish Vashistha on April 8, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    I also did not like Dhoni's decision. We did win the series 1-0, but you know winning 2-0 means much. It creates the confidence which australian team had. It makes you dominant, it gives more satisfaction. In test cricket, it's very rare to score at 4 per over and that too in the last inning. So a score of 500 odd should have been sufficient. We really can't be this way all the time. Because then we will do it every time. For India to be dominant outside of india, they have to win tests with margin of 2-0, 3-0 or more... Each draw result is not good, people cherish the quality of match but they would surely remember results and especially dominant results. We need to be consistent and we need to win as many matches as possible.

  • Mukesh Gupta on April 8, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    The time have changed and so is the cricket. If Dhoni would hace declared at 550 and NZ would have made them since they had enough time, he would have been heavily criticized of his decision. Well done Dhoni. It's better to be safe than sorry. Let us win few more series before getting to aggressive.

  • vish on April 8, 2009, 13:18 GMT

    Overall, the fielding standards of the Indian team dropped considerably as the series progressed, especially so in the final test. catches win matches and I think bowlers bowl better if they have confidence in the abilities of the fielder. A 2-0 win would have given a true picture of the way India dominated the series and MSD should have declared around 550. It was a chace not only to win a historic test series but also do it so emphatically. but I hope with MSD as captain India would be a more aggressive and ruthless team...on the way to the top test spot.

  • Bilal, Pakistan on April 8, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    Chak De India (" Lift India") approach was relegated to movies only after seeing Dhoni's captiancy style in this match. Normally he is an aggressive character but this match was different for him. Having said this, Indian public should be congratulated for a series win and NZers should take consoloation from the fact that this Indian team is different from the one they had hosted previously.

  • rajesh kamath on April 8, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    Anyone who agrees with Dhoni's horrendously rotten decision to bat beyond 500 DOES NOT know his cricket.You got to PLAY THE PERCENTAGES..!!..At 500 ahead,what were the chances of N.Z. pulling it off?..5% at most...if it rained then even they wouldnt have the time to score 500!!!!There was a 20 times more chance of getting them out for under 300 than them scoring 500.This when you have zaheer and bhajji in the side...Some people have commented that what ifn.z. had scored 500..?You got to take that 5% chance..i dont think it was even 5%.If it was the aussies or the springboks,this would have been unberstandable..Dhoni has this thing of bothering only abot series wins..hats off to him for being able to get in that position time and again where he wins a series and then lets the last game go to the dogs..but test wins are too precious..TOO PRECIOUS..my heart bleeds..if you cant defend 500 after getting them all out for 197,really,it sucks..

  • sudha on April 8, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    I think we have different yardsticks for different people. The bruising criticism Dravid came under when he didnt go for a 2-0 series win in England and the kid gloves being used now. The forecast was for rain on the 4th and 5th day and bad light was going to take away a few hours. But still they were just lackadaisical and batted on until they set a target of over 600 runs. I think unless the Indian team learn to field with more intensity and go for the jugular at all times, they wont be the No 1 team in the world. Also the tendency to give away bucketful of runs after having the opposition down by 5-6 wickets.. This weak NZ lineup still scored all the centuries. Would that have been possible against SA or Australia? Dhoni is leading a charmed life right now.

  • ndigits on April 8, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    continued from earlier comment...Many fellow commenters have pointed out about ifs and buts - What if NZ would have chased 500+. Yeah, indeed, Dhoni should have declared after 700+ - What if NZ put Macculam and Jesse Ryder in Opening and ask them to play in 20-20 mode and chased it down with 20 overs to spare. What if....

  • Jay From New Jerse on April 8, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    Hey Guys, I am fairly new at understanding Test Cricket and was following the matches pretty closely. In my opinion, New Zeland had proven in the second test that they are more then capable of putting up big scores. They are not short on talent. So, that being said, do all of you who are saying that MS made a bad decision think that Black Caps are not capable of chasing that. Sameer says that history says no team has chased 400+ in over 1900 matches played. History has also said that India has not won a test in New Zealand in almost 41 years. So, I believe MS made the right decision while leaving plenty of time to bowl out NZ. Becoming No. 1 is important but winning series are important as well. Rain was predicted... not definite. Sameer, MS did plan for the weather. The bowlers just did not come through. The only thing that I don't agree with MS is his bowling changes and field setup in the 3rd match. Players were too relaxed and defensive instead of being aggresive. Go India

  • ndigits on April 8, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    Since cricketers can become gods overnight in India (I am an Indian, btw) It is not surprising that quite a few people have taken this as a personal insult that someone (Samir in this case) has criticized a captain that has won us a series victory in NZ after 41 years.

    Vivek, by those standards you need to be a state team captain to qualify to post comments here and Only international cricket team captains would be able to criticize anyone (barring a few, most of them play(ed) cricket better than write - what a shocker!)

    Needless to say, it came as a surprise to me, I admire Dhoni and his cricketing brain but could not comprehend his techniques on the evening of 4th day when Munaf - apparently not at his best and Sehwag were given the bowl for long spell. Even if we consider the logic that Zahir was tired et all, He could have tried a few things - Like Tendulkar's successful spell on day 5.

  • Balaji on April 8, 2009, 13:13 GMT

    While agreeing with the general purport of the article, a couple of things tilt my view to line with what happened. 1) A series win is a collective feeling that Dhoni ensured for this team, and a gift for the seniors. 2) The followers of a 5 day game won't be rewarded if such aggression results in a 4 day game. Remember 02-03 visit?! None of the games lasted the distance and we all know what a damp squib it was (even NZ-ers would agree!). Add to that the fact that indeed the benchmark has been drawn. So, I guess Dhoni can extract from his players things like no more series-opener-falters and such. If you really think about it, what robbed India a win, as also the spectators good cricket was all those sloppy fielding and dropped catches.

  • vish on April 8, 2009, 13:11 GMT

    Overall, the fielding standards of the Indian team dropped considerably as the series progressed, especially so in the final test. catches win matches and I think bowlers bowl better if they have confidence in the abilities of the fielder. A 2-0 win would have given a true picture of the way India dominated the series and MSD should have declared around 550. It was a chace not only to win a historic test series but also do it so emphatically. but I hope with MSD as captain India would be a more aggressive and ruthless team...on the way to the top test spot.

  • Anand on April 8, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    for this reason and reason only that dhoni did not declare early the game of cricket should be banned in india. This would be beneficial to the country ,productivity might go up,population maight go up and we can turn all the stadiums into housing for the poor. Themoney Bcci makes can go into social programmes for Disabled and poor. BAN THIS IDIOTIC GAME .

  • Dinesh on April 8, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    Logically speaking being there and working out strategies is pretty difficult talk ,listening to coach and everybody suggesting and taking into consideration that india was deprived of success from 41 yrs in newzealand it was a fair decision in terms of dhoni, it is easier to contradict then play cricket.

  • Vivek Tomer on April 8, 2009, 13:07 GMT

    Hi Sameer, I have been a fan of your blogs but this 1 disappointed me with your rage and aggressiveness for no reason.Firstly i agree dhoni been defensive but i go along with him and i respect him for doing that. In the third test he was doing that any captain would have done. Indian team worked hard for their series win. They won first test , just managed to pull off a draw in second.In third they tried not hard but atleast tried hard enough to keep the series win and gift the senior player and every indian this series. In third test he did not want to let go the efforts he and his team made in last 50 days. Mind you , if you look around there are few mammoth run chases been sucessful recently. you are not happy with 1-0 win, you wanted it to be 2-0 but i am quite sure in any circumstances any of you who is cricising dhoni here, would not be happy if series would have been 1-1.Then i see most of you swingin to other side and asking "why dhoni was not defensive when he already won the

  • DILIP on April 8, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    MSD showed a clear meaning of series WIN over series draw.He made players including all cricket loving fan aware of good head he has that the game played with logic not gambling mind. DILIP from CANADA

  • Abdulkhadar on April 8, 2009, 13:05 GMT

    I want to make one thing clear. Not criticizing a team since they won the match as well as criticizing the team since they lost match are not at all good for the future of the team. So it is fair to say that we should not criticize or try to find the faults when Indian team won the series first time in 41 years.If we are not criticzing the team eventhough there are faults only beacause of they are winning then team will not learn their mistakes and one day it will be piled up to lose the amtch regularly. Instead of waiting team to lose its always better to find the fault and make them learn regularly and keep their winning streak intact.Hence there is no harm at all in finding fault when India won the historic win. It will only help Dhoni and Indian team do better in the future and to become no.1 team. Its should be our intention and to be considered as our duty as we cannot help in the field.So everyone has right to find faults and criticize the team for the sake of teams future.

  • srinivas on April 8, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    I am wondering how the writer would have reacted if Dhoni had declared on the third day with 550+ runs lead, and Newzealdanders had a bit of luck and cruised to chase that total without any weather interruption, then what would be Dhonis situation? all these people would be criticising him for early decleration, NL would have leveled the series... there would have been so many questions for dhoni to clarify, that situation would have been more worse then this.. So well done Dhoni..dont worry.. you did excellent job. Srinivas

  • Parikshith on April 8, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    @ Post by Vivek at April 8, 2009 5:33 AM... Well said buddy!! I completely agree with you. Had India lost by setting the target at 450(it doesn't matter whether it was impossible or not),the same person(Samir)who has posted those comments would have blamed the team in other way.Please stop criticising the team and learn to appreciate the work they have been doing from the past 1 year or so.Neither the Gavaskars nor the Borders have opposed the Captain's move then why do those people who are below par want to comment on those men who have achieved something big in their lifes.Good Luck Team India!!You people are doing a great job!

  • harry on April 8, 2009, 12:57 GMT

    its a great feeling to win a test series in new-zealand after 41 years and full credit goes to whole team.dhoni is riding high on teams luck but the one thing i must say that is team lack a spirit of victory.600 plus run and two days to win.still draw..i think they will never get this chance again in coming years to win a test match.if there was ricky ponting in place of dhoni.he would have made this contest even by declaring it when team has 550 plus score.i lost respect for dhoni being so coward captain.he seems to be politician more than sportsman..to me.they are in newzealand for more than 2.5 months.they know all about weather.i am really disappointed the way indian team took this match into play...

  • vish on April 8, 2009, 12:52 GMT

    I was a big fan of NZ team I really liked watching Astle, tuffy, bond, fleming, styris in team but after that I think it will take years to become a competitive team for NZ India was not playing with its full strength and still they defeated home team badly so like zimbabwe and kenya I think NZ have to work harder than do except vittory they have no bowler who can do well and in batsmen no one is capable to play a long inning even of 50 -50 they are all 20 -20 players so I would like to watch them in IPL hope NZ team will learn fast before WC so we can see an Improved team

  • Avanti on April 8, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    Indian did behave like little kids. Clapping and laughing and joking. This isn't how professionals play. Watch any Football, Baseball, Basketball, or other teams play any sport. You don't see that behavior ever. Then, the team wasted so much time goofing around. Munaf dropped an easy catch on the 5th day, but then he sat with the ball, laughing, while dark clouds loomed up in the sky.

    I agree - if we wanted to win, we would have won regardless of the late declaration. This attitude of the team really disappointed me.

  • Gunner on April 8, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    The weather forecast in countries like NZ is more are less very accurate. They should had tried to increase the run rate on third day. Sachin came with that intention. Had he stayed India would have declared on 3rd evening itself. Taking 4th day as last day of the match.

    Our team is in great form as of now. I believe in cashing when everything going India way. It would be same all the time. I would take test match win.

    On the other side, players know its last day of the tour. Players look little more relaxed. I bit their body language would be different If India trying to tie the series. Players like Yuvraj and Munaf are so lethargic on field.

    Lastly If you want to become number one team in the world one have to be ruthless.

    I take nothing away from Dohni. Best thing happened to Indian cricket with present generation of new cricketers. Can't Imagine anyone else leading India other than him.

  • Vyas Sanzgiri on April 8, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    Well said

  • Reel Vs Real on April 8, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    The crux of the matter is that the Team in Blue is living in Reel, however, we all are living in Real. Don't all of you realize this! Really Amazing! This is not new thing for Team in Blue, they have done this in Past, Present and will do in Future (O'course). Further anyone should not blame Dhoni or even make him high than the sky! After all it is completely a team efforts only that make anyone proud to be Indian for a while! Isn't it! Have a nice day!

  • Ricky on April 8, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    AGREED! A very poor and defensive move on Dhoni's part - characteristic of former Indian captains.

  • Naveed on April 8, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    I remember on the 3rd day of the test there was a playcard saying hurry up guys there is a prediction of rain on 5th day and thats exactaly what happened. I think they should have scored faster on 4th day and declared ~ 530 / 540 at max and then had a full go at NZ -

  • Vishnu Vardhan Reddy on April 8, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    Ofcourse there are limitations within this indain team like in any other teams. I am sure the team management, coach and captain are aware of the limitations and working on them.

    Many people think that Dhoni is lucky when it comes to winning but they should realise that a team can't win so many times with luck. The present team is close to the best teams, they deserve no.3 position very much and I am pretty much sure they will become no.1 sooner or later. In my opinion they just need an aggressive all rounder with good pace bowling abilities and equally good batting skills in third seamer position. Some one like Kapil Dev/Imran Khan/Andrew Flintoff. Hope, indian team would find one like these to stay on top of the world cricket in all formats.

  • Yogesh Dugar on April 8, 2009, 12:46 GMT

    I have read the article though i have not read all comments as the no. of comments are too less.:) Anyways coming to declaration part i will agree with Dhoni words in the post match celebration that we expected rain and out of 180 overs we expected close to 110 overs. So decision was taken accordingly.. I also belive pitch was still good enough to bat, and Kiwis have scored 600 in last test, so why cant they return the same performance. Any moreover Dhoni had only 2bowlers to bank upon ZAheer and Harbhajan. seeing the way Munaf and Ishant bowled in 1st innings he might have delayed his declaration.

  • Vinay on April 8, 2009, 12:46 GMT

    Whatifindmostdisappointingis the number of bloggers who have actually questioned this article asking "What if New Zealand ot 500"THis is the most absurd defense of Dhoni.Lets face facts the guy is brilliant when it comes to T20 and ODI cricket, but surely has a long way to go in regards to understanding test cricket.The Indian team has basically forfeited a result and we should call a spade a spade inspite of this being (arguably)the best team weve ever had.As an ardent cricket fan I dont think thereisanything wrong with questioning something peculiar, we might just be doing Dhoni a favour.Iam sureevery Indian cricket lover has that"Australia surely would have gone for 2-0"feeling so please everybody lets not start sayingthat Samir has no right to write this sort of article,hes just doing what no journalist in India has the gutsto do, and i dont for a second think that hisis an attempt to run Dhoni down,infact if any thing Dhoni will improve ifhe paysattention to whathasbeen written

  • sai on April 8, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    In retrospect this makes sense. But with the pitch offering no assistance and 2 days of (possible) full play with a double centurion in Ryder a test before it would be fair to say Dhoni did not miss the mark by much. Also, if rains had come down 30 minutes later we would not have been having this discussion.

    Finishing overs faster because of approaching clouds and setting a target keeping in mind that clouds might approach two days later are such different situations that it's almost like comparing apples to....

  • srinivas on April 8, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    I am wondering how the writer would have reacted if Dhoni had declared on the third day with 550+ runs lead, and Newzealdanders had a bit of luck and cruised to chase that total without any weather interruption, then what would be Dhonis situation? all these people would be criticising him for early decleration, NL would have leveled the series... there would have been so many questions for dhoni to clarify, that situation would have been more worse then this.. So well done Dhoni..dont worry.. you did excellent job. Srinivas

  • Rahul Oak on April 8, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    Ok, here's my theory about cricket, and life in general: You can worry about things in your power to control and just leave things that are not under your control. Declaring with 5.5 sessions to go would be an aggressive move under any set of circumstances. You cannot predict rain, earthquakes and Armageddons with 100% certainty and no sensible captain should make decisions based on the uncertain. Armchair critics like the author of this piece, as well as journalists like Siddharth Monga should stop talking about "historical baggage" and other rubbish and look at it from a pure cricketing perspective. Dravid's declaration in England cannot be compared to this - he declared with 3.5 sessions left after he himself scored 12 off 96 deliveries. So please, stop this over-analysis. If someone needs to be criticized, it should be Munaf and Ishant for dropping absolute sitters that would've made the weather inconsequential. Finally, congrats to the team on a job well done.

  • AMAL BHALE on April 8, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    I think MSD was a bit conservative but at the same time the decision was right. What would have been the comments if we lost and if NZ created history in chasing the 500 runs? What about the bowlers like munaf and even ishant to some extent who could not get the NZ batsmen out in whatever time was available before rain came along. No one seeems to comment on them. so let our players bask in the glory of a 1-0 series win and everyone in history would know that India dominated the series anyway!!!

  • S. Sen on April 8, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    Well said Mr. Chopra. I was reminded not only of Dravid refusing to enforce the follow-on at the Oval, but also of Gavaskar's captaincy against England back in the early 1980s - winning the first Test, and then clinging to that lead over the next five Tests by playing it ultra-safe and drawing one match after another. You would think Dhoni is cut from different cloth, but apparently not. I lost a lot of respect for him in Wellington. The Indian captains who stand out, even now, are Pataudi and Ganguly, not only because they took their chances, but also because they understood that whatever the series result, each Test match is a new beginning.

  • ASHIQ AHAMED CHEMMALASSERI on April 8, 2009, 12:41 GMT

    India had its spirits dampened by the rain.But,towards the end we got the trophy for the good work done earlier.But for Gambir's innings in the second test,India would not have won the series and the final frontier would have been left unfinished even after 41 years. Kiwi lacked the fire power like Shane Bond,chris Cairns who have the ability to turn the match in NewZealands favor almost singlehandedly

  • basher on April 8, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    Dhoni sets a 4th innings target of 450 and soon he sees Munaf Patel limping off with some injury. Then, will you come to bowl?

  • S. Sen on April 8, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    Well said Mr. Chopra. I was reminded not only of Dravid refusing to enforce the follow-on at the Oval, but also of Gavaskar's captaincy against England back in the early 1980s - winning the first Test, and then clinging to that lead over the next five Tests by playing it ultra-safe and drawing one match after another. You would think Dhoni is cut from different cloth, but apparently not. I lost a lot of respect for him in Wellington. The Indian captains who stand out, even now, are Pataudi and Ganguly, not only because they took their chances, but also because they understood that whatever the series result, each Test match is a new beginning.

  • Anupam on April 8, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    Kudos to Indian team for winning the series...The only reason I can find not to declare was to give some batting practice to Yuvraj.No way New Zealand could have managed to come near 500...So probably that was the reason and seems fare. In any case Ishant dropped a catch as well a bad decision against Vettori ..else India would have won. The point here is whatever decision was taken in the ground so be it, lets njy that India won rather than cribbing about useless matters. And yes India is winning ..u shud have seen the pain of India loosing even the in the 90's ...they tended to grab defeats from the jaws of victory.... I mean get a life....amazed to see people are disapoointed over why MSD took so n so decision.Let him do what he wants ..he is the captain n he is winning ....chill!!!

  • Pawan on April 8, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    Samir, wonder what you would have written if Dhoni called of his boys with 448 on the board and Ryder and Taylor got stuck in?

  • Walkman on April 8, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Gambhir drew a match which India was about lose and Dhoni drew a match which India was supposed to win. Thats it!. I guess that the team management has its say rather then teh captain alone takeing the decision. This certainly isn't the way forward. I cannot even think of a team like Australia doing this. Thats why they have ruled crciket for so many years. This result has brought out more anger in me and taken away the joy of a series win. its really sad.

  • Rahul Dutt on April 8, 2009, 12:32 GMT

    If India had declared on the 3rd day evening with the target of 532 NZ used to be in trouble as they are not world class chasers in cricket Mr.Cool would have thought on it Any nice signs & good reflexes got us to the peak

  • Dev on April 8, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    Well.. here's my 2 cents worth. If I were Dhoni, this is what I would be possibly thinking - Let's think of the bigger picture for a moment. We are going to win the series anyway. If I declare 600+ ahead, we lose an added surety of going 2 up. On the other hand, we lose some batting practise in a match situation, something especially important for somebody like Yuvraj.. and an additional 50 to my name won't hurt either. If, on the other hand, we declare at 500, we probably are a little bit more sure about winning.. but hey, we are likely to win anyway. That's it. I think I am going to be a bit selfish here.. and get some batting and nice scores against a tired NZ attack, and hope that we bowl them out anyway, which is very likely. Yes! That'll give me best of both the worlds."

  • Rahul Dutt on April 8, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    If India had declared on the 3rd day evening with the target of 532 NZ used to be in trouble as they are not world class chasers in cricket Mr.Cool would have thought on it Any nice signs & good reflexes got us to the peak

  • Hurez Hussain on April 8, 2009, 12:30 GMT

    What ever said and done.... India won the series! An achivement in its own right. The Indian fans must remember that this was the team that always dissappointed abroad just over 2 years ago. The endeavour must be appreciated. Give it another 2 years and Dhoni will make sure we win matches by taking 10 wickets in 1 day. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day!

  • raj uk on April 8, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    In retrospect, there were sure IFs and BUTs; and isnt it easy to sit outside and comment... I think Dhoni did an absolutely fantastic job of securing an offshore win. Kudos to the disciplined team that truly fought as a single unit. Having taken 6 catches himself in the first innings, it is natural for a skipper to go about expecting the same from his mates. Dropped catches.. yes, they are the bane of any test cricket team and would not go down well with even the fielder himself. Let us all wish that this team would bring in more laurels in times to come.. Jai ho.. JAI HIND

  • Saket Kumar on April 8, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    It ridicules me a lot..people saying declaration should have come when lead was 450-500.Which means NZ had to bat for around 200 overs(if no rain intervention took place) to get around that many runs..which comes at less than 2.5 rpo.I mean,how can 1 guarantee India would not have lost this,seeing successful chasing big score(387) themselves against ENG recently,just batting sensibly. Speaking about the rain there..as rightly pointed by Dhoni..the wind blowing there is strong..and there was not a guarantee that it would have rained. Hence I can say Dhoni did the right thing,it was just unlucky for India not to win with just 2wkts to take..and more than 57 overs to go in the test.

  • Mehul on April 8, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    Give the guy credit . He has done well and we should respect that . Shut up and respect him for his performance !

  • KALPESH GOSALIA on April 8, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    WE COULDN'T WIN MATCH BECAUSE DHONI,THE GREAT CAPTAIN DECLARED 2nd INNING VERY VERY LATE.HE SHOULD HAVE WALKED OFF THE FIELD WHEN YUVRAJ GOT OUT AND THEN INDIA MAY HAVE GOT SOME BENEFIT FROM EARLY MORNING WEATHER AND WIND BLOWING FROM ONE END.ZAHIRKHAN MAY HAVE BOWLED WITH BETTER ENERGY WHICH HE WASTED WHILE BATTING.IT WAS FOOLISH DECISION TO BAT TOO LONG.ANY WAY CONGRATULATION TO INDIAN TEAM FOR WINNING THE SERIES.BUT I WOULD LOVE IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN 2-O.DHONI BE AGGRESSIVE WITH SOME CALCULATIONS.

  • Sachin on April 8, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Hindsight is 20/20. If Dhoni had declared with 400 odd runs and NZ chased it successfully, he would have been roundly criticized. He had the series in his pocket and a test win in the third test would have only been icing on the cake. So there is no icing, but the cake sure tastes good. Dhoni has captained well and made all the right decisions. There will always be those who will nit pick everything and you can add Samir to that list.

  • S.Vinay on April 8, 2009, 12:22 GMT

    This reaction is due to over-hype of "Dhoni" tag. What has he achieved as a batsman and keeper? If one can recount all the Test victories, it is obvious that they have come from individual performances. Dhoni still doesn't know when to declare. Even then there is talk abt him being the best. Dhoni is no different from former captians. He is as defensive as them.But he's got a good team.And media hype. Fullstop.. Please don't go "blah-blah" of his captaincy. Also the conditions in Newzealand would never threaten this Indian team. Dhoni's rating is 3 out of 10.

  • Mohan Govindaraj on April 8, 2009, 12:21 GMT

    Nice article. I would agree with the Samir's views. Yes, we won the series after a very long wait of 41 years. Thats great. But going by the team's recent victories and aspirations to dethrone Australia and South Africa from top test cricketing nations, MSD needs a different mindset. Not that he lacks that, but on this occasion it was a bit surprising to see the team not going for the kill on a few occasions on this test. If we need to replicate what the Aussies have done in the past, ruling cricket for quite a long period, i would say MS needs to get back to what he has done best in the last couple of years as a captain - "Shed the fear of losing"

  • Shailesh Bokil on April 8, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    Guys:

    Wake up!!

    A win is a win whether it is 1-0 or 2-0.

    The general has to act so that you win the war not just the battle and any risk however minimal is unwarranted. Be thankful that you have a general like "Dhoni: in charge.

  • Sunil Wangnoo on April 8, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    Observation is not without merit. Call it learning curve for MSD & team management. However, Team India, from once being great at snatching defeats from the jaws of victory, moving on to snatching draws from the jaws of victory is a improvement of sorts... But yes, keep up the good work Team India.

  • Subu on April 8, 2009, 12:18 GMT

    Dhoni's decision is correct. He batted NZ out of the match to secure the series which is more important. It's high time the cricket-illiterate Media/Column writers and also-ran past cricketers (read Arun lal, Sanjay manjrekar etc) stop providing their uncalled-for retrospection, theories and opinion. The players/support staff in this team are proving time and again that they have it in them to succeed consistently. This team is still in the early stages of winning with scope for improvement and are slowly but surely playing to their potential. Let's not repeat the same mistake of burdening the team with One billion + expectation as in 2007 WC. We should savor & enjoy one victory at a time. Also stop belittling Dhoni captaincy success as "Luck". If Dhoni wins cos of luck, then Lloyd,Waugh,Ponting are the most luckiest cricketers in the world.

  • Mithun Poojary on April 8, 2009, 12:17 GMT

    wel mr. writer you must not forget that it was ms captaincy that brought the world T20, tri series, the home series against eng. if these were shorter format of the game then don't forget the home test series against australia. india won the series 2-0 and both the wins were under dhoni's captaincy. well to comment on dhoni's captaincy is not u'r cup of tea bcoz u'r just a writer just who knows to criticize people even if they have done things you cannot even dream of.we must happy that good sense prevailed bcoz it is sensible to draw a test match rather than lose it. mr. writer i would suggest that eat one chapathi at a time rather than gulping the whole ten

  • Vijay on April 8, 2009, 12:17 GMT

    Perfect article. When Australia posted 16 consecutive test wins, they didn't get there by defensive cricket. If anybody saw the field placements on the 5th day for Harbhajan, you might have thought we were defending 300+ instead of 600+. What a way to waste Gambhir's great century. This team is probably the best ODI side in the world, but is far from being the best in Test Cricket, where the game is played in the space between the ears. For the people upset about criticism, how exactly do we expect to improve if we don't speak of our faults? And this is not hindsight either. As early as the morning of the 4th day, rain had been forecast for the 5th day. If we did not plan for it, that just means that we planned poorly. And who else gets to plan or time a declaration other than the captain?

  • Peter on April 8, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    A true reflection is what you got: 1-0 (as a Kiwi i'll take it!) The Indian team haven't the hunger to win of the Aussies and will not be top dog until they learn to back themselves to win matches.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 12:15 GMT

    Hey Samir, first of all go and learn how to play gulli danda. Don't comment on cricket. A target of 500 - 530 can be achieved easily with a couple of good partnerships, so why take risks. Moreover the wicket was slowing up which would have made batting against the spinners very easy. Its better to be 1-0 up rather than being 1-1. Dhoni was absolutely right and was going for the kill. Only one thing went wrong for India and that too was not under their control and that is rain. I am sure you would have been the first person to criticize Dhoni for declaring early if India had lost the third test.

    Instead of criticizing Dhoni you could have applauded the collective team performance but that is least expected from you.

  • kannan on April 8, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    you hit the nail on the head, samir! well said. while it is commendable that India won in NZ after 41 yrs,the difference between good and great teams is the burning desire to win as much as possible and that intent was sorely lacking and it showed in the tardy declaration and less than purposeful body language on day 5. everyone knew it was going to rain, so it was no surprise. Dhoni is a good captain, but he escapes a lot of criticism, both for his capatincy and his keeping.let him not forget that pride goes, albeit before a fall.( him not wanting to tour SL last yr springs to mind immediately)

  • Raft on April 8, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    1. 500+ runs with 2 days of playing for NZ - result, NZ loose all wickets-India win, make it interesting by reaching the target as there are 2 days left - NZ win. 2. 600+ runs with 2 days of playing for NZ - result, NZ loose all wickets - India win, cannot reach the target even if they don't loose wickets - test draw.

    Considering, we are 1-0 up, i will go with the 1st option, can't take a chance in the last test match of the tour, and also NZ had put 600 runs in the previous test on board. Bad weather or Good weather, i think Dhoni did it right.

  • Amit on April 8, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    Dhoni was not complete faith on our pasers, due to man like 'Munaf Patel'.

  • Harsh Vardhan on April 8, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    Lets go back in time a little bit, we would be the ones praying for rain on the last day of a test match, so that India could save the match... We would be perfectly happy with a draw from any situation, for it was rare to see India win... But this team has changed our mindset... The feeling "Thank God! We escaped with a draw." is gone. Our thought now is "Oh! We didn't win. We could have won." Thanks to Dhoni and his men for bringing about this change... BUT NOW YOU HAVE TO LIVE UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS YOU HAVE CREATED. YOU HAVE TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE AND GO FOR THE KILL... COZ WE AS FANS ARE GOING TO SETTLE FOR NOTHING LESS THAN SEEING INDIA AS THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD... NOT THE THIRD BEST AS WE ARE NOW... AND BELIEVE ME... THIS TEAM CAN DO IT!!!

  • Prasanna on April 8, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    It is too early for Dhoni as a test captain to not to go for safety first. We did not win a series in NZ for quite sometime. The obvious thinking for Dhoni and team is that, lets first get that. If India keep winning like this... I am very sure that Dhoni would be more aggressive in future. Team! Job well done!

  • Ruchit on April 8, 2009, 12:08 GMT

    I agree with Samir, totally...

    Yes, accepted that if he had declared earlier leaving the target of 448 or 500 runs and if at all, things went the other way, it would look like a childish decision...

    But after giving the target of 617 runs, were they atually raring to win?

    He always took the 2-0 win as a bonus... After leaving the target of 617 he secured the series win... then next step was to try ur best and win the match... create an atmosphere that we have to win... WE MUST WIN THIS MATCH...

    Did u guys see this attitude in Indian team?

    This is what we need to develop before we even think or dream of being no 1 team..

    The series win after 40 years cannot be at stake, so Dhoni did take a matured decision...

    But the question is, does he have the leadership ability??? Why couldn't he create a mindset of the players to win the match?

    Situation like this really makes me wonder, is he the best captain??? or its the team that is winning for him?

  • sachein on April 8, 2009, 12:08 GMT

    friends, I think it has become a habit to find a reason to critisize someone on something which we cannot go and do. We havent won a test series for more than a decade and a series win is important for us at this moment. If somebody is not playing well, people will criticize them and if the team as a whole is playing well, the same people are telling Dhoni is having enough luck to do this. Its not matter of luck and its team effort. And you have to appreciate it. Dont criticize them. If you want to criticize someone, you can opt some politicians.. Jai Ho Indian Cricket Team..Jai Hind. Yours An Indian.

  • Vishnu Vardhan Reddy on April 8, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    Mr.Senthil has summed it up in 5 points (posted at 5.56am) very clearly in support of Dhoni's/team managements decision. Those against Dhoni's actions should read these points including Mr.Samir Chopra to understand the whole scenario. Only then, Mr.Samir can become a better author and all those against Dhoni's actions can think wise in future. Mr.Senthil's article with elucidated reasons is the best I have read among all posted.

    All I can say is Indian team is on the right path with right captain and coach.

  • Rahul on April 8, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    Well, I think we all are experts.Dhoni, I always thought earlier too, dat he sets example & standards.A good captain.I think he is more focussed on end result than the records.So be it, may be defensive or attacking doesn't matter for him.If, I sniff any chance to save my proud, I will go hard at it.New zealand incase got a target of 500+ to get in 6session, they would have gone for that. That's the chance which dhoni denied them...NO CHANCE AT ALL...so well done DHONI

  • Ravi on April 8, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    Well written Samir. Well it will only take a MSD to change that school of thought! Pity he didn't push the envelope this time. I'm sure he is hurting. but you do have some ghosts in the Indian dressing room (Manager and Big Boss BCCI) who I am sure had something to do with the non-delaration at least at the end of 3rd day's play (when the lead was 531), despite the fact that the whole world knew that it could be a washed out 5th day. Maybe something to do with tour expenses/per diems and contracts. The TEAM were made to play out day 5, by the high command.

  • Srikanth on April 8, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    Mr. Don of Mumbai threatened Dhoni and Co with dire consequences if India didn't post a 600+ score for NZ to chase in the 4th innings.

  • Kiran on April 8, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    The comment about the conservative mindset is a very accurate observation and is some thing that needs to be changed if India wants to be number one. Having said that MSD has done an excellent job and has been instrumental in trying different things on the field based on simple common sense to create some thing out of nothing. In any case the result of 1-0 was not at all great given the fact that our thug BCCI had already stripped NZ of some of their best players - Shane Bond, Jacob Oram, Lou Vincent, Daryl Tuffy. I also felt that Indians had taken it a little easy,quite contented with somehow winning a series

  • Anand on April 8, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Sitting in the comfort of ur room n writing n blog is easy but working ur ass off on the field isnt my friend. MSD dint declare cos there was way too much time left in the test match. 2 whole days. worst case what if nz came up wid 500 runs in 2 days n it hadnt rained? dhoni wasnt defensive. he just dint want the glory away from india. the fact that we win the series after 41 years in nz. jus put urself in the situation if nz had miraculously(which is very possible these days) chased down the target n drawn the series.what wud u hav written then?my advice..stop critizing msd.hes bringing glory to our country which no captain has ever... blogger i suggest u look at the positive n not try n make this a big a issue n act like a loser to get famous. MSD rocks! Go India!

  • Ganesh on April 8, 2009, 11:59 GMT

    As of everyone think that dhoni takes a deffencive step. but if india declar when 500 on th score board , NL have ryder , taylor, bradon , ... if a good start was given by them they have enough time to get 500 . then they would have created history by chasing 500 and continously carrying the crown. then wat people says that dhoni is adement with his decision cause he is alreeasy 1-0 lead why is he trying to get the 3rd . its always a psychological attitude that people will come against strong mens deffensive decision, they can only critisie but not able to take decision. its not do r die situation for india. brilliant win JAI HO.............

  • Jasmeet on April 8, 2009, 11:53 GMT

    All said and done, i think you got a bit senti about this .You might wanna think about this again after a month or so...

  • B.Ashok on April 8, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    First let us hail this series victory and more so after 41 years in New Zealeand... MSD to be aprreciated for driving this team blended with youth & experience to a greater level in International cricket and what we are looking at is the consistency to be maintained over a period of time only then we can replace Australia from the top spot. MSD should have declared with a target of 450 and give enough time for our bowlers to get those ten wickets.. It is also known to everybody that chances of rain in the last day is more.... Dhoni should have declared.. Moreover we always have a problem in polishing the tail quickly, it is not that present bunch of fast bowlers are not capable may be little complacent... Allowing O brien to hanging on is something certainly not acceptable.. As mark richardson commented --- True refelction would be 2-0 series victory but we should learn from this test match and keep winning consistently rather than being safe after securing the series.

  • Sunny on April 8, 2009, 11:50 GMT

    fine article.. finally someone has spoken out objectively about this whole incident.. could i agree with u more...?? NOOOOO..

  • Mohit Saxena on April 8, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    Let us win few more test series outside India, and then we should take risks. History can not be cahnged by criticising. History is India won a test series in NZ after 41 years. May be some earlier Indian Captains might have tried to win in NZ by taking risk but failed. Who knows and remember. People remember victoriouus teams only. Well done Dhoni nd win 20-20 world cup again

  • Vinay Wardhan on April 8, 2009, 11:47 GMT

    I am a trainer in soft-skills, and I can tell you that MS Dhoni is showing all the right qualities of leadership and Team-building. He is the only captain, who gets the entire team to perform. If one guy fails, someone else steps up. He was not there for the second test-look what happened, we almost lost except from a great knock by gambhir supported by others.

    Indian team can become ruthless, only and only if, we improve our fielding. Ishanth dropped a sitter of Iain O'Brien at the fag end, Chris Phantom Martin may last all of two balls from Sachin?harbhajan. Even in the second test, the catch dropped by Yuvraj on the first day was the turning point. Like they say catches win matches.

    Why blame poor Dhoni. When the Team wins, its the Great Indian Team, and when it loses or draws, its always the fault of the Poor captain. I am sure that Dhoni would have had a word with the bowlers and senior statesmen about this decision. In fact, I saw that he asked Zaheer, Is it enough? before decl

  • S Shanmugam on April 8, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    Hats off to Dhoni and his team for an event of historical nature. Eventhough there is a itch in not winning with 2-0 margin, we should appreciate the effort put in by the whole Indian team in winning the series for the first time in 40 years. Well done! Hope this team will go on to win the further series abroad in future as well. The revealation of the tour were Gambhir and Baaji. SRT looks like of touring NZ once more. We will be seeing more 100s' from 'The Wall' and VVS as well considering the current form. Best of luck MSD and his colleagues. Shan from Muscat, Oman

  • Suhas on April 8, 2009, 11:46 GMT

    We were so far ahead in the game . I think it was not abt runs it was all about time..... Keep the NZ on the field as long as possible and at the same time give ur bowlers enough time to bowl out th opposition so 5 and a half session or 165 overs is more than enough And as Dhoni said assuming rain and bad light we lost 40 overs 125 overs should have been enough to bowl them out and unfortuantely we did'nt get even that

    Also rain was predicted on the 3rd and 4th day as well but we did'nt get it

    But i agree with this statement "(Dileep Premchandran notes that had those been held, India would have won anyway; perhaps; but perhaps the reason they weren't held was that the team's mind wasn't fully set on winning the game as opposed to the series)."

  • Rathu on April 8, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    Usually Indian skippers are not known for taking chances. But, in the midst of such great men, there emerged Dhoni with a cool head and some good tactics. I've been a great fan of him right from he started playing for India. He had had taken chances before; some stuff like giving the ball to joginder Sharma to bowl the last over of T20 WC final. But, talking about the third test, I think he might have taken a chance; India had lot of chances to make it 2-0. Nevertheless, Dhoni was just happy about 1-0. Thats weird!!!

  • Sandeep.J on April 8, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    Who is Samir Chopra? What are his credentials? That was a waste of 2 mintutes of my life reading that. Cricinfo can do better than posting such non-sense.

  • S Shanmugam on April 8, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    Hats off to Dhoni and his team for an event of historical nature. Eventhough there is a itch in not winning with 2-0 margin, we should appreciate the effort put in by the whole Indian team in winning the series for the first time in 40 years. Well done! Hope this team will go on to win the further series abroad in future as well. The revealation of the tour were Gambhir and Baaji. SRT looks like of touring NZ once more. We will be seeing more 100s' from 'The Wall' and VVS as well considering the current form. Best of luck MSD and his colleagues. Shan from Muscat, Oman

  • vinod dhar on April 8, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    ...cont.... One must not even forget the below: 1. At time of post match presentation, dhoni concedes he expected about 110 overs would be avaible to India. A) SO THIS MEANS HE WAS AWARE OF RAIN CHANCE. B) SO DID HE THINK THAT KIWIS CAN CHASE 531 IN 125 OVERS (IN CASE INDIA DECLARED RIGHT IN MORNING OF 4TH DAY)

    2. THIS IS ONLY THE 15TH TIME THAT 600+ SCORE HAS BEEN SET IN OVER 1900 TEST MATCHES TILL NOW. SO DID DHONI PUTS ODDS IN FAVOUR OF KIWIS IN CASE OF DECLARATION WITH A LEAD OF 531.

    3. EVEN 450 HAS NOT BEEN CHASED SUCCESSFULLY IN TEST HISTORY AND THAT TOO ON FLAT PITCHES, THEN WAS 531 NOT SUFFICIENT. THAT TOO AT A TIME WHEN McINTOSH, FLYNN, GUPTILL HARDLY SCORED ANYTHING WORTHWHILE DURING WHOLE SERIES.

    IN ONE SHOT, IT HAS BEEN REALLY EMBARRASING THAT DHONI TOOK SUCH A DECISION THAT WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN TAKEN BY SOME ONE LIKE STEVE WAUGH.

    MAY BE THAT IS WHAT DIFFERENTIATES INDIA FROM AUSTRALIA.

  • Girish on April 8, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    "Dark cloud over Dhoni" where the hell did you get this title from....might as well kept the title as "Sholay" or "Deewar" as it bears no resemblance to the rest of the article....man we need to open a bottle of wine and enjoy these series win....

  • Gopakumar on April 8, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    Had Ishant Sharma took that catch which O'brein offered off Sachin's bowling things would have been different. So it is not Dhoni's fault.

  • Nikhil Kaushik on April 8, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    I wonder how the author may have reacted had India lost the match and consequently drawn the series?

  • vinod dhar on April 8, 2009, 11:34 GMT

    ...cont...Does any one remember that in 2nd innings, Gambhir played slower than he played in his match saving innings at Napier. And today it was no different. Going into Day 4 with a lead of 531, the maximum Dhoni could have done was to bat about half an hour to get lead past, say 560, but he batted for too long. He put the match out of New Zealand reach, but unfortunately he did not take into account the Met. dept forecast of rain on 5th day. Not only this, when New Zealand was 120-4 in 2nd innings, Harbhajan was given a field of long on, deep mid wicket, deep square leg, sweeper cover against Taylor. What was Dhoni thinking at that time. did he still believe that New Zealand after being 120-4 can chase 617 and hence runs should not be allowed to score.

    In short, it has been a tradition of India to put the match out of opposition out of reach by such an extent that it gets out of our reach later on, or is that the strategy is to design it in such a fashion.

  • vinod dhar on April 8, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Well in my opinion, India lacks the attitude and desire to win comprehensively. In fact over past 2 years India has done very well and have taken lead in test series on quite a few occassions only to sit like a lame duck in further matches and instead of winning the same, just are happy drawing the game in order to take the series. In fact this is what separates India from a team like Australia. In case we have a look at away series against England, India was 1-0 up going into the final test and India got a heavy lead ( 200 runs ke aas pass), then could have surely won that test match as well, but played too defensively to take the series by a margin of 1-0 instead of 2-0. Coming to previous home series in India against England, India was 1-0 up going into the 2nd test at Mohali. After the 1st innings of both teams was over, India was in a commanding position, but again the same attitude and India played out a draw to take series again 1-0 instead of a possible 2-0.

  • Aadil I on April 8, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Honest article. Some will agree, some won't, we all know. I am the one who would agree with you. India, on the last two days of the match, adopted an extra extra extra cautions approach. Why brag of a quality bowling attack, when you can’t get them out with more than 600 to chase. Why couldn’t India go all attacking? The fielders guffaw on the field and their body language was disgraceful. Ironically, the assessment to bat longer only goes to reflect MSD's lack of faith in his bowlers. How lame is that. India should have won the III test on the fourth day itself. Those who praising India’s cricketing heroics, should have settled for nothing less than a 2-0 series win.

  • VJ on April 8, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Well Mr Samir, why are people reactive. Why werent these comments made on end of 4th day. Why wait till the test result on 5th day to make some comments about what Dhoni COULD OR SHOULD have done. We should take lead in talking things rather than being reactive. Media is trying to make a big issue out of this. We have WON the test series and have not lost it. Gosh, what if we had lost the 3rd test considering the first days score of 200 / 6. Lets stay positive.

  • vinod dhar on April 8, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Well in my opinion, India lacks the attitude and desire to win comprehensively. In fact over past 2 years India has done very well and have taken lead in test series on quite a few occassions only to sit like a lame duck in further matches and instead of winning the same, just are happy drawing the game in order to take the series. In fact this is what separates India from a team like Australia. In case we have a look at away series against England, India was 1-0 up going into the final test and India got a heavy lead ( 200 runs ke aas pass), then could have surely won that test match as well, but played too defensively to take the series by a margin of 1-0 instead of 2-0. Coming to previous home series in India against England, India was 1-0 up going into the 2nd test at Mohali. After the 1st innings of both teams was over, India was in a commanding position, but again the same attitude and India played out a draw to take series again 1-0 instead of a possible 2-0.

  • vinod dhar on April 8, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Well in my opinion, India lacks the attitude and desire to win comprehensively. In fact over past 2 years India has done very well and have taken lead in test series on quite a few occassions only to sit like a lame duck in further matches and instead of winning the same, just are happy drawing the game in order to take the series. In fact this is what separates India from a team like Australia. In case we have a look at away series against England, India was 1-0 up going into the final test and India got a heavy lead ( 200 runs ke aas pass), then could have surely won that test match as well, but played too defensively to take the series by a margin of 1-0 instead of 2-0. Coming to previous home series in India against England, India was 1-0 up going into the 2nd test at Mohali. After the 1st innings of both teams was over, India was in a commanding position, but again the same attitude and India played out a draw to take series again 1-0 instead of a possible 2-0.

  • Manzoor on April 8, 2009, 11:30 GMT

    Very true..well said. The term lack of "Hyper-aggressive field setting" is 100% correct. I did not see many fielders around the back while NZ chasing the target. Infact, we could have placed all the fielders on the catching positions (if allowed!) when defending such a target. But that wasn't the case. It was a normal test field with fielders trying to stop balls from going to boundaries.. Hats off to the writer who only has shown some guts to reveal the real picture. Manzoor from Abu Dhabi

  • Pallath on April 8, 2009, 11:28 GMT

    Good one Samir.Credit to the team to have won the series. India could have gone all out & tried to be the champion side.That's precisily the difference between the great teams & this one.I just dont understand Munafs inclusion in the team. A totally negative body language.Luck has been a decisive factor for Dhoni all this time.Only Time will tell how he will ride out some diffiuclt phases.Till then happy going.

  • Sam on April 8, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Its amazing how some individulas including the author of this articke sit in an arm chair and make expert comments. TRy to go out on the field and bowl in those windy conditions especially agaist the wind...Dhoni knew that Ishnat was not eaxctly getting it right and u must be kidding urself if u feel Munaf will run thru anyside.....To rely on Zaheer and Bhajji to get u all the wickets was asking too much....I dont beleive in if's and but's....it is an end less debate----If we had held on to those 3 catches we wouldn't be having this discussion.....got the drift? How is Dhoni different---well he got u a series win after 40 odd years...and well some people create their own luck....Dhoni is one of them...aprreciate it and move on.....

  • Sandeep Kumar on April 8, 2009, 11:26 GMT

    Rahul also won the series in England for us after 21 long years. But the decision of not enforcing the following on even under overcast condition, where India lost too many wickets quickly haunted Rahul more than any body else. So much so that, he stepped down immediately thereafter. The sombre mood of Dhoni during the presentation indicated that Dhoni too was rueing the fact, the result could have been different. Test match win do not come easily. And losing the oppurtinity of registering a test victory is not good. Lets hope that Dhoni learns from it and become stronger and a bit more aggressive. Pataudi and Brearly are the two names which come to our mind when we think of great captains. Hopefully by the time Dhoni retires we will put him in the same league.

  • Sai Prakash on April 8, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    I must say that reporters in general and fans in particular always try to find fault in our sporting achievements. I mean, a guy has won a Test series after 41 years and 80 % of the comments are negative. We forget that we won 1-0 but will always remember that we did NOT win 2-0. Lets be fair to Dhoni.It was a good batting wicket so he could not afford to risk losing the Test and thereby the series. Also, around 60 overs were lost due to inclement weather. I am sure in 60 overs, we could have got 2 tail enders out. So, lets not blame Dhoni but instead accept that the weather did us in. All in all, it was a historic performance by Team India. Lets be happy about that.

  • Abdul Mannan on April 8, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    Dhoni delyaed in declaring innings because of his fitty and second we will on number one slot only when we will start taking risk. we have to get rid of conservative thinking of safe position which cost us to 1-0 series which do not look comperhensive.

  • Sim on April 8, 2009, 11:25 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thingh declaring on the 4th day, it is a srong possibility that New zealand would have chased 500 in two days 180 overs they have to make 250 runs in a day to do that, there was enough time to bowl them out in about 150 overs, the only thingh they lacked was not attacking enough. the attitude aws not right they seemed like very tired just trying to pass the time not trying to take wickets.The declaration was correct but not the attitude on the field.

  • Sim on April 8, 2009, 11:22 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thingh declaring on the 4th day, it is a srong possibility that New zealand would have chased 500 in two days 180 overs they have to make 250 runs in a day to do that, there was enough time to bowl them out in about 150 overs, the only thingh they lacked was not attacking enough. the attitude aws not right they seemed like very tired just trying to pass the time not trying to take wickets.The declaration was correct but not the attitude on the field.

  • ranjan on April 8, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    Hindsight is always 20/20 and critics will always be critics. Dhoni took the best decision based on the information he had at that moment. Just imagine the kind of criticism these so called "critics" would have come up with if India had lost due to an early declaration. So the conclusion is You will criticize no matter what.

  • Kumar Abhinit on April 8, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    Great work by the editor of this article.We most of the times find it very easy to talk on the papers .Gettingback to the original issue,a team which is playing on the ground will definitely have their own strategies and will be knowing much more than the writer of this article.A series win was definitely more important and how can you decide that what time will it rain so that you can declare accordingly.We should be proud that our cricketers have come victorious rather than attacking the declaration . Mr.writer please try to see positives rather than supporting negatives with facts and figures.

  • Jay on April 8, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    My initial reaction was one of relief that we had finally won a series in NZ, but, in fact, a 1-0 scoreline debases the efforts of this team. I agree with Samir, 500 was a very comfortable total to defend. Guess at the end of the day it's lack of killer instinct, cliched though that phrase is.

  • jeg on April 8, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    wake up guys.....i will take it 1-0, if someone told me before the tour started.....well done guys.....now focus the future. no offence guys...

  • Prithvi on April 8, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    Snap!! what is up with you??!! Dhoni has made the right decision of putting NZ to bat just before lunch of day 4. He had some respect to the NZ team as being capable of scoring 500+ runs in 2 days of a test match (NZ has a good batting lineup too). So why give them the chance of beating India and lose the precious chance of a series win in NZ after like 44 years... Chances like this come once in a lifetime.. So stop criticizing him and his strategies and try to think rationally about the effectiveness of the strategies. And for all those who say that Dhoni is lucky and that is what is winning him the matches, i say that though he has had some luck in winning the toss there is no instance where the starts he employed were not good but luck favored him!! Every time he used a strategy and succeeded it was only because of the start being appropriate to the situation. Dhoni is a great attacking captain unlike most of the Indian captains in the past.. :)

  • Vijaykrishna on April 8, 2009, 11:05 GMT

    In India cricket is celebration. MSD and the boys have given more reasons than ever to celebrate. Mr. Samir Chopra, will you please let us celebrate ;)

  • Prasad on April 8, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    Cricticising is easier than doing..... Thats what all of us are doing now..... let us stand and applaud the team..... It was not the time to take any unwanted risks by declaring with 500+ runs. 2 more days were there. It is a stupidity to play the game according to weather conditions. I admire Dhoni for not planning the game according to weather conditions. I bow my head to Indian for a master class team effort that brought a glorious victory in overseas after 41 years. Jai Ho......

  • Sam on April 8, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    Part of the reason Indian captains have been defensive is, wins and especially series wins out side the subcontinuent are so elusive. For an Australian captain, it would be "one more series win", where as for an Indian captain it is "that one series win". But the irony is, without an aggressive mindset, you are not going to win many and so wins and series wins continue to be very precious and pushes you to be more defensive. I am sure that will change gradually as we start getting 1-0 results on a consistent basis, when 1-0 result will not be enough.

  • Deepak Sar on April 8, 2009, 11:00 GMT

    Didn't want to read through the article in full befoe commenting lest it should cloud my mind. The essence I catch is that people divided over the fact whether the declaration was delayed. Let us get to do some math here. What the India captain be looking at is bowling at the most 110 - 120 overs to bowl out a test side, as they required 65 in the first inning of this match and close to 130 to get the 9 in Napier. What we had on hand at the time of declaration was exactly that. What we lost because of the weather was close to 70 overs. SO, how could some one plan for losing 70 overs in a test match. It definitely is a result that will not go down too well with this young team also, but at the end of the day this what this team has learnt. It always pays to be on top of the game, whatever the situation. Let us applaud this team for the efforrt and Hamilton and Napier and wish them luck to finish the unfinished work at Wellington in the next match that they play. Well Done Team India.

  • francis on April 8, 2009, 10:58 GMT

    India at last won a series in New Zealand. Here we talk about Dhoni not declaring earlier. How many of you hav eplayed cricket or understand the game better. All these comments mean nothing to Dhoni and his boys. As long we we win the series it is better for us. Instead of complimenting the team we are here to critize and this is the same way how are corrupt politicians are doing these days. All you people hold a cricket a bat first, walk on the filed and then talk. just beacuse cricinfo has given the opportunity to comment do not write rubbish. People from others countries if they read this, they will find out what sort of benign mind we have. Anyway Cheers for Dhoni and his Boys.

  • Ashok on April 8, 2009, 10:58 GMT

    India dint deserve to win 2-0 after such defensive play in third test. If Dhoni believed that India needed 110 overs (this number had come only after rain had allowed 95 overs in the second innings) to wrap up NZ innings at the outset, then he should have known that the maximum NZ would have scored was 110*4 = 440, which no team has scored till date.. Add few more overs and even 130 overs would have produced not more than 520 runs.. india could have never lost the match after the end of third day..

    Talk about making history after 41 years!! in 130 years no one had made history by scoring 500+ runs in 4th innings.. this history is no different than ours..

    Worst thing.. Dhoni was honest earlier and he used to openly talk about attack, transparency, rotation, player commitment etc.. now its plain lie!! He is defending himself, not talking truth!!

  • R Sivasubramaniam on April 8, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    Dhoni must have thought that 600 was probably achievable by New Zealand, so he wanted to make sure of the series by setting a target of 617 which was clearly beyond New Zealand. After all having waited 41 years to win a series - he did not want to lose and by it share the series. It is safety first measures that are going to KILL Test Cricket!!! Siva from Singapore

  • A Patel on April 8, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    I dont think theres anything wrong with declaring 600 ahead but Dhoni and the Indian teams whole attitude after that point was disgusting. On the fifth day when everybody knew there was the possibility of rain the team showed completely no urgency. It was only because of Tendulkar's spell that we even got close to victory. There is no way Dhoni could have known that Tendulkar would be that effective. Before that we never looked like we could bowl them out. Zaheer and Harbhajan are our only bowlers that can bowl in all conditions. Munaf never really looks like taking a wicket and Ishant has no level of consisteny. This Indian team really struggles to bowl sides out in the fourth innings when the pitch is quite flat. If we think back to Perth, Australia got quite close thanks to Mitchell Johnson and the same in Nagpur, if Hayden hadnt played a silly shot then they could have stole that one aswell.

  • sunil ob on April 8, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    I agree to some extend with the writer. but its not just of luck Dhoni is doing good. every game has its own lucks. India is an emerging team. day by day the batting power and the bowling power is improving. we can see the conisitancy in indian batting line up. before years also india had batsman with records and they were good in papers. but now the story changed. now they are playing in a group. not just one man shows. thats the difference we can compare our previous team vs present team. somebody will click, india not depending one or two, you can roll down until baji. that was the power that made australia on top for years and now its india and they started their shows. And the same character we can see in the bowling side too. we have strong bowling side, not just one or two. On my concept India is a growing team and the winning habit just started. Its not that Dhoni dosent belive the bowlers on that flat track. but he dosent want to loose the match at any cost. wait and c india

  • Namasivayam on April 8, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    I wonder whether Dhoni Would have delayed the declaration this long had India lost the 2nd Test. This team and Dhoni in particular is no different when it comes to not encashing on the good fortune when the opportunity presents itself. This defensive frame of mind is not going to help India to retain the T 20 world cup crown.

  • SUNIL DEO on April 8, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    If he would have declared on 500, and what if as being one of the lucky days for New Zealand they would have chased the target, what would be your comments then????? Look at the positive side that Dhoni and his team won the series which most of the indian team has not done it. f we declare early and lost the test match, the same people will criticise by saying that we declared early so NZ got enough time

  • sb on April 8, 2009, 10:48 GMT

    Indians have won a series after a long time and hind sight is always 20-20. Let the team be congratulated for what they have achieved instead of lamenting for what they could have

  • David Mammen on April 8, 2009, 10:47 GMT

    plz dont forget kiwis did make 600 odd runs agaist the indians and dhoni didnt want to take any chances and undo all their hard work. if the kiwis wanted they could have concentrated a bit more and batted longer they showed us they can do it.

  • Aman on April 8, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    i'm sorry. i don't agree with you. i would the first person, if india had declared on 448 and lost from there. why don't you remember what we did to England few months back. New zealand had made 600 + in last test 7 pitch was still good. Dhoni wanted to play safe. Series win in 41 years. what else you want. you people are not going to change. cheers

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    Bingo...... Australians are No.1 and they have been for a long time for no reason. Lets not even start saying we are on our way to becoming world # 1 if this is the attitude that we will take in our way of playing. Any successful leader needs to be Ruthless in taking decisions that would take him and his team to Legendary Status !! Dhoni was a disappointment !!!! a big big fan of his...... he let me down. I was so much wanting to see a 2-0 scoreline.

  • SURESH SRINIVASAN on April 8, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    While i heartily congradulate Dhoni and his men, it is true that we lack the killer instinct of an Australian team ! We being soft and emotional do not like to rub it in deep and thick into the opposition ! That would probably be the reason that Dhonoi did not declare well in time and allowed NZ to regain some pride and respect in their backyard through an improbable draw !Those who are not positive and aggressive,even God does not support them! It was an atrocious decision and India should have gone for the jugular and ended the series 2 - 0.Well, we are after all a bunch of emotional guys and never like to hurt others !

  • jim on April 8, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    Right on target with your article. The improving/improved Indian team has a ways to go to develop the killer instinct..I am shocked that guys like Dileep Premchandran and Sambit Bal have not alluded to this in their articles...

  • Ankur on April 8, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    Well, reading all this being written about Dhoni seems to puzzle me. He no doubt is the most aggressive of Indian captains till date and will probably go on to become the most successful one too. However, something that sets him apart from others is how he binds the team together. Criticizing his decision to bowl Munaf or Yuvraj is not right. Most hidden abilities are unleashed when the player is under no pressure of the situation. To me it was the best time to bowl the third pacer. In line with his concern for the lack of a well groomed third pacer for the team he was bent upon building one. Yuvraj who had a pretty forgettable Test series needed some wickets to boost his confidence. Also they were not complacent at all on the evening of the fourth day; probably it was a ploy that didn't work but we need not be short sighted and not crib about a test that could have been won...because what matters more than the scoreline is the feeling that every Indian has about winning in New Zealand

  • S.N.Singh on April 8, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    I AGREE WITH DHONI. 600 RUNS WAS THE RIGHT TARGET FOR TWO DAYS. WE SHOULD NOT PRDEICT FOR A DAY OF RAIN. BESIDES ALL ALONG OUR BOWLING IS SUSPECTED. AND NEW ZELAND HAVE A GOOD BATTING LINE UP NOT TO BE UNDER ESTIMATED.ALTHOUGH, I THINK INDIA SHOLD ALWAYS CALL ON THEIR SEHWAG, TENDULKAR, AND YUV RAJ A LITTLE MORE WHEN THERE AE ONLY ONE SPINNER. DHONI DID THE RIGHT THING.

  • David Mammen on April 8, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    i think Dhoni made the correct decision because if india declared on 500 kiwis would have went for all out attack because they have nothing to loose... if they managed to win this game india wouldnt have anything to show for the hard work they've put in the last 1 month. so safety first, rewrite the history then go for the 2nd win.

  • Abs on April 8, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    I totally agree with the article. First and foremost noone dare to chase 500 runs on last innings, so why Dhoni wanted 600 ? Second where was the agressiveness in fielding ?

    If Dhoni wants to take India to No 1 and play the Australlian way he needs to take the risk. The issue with India is we are satisfied with little things but do not get ambitious to achive more.. This is one of the reason we can not become no 1... In any case the position of India will be go backward once the seniors are gone. Tendulkar , Dravid and Laxman hae conributed a lot in this series and infact in all the recent series , who is going to fill up their shoes , there is not a single name coming to mind. What is the future of Indian cricket in Test without these greate players , ask question to yourself there will nt be any answer coming to mind. So this is something BCCI needs to look at , there needs to be grooming of players in test , not just Boom Boom Cricket.

  • manasa on April 8, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    India has made history thanks to ICL!. Thanks to ICL NZ team was weak, 8th in Test Rankings! No great/exeperienced cricketors like Bond and few others are not in the NZ team because of ICL. NZ team is so inexperienced,it is great to beat them 1-0. Pitches were good for batting unlike previous tour 2003-03. Under the cercumstances India should have won the series 3-0 on forth days itself. Neverthless it is just a good tour on the record.

  • Prasad on April 8, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    An early declaration either half an hour before close of play on 3rd day or half an hour after start of play on 4th day would have made victory possible for India!!! It appears that the Indians were either going soft on KIWIS or they were just arrogant. It is just a puzzle which is as complex as Dhoni not using Sachin Tendulkar as a bowler in the 2nd Test at Napier - and at the fag end of the series when he did bowl he proved that he is a sheer magician - a baazigar when it comes to breaking the partnership and tantalising the batsmen. He was not given to bowl in ODIs also. Few others youngsters like Ishant and Patel should take a cue from Sachin and not drop sitters - those dropped catches also did matter in the end. With this type of defensive approach we are not going to be No.1 - look at Australia or SA - they are just ruthless!!!!!

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    We are a country that appreciates mediocrity.Beating a team thats a level or 2 below us is considered to be historic.I would say that the conditions where tougher than the opposition.Any other team in the world would have declared earlier and tried for a 2 test win, but not us.We have a team thats the best and the captain better have belief in his colleagues.Dhoni may be the best thing to happen for Indian cricket recently but lets change our attitude and start looking for greater achievments in future.

  • Rahul on April 8, 2009, 10:33 GMT

    I will go with Dhoni. He attacked as much as he should. First, we had to think of grabbing the series. 500 would have been ok but MAY well have been chased. Regarding the rain, I must say that, India could have ridden on a bit of luck to get some more wickets had the rain been stopped for some more time. But, given that these are the times when teams are chasing in the excess of 400+, who knows?? May be the same people here would have had a different comments altogether. So, being there on the grounds and taking a decision on the spot requires far more experience and smartness than sitting outside and commenting on the decision.

  • DJ on April 8, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    Common Guys!!! Start appreciating things rather than pin-pointing at someone... You're just speaking about the constraint section... Think, if we swap the results of first and last test, we won't be discussing these topics at all...

    Everyone does makes mistake and we need to learn from it... Dhoni is brave enough and I'm sure he would hav learnt from his mistakes(by now) and we are still hanging in the channel/plot which we have lost... Move forward, guys...

    Appreciate TEAM INDIA inturn Dhoni's Team for achiving remarkable feat which no other Indian captain's have done so far(after Sir Pataudi)...

    Always try to heal the wound with some ointment(appreciate things even if they make mistakes) and never make this wound large(the conversation which we are having - which I think this team doesn't deserve it)....

  • Surya Narayanan on April 8, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    Thank god the author was not the captain! That is all I can say!

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 10:30 GMT

    We are a country that appreciates mediocrity.Beating a team thats a level or 2 below us is considered to be historic.I would say that the conditions where tougher than the opposition.Any other team in the world would have declared earlier and tried for a 2 test win, but not us.We have a team thats the best and the captain better have belief in his colleagues.Dhoni may be the best thing to happen for Indian cricket recently but lets change our attitude and start looking for greater achievments in future.

  • Karthik on April 8, 2009, 10:30 GMT

    I don't know what the hell happened to dhoni.

    If he is going to be so defensive like this, the luck factor will run away. India are miles away from the No-1 position. If they r to be No-1 they must be aggressive and fearless. I was so astonished to see dhoni fearing. On any day 530 would have been enough.

  • Abraham on April 8, 2009, 10:28 GMT

    I go with the writer. While Laxman and Ghambir is batting in the 3rd evening, they are not show any urgency to post 600+. Calculation error in the part of East Indians.

  • Charan on April 8, 2009, 10:26 GMT

    There were times when Sachin was India's 20/2 man but today that's not the case. After this show in NZ, every1 feels safe about the opening (though one good test series say in Eng/SA will silence all critics). Apart from Zaheer, Ishant is new, very very talented but still rusty and need to learn. And ohh.. third seemer do you think any one seemer had consistently justified that spot? About Harbhajan, he is very exp and now is the time for him to be no 1 spinner and shut the mouth of all his critics. And though they are riding high at the moment, but still missing that one allrounder which would give balance to the team in long run. Like I say, it's very good lineup but needs time. It's not like Mcgrath & co or Wasim/Waqar or Imran &co but still there are improvement in the skills and talent and results are showing. With those "Monkey on the back" talks gone forever, Let's all hope that this team can show to all that we are here to rule and will not accept anything than WIN in future.

  • vj on April 8, 2009, 10:25 GMT

    Guess Dhoni would rather prefer winning this series than celebrating 50th anniversary of india's last series win in New Zealand...give him a break guys!

  • blatant on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    A win is a win no matter how well/mediocre a team plays. But on the safe side, Dhoni just wanted to make sure a score like 600 on board would give the Kiwis a feeling that its hard to achieve that and in doing so, would put them in the backseat & for the most part, it was that if not for the rain. But its hard to believe that Dhoni was unaware of the changing weather, But there is no reason to be this critical of him, he never called himself a special Captain but you titled him that way & then expect something along those lines. I never thought Dhoni even as Batman or Captain was special, just another cricketer who happens to be good at taking pressure to an extent. thats it. You sure weren't expecting him to declare when it was 300/400 on board. Not even Ricky would do that. India is, by a distance, a batting team with bowlers like Munaf in team with no sort of swing or variation, so do what you are good at & Dhoni did just that & every bonus/reward that comes after, a blessing/luck..

  • Parth Goyal on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Well i do not agree at all, This is what Indian public is criticised for. Instead of appreciating Dhoni's captaincy, people are blaming poor Dhoni for wrong tactics. India had already won the series. Securing the 1-0 lead was the first priority. And mind you! Instead of criticising his decision for decleration, one should not forget that Indians dropped more than three catches in all. If those missed opportunities had been grabbed, we would have won the series 2-0. It is very simple to write, but very difficult to do. I think Dhoni made the right decision. He surely had faith in his bowlers as the same bowling line-up played in all the three test matches. Try appreciating good work people!! Cheers!

  • vj on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Guess Dhoni would rather prefer winning this series than celebrating 50th anniversary of india's last series win in New Zealand...give him a break guys!

  • Charan on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Well, my first reaction was the same as most ppl here - of disappointment having not been able to show enough courage to declare early and go for win. But being Indian Captain is not as easy as for any other country. I can understand the reason for Dhoni's insecurity but I still feel he has a very good cricketing brain and if any person can break those old conservative thoughts, he is the best bet. Evry1 compare India to Aus/SA but let's not get ahead ourselves at this point. It's very early days for Indian cricket being at one of top teams. Let us start winning series consistently home and abroad first before talking to be dominant and ruthless like Aus was at their helm. Even though aussies sound arrogant but I do agree to one thing - Aus was truely numero uno as they were consistent. Don't think Indian bowling lineup still have that venum to give fearful nights to oppositions. It's in early phase like the openning batting position was at one time.... Cntd.

  • B H VENKATESH on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    The team had an objective of finishing the test series 3-0. In the second test Sehwag was woefully exposed of his captaincy skills. It was his luck that Gambhir and Laxmnan fought to save the team.For being the world no:1 team, the team does not depend on individuals for not only bowling and batting but also for captaincy. We do not have an replacement for Dhoni as of date.

  • manasa on April 8, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    India has made history thanks to ICL!. Thanks to ICL NZ team was weak, 8th in Test Rankings! No great/exeperienced cricketors like Bond and few others are not in the NZ team because of ICL. NZ team is so inexperienced,it is great to beat them 1-0. Pitches were good for batting unlike previous tour 2003-03. Under the cercumstances India should have won the series 3-0 on forth days itself. Neverthless it is just a good tour on the record.

  • Jay on April 8, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    Two months ago most Indians would've taken a series victory in NZ. I didnt like Dhoni's conservatism, but he thought like a computer - Chopra ought to be happy.He asked NZ to get more than what they'd demonstrated to be capable of in just the previous test: over 600 runs, and gave his bowlers around 1 & half days or 130 overs (taking time out for rain), double of what they needed in first innings. Cant fault his reasoning in ensuring India got a series victory and that under no circumstances could NZ win. I think Chopra is being an armchair critic who's got greedy. Sometimes emotions matter more: imagine people's reactions had NZ scored the 448 runs which Chopra says should've been enough (hindsight is wonderful)& India not won the series. Sometimes small victories teach people that they can win: India needed a victory, Dhoni ensured it. The Indian team isnt gloomy, nor should we be. Hail the mathematically precise reasoning - a computer engineer would be proud of such a feat!!

  • Saju on April 8, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    I agree with MSD on this. We had enough time to bowl out NZ when we declared. 10 years down the line you would not even remember you one 1-0 or 2-0, it does not really matter.

  • laloona on April 8, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    I absolutely absolutely absolutely(million times) agree with samir.negative results like Draws in test matches are bad for the cricket.people still lose interest in tests.why the Indians did not play aggressive bating after 400 runs.why they did not declare early.these are the questions only Dhoni can only knows and God knows.no one else.

  • Suresh on April 8, 2009, 10:20 GMT

    OK, so it would have been better to go for the win and accomplish that. Maybe Dhoni was excessively cautious. But really, does it seriously matter? India still won a historic series. Sri Lankan cricketers, not long previously, came close to being murdered by terrorists. Let's keep it in perspective.

  • Agnel Pereira on April 8, 2009, 10:20 GMT

    I fully agree with these comments. May be a coincidence, but on a related article on Timesofindia website on India's series win, I have posted almost exact comments yesterday! In fact, I had a prediction of 2-0 win for India prior to the test series started and I was mighty disappointed. Just to add one point the author didnt write - Dravid was considered defensive and Dhoni was considered a saviour in that respect. While Dravid was criticised for not declaring when he did not even have 450 runs lead, Dhoni is being praised for this approach. Another point I said - even if NZ had chased the 531 runs (lead India had on 3rd day evening), it would have been great to be part of history and satisfied with 1-1 result. Dhoni's scream & shout & groan and moan behaviour on the 4th evening left a lot to be desired. Its one thing if Harbhajan throws such tantrums, but when Dhoni the 'sensible' leader did it, even repeatedly, I bowed my cricketing head in shame. Failure, maha failure.

  • antony devassy on April 8, 2009, 10:20 GMT

    i dont believe in all this crap of anlaysis looks good on paper, IF india wins people complain, if they loose people are not happy....I wisely put an end to this "JO JETA WOHI SIKANDER...." CUT the CRAP....lets win matches that is imporatant ...

  • arun on April 8, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    i guess dhoni is more interested in winning series than test matches .Even against england in india last year - he preferred the batsmen to get centuries than try for a win probably thats the way he preders to lead the team But as long as we are winning, we should not complain

  • Sanjay on April 8, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    Samir Chopra, you are not INDIA. Mind it

  • MrUmp on April 8, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    Spot on article. If India really want to challenge for the top spot - taking the easy option is not merely enough - a ruthless streak needs to be shown. I don't think India have it nor will ever possess it. The need to "take it easy" as soon as things go right for India is pretty par for them. The last test proves to me that Dhoni's captaincy is not India's new revelation - he is true to form of other good Indian captains - until this changes India will languish battling for 2/3 places.

  • Swamy on April 8, 2009, 10:18 GMT

    It is presumed that the only way to accommodate the required 10 overs by MSD was from out of the batting time consumed by the Indian second innings. Two distinct factors effected in India losing a chance for 'another 10 overs' required for winning the match (!!). (1) Though rain was on the cards, it stopped play for one hour on day four and for three hours on day five. None of us foresaw loss of 60 overs due to weather - If someone did foresee it, it was not shared with any cricket pundict or with MSD. (2) More important - Why was the start of the play on day 4 and day 5 at 11 AM. I read in cricinfo that the NZ couch offered to start play at 10 AM; and the Indian management refused it. If it is so, the match was lost by the Indian team management by sacrifising 30 overs (atleast) and not by MSD.

    I see no reason to critisise MSD. Well done, all the best India

    To win the series with a 2-0 sounds good; but the what MSD did was to get rid of the risk of the scoreline being 1-1.

  • Anshuman on April 8, 2009, 10:18 GMT

    Quite a lot of cricket pundits here I guess ! What Dhoni did on the field should be left there ! Enjoy the series win

  • Diggi-ji on April 8, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    To call Dhoni defensive is a tad ridiculous... first of all, I've never seen India play with such confidence than when Dhoni is captain. May I remind you all, India won two tests and drew two against Australia last year. The two they won... guess who was captaining? So what, if we were to force out a draw in this final match due to bad weather and dhoni being slightly cautious of history... India had their foot firmly on NZ's throat and they had nothing to lose here. NZ coming out with a draw is not really an achievement, morally they were well and truly defeated. So, keep your pants on people and show some respect for a great captain who led a superb team to a well deserved series victory.

  • Patrick Coelho on April 8, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    Well the rain might have come earlier if Dhoni had declared earlier and it would all have been a moot point. Weather is pretty fickle in Wellington anyway. The question was whether Dhoni had spent enough time in Wellington to trust the weathermen? I don't think he did. And he probably didn't care either!

  • Santy on April 8, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    In hindsight things seem to suggest that had we had more time under our belt,we might have won.But we shouldnt go to the extent of questioning MSD's tactics.For,we were very close to victory still.There were 50 odd overs left to be bowled and curse the rain for taking away the time.If we were to discuss the entire gamut of scenarios,the lbw decision against vettori off harbhajan wouldnt be too far.If that plumb one had come our way and had patel and ishant clung on to their catches,we would have still won well and truly before rain arrived.We must respect MSD's thought to seal any chance of NZ securing victory.And responding to the theory of setting aggressive targets of 500 odd,if we do that with this bowling attack of ours which cannot run through sides consistently and with a pitch not really conducive for doing that,we will have only ourselves to blame.

  • Jiju Thomas on April 8, 2009, 10:14 GMT

    winning a test series after 41 yrs is great stuff.But as a captain MSD did the right thing , as there was 2 days left and posting 600+ is ok. Then winning or loosing it all depends upon the conditions . Rain can come at any time during a 5 day match.

  • vishal on April 8, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    I personally think its a good decision by Dhoni considering India is always desperate for an overseas series win. What we need to ask ourselves is whether India is in a position to take a risk of losing/drawing an overseas series win. I guess not, If we are to be the No1 team today, India needs to back their claim with consistent wins and not just by matches but by the no of series we win. This essentially will put to rest all the criticism we are facing as a country collectively. And remember, sucess begets success , so hail Dhoni ! good on ya mate !

  • Aster on April 8, 2009, 10:11 GMT

    Guys are bloody amazing especially the ones who refer to luck. If the team does badly, it won't have anything to do with bad luck then. Buggers, understand that at a professional level, luck does play a role say about 5% but the rest is hardwork, skill, planning and many other things. It is a bit ridiculous to say that Dhoni and the Indian team is lucky. Leadership is a key component to why the Indian team does well besides the obvious talent that it has. Dhoni also helps his own cause by stepping to the challenge when it comes to batting amongst other things. So please, give credit where the credit is due

  • Sandy on April 8, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    It's all about if's and but's. I think, dhoni did the right thing by making sure that we won't loose this match, even in very unlikely circumstances. Also, in the available timeframe, we almost pulled out the victory. I thought there were couple of things which went badly in last 10 mins before the play stops. 1. Dropped catch by Ishant of Tendulkar's bowling and 2.Vetori not given LBW by simon tauffel of Harbhajan's bawling. These 2 things could have turned the complexion of this game completely. Having said that overall I felt that we were unlucky enough that we could not make the winning margin 2-0.Blaming a captain is not the right thing we can do under such situation. We played superbly well...Cheers !!!

  • Talha on April 8, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    Dhoni showed some spineless captaincy by going for 600 runs...while the spectators were quite preplexed that why he is extra conscious about the kiwis reply

  • P.Chandra Sheker on April 8, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    I always felt Dhoni had become more defensive after taking over the captaincy. Ironically his plus point was his attacking and aggressive batting (he could be as destructive as Sewag). You will notice that after becoming the captain, very rarely he has demonstrated his natural aggresive batting. He has played safe by accumulating runs and "staying at the crease" though in all fairness to him - not at a below normal pace. Currently India has a team that can beat all odds(and teams) and therefore we need a captain to capitalise on this and take many more risks.

  • Jiju Thomas on April 8, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    MSD did the right thing to get the series win as the first priority than trying any sort of gamble by sending a team which is having an explosive batting order which can score 500+ runs in 50 overs

  • Prabhav Dixit on April 8, 2009, 10:06 GMT

    Its pointless to debate on this issue retrospectively. Its always safety first apporaoch is the wiser among all. Dhoni has been fantastic on this tour as always and this post match talk about declaration of the inning is utter nonsense. Why we can't back our leaders thats the question to be asked. If anyone thinks that everything is done in good spirit to place India in good position why the hell this topic is getting discussed again. We have given NZ fair chance to bat for almost 5 sessions and any tom dick & harry would say thats sufficient to get them out. But rain did trick for NZ, we can't even bowl 100 overs to our disapponitment and thats the key. u can see NZ has 5 sessions and they could not even bat for 100 overs dude to rain. We have seen performance from NZ players in 2 test they are fighters and by looking at it we can't write them off. If we have declared early there is every possibilty that they could make it. under such conditions its always safety first is the key.

  • Siva on April 8, 2009, 10:05 GMT

    The above para is reminding me a famous economy theroy '' Humann wants are unlimited.. if india declared 450 and if the NW chase it, what will be the reaction.. they wil put balme on Dhoni again..

  • Sanjay on April 8, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    Easy in hindsight. If Dhoni had declared and India lost due to a batting brilliance by one or two of the Kiwis, you will be the first to pounce on Dhoni and say he should have been a bit conservative given they havn't won a series in NZ for 40 odd years

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    Its pointless to debate on this issue retrospectively. Its always safety first apporaoch is the wiser among all. Dhoni has been fantastic on this tour as always and this post match talk about declaration of the inning is utter nonsense. Why we can't back our leaders thats the question to be asked. If anyone thinks that everything is done in good spirit to place India in good position why the hell this topic is getting discussed again. We have given NZ fair chance to bat for almost 5 sessions and any tom dick & harry would say thats sufficient to get them out. But rain did trick for NZ, we can't even bowl 100 overs to our disapponitment and thats the key. u can see NZ has 5 sessions and they could not even bat for 100 overs dude to rain. We have seen performance from NZ players in 2 test they are fighters and by looking at it we can't write them off. If we have declared early there is every possibilty that they could make it. under such conditions its always safety first is the key.

  • Zhayynn on April 8, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    It's good to see that in the midst of all the congratulations, some of us are questioning why we didn't go for the jugular. It was most vexing and perplexing to see the attitude displayed at the end of the 4th days play, with nearly half the team acting like a bunch of school boys at their annual picnic! Having a mental break is fair enough, but what's the big idea in slogging to raise an improbable target if you're going to sit back and disrespect your own efforts? Not taking the weather forecast into consideration seemed an even more ridiculous excuse as there was no way on earth they could not have know the forecast for the last day. It would have been a brilliant way to complete our 100th Test, but it seems that suddenly winning was not a priority. One more day of concentration was all they needed and they they could relx and savour the fruits of their succes, but apparently that was not on the menu.By the way, attributing Dhoni and his team's success to 'luck'is most simple-minded

  • Diwakar on April 8, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    Absolutely well said Sameer.It was refreshing to get this view coz i was waiting for one.Everyone was thinking and rejoicing about a series victory.But there's a clear difference between winning an overseas series 1-0 when comapred to 2-0.It was a conservative declaration.Dhoni should have declared an hour before close of play on the 3rd day.Kudos to you once again.

  • Sunil on April 8, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    I have been smarting over the Indian performance in the last test. I’m not sure if it is a series win for India or a great NZ escape? With every passing series my belief that Dhoni’s is a defensive and highly over-rated captain is becoming stronger. 19 out of 20 captains would have wanted to win the last test match. Dhoni did everything (and succeeded) in ensuring that India does not win this test.

    I think this test proved that he is no more cunning (or shrewd) captain…..he is a very smart guy (not surely a smart captain of which Indian cricket lovers can be proud of) whose interests go beyond test cricket…

  • Aks on April 8, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    My 2 cents - The post with respect to the point being made for this match is good and acknowledged by many above. But what was India Goal before this series? Win the series - then that goal was met and it did not matter whether we won the last match or not. If the Goal was to win convincingly(3-0, 2-0 as a result) as Australia have done in the past (white wash the other team) then the late declaration was a mistake not taking the account the factors mentioned in the post.

  • P.Barman on April 8, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    I do think Dhoni should have declared 100 runs back, lack of experience and seniority might have spooked him anyway Dhoni you won, congratulations.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 9:51 GMT

    Always winning 2-0 is better than 1-0 win. Somehow Dhoni lost the plot in last two days. 450 on the track was enough. 500 was better. 600+ was very defensive. Indian team has lost a good opportunity to win comprehensively and post the 100th test win.

  • chaitanya on April 8, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    Well, well the same Indian media which pilloried Rahul Dravid in 2007 for playing it safe at the Oval is showing it's true colours again. Until now, Dhoni was the messiah who would take India to the pinnacle. But after one delayed declaration he is,according to the media, perhaps not the man to lead India to the No#1 position in the world. Playing it safe is an Indian trait and it's the Indian way of doing things. Why dosen't the Indian media get over the fixation that "going for the kill" is the only way to become a top side? That's the Australian way of doing things. You don't become a top side by copying others but by playing in your own way and by trusting your own instincts. Rahul Dravid must be having a quiet chuckle about all the fuss.The Indian media may open up a debate as to who is the more defensive of Dhoni and Dravid. Remember Dravid chose to take 1 step back against the then No#3 side whereas dhoni chose to do so against a team ranked at #8.

  • sunny on April 8, 2009, 9:49 GMT

    Absolutely agree - I just fathom the thought that a captain has to have to 600 runs on the board and you could have easily declared with 500 on the board and especially when you know that the 5th day's play may not happen fully given the forecast. Also, astonishingly enough, the field settings were so defensive and most times there were only two people around the bat with one lone slip and a silly point but it had been an aggresive mentality, with 600 runs on the board, you could have 8 around the bat swirling in and swooping even half a chance. Very poor captaincy indeed!!

  • Mujeeb on April 8, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    I really support Dhoni. Indians first priority is series victory. Think of the worst case , the track is friendly with batsman and the kiwis style is suitable to limited over so that they can score quickly. Also they r ready to take any risk to convert this match than make a draw. Thats the only way to level the series. Dhoni, u done very good decision. Pls remain every one, delivering comments on a match is the easiest thing on this world after the match , but a captain has think all the possibilities and Indians final target to get the seriese which wasnt possible last 41 years than 2-0 victory against Kiwis

  • ashish nagpal on April 8, 2009, 9:46 GMT

    I totally agree with the author,it shows how Ponting and Smith are both better captain than Dhoni

  • Swapan on April 8, 2009, 9:45 GMT

    I agree with Sameer. Firstly, the declaration was definitely late. Weather forecast/condition should always be part of strategy for any sport. As cricket is a team game, the responsibility is with the captain/coach to augment the strategy around it. As we have heard in the commentry the last day rain was forecasted much before. Secondly what should be the lead. To wait for 600+ runs for declaration is a joke and shows low confidence on our bowlers which include Harbhajan (who can exploit the fourth innings wicket and Zaheer or Ishant). Therefore, this strategy was more towards creating history, which in any case would have been created, and maintaining statistics and not in the interest of the spectators/viewers who are the source of the money which they earn.

  • sunny on April 8, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Hi, Whats this discussion is all about, like we won the odi and test. And Dhoni did the right thing as if he had declared by 450+ and there was no rain there was a chance New Zeeland winning the test. You do need some luck but its not every time dhoni wins a match its not becoz he`s lucky its becoz he`s capable of.

  • Ajit on April 8, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    Mr. Dhoni, if you want to make India the number one team in the test cricket, then you need winning attitude and should look to win each & every match. Look at Grammy Smith....be positive man

  • Bobin on April 8, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I cant withstand with this anymore. MSD just won us a series guys. Jus giv him some appreciation for that. No other captains could do this. All of you know how India struggled in the 2nd test match without Dhoni. How many times hav we seen India winning in overseas??

    Even the commentators supported Dhoni's decision and India took only half the session extra to declare. Nobody complained at that time. And also remember it might not be just Dhoni's decision. There is experienced players in the team and they might have discussed this before.

    To the reporter, when did you see India winning three series in a row against top nations. Atleast he is winning games for us. Dont demand too much right now. India will get to the #1 position. So jus leave him alone.

  • John Pradeep Karunatilleke on April 8, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    I do hail this Indian series victory and congratulate them for achieving something special what many of the previous Indian teams could not achieve for 40 odd years. I may also say that this Indian team is certainly up there with SA and Aussies in rankings. While India has what it takes to be the best, the only thing I feel what separates them from the other two top runners are the now famous fear factor.You give SA or Aussies 450 plus runs to defend and more often than not they would back their bowlers to run through the opponent. Make no mistake this Indian team is a stunner but to get to number one and hang on to that status for a couple of years might still require great shedding of the present mind set.

  • bgkrishnan on April 8, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    Dhoni's team won the series. QED. Tactically Dhoni's win record speaks for itself. We need to be careful about criticising about paths not taken. There is always a first time for everything. We would have looked pretty silly if a target of 500 or under was achieved by New Zealand, given that they had over 2 days. Stranger things have happened and these are post 20-20 days when new batting records are being set. If it is about proving a point, its proved. On a different note, this team seems to have just two flaws: it gets bored too easily and drops catches.

  • Prahlad Kumar Yadav on April 8, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    I think Dhoni ha done the right thing.coz winning the series was most important to end the drought of 41 years.By the way Dhoni had declare the innings to win the match as they have full 5 sessions in their hand.which is sufficient to take all 10 wickets,but who has predicted the rain so early.moreover Dhoni has said that he was expecting another 10 overs of play.so he has calculated the situation more accurately than the person who had commented on the decision of Dhoni.

  • mats on April 8, 2009, 9:39 GMT

    Guys, pls leave it na. Its not that dhoni didnt had faith on his bowlers. But for INDIA, he made sure that we dont loose the series. Cricket is a different bowl game. New Zealand would have done enough to force a win, to protect their intrest. yes jus bcs we cud not knok the last two guys, we are saying we should hv declared earlier. Earlier means when, before 30mins, before 1hr or before 2hrs. What would have happen if rain came in on 5th day fully. Then what you guys will be talking. Wheather and Cricket both are uncertain. Lets enjoy the joy which has come after 41yrs. Its not a joke. Dhoni is a different captain when he deployed 8 :1 feild for australia. OK

  • Raj on April 8, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    Be conservative here. Even if Dhoni declares with lead of 500, this test will end in draw. NewZealand Batsmen will defend for sometime and rain will take care of rest. Altogether more than 75 overs were lost. Almost a day!! Nobody can predict this. Maybe 5 or 10 overs (or 2 balls) were enough to wind up the match. So KUDOS to Indian team which is at its best. Dear Indians, be conservative, that's our culture.

  • Pratik Shah on April 8, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    When Yuvraj got out on the fourth morning, India went through a phase where they scored 2 or 3 runs in 5 overs. What was the point of that? If he wanted 600 runs, he should have been much more aggressive. Or just declared since India had a lead of about 580 at that point. I am tremendously disappointed that this has happened despite Dhoni being the captain (who I thought would be different) and Kirsten being the coach.

  • Amit Kumar on April 8, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    I think we Indians will never be satisfied. I am hearing from all media people and cricket fans that we should have declared earlier. Some even went to the extent saying that Dhoni wanted to make half century and therefore delayed the declaration. Fans, scale up. He is the best captian in the world and there is something about his leadership and coolness that we all need to learn.

  • Suresh Kumar on April 8, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    I think Dhoni is decession is correct. NZ is not a bad team,they can score very fast, if they think loosing 1-0 or 2-0 not a differance for them sor thye will try for Chase the Score of 500 within 2 dyas. Required run rate is just less than 3 is required by them.Also our record in NZ is very bad,check howmany Caches we dropped and Dhoni know very well is that we dont have a bowler to roll over the Tail Enders. (If we had that Ian Obreon may not score these much runs)

  • Global Cricket Lover on April 8, 2009, 9:32 GMT

    Dhoni is doing a good job, but those who think he is 'great' must remember that the team now has outstanding openers. Give him the WV Ramans, S.Ramesh's, Arun Lals, DasGuptas and ask him to face the top 2 teams and you will see what happens. The team is currently very luck to have such solid platform at the top of the order and in very good form - that makes captain a lot less to worry/think about. Strategies can be made by anyone, it is the backing skills that make the difference.

  • sidos on April 8, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Though it would have been great to win 2-0, people suggesting that dhoni shud have declared at 450-500 with 2.5 days left is purely ridiculous. it was only a couple of months ago when a certain young south africa chased australia's massive lead against all odds..cricket is a funny game; imagine if taylor, ryder and mculum got going? a loss would have been a tragedy. also new zealand does have a unique, fast changing weather conditions...what if the rain came and went with faster winds?? Overall there are just far too many variables that it is impossible for a human like dhoni to predict exactyl what happens in the future...so why take the risk? What's the point...Just win the bloody series, that's all that people remember in the future, not that it cud have been 2-0 or 1-1 or whatever...ok? lay off dhoni, he is doing an incredible job, we must support him.

  • Reuben Peter on April 8, 2009, 9:29 GMT

    If this Indian Team wants to be ever called a GREAT team, they need to ditch the baggage they have carried over the past years and be more innovative and attacking in their thought process. What good is Dhoni coming and lauding Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh at Pres conferences if he doesn't have the faith in them to defend a 450+ lead? If they don't do this, they will always remain a so-so team.

  • syed on April 8, 2009, 9:28 GMT

    we all are stupid including writer of this blog. why no one come before any test & write this & that . say thanks to MSD who has made India proud again & again better than all those who played for themselves without considering INDIA or Indian public .

  • Alok on April 8, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    I think for those of us, for whom the memories of the away-defeat-filled 1990s are still fresh (and not tempered by, say, the memories of the 80s), routinely winning overseas is way more important than the margin of victory.

    The present Indian team is getting used to the concept of winning overseas series routinely, and it will be sometime before the culture of ruthlessness seeps to the extent that we believe every match must be won, at all costs.

  • Global Cricket Lover on April 8, 2009, 9:27 GMT

    I am an Indian but I really find it strange that a team supposedely aspiring to be No.1 is blowing trumpets on beating a No.8 team 1-0! And the captain is praised for being defensive to ensure series win!

    It is there for all to see that while an aussie team would go allout for a 5-0 even if they are 4-0 up, our Dhoni bhai, the moment he wins the first test he will try to draw all the rest of the games. That's what his mentatlity is and if someone still manages to see an element of 'agression' in him, I am sure they can very well see life in Jupiter! or even Sun!

    I didn't watch this match but I read that there was a 8-1 field set for Munaf's bowling. I am sure someone has the logic ready to say that it is an 'attacking' move!

    C'mon guys, we have beaten a 8th ranked team and that doesn't happen often! Let's celebrate the invincibility of Indian team!!

  • Sriram on April 8, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    While I agree with you that Dhoni could have declared earlier but with respect to field placement ,I disagree. The game has changed so much today since Imran Khan's days in 1982 that just having 3-4 men around the bat doesnt always work,you need to be attacking in your mindset but the field can be deceptively defensive and you are still working to get the batsman out.Having known Dhoni over the years,I am sure that must have been his idea and having watched the cricket myself for sometime,I definately thought he was working to a plan.He definately has instilled a lot of belief in his men and am sure he wants this team to scale new heights.He would love to make every match count and not sit on his laurel of already having secured a 1-0 lead.

  • Biju Mathew on April 8, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    In past years also we had some similar things happened and the captains then were criticised for not forcing for a win, when there was a chance. Even they were put under match fixing scanner for their decisions during a not-must-win match. What about this one ?? Let us go little backwards. Last two ODI series in Sri Lanka and the current ODI sereis in New Zeland. On all three occasions, India had the series in their pockets before the last match and the way they played in those three matches does make doubts in at least some people's minds. If you just have a look at the way they were played the matches prior to the last and last during those three series will say the story. They were unstoppable till they had series in their pocket and reckless during the last matches and deservingly thrashed. Do you see any "Kaala Dal", just like me??

  • Someone on April 8, 2009, 9:25 GMT

    Hey you folks defending Dhoni. What if there was no rain on the 5th day and NZ chased down a historic 617 in the fourth innings. There is no upper limit to this number especially with the game changing so much lately. History can always be made. But, one has to have the guts to take a strong decision and have confidence in his bowlers. Zak and Bhajji have been in excellent form. So, what are you scared of? It is good to be conservative, but, not good to let go a victory for the sake of a personal half-century. If the weather condition was known, it makes even more sense to declare with 500+ on board and get at least 4 sessions to bowl out the opposition. Last word for those who criticised the writer: One need not play for a nation to be a critic. Harsha Bhogle never played international cricket! But, he is the best critic. P.S: I have played international cricket and I know what I am talking about. So, hold your comments on me!!! Well Said Samir!!!

  • Siddhartha on April 8, 2009, 9:25 GMT

    I think the argument by Chopra is entirely flawed. It was a smart tactical decision to continue batting till they did. IF u have a acheivable target, then NZ wd have had some hope. They wd try and score runs and this if it had pulled off to some extent wd have led to unnecessary mitigation of the pressure. but when they only wish to defend and pass out time, they arent playing their natural game and thus are far more susceptible. Ganguly did the same to Australia in Kolkata test. It isnt saving your own skin but making the other play something alien to nature. Weather proving spolisport wasnt a certainty. However, there is definitely the issue of same match timings inspite of the change in daylight saving time. Match shud ahve started 1 hr earlier. Its a fault of NZC and BCCI for not thinking about these things.

  • Stanley Martins on April 8, 2009, 9:24 GMT

    We always have a knack of seeing the glass 'Half empty' instead of 'Half full'. Samir,instead of dwellwing into 'what if' scenarios, I suggest you celebrate the series win like the rest of us. I bet your toungue would be wagging the other way if Dhoni had to declare early, there was no rain and NZ had enough time on their hands to achieve the target. Now don't get into the history books and say that it has never been done. Successful run chaces in the recent past have thought us otherwise. Dhoni is the captain.....back his decisions....

    Amen & cheers!

  • Sid on April 8, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    It looks like most of the people that commented on here along with Samir feel that Dhoni is not up to the captaincy. I guess we should get a new captain then right?

  • Noel on April 8, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    If team india and Dhoni declared with a 500 lead and the top 4 NZ batsmen stood good on what they are supposed to be doing and we lost the match, then the author of the article whould be saying that when NZ had scored 600+ in one innings perviously, why did India declare. Thats what critics do. The point is we won the series. Cheer up!!

  • Chetan Asher on April 8, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    Not just this one, but several of Dhoni's moves in the past have also been questioned with one interesting observation - the end-result which almost always went in his favour.

    Given that, I think all so-called SME's (me included) should stop trying to analyse & criticise Dhoni's moves.

  • Roamer on April 8, 2009, 9:22 GMT

    mr. sameer it'll be better if u stop writing articles like this...u might be something in terms of journalism or might be on the way of becoming something but after reading ur article all i can say is that u r amongst the group of people whose aim of life is to criticise everyone else...take a break and get ur mind right...better even just go and stand with a bat in that ground and face the players...u've no idea what these players have to go through when they are asked to represent a huge population like us...they can't take a lot of risks...if Dhoni had declared early and had india lost the game people like u would have thrashed the team even more and would have even said that dhoni should be removed from captaincy...thats the mindset of people like u...learn to take joy in others success...

  • neel on April 8, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    i think its stupid, this discussion board. sameer has put forward a point of view. if you are trying to say that NO ONE should be allowed to talk about cricket unless they have played the game, do post every article you have ever written before criticizing someone else's. i agree with the fact that dhoni was excessively defensive.with so much time to play, india really should have gone for the jugular. it is important for a team to WANT to try and win from any situation, and it is a worrying sign, this delayed declaration. we must be able to trust our bowlers to defend 500 runs in six sessions, and take ten wickets. however, it has been an impossibly long tour, and i guess dhoni was trying to avert heartbreak on the very last stretch. to err is human, and to point it out whether we have won or lost is exceedingly important. we have always made heroes of our cricketers when they are winning, and villians when they are not. i think its time for some moderation.

  • Senthil on April 8, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    I have a lot of regard for Dhoni's captaincy. However, this particular 3rd test has put enormous doubts in my mind about his captaincy. If you want to be the #1 team in the world, then this is not the way to do it. Maybe, Dhoni & his men do not aspire to be #1. If so, I loathe to think I wasted my time waking up at 03:30 am every morning to watch this team bat & bowl. In this regard I completely agree with Samir Chopra.

  • Singh on April 8, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    Well written....very incisive....but again...as Dhoni...I had the series in my bag....THATs what I wanted to get back home with...If cricket is indeed a game of glorious uncertainties...as Dhoni I certainly wouldnt have wanted to roll the dice the wrong way.....another day another time I would have approached it differently......this time he chose to play the percentage game....that doesn't necesarily mean that it is a mindset....

  • Vibhu Bansal on April 8, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Winning the series was far more important than taking a chance by early declaration. And even if MSD had declared at the end of 3rd day as many people have called for and rain would have hit right at begining of the 5th day....

    Guys, we are not experts. Best, trust the judgement of the captain as long as he delivers.

  • Krishna on April 8, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Frankly speaking India is a country where margins of error is rarely recognized and forgiven. Let put it this way. We are still thin with bowling resources considering experience we have. How long would you have occasions where Zaheer and Harbhajan keep dishing out match winning performances? There is a margin for those non-performance instances. To expect Ishant, Munaf and other part time bowlers to perform is naivety. Secondly, can you guarantee that pitch will play worse in last day, when you know it is good enough to play on fourth day? Thirdly, before the start there was forecast that rain was expected from second day onwards in sporadic manner. Did we see any drop that time? This team India would have declared at 531 if at least last 2 reasons were under their control. We are being too harsh on Team India's achievement in England and now in New Zealand. This will be demoralizing to any captain leave alon Dravid who resigned after England tour.

  • Vishwanath on April 8, 2009, 9:16 GMT

    I think dhoni did not want New zealand to think they had a chance at all. Had he declared early and with two days left anything would have happened. What Dhoni did was to move to a total where New Zealand would think defensive and negative. He was successful in his plot. The aggressiveness you are talking is something Australia showed in 2001 at Eden Gardens. We wanted the series badly, so he made that safe first. Without him I think we all saw how the team works in the 2nd test. We can also check with the series with australia. India won in perth dhoni was the captain, mohali dhoni was the captain. The teams were same and the captains different, when kumble led it was a draw or we lost and when dhoni led india won.

  • sbhogle on April 8, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    I disagree with you. If you notice, India had taken 8 wickets, and the last men out in the middle were Vettori and O'Brien. It probably wouldn't have taken that long to get at least O'Brien and Martin out.

  • Abhinav on April 8, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    People, what the heck?! He has been leading India to great victories. Before you say he is no different, look at the kind of impact he has been having in the dressing room. Everyone is happy, and there are so good vibes. Thats where a leader makes a difference. All players are so happily praising him, his leadership! Chuck tis one test. Prolly a mistake for some, but come on! He deserves better than what this whole line of comments gives him!!

  • mebin on April 8, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    Dhoni can make the declaration at least at the end of third day rather than continuing batting till at the lunch time of the fourth day. Sometimes he lacks aggressiveness, this same also happened in the third test match against England last year

  • sanchit on April 8, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Dhoni was absolutely right,there was no point in even giving New zealand a chance to win & lose the series.India had enough time to win the test match but was beaten by rain. The huge score to chase was in reply to vettori & mccullum comments at the end of second day that they will go for a win even if it results in a 2-0 loss. You should have seen the faces of both of them when they were given a target above 600 to chase. That was victory for Dhoni & Indian team.....Keep it up Dhoni....

  • bonaku on April 8, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    i have to agree with samir

  • sri ram on April 8, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    First of all I wana to congrat. tje indian team for this very unprppable victory in this series.Dhoni u r great.I dont agree with sameer & dont think Dhoni & his boys have done wrongly they are truly the leaders..in this world of cricket r8 nw...outstanding performances from seniors and juniors.....and we cant predict the match forecast wisd the match forecast....really so u cant blame anyone for this for the natural things...definately people will agree with my statements.....THANX

  • vishal on April 8, 2009, 9:10 GMT

    Samir,

    Prudent analysis ... I am tempted to say. But, that is exactly what it is - a post match wrap up , a thought process in hindsight.Yes , the argument holds water even when the declaration was in question.But, to take such vehement rants seriously a precedent has to be set. If such a scathing onslaught on tactical maneuver had come on the 4th evening with the match in balance or as a piece of self grounding journalism in the wake of an improbable Indian victory, every conservative observer would have doffed his hat at the piece of opinionated journalism. Until then we will empathize with the 'fall' guys who have their houses stoned and families threatened in the wake of an Indian defeat however frigging improbable it might be.

  • Sameer on April 8, 2009, 9:10 GMT

    Well well...this guy just wants to be different. Hence this blog. Period. This very same guy would have been praising Dhoni had we won the test match. Just because NZ were able to salvage a draw with the rain's aid, it is not fair to question Dhoni's tactics. NZ is pretty unpredictable as a team, we have seen many times before the NZ team can reach both the ends of spectrum (of very high quality performance and a shabby one) in the very same match. Given today's changing trend of chasing mammoth totals, you can ignore the possibility of a chase down with 5 sessions in hand.

    I think its pretty stupid to comment on Dhoni's tactics and be part pooper at this juncture of a historic win. Its easier said than done, especially easier if you are sitting in some uptown manhatten warming your double cushioned sofa with a hot cuppa Dilmah tea.

  • Anupam on April 8, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    all those people saying that it was wrong decision by Dhoni.... just think of this with a clear mind - "India has won a test series in NZ after 41 years". Now for any reason, India had lost this match if NZ was able to chase the total..you same bunch of people would have cursed Dhoni. India had the series in bags..why risk it? Remember the world No. 1 Australian team giving follow-on to India and then Laxman+Dravid rescuing us and then Australia losing the match. Similar thing could have happened here. Why don't you realise that we have now won the series!! Also Dhoni was expecting atleast 110 overs (instead of 160 overs) as he said accounting for bad weather. That did not happen and then these foolish people did not change the timing as well even though there was start of day light saving.

  • Simom on April 8, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    What do you know? Everyone's a Simon Cowell in India.

  • Zak on April 8, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    My dear fellow Indians, writer, and critics of Dhoni, You will never change your attitude towards what you want from a disgraceful team to a superb team as it is now. You should feel proud of what Dhoni is helping India achieve. Under him so many Indians around the world are able to experience the pleasure of proudly saying India has won a match, series, and we still look forward to the future wins under Dhoni's graceful leadership and his intelligent captaincy. I can only say hats off to Dhoni. And you buggers that are criticizing him don't even match his footwear are making judgements. It is time we Indians change thinking. It is not that Dhoni is same as previous captains, it is you that are same like the people from old times, over demanding, unreasonable expectations, and nothing is enough for you losers. How many of the dudes criticizing have accomplished any success in their life? and you are talking about the captain of India. Woh tum sabka baap hai. samjha beta writer.

  • rahul on April 8, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    This article wouldnt have surfaced, had India got another 20 mins in the match. MSD simply followed Aussies at peak, who wouldnt fancy opposition to blink over their victory margin. Having said that, I wish MSD would have read Samir's comments and would back his bowlers next time when he reaches the peak of his learning curve.

  • Gaurav on April 8, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    I dont agree to this article. I think this was a wise decision keeping in mind the varying performance of NZ team and nature of pitch (mostly flat ). If NZ batsmen stuck, they would have needed a runrate of 2.5 to win the match. And its no use to keep watching statistics such as 500 hasnt been scored in any test so far. By that logic, ICC should have declared Aussies as winner, when they scored 414 aginst SA. Even in Tests, there have been numerous records broken in last 2 years Thanks

  • VENKAT MALAPAKA on April 8, 2009, 9:08 GMT

    Dear Samir, Congrats. u r trying to criticise even the winning captain after 41 years. u should have said this some 30 days back. No Indian expected this team to win the series after 0-2 defeat to NZ in t-20 format.You know one thing, that Dhoni played this test out of compulsion and not on fitness basis alone.V almost lost last test due to so many things, and one of them is Karthik's bad keeping.Yet ,dhoni came back with half fitness and scored 2 fifties in the match and held 7 catches, indian record.And Indian bowlers and Dhoni,the keeper need rest to defend T-20 Title in June this year.Try and appreciate the team that won the series,after we are born.

  • Sahil on April 8, 2009, 9:07 GMT

    Well i think dhoni made a right decision in declaring at 600+ but he shud have played faster on 4 day morning as to save the overs..an we could have won this test if rain hadn't played a spoilsport...and don't forget even New Zealand had scored 600+ runs in the 2nd test...an more ever they have explosive batsmen who can easily chase down big targets..so i Support Dhoni fr his decision

  • Rose-n-Pint on April 8, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    Hummmm. After all this page long, I remembered one thing that MSD mentioned in his per match conf before first 20-20 match in NZ. "I we do well in NZ, Media will say that because we had enough time to take rest, we did well. At the same time, if we fail, same set will say that because the team was away from cricket for quite some time, they failed".

    So, its just like tossing a coin, which me turn any ways. Playing with words is always easy, when you don't have anything to loose. I completely agree that Mr. Samir is a good writer and choice of words is excellent.

    For Dhoni's decision I can say is that though NZ is #8 in Test Cricket, but they have always been unpredictable and they are know as "Giant Killers", that they have proved time and again.

    Dhoni, shifted the pressure on NZ team by putting them in a position, where they can't even think of Winning the Series. So we won the series on Day 3 itself. It was just a matter of winning it by 1-0 or 2-0 was on NZ skills and rain.

  • meami on April 8, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    Can't agree with you more Samir. When will India develop the go-for-kill attitude and not merely the winning attitude. That alone can ensure the dominance that West Indies and Australia enjoyed in their heydays. As you rightly said this kind of slackness may soon turn into a habit and mark the beginning of the end...

  • Ska on April 8, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    Dhoni had hoped for 10 more overs to finish off NZ's tail. I've just looked up the scorecard and India had added 37 runs in its last 10. Wonder how much effect those runs would've had on the match outcome.

    450-500 would've been more than ample to defend. And yes, captains should plan around the weather. I'm disappointed in MSD.

  • Gerald on April 8, 2009, 9:02 GMT

    Hey all you folks, its easy for you guys to sit chat and talk and criticize Dhoni's captaincy and his efficiency in captaincy. India is always that way. when they win you have a problem and when thye loose you have a problem. Make things simple and think that we created history and sit back and watch the next series. No point in you people talking and giving your thoughts. Its all there when you stand on the field and take decisions, not having snacks and watching in television. Stand together to witness the victory rather than being a stranger criticizing the talents of a wonderful character. FYI im not a Dhoni fan. Its just that sometimes we get too involved in criticizing than appreciating ones marvellous efforts. Hope you people agree to this. You guys are well aware of everything than me. But lets make things simple and enjoy our win overseas after such a long years. Thanks.

  • Prakash on April 8, 2009, 8:51 GMT

    I couldn't agree with you more Samir. Team time declaration on the 3rd day would have been highly competitive. but at the least he should have declared at the end of day3 with a lead of 537. If they can't back themselves defending 537 in 4th innings, they should kiss goodbye to cricket. what happened to Kris srikkant's goal of being number 1 team in the world in 2009? if this is the mindset they have, it will never happen. There is a difference between being defensive and paranoidically defensive. I think Dhoni's decision belongs to the second type. I am wondering, if the team management played a hand in the timing of the declaration. Knowing that rain is forecast for the final day makes the late declation even more ridiculous

  • Sumit Sinha on April 8, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    IMO Dhoni was right.. i have a dream of seeing India at no.1 but i can wait for it for some time(maybe around 1 year) but i dont want India to loose their confidence amd momentum and drop back to 4-5th for the sake of going for kill everytime (indian team is all about winnin confidence).. So in my theory slow and steady always wins the race and so will INDIA..Peace!

  • Babu D on April 8, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    Don't understand the need for this article at all - We went to win the series, we won it, there ends the story. Give the credit to the man who has lead so admirably well, dont't have to be greedy on this aspect.Having said that, Ishant dropped a sitter after which we bowled a couple of overs at least.We would have wrapped up C Martin in a min and would have won the match, if we can't hold sitters, why blame the captain. Imagine we declaring and Taylor, Ryder or McCullum or all three doing a Nathan Astle and giving a scare. You never know in these small grounds, why take a chance needlessly?Be a sport Samir and others, admire the skills of MS, instead of generating a needless bad taste.

  • Sumit on April 8, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    I feel Dhoni has done the right thing. He has given more than 5 sessions which turned out around 4 sessions actually. If your bowlers can not dismiss a no 8 team in 2nd innings in this time then you can not blame your captain. Its ofcourse the lack of performance from both seamers Ishant and Munaf to strike which led NZ to escape. I think the whole issue is non performance of Ishant and Munaf through out the series which costed India its 100th test match victory. Its high time that we improve our fast bowling bench strength which clearly lacks a genuine tearaway fast bowler somebody like Dale Steyn/Brett Lee or Shane Bond

  • shekhar on April 8, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    I will go for dhoni's decision. Its east to claim when results are in front but hard to decide when its a state of quandry. Now a days big scores are being chased down. Who knew they could have chased down the score if it didn't rain. Then u will say he should have declared later. pitch was also not deteriorated. So there was no question of taking risk when your hands were already at the trophy. We might have won if we could get another 10-15 overs , as Dhoni said. So let's celebrate the success rather than waffling around .

  • Samson Koletkar on April 8, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Your article is an after thought. If it was written on Day 3 or Day 4, perhaps it would have had a little more credit. You, sir, are too late yourself.

    As far as the luck with Dhoni goes, I am a firm believer of "you create your own destiny". Anyone who says Dhoni is lucky, needs to learn responsibility.

    Its also said, you know you must be doing something right when you start getting negativity from some. Given the amount of nonsense above, Dhoni is doing a lot right!

  • Raju on April 8, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thing. He also mentioned in the post match interview that he did not want NZ to have a mind set of going to win the match. He wanted to change the mindset of the NZ players from trying to win the match to save the match so that when NZ is in defense he can have enough over’s to get them out. Remember, if the opposition is not in defense it is some times very difficult to get the wickets that why our great so called commentators/columnists and bloggers say when they get this kind of opportunities. Stop sulking on what Dhoni did. We should be proud enough to have a series. Those who say many things to criticize will never have a killer instinct like Dhoni had. He is far better than our thing. That is why he is there and we are here with what we are doing.

  • Mike on April 8, 2009, 8:44 GMT

    Rain is unpredictable. Clearly, it could also have not rained. Also, clearly, Dhoni was playing on a pitch that was getting increasingly easier to bat on. Note that India could have easily batted to 600+ in the 2nd innings if it had wanted to pace its innings such. And NZ had the batting to do it. We often forget that we have, very very often, lost such leads. To England in India where Dravid went with 5 bowlers in the 3rd test with a 1-0 lead and lost it due to not enough batting. To Windies and S Africa. So lets celebrate a great series win and blame the rain for coming in a bit too early.

  • Balaji on April 8, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    i dont know where u guys all went(who r all scolding dhoni for late declaration) when india last toured New Zealand in 2003. A worst tour in our record history. We have made a ultimate change in the next tour itself in 2009 winning both ODI and Tests series.Its all bcos of good team effort and a "good captain" DHONI. Dont question Dhoni's aggression and his leadership .Anyone will be in the same mindset of dhoni's on the 4th & 5th day .we didnt win our last series in NZ a 5yrs ago or 10yrs or 20 or 30.Its been 40 years.So, first we have to ensure the series is in our pocket .And Mr.SAMIR u've told tat dhoni didnt calculate about weather forecast .Its wrong.he definitely did it.if we have won the series in our last tour to NZ , dhoni would have definitely declared after the target reaching 500 . Dhoni is always right . he's filling the record books. 20-20 world cup triumph,ODI series in aus,2 times odi series in SL,test series vs aus in india , eng whitewash in ind.now victory in NZ...

  • vish on April 8, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    I think one point most are missing is the pitch itself. Dhoni was out there batting during those crucial hours on Day3. From the way all were playing, there weren't any devils in the pitch and looked like a batter's paradise.

    Bringing up NZ's 197 in first innings is not the point. I remember India wining a test match against Australia after following-on, think it was in 2001.

    You may rue the two wickets that would have won the match, but then don't forget that situation could have been lot different if McCullum hadn't been on wrong side of a rank bad decision.

    Just coz 450+ hasn't been chased successfully yet, doesn't mean can't be. And who should know it better than the captain and the team that are re-writing history itself? If I remember correctly two teams have chased 400+ scores in past 2 years. Times are changing. History is overrated.

  • Raju on April 8, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thing. He also mentioned in the post match interview that he did not want NZ to have a mind set of going to win the match. He wanted to change the mindset of the NZ players from trying to win the match to save the match so that when NZ is in defense he can have enough over’s to get them out. Remember, if the opposition is not in defense it is some times very difficult to get the wickets that why our great so called commentators/columnists and bloggers say when they get this kind of opportunities. Stop sulking on what Dhoni did. We should be proud enough to have a series. Those who say many things to criticize will never have a killer instinct like Dhoni had. He is far better than our thing. That is why he is there and we are here with what we are doing.

  • AJ on April 8, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Looks like we have people challenging dhoni's captaincy here... now thts really funny!!lol

    NZ was fortunate only due to rain and nothing else... and hats off to dhoni for playing it safe... for all the above comments against dhoni's captaincy, let me tell u... we've brought the trophy to India...not given it away.... !!

  • Aadil on April 8, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    @ all Lets look at the bigger picture here! No one can deny the declaration was a defensive one ..you dont need to be on the field or play to know it!! The reason for the loss for poor fielding that has been one department India was found wanting through out the series..Unless India gets better in this department its unfair to expect us on top of the ranks..small misses can cost the match in any situations..this was no different...Ishant is the man this time...sorry to point him but the fact remains he was so complacent he droppped a regulation catch which cost us a win for a draw..the one department we were weak caught us at the right time or wrong time..but for good..we have to pep it up and give the best unless that happens we are gonna have many more of such results. In the second test Ross taylor was dropped a sitter by Yuvraj .he missed many thats another thing.that cost us the match ..he went on to score 150+ that took the match away. So the point,lets get the fielding rite

  • Tek Raj on April 8, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    Hi Guys! in my opinion also Dhoni did the right thing, if he would have declared in the 3rd day itself NZ w'ld have 6 session in their hand and if a partnership like what they have in 2nd test will be there then definitely india would have lost 3rd test, i guess. And moreover RECORD, what we have to take into count. its okay if it is 1-0, it would have been better if it would have been 2-0, but who knows it may be as 1-1 series..well done Dhoni and his party.

  • Murali on April 8, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    May be Dhoni did plan for weather. But He didnt plan for drop catches from Ishanth and Munaf. I am amazed no one is talking about these catches. If Ishanth had held on to that catch from Lian O'brain, I still believe India had enough time to dismiss Martin. I can argue about Vettori's lbw. But thats cricket. Anyways i am happy with the cricket India produced (apart from fielding). The results will come. And Dhoni will think twice before setting 600+ target next time. This is what is experience.

  • Shitul on April 8, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    Well, a lot of debate is taking place about Dhoni's declaration and what should have been an ideal total and we would have 2-0 etc. etc.?

    Just to give you an insight of New Zealand's past records, 1st test vs England at Christchurch in 2002, New Zealand were set to win 550 runs and they came close upto 451 runs. Astle scored 222 of just 168 balls and another test match as recently as 3rd Test vs England in 2008 at Napier, the Kiwis chased 431 runs out of the target of 553 runs. Who would know on his day some batsman like Ryder, Taylor or McCullum would have smashed the bowling out of the park.

    Imagine, SA scoring 400+ just recently vs a quality attack against the Aussies. What attack does India have and we all know how our bowlers surrender on their off day.

    So, let's give the credit to Dhoni's team and kudos to come back home victorious from the Kiwiland after a gap of 41 years. Well done!!!

  • Samuel on April 8, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    I full agree with Mr Chopra and MSD did not show any urgency to force a result and India lost a golden opportuntity to register another win. This kind of attitude will distract fans interest.

  • Anil on April 8, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    Samir is bang on with his comments. I feel the decision to bat on and on has a South African flavour also. Even though he remains in the background most of the time, Gary Kirsten does have his own moments in the sun ( or rain in this case)and this one definitely looks like one of those.

  • Rajiv on April 8, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    While I do not agree entirely that decisions could be taken with weather forecasts from two days earlier, what,I think, has gone amiss is that India actually lost a ICC ranking point due to the draw. If India's objective was to climb up to the top of the ranking, they had to have stepped up the run rate ater tea on day 3. They could have reached a lead of 550 by the end of day 4 and declared. Hindsight is a marvellous thing, but the Indian team was perhaps a touch unlucky with the weather and the unexpected 20 overs lost on day 4 due to bad light.

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 8:35 GMT

    Dhoni is the luckiest captain India ever have had. How come N.land even changed their pitch tactics for this series, and lined up with a terribly inexperienced set of players. If there were two quality bowlers in their side, of course, Bond plus somebody I am sure the results would have been different.

  • shafique khan on April 8, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    dhoni did'nt have faith in his bowlers so hi didn't decleared early, above 400 must have been a good total and so it must have been result oriented...

  • Sandeep Kumar on April 8, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    As we can see, there are two sets of opinion. One is defending Dhoni, other one not. One who is not defending Dhoni and criticising him is trying to highlight some of the things which need to be improved. Not that Dhoni is not a good captain. But there are areas where there is scope of improvement. First of all, why should he pace field defensively for a main batsman when 6 or 7 wickets have fallen. When our bowlers can take 6 or 7 main batsmen wickets, they can take 8th wicket also. There is no need to spread the field like he does. By doing so he allows that batsman to settle down and score as many runs as they want. If we set the same field for the remaining main batsman also, we will concede less runs compared to what we have been concedeing in such situation by a defensive field placing. He is at present the best available captain, but he needs to learn a lot and learn fast if we want to be number one team.

  • deepak nair on April 8, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    Is the glass half full or half empty? When you are trying to do something that has not happened for 41 years, it is better not take chances!! It was the same against england in both the home and away series. Samir has to understand that we are still some distance away from matching Steve Waugh's team.

  • hanif on April 8, 2009, 8:31 GMT

    I agree that MSD should have declared around 530-550 to account for the rain forecast. He was defensive and wanted to take out everything in favor of NZ out of equation. That is, he just wanted to demoralize NZ by setting them up a chase in excess of 600 but it is a known fact that any target above and beyond 500 is more than enough to do so in 4th innings chase. Indeed one could say that he has the luck on his side but one must also look that in the manner team responds when he is at the helm of affairs is lot different from when some other player is leading the team. Therefore, I would disagree to quite an extent that MSD is simply riding on the luck.

  • TimePass on April 8, 2009, 8:31 GMT

    First of congragulation to the team on series win in NZ. As much I like Dhoni as a captain, I have to say at times he gives into this defensive strategies/tendencies. We got the first glimpse of it in India vs England 2nd Test in Mohali (series was secured 1-0) but I gave him the benefit of doubt then considering the dodgy weather and late starts. Again we saw a similar thing, the test match was in the bag he should have trusted his bowlers more after all they are the ones who get you twenty wickets to win a test match.

  • Riz Mansoor on April 8, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    I completely agree with writer. Great teams dont play defensive cricket & India is good team but not great. they should have declared lot earlier than they did actually. It is dissappointing to see test ended in draw after. 450-500 is sporting declaration. any thing beyond 500 is defensive specially you are playing with teams who ranks below 5.

  • Rajesh Malhotra on April 8, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    Well All is well that ends well. So lets be happy for winnig the series and leave all things about the third test away. There is a lesson for Dhoni as well, why we all forget that he is still new to captaincy job which I think is most difficult specially being captain of India. He is very good captain and lets also face it that it will take time for him to become GREAT CAPTAIN.

  • rewsan on April 8, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    I agree with Samir, yes Dhoni could have been more agressive - No Question. But I like Dhoni, he will learn from this, just like to ask why Tendulkar was not used earlier in the attack. He came on the 5th day. The spinners were having a great effect on the 4th day and the NZ batsmen were finding it hard to score fluently. Sehwag was brough on but not Tendulkar who bowls terrific leg spin at times.

  • Naveen on April 8, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Dude Samir, you can safely sit on your couch for 132 more years and write what ever you want to write on when the captains could have declared. You say captains plan for rain, yes. they do. but, they could plan for an impending rain, not the rain that might or might not fall on tommorow or day after tommorow. i would have been happy if dhoni declared at end of 3rd day itself, but, how dhoni wouldn't have dreamed that Ryder would fall for the 2nd ball he faced and he cdn't even have expected Franklin to play as well as he did. There are always ifs and buts and +- 5-10 overs, but in the bigger picture 60% of experts world over would have supported dhoni on his timing of declaration and its easy to criticize if you are not on the firing line.Get on with it.

  • Rajesh S on April 8, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    I'd be interested in knowing if ever a team has been questioned for declaring too late after an hour on day 4 of a 5 day test match. May be my namesake statistician at Cricinfo can help us out.

    My guess would be that only in India we have such complaints. What if we declared an hour early and rain arrived an hour early or NZ batted out the extra hour? Would we complain then why we didn't declare on day 2 or why did we bat at all in the second innings?

  • AZ on April 8, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    i fail to understand why indians did not declare after the third days play. with the pace attack they have along with bhaji who is in great form they could have bundled NZ under 300 any day. NZ were the ones under pressure to win. scoring 500 in the last innings has never been achieved and with the batting line up that NZ has i doubt they would have even come close. 1-0 is good but 2-0 says a lot! india are a much better team than 1-0 against NZ!!

  • Kanwar on April 8, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    I completely stand by Dhoni. The aim was to win the series and so its better to be as much safe as you can.

  • Vikram on April 8, 2009, 8:26 GMT

    Samir,

    A few thoughts come to my mind on reading your article.

    1) Hindsight is an advantage ony available to the people who did not play the game. I fully understand Dhoni's decision on the declaration. There is no way he was going offer even 0.00001% chance to the Kiwis to be able to make a match out of this. So in his mind if 600 is a truly ungettable target, then that is what needs to be set. The fact that India came close to winning and would have won but for a lot of time lost to rain and also because of a few catches going down, justifies the decision.

    2) There are always the cricket romantics (or sport romantics in general) and the problem is they are unable to come to grips with the dynamics of modern day sport where so much is at stake. As a modern day cricket captain, one has to almost ruthlessly defend his team's position of advantage in a series or a match. He needs to do all it takes to ensure that the objectives are met.

    - Vikram

  • Nazmul on April 8, 2009, 8:24 GMT

    Dhoni is just a lucky chap. He somehow manages to get a win from nowhere, whihc is good for India though. There is nothing special about his captancy. Only a fool would want the opponent to chase down over 600 runs especially when it was bowled out for just 197 in the 1st innings.

  • JD Mexx on April 8, 2009, 8:24 GMT

    You may have an opinion Samir and you make a reasonable point. However, when you say thast it didnt matter to Dhoni that India didnt win the match ... did he tell you that?? That bit is an irresponsible comment. Secondly, i think we did not win because:- 1. Shoddy catching. Especially Ishant dropping O'Brien off Sachin with the world's worst batsmen (Chris Martin) to follow 2. A 3 bowler attack. Anyone who saw the game should agree that Mr. Munaf Patel has no right to be representing India ... bowling@120kph!!!

  • Ram on April 8, 2009, 8:24 GMT

    I would not say Dhoni made wrong choices. Part of the problem is that India scored very fast on the first day (375 runs), thus giving NZ ample time to chase down big scores in the fourth innings. With the likes of Ryder and McMillian in their ranks, NZ has the potential to chase down 500+ scores. Our bowling team is in good form, but it need not click every time.

    You cant plan for the weather. At the time India declared they still had plenty of time to bowl out NZ and at the same time had made sure victory was possible only to only team. The fact that NZ finished eight down makes clear Dhoni nearly succeeded in his plans. We were just a bit unlucky that is all.

    History is fast being rewritten these days. The modern trend has been the ability of many teams to chase big fourth innings targets. It is unnecessary to give ur opponent a target of 500 in 200 odd overs. 500 is a good target provided you have only less than 150 overs to bowl.

  • Nandu on April 8, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    Dhoni has put every step right. One can plan for a faster bowling or a run rate on the sight of clouds but can't play faster or declare faster and take risks assuming it will rain the next day especially when what is at stake is to achieve what was not possible for last 3 decades.

    Dhoni's objectives were clear, win the series over a 2-0 margin. Man has a mission, vision, good grip on his team and is not confused about his objectives. Which Indian captain has done that?

    I thought he was very judicious. In the 2nd match India scored 476 for 4 wickets on a day 4 and 5 pitch. SA chased 414 with 6 wickets to spare in Perth. All the people who say nay now, we exactly know what they would say if NZ successfully chased this target, they would be the ones saying "you had two days to play, why not secure the series". Hindsight is always 20/20. And who can argue with someone winning 5 of 7 matches with wins against Aus/SA/England/SL and now NZ except armchair critics.

  • nandakishore on April 8, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    I agree with the author partially. As you said he could have declared half an hour after tea on Day 3 and taken a crack at NZ. But as we all know cricket is a funny game and no one can blame MSD. At least, he has done us proud, which no other skipper has been able to in four decades. Let us forget everything else.

    Nanda Kishore Kuruppal

    Chennai

  • Sekar on April 8, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    It is always easy to do postmatch analysis, comment and crticise. Individuals differ in their approach and we have to live with it. If only Ryder and Mccullum got going they could have come bit closer. Learn to enjoy the moment than criticise. It is really well done India and well done Dhoni.

  • Kumar on April 8, 2009, 8:22 GMT

    Yes its the 4th time India has lost oppurtunities in winning one more test in a sereies in the recent past.First under Dravid in england, then under Kumble against pakistan when they waited for Ganguly's double hundred and Pathan's maiden century, Under dhoni against England again in mohali waiting for Gambhir and Yuvraj century(ironically both of them didn't get it and now against Newzealand. Dhoni is no different. After all he is another Indian

  • Naguib Khan on April 8, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    Its true that Dhoni could have declare the innings with a lead of 500, but no point of blaming him this much. A team nothing to loose can go for anything, and cant change the game plan only by looking to the history of the game. They have made 600 plus runs in an innings... if Rider, Taylor and MCullum can go on then it wouldnt be a herculean task for them. Dhoni played little safer, also the factor is who should mould their game plan according to the weather predictions, most of the time it seems wrong with their predictions. If Dhoni should have declare the innings with 450 lead and Kiwis were able to cross it, then what would have happend? All these criticism will go against him with double force. None is perfect, but we have to appreciate their effort and achievement for sure. They are playing good cricket.. so such kind of arguments are not too valuable.

  • Raj, USA on April 8, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    It is said that people who try to do too many things can't do anything right. Seems to be the case with the writer.

    Mr Chopra, you got your fifteen minutes of fame (a typical American craving). Now please stop writing about cricket.

    Cricinfo, you publish such an article? Dark clouds over Dhoni? A man with a 5 and 2 record with no losses yet. A man who has delivered pretty much every time he has lead the team so far.

  • Ramses on April 8, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Well said Mr.Rahul Vivek.

  • Raghu on April 8, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    ok, dhoni is getting a lot of tonk, but what if he had got the two wickets in another two overs. would we be discussing this, sometimes straqtegies dont work out, thats all, the other day, ricky ponting set south africa a target of 545 with less than two days and won. what if he hadnt won and the match was drawn, then would he not have been savaged like dhoni is being. it's all about winning, isn't it? cruel .

  • subash on April 8, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    But Samir you would be singing a different tune if New Zealand had come close to fourth inning target and rain stopped the match. A great team does not have to be attacking all the time, consolidation and defense are equally important. I agree with Dhoni's decision.

  • Gyanesh on April 8, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Gentleman, this is a game of cricket...the guys who really plays in the green knew how hard its..watching on TV and passing comments is always easy....look 2-3 umpiring decisions went against black caps....the story would have been different.....enjoy the game and dont make it a big issues......samir chopra??? did he ever hold a cricket bat or a red cherry??.....good luck

  • Jerry on April 8, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    Come on guys, what if newzealand played extra ordinarily well there in last two days, what if the total was a bit low? I say 1-0 , series win boombastic

  • Jerry on April 8, 2009, 8:16 GMT

    Come on guys, what if newzealand played extra ordinarily well there in last two days, what if the total was a bit low? I say 1-0 , series win boombastic

  • sakir on April 8, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    well said Samir. i thought mr.dhoni had a different mind set. he is just same like those came before him. whatever runs he wanted on board should have been achieved in the post tea on 3rd day. i am really frustrated. we had the opportunity for 2-0 and mr.dhoni lost it. the body language was low in the field. it looked as if they never wanted to win but want to save. i wonder what our cricket great had to say about dhoni's decision. thanks

  • Mahesh Inna Kedage on April 8, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    Hi Guys! I Just read some of these responses, You Guys are buffoons! My memory is still, fresh from World cup debacles 2007, wherein the team played so badly that the cricketer's family has been attacked back home. Now the team has done good, still you want to find fault. Let's put our desirements apart and limit it. I guess If we have won the last test, we would have got just that one point in the table, but still we are number 3. Dhoni is jus new in this role, but he doing it effectively, as Flemming said, he will improve with experience. So let's give him a period to sustain it. As he himself said now he has created a benchmark for himself, hope he will sustain it. All the Best Dhoni, So far so good from your captaincy. Carry on. Don't worry about the result. Jus do the hard work. The writer here is pessimistic. Jealous of Dhoni raise to power.

  • Sooraj Kamath on April 8, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    If India could chase England's 389 in merely 4 sessions of play on a difficult pitch, there is no reason why New Zealand can't chase 500 in 6 to 7 sessions of play on a flat pitch. No point in blaming Dhoni for his decision. India would have still won had they taken their catches. Of course, a captain can't plan for dropped catches ! Had India lost the match even in a one million chances, then you would have again been the first to critisize Dhoni ! That, apart, what if India had set 500 as target, New Zealand 200 for 8 at stumps on 4th day and entire 5th day washed out? Would you have still blamed Dhoni for not declaring when lead was 300? We must accept destiny !

  • Siva on April 8, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    On Day 3 end, Dhoni/ Yuvraj accepted the bad light offer. To me this is clearly wrong. The lead then was 531 and 5 wickets to go and Dhoni/ Yuvraj were each playing at around 15 with Harbhajan to follow who can throw his bat around. India could have rejected the bad light offer and continued to play and could have got the desired lead of 600 on day 3 itself. Especially with one hour day light adjustment, bad light was a certainity on day 4 and day 5. In the end, thats what mattered- a mere 10 overs, that India played on day 4, that Dhoni wanted.

  • Prakash on April 8, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    Dhoni knew that he ll recieve such stupid comments. A small converstion between Dhoni and his mind voice on the DAY 4 eve. Dhoni's mind voice: "You ll be criticised on ur delay of declaration, if rains pours and wash out the game." Dhoni: "So shall I declare now?." Mind voice: "If there is no rain they are going to beat you easily on this flat track." Dhoni: "Wat can do now?" Mind Voice: "On the first case, you are losing nothing but on the second, you are going to lose the well deserved victory after 41 years".

    That's how smart cricketer and a brave captian's mind works. He is too smart. 1-0 and 2-0 will just say you won the series for India after 41 years but 1-1 will say it is always a dream to win a test series in NZ. Now decide whose decision is right.

  • Niquardo on April 8, 2009, 8:08 GMT

    I think Dhoni knows how feeble and brittle the NZ batting line up is. Based on recent history his gave his team more than enough time. If hadn't been for one stubborn partnership between Taylor and Franklin they would have won with plenty of time to spare.

  • bharath on April 8, 2009, 8:08 GMT

    To be honest it was a mistake by Dhoni..he shuld hav declred a bit earlier,i mean at 537 and shuld hav gone for the kill..he dint do that even aftr havin such huge score on the board.. well,yea..indians will be indians they cannot become aussies with a few wins..can they?

    And Mr.Vivek u can keep ur comments to urself..and stop reading blogs..we know wat samir chopra is..

  • ajay on April 8, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    Dhonis defensive attitude is a big threat test cricket for sure. an already 5 day long cricket match will be worse if one is playing to draw and not to win or challenge opponents.

  • Ablowna on April 8, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    Congrats to Indian team for winning the series. It was very surprising India dis not press for victory. It just proves Dhoni is like other captains, and has got loads and loads of luck in his favour.

  • Sankar Kalyan on April 8, 2009, 8:03 GMT

    It's time someone came out and told the world that the emperor has no clothes. I couldn't believe that the whole media is going gung ho about a series victory in NZ with a 1-0 margin. Look at it from New Zealand’s perspective – they lost one test to a top test team. They had us on the mat for most part during the second test, and escaped with a draw in the third. Man for man, they don’t stand anywhere near us, and still we won a series so tamely. Is this the attitude to be displayed by a team that hopes to emulate the Aussies? Teams go through their ups and downs. We have never had such a balanced team capable of winning in alien conditions, and the Kiwis have never had such a weak team for years. This is the time to crush everyone in sight. To come back 1-0 is to waste a good opportunity to set the record straight. And this would have been our 100th test win. Sometimes a sense of history can work against you. That it has claimed Dhoni of all people as its victim is ironical indeed.

  • Mani on April 8, 2009, 8:03 GMT

    It is easy to comment on the hindsight of any thing. Forecast alone cannot be used as the variable for such decision. We are discussing this since NZ were eight wickets down, what if that had not been the outcome. I believe the huge total of 600 plus put NZ in a "no-win-for-sure" shoes, they played to save the test and hence we got to eight wickets. If it had been 500 plus, maybe they would have played more positive and got closer with more wickets in hand. EOD, it up to each of us to look at the glass full or glass empty. I look at it as a outstanding series for Indian team, and they have reached yet another milestone.

  • Raj Dawson on April 8, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    Too harsh on Dhoni! I put it down to something called 'Guest responsibilities'. Dhoni is very 'Indianish' when it comes to the way we treat our hosts as also our Guests!! Kiwis being the nice bunch of guys under Vettori, Dhoni did not honestly beleieve in putting the foot on throat when a 'kid' is down. I'm sure if it was Australia or South Africa it would have been a different story. How else can you explain the late declaration; the fooling-around during post tea session. Well done Dhoni!

  • Ashish on April 8, 2009, 8:00 GMT

    Dhoni not to delay in declaration of innings. if weather report may be wrong or delay by one day then they got more time to achive any target because 2 full day is enough for 500+ score.

    But Dhoni is Dhoni no dought about Dhoni's decision.

    And that's 100% true 2011 World Cup shall be our if Dhoni still a Caption...............!

  • sunil on April 8, 2009, 8:00 GMT

    While we are in the realm of hypothetics,what if Dhoni had declared at the overnight score,and it had rained earlier than it did?But agreed point taken,A Captain just 7 tests old,with the opportunity of winning a series in New Zealand,with just two strike bowlers in form,I think it's a fair call.In time,Dhoni will begin to rely on the strengths of his team and become even more "proactive"Every series is a learning process,and this team under it's captain has demonstrated it;s ability to learn quickly

  • Neville Menezes on April 8, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    What a dud - what a wasted opportunity! He has the gall to state that he thought there was the possibility that winds could blow away the rain! Who is he kidding - was he really fearing that the #8 ranked side could score a super-world record score of 617? C'mon! If we aspire to rise and be respected as a performing nation, we have to take the opportunities - aspire and perform just like Australia, and S Africa! Can someone please inform this guy that there is a difference between a 1-0 scoreline, and 2-0!

  • Raghu on April 8, 2009, 7:56 GMT

    Vivek i completely agree with you. This article will never motivate Indian Team to create wonders. Dhoni has done fairly a good job. Remember under his leadership India had won 20-20 world cup and has got India to this position where we are ahead in rankings for past 1 yr. Cricket is a game of chance & is considered to be unpredictable. If blackcaps had created world record we would have been disgraced and would have been much worse of a feeling. I believe Dhoni's perseverance deserves an applaud and I am sure he is a good leader, as Sachin himself has admitted it & had recommended him for this position.

    Again its matter of time that we would be No.1, australia was not No.1 overnight. Its time that will bring us to that highest point of peak. Its consistency that will guide us to No.1. So if we continue this way i am sure an yr from now we would be No.1 in all formats of game cricket.

  • Rahul Vivek on April 8, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    Its in utter disdain that this blog was posted. How in the very world can a person who is off the field and never been into cricket core issues criticize a person of Dhoni's stature ?

  • wydk on April 8, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    I think you conveniently forget that New Zealand had already showed their ability to score 600+ runs in the previous game. Dhoni would also have been well aware that if it was India facing a 450 or 500 deficit over two clear days, they would have fancied their chances and gone for it. They would also have known that a 600 score would be high enough to panic most teams and that might speed up the collapse. Had India got Taylor out earlier, or rain lifted for half an hour, they might have won easily and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Conversely had rain come earlier it would've been a draw regardless of score. The team made the decision they thought was sensible and India comfortably won the series.

    This is just the usual armchair negativity. Who are we to judge anyway? It's not like you or any of us have made it as professional cricketers. Hindsight is 20:20 Samir. Get off your high horse and enjoy the win.

  • Rajit Desai on April 8, 2009, 7:53 GMT

    Its unfair to blame Dhoni. he mentioned that we'd need about 110 overs to bowl out New Zealand. Its fair to assume that he'd have got the remaining 2 wikets in the balance 15.3 overs. He had basically accounted for a reduction of 50 overs. Can't help if the rain lasted a tad too long.

  • Murali Krishnamurthy on April 8, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Hi, One thing that everyone seems to be missing here - you all are talking about only Dhoni. But what about the THINK TANK?? What were the coach, assistants to him were telling him? By nature - at least from what we have seen of him - Dhoni seems to be calculated risk-taker. What or who forced him to play for 'so called safety' and ensure the series win? I am sure there is certainly something fishy here an I am also sure - as is the case with anything in Indian Cricket - the truth would never be known....unless someone disgruntled rattles about the same. Dhoni, it is now on your conscience. Let us see how you deal with it.

  • Parivesh Goel on April 8, 2009, 7:50 GMT

    I don’t understand why Dhoni's delayed declaration is coming as a surprise to most of you. If you remember the 2nd test vs England at Mohali recently, he did the same. He waited till tea on the 5th day & with a lead of 400 runs to make the declaration and secure a draw and thus a 1-0 series win. Mind you, India’s lead at the end of 4th days play was a handsome 336 runs. Incidentally, this was the first test in which Dhoni managed a draw and not a win as captain. He hasn't lost a test match as captain.

  • Ram on April 8, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    The previous comment above mine is easily the most absurd comment I have ever read. Everybody has a right to pass comments and put their thoughts on exhibit. What are numbers for? Only to make conclusions from on retrospective.

    Dhoni might have changed a normal/average team into an above average team. Point taken! But that doesn't mean others cannot point out mistakes about his decisions?

    Why should a person who has played minimum level of cricket NOT comment on cricketing greats? This is the absurdest of reasons! Anybody who has good "knowledge" of cricket can comments on cricket or cricketers.

    What Samir has said here in this post is common sense.....almost nothing to do with cricket itself. If anyone finds that disgraceful because they are in awe of some cricketer, then thats not a good spirit to read blogs with.

    Samir, I think you have got it spot on to say that we have not completed the series 2-0 because of Dhoni's decision. They could have batted till Yuvi was out.

  • Saleem on April 8, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    Opinion about the every match in india is always funny. They think about what we didn't do, not as much as what we did. We won a series after four decades but people are more interested in not winning a test, but drawing, thank god we didnt lose it. That too cause of weather, not becuase the opposition team batted till the end of the day. cannot blame the captain for going out for something that was four decades in the coming than for a test match win. After winning the first test he said in the press conference that he wanted to win the series for the seniors. Aint it wonderful that he actually did it for them. I really don't think Dhoni will do the same in a similar situation if we play New Zealand again next year. Then the series win won't be as significant as it was now. 41 years, man, can be average cricketing life of four good cricketers combined. I feel bad that we didn't win the last test. But it was the weather, we didn't get to play five days. Can't blame the captain for that

  • akshat on April 8, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    Why should'nt we look at the other side of the coin. How many overs did the bowlers require to bowl out NZ? 110 as Doni said (obviously in consultation with his bowlers). He gave them about 150 possible overs (with a buffer of 40 overs for rain or unexpected resistance). Add to it the attacking options that he gave to his bowlers. Those who question the judgement of how many runs were sufficient before declaration must answer this; How many overs were sufficient to bowl out NZ? Well done MS and even if you just were short by maybe 2 deliveries it was only after you were already sucessful.

  • Captain.Ramesh Venkatraman on April 8, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    First of all let us taste the teams success which come come after 41 years.The question of MSD didnt declare early might have been an error in his judgement which can be ignored.However i am sure MSD would have learned certain aspects of the game post 3rd test.Further we shouldnt forget it is just a game.

  • Raju Iyer on April 8, 2009, 7:44 GMT

    You don't have to go back as far as 1982 to see videos of Imran's field settings to try and prove a non-existent point. Just go down memory lane one series to recall how Dhoni outsmarted Kevin Pietersen when it came to calculations on D/L, dew , fading light etc. in the home series; in short he was brilliant. Here his tactic was simple, grind the opposition to death and he very nearly succeeded. It is foolhardy for people to suggest that he should have declared early when the pitch held no devils, there was ample time left in the match and India were 1-0 up in the series. As we saw during the one-dayers earlier, rain comes and goes and no one can be certain it will completely wipe off nearly two full sessions. So Mr. Samir Chopra and others of his ilk, please learn to be practical and stop daydreaming and postulating absurd hypothesis by presenting statistics, which like the proverb goes, are like a bikini - showing what is interesting but concealing what is vital!

  • Sandeep Kumar on April 8, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    Indian captains over the years have developed this habit of converting a win to draw. Saurabh did not enforce the follow on in Sydney in 2003, Rahul did not declare early in the 1st test in West Indies in 2007, Rahul again in the third test against England did not enforce the follow on overlooking the overcast condition. Dhoni is no different. He set a target of 506 for aussies in Mohali. He did not press hard for victory in Mohali against England by declaring at lunch, which could have given Indian bowlers at least 60 overs. In one test, England bowled out south Africa in less than 50 overs in the 4th inning.Even in the Hamilton test against Newzealand, he was quite relaxed in the 2nd inning of Newzealand, where the weather forecast was for rain on the fifth day like Wellington. He has a strange habit of letting the main batsman score as many as they want once 6 or 7 wickets falls.Saurabh and Rahul had also the same bad habit. Dhoni has learnt from them only.

  • Siddharth Surana on April 8, 2009, 7:43 GMT

    You've well worded the feelings of millions of cricket enthusiasts who get up in unearthly hours to watch their team winning or least giving 100% to win. I'm appalled to see team India's tactics. In fact, despite the rains India had loads of time at hand, had they declared on third evening. even a 400 lead was more than enough. NZ was happy to let Indians bat for as long as they wanted. Dhoni should've known better that the weather forecats in developed countries is far more reliable than India. The fact that Indians were not desparate for a win was evident when instead of using the wicket takers like Zaheer and Harbhajan, Dhoni chose to employ innocuous Munaf and Sehwag. There was a period when every ball was followed by lots of noise and clapping etc. May be it was a trick to ruffle the batsmen, but had they planned better, they wouldn;t have had to resort to such gimmicks. We have a right to express our emotion when our team chooses to let go a match that was given on platter.

  • ks on April 8, 2009, 7:42 GMT

    vivek : "Unless the author has captained a Country and has been in a position to make a decision that will eventually take a team to higher grounds i dont see a reason why we should even consider publishing posts like these."

    Thats the worst kind of argument EVER. "Dont criticize till you can do the same". Cricket was not invented yesterday. We all have an idea of the smart thing to do and the dumb thing to do, especially when its so obvious. The history here (that nobody has Ever defended that total) isnt some trivial random fact, its a simple and instructive truth. This is a great team, yes but they are Not beyond critisicm. If I think the Prime Minister is doing a rubbish job of running the country, I have a right to criticize him - I dont need to be a former PM to do that. If you cant think at least leave it to those who actually can.

  • prasanna on April 8, 2009, 7:42 GMT

    When dravid didn't enforce follow on in england as a safety measure to win the series, the whole media and critics came hard at him, her comes the attacking and brave captain Mr.MSD who feels that 500 in the board is not enough to defend the opponent with no experience. The same old indian mentality of a captain, now what is the difference between dravid and dhoni, where gone the media and critics.... Good post Samir

  • fcuk u all bitchess on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    i can only say tht the people who is complaing about DHONI they dont know a C from Cricket.. so they beeter shut their ass up... DHONI is the best best captain ever .... and hus decision was perfect... so plzz shut ur aSS up.. and get the hell out of here,,, byeeee

  • prasanna on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    When dravid didn't enforce follow on in england as a safety measure to win the series, the whole media and critics came hard at him, her comes the attacking and brave captain Mr.MSD who feels that 500 in the board is not enough to defend the opponent with no experience. The same old indian mentality of a captain, now what is the difference between dravid and dhoni, where gone the media and critics....

  • bytewords on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    I think the author is too critical of Dhoni. Dhoni seems to know the difference between aggressive and hotheaded.

    It may be that one could have drawn NZ into the game with a lesser target, but perhaps Dhoni had more respect for NZ/pitch/both than the author. Given how much our tail wagged, perhaps the pitch wasn't going to get us a victory before the fifth day.

    I am more inclined to give the benefit of doubt to someone who has proved himself on the field for so long rather than someone with a blog and a keyboard.

  • Peter Jerome on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    I guess Dhoni should retire as Captain. Samir I think can do the job of the taking the team to No. 1. Hi Samir, I am a good batsman, consider me too. Hehe.

  • S.Nandakumar on April 8, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    What Dhoni has done is absolutely correct.We cannot take risks and loose the opportunity of winning the series after 41 years.

  • Govindarajan on April 8, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    You are damned if you do, you are damned if you do'nt. If the indian fielders grassed afew more catches then you start blaming the captan for early declaration and not enough runs. He had not lost the game, Right? come on guys have some faith, uh

  • Dev on April 8, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    Great performance by the Indian team. A won series matters only and therefore a job well done. And as for the people who said Dhoni should have declared earlier are wrong as no one could have predicted earlier. Besides if he declared earlier India could have been in a position to squander their lead in the series. Overall a solid performance to Dhoni's men.

  • praveen on April 8, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    It was foolishness from Dhoni to bat on 4th day. he does not have hopes on indian bowlers who bowled out Newzealand for less than 200 in first innings.550+ target was more than sufficient for India to defend. Hope he does not do the same mistake again.

  • Peter Jerome on April 8, 2009, 7:40 GMT

    I guess Dhoni should retire as Captain. Samir I can do the job of the taking the team to No. 1. Hi Samir, I am a good batsman, consider me too. Hehe.

  • nidhin on April 8, 2009, 7:39 GMT

    I totally agree withe the author,it shows how much artifical hype has given Dhoni his name.He is just simply a lucky captain with loads of luck going his way.Also cricket standard of other countries have dropped to aid him

  • Santosh on April 8, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    If the Declaration happens at 450 then the NZ players will have ample time(two days) to chase it and who knows anything can happen in the game of cricket. I think Dhoni is right in his decision but the only thing that turned the result around is the bad light and rain. After all no one can expect this to happen and Dhoni is not exception for this. He declared in the right time thinking that he has sufficient time to allout NZ but the weather conditions didnt allow him to do that.

  • Overdrive on April 8, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    As much as i partly agree with this article, I think the reason why Dhoni delayed the declaration could amount to the time Indian Team had in their hands. Given almost two full days to bowl at, this Indian bowling attack can finish off the job at will.. Probably it was the "time" that was in Dhoni's mind more than the amount of runs to defend? .. either ways congrats Dhoni on his successful stint in NZ..

  • Raj Bansal on April 8, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    Atleast somebody wrote what I have been going through last 24 hrs. For a fan following 30 years plus of cricket, this was horrible and not a sign of team boasting of some of the greatest players ever to have played together.

    Leadership is all about taking risks. We cannot expect to win matches consistently with a fear of losing some. six out of six matches betwwen Aus/SA were decided and it was one of the most exciting contest and for India, we have drew 2 tests in Aus, 2 tests in India against Aus, 1 test againts Eng, now tests in NZ. We also drew 3 tests in WI (in 2007) and another 2 in Eng (2007). All have been to get some "historic" series wins. It sucks to say the least.

    I have one question, if there was no option to draw the game, would India have declared with 600+? I doubt.

  • panda on April 8, 2009, 7:37 GMT

    You talking about the maximum run chase on 4th innings .. But you should think about the number of days left .. If India declared at 540 lead on 3rd day .. Kiwi's ould have got 2 days that is 40% ( 10% less from half of a test match ) . So do we have such a run chase where you got 2 full days to score 600 runs ??? And If the Team iNdia was defensive it has right to be ... Any pair of kiwis just looked for one big partnership 600 runs is achievable 180 over 600 runs 3.4 runs per over ....

  • Gokul on April 8, 2009, 7:36 GMT

    Guys Just drop this discussions and be happy with the Historic Victory.

  • Shafiq Ahmed on April 8, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    In fact the blame can just be put on MSD.Its basically the nature of the Indian bowling attack that its highly vulnerable and the captain understood this situation. Furthermore, I'm amazed to see a lot of congratulating stuff for Indian team for winning a series against minnows. None of the NZ team player has played more than 50 tests as compared to the Indian Team where half of the team have more than 50 tests under its belt. So, should this be taken as an achievement to win against minnows with a brief margin where they were left to be defensive for two days of the second test. Had NZ bowlers taken the last 10 wickets in the second test, the series would have ended in a draw.

    I remember once Windies played test series against Pakistan in Sharjah and Waqar was the captain of the Pakistan side. His ruthlessness was shown by the declaration on the second last evening with just 250+ lead. It was the belief that he had on his bowlers and himself and he proved that with the win.

  • Sanjoy on April 8, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    if you ask yourself what would ponting or smith have done - you come up with the feeling that they would have declared earlier. this is the second time in 3yrs that an Indian captain has gone the conservative route in the last match of a series. I think it will be some time yet before the draw mentality leaves Indian test cricket.

  • N.T.RAMASAMY on April 8, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    if we lose the second test match,in third test match dhoni declared the indian innings well before.his decition to play safer game is correct one.

  • Naveen Kumar Kannegundla on April 8, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Completely agree with the article. He should have declared on 3rd day after having a lead of more than 500 and should have bowled for 10-20 overs on third day itself. It might have got them at least a wicket. Or if Dhoni wants to be so defensive, at least India should be bowling from the first over on the fourth day.

  • sam on April 8, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    If you cant write then dont write bad. You got no right to demean a cricketer who has been on the field and performed for the country. He didnt sit like you in one corner and wrote nonsense about current cricketers. And you are allowing pathetic comments about Dhoni to be published? what a pathetic soul you are. Grow up man. You jealous freak get out of your coma and ask the chairman of selectors what he thinks of Dhoni and ask players what they think. He is the most humble man you will ever cross not like ganguly who is bloody arrogant and jealous like you. Both of you dont deserve any mercy. Its because of people like you people like Dhoni are getting ridiculed inspite of wonderful performance. He slapped all of you on your face with an average of 77.50. So many pessimistic people were questioning if this Indian Team can play on seaming wicket. They bowled out NZ for 197 and do you hear that big slap on your face? I can hear the resound of that here. Beware pesimissistic idiots.

  • Arul.G on April 8, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    It is natural for human beings to always look for someone's negatives, go hard at them, and obtain bit of mental enjoyment rather than look for their positives and appreciate. MS Dhoni is emerging as one of the best captain for indian team, his strategies and way of execution are been praised by lot of cricketers who played plenty of international cricket. Dhoni knew that he cannot plan or worry for things which is not under his control. Had the rain arrived one day earlier than the forecast and the test ended in a draw, we would have said its bad luck for Dhoni and for indian team. On the other hand,imagine what we talked about Dhoni's captaincy if he had planned for the weather and set a target of 500 plus and all of a sudden rain staying away despite the forecast, NZ getting two full days and chased the target. Draw is also a part of Test Cricket and I congratulate our Indian team for winning the series and my benefit on the above was I got a reason to have a beer last night.

  • saivachan on April 8, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    I have some people commenting on the Indian captain, I think you people need to observe the presence he has got on the field and respect among the players, a real captain is the one who earns the respect both ON and OFF the field. Why do people make such comments as though they are legends or have been in the game since decades. If suppose the rain would have come an hour later then what would have been the situation? or else let me tell you recently South Africa have chased down Australia in Australia . I think it was wise of Dhoni to think with brain than heart. People don't get emotional. I think in the 2nd test you must have observed what the team was lacking i.e. a good leader. If you observe past teams for example SA at the time of Cronje it was a great team,but right after he left the team was no where losing the matches, even AUS is a different team with Ponting. So please stop criticizing and think and be +ve. Instead of finding faults in the team.

  • jitendra Agrahari on April 8, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    well..we indian always try to defend something..we need some kind of killer instint, and thats dhoni missed in this particular game. In napier we got a draw while we were lossing the match..its make all of us happy..and in wellington from first day to last day we were dominating very badly but still cant win..after tea on fifth day dhoni should taken new ball imidiately..so that Zack can finish the tail.. but overall india performed very well..dhoni is new caption.he will learn with this test..

  • KISH KUMAR on April 8, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    I think, Dhoni is the most defensive captain India ever had. Dhoni's philosophy is to win the series by hook or crook and not worry about the spirit of the game or fairness of the game. When was the last time an Indian captain had the luxury of 500+ lead in a test match with 2 days to go? So, we can't compare this ridiculously defensive captaincy to anybody else. Also, many other captains didn't have this kind of strong bowling attack. New Zealand would have lost if India set a target of 370. If Kiwis are good enogh to chase 500 plus, they deserved it. To waste time like this was a sin. Dravid, Kumble or Tendulkar may have delayed declaration to prevent a realistically possible loss. I can't imagine them or Ganguly keep batting after getting 500 plus lead. One captain who was so (correctly)confident of his bowlers was Ravi Shastri. In the one test he captained, he declared after getting a lead of 340 odd runs, because he was so confident of his team's spin bowling department.

  • Nandu on April 8, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    Dhoni has put every step right. One can plan for a faster bowling or a run rate on the sight of clouds but can't play faster or declare faster and take risks assuming it will rain the next day especially when what is at stake is to achieve what was not possible for last 3 decades.

    Dhoni's objectives were clear, win the series over a 2-0 margin. Man has a mission, vision, good grip on his team and is not confused about his objectives. Which Indian captain has done that?

    I thought he was very judicious. In the 2nd match India scored 476 for 4 wickets on a day 4 and 5 pitch. SA chased 414 with 6 wickets to spare in Perth. All the people who say nay now, we exactly know what they would say if NZ successfully chased this target, they would be the ones saying "you had two days to play, why not secure the series". Hindsight is always 20/20. And who can argue with someone winning 5 of 7 matches with wins against Aus/SA/England/SL and now NZ except armchair critics.

  • rakesh on April 8, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    I totally agree with Sameer, Indians lack killing instinct. Infact if we had lost the 2nd test, the same mindset would have continued in the third test so as not to loose and level the series 1-1, a tame draw. We say, this is a different team with an urge to win and led by a cool captain. But if one keeps persevering patience, then where is the chance of proving that we are second to none. If India had to chase a target of 400 runs in 2 days, still we would not have gone for the kill and would have drawn the match. If Winning the series is the sole criteria, then henceforth, we can have just 1 off test match. Probably, if it was a 5 match series, India would have played for a draw the rest of the tests after winning the first one. To be consistent and playing a game to win, one should pose challenges to the opponent and carve the downfall from it. I am sad the test series did not go well with TEAM INDIA, while we lost T20 series and aswell the last one day hands down. JAI HO ?

  • ElementaryJeeves on April 8, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Very good points raised Samir and a welcome breath of fresh air amidst the hyperbole surrounding the 'historic' series win. A series that should have been won 2-0 was won 1-0, that is the end result.

    This is the kind of mindset that separates the 3rd best side in the world from the best. Perhaps Dhoni felt an unbeaten half century from the captain was more critical than a 2-0 away series win.

    Sambit & Dileep's comments defending the appalling decision to set a target of 600 smacks of hero worship and idolatry and they fail in their duty to provide balanced commentary based on the actual on-field occurrences.

    While Dhoni has proven a fantastic captain and what he brings to this side with his leadership was evident in the Napier side during his absence, he needs to step up the game if he wants this side to be consistently rated the best in the world.

  • Thyagaraj on April 8, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    India is always defencive in this aspect.

  • ashutosh on April 8, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Beating NZL(RANK 8)1-0 is a wonder WOW! when you had a chance to have them on mat in all 3 matches.This team INDIA under Dhoni claims to be at the top of the cricket food chain.Alas i don't see the aggression in the captain and the hunger to win . Decision to reach the venue just 18 hours before the test makes you drop your guard that's just what happened dropping more that 6 catches on the first day on placid pitch . How can that be justified for a team who is claiming to be NO 1. Talking of 3rd test match setting a target of 600 to defend on the pitch that had some spin and rain forecasts for 3'rd day onwards., i am sorry to say Dhoni in my view is utterly defensive.530 runs lead ,no declaration are you kidding! In reply to the gentleman defending dhoni by saying that only the people who have captained a team have a right to put forward their views.Sorry mate I've known no captain in international cricket by the name Vivek" going by your logic you're not eligible to comment.

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    A very good article presented by samir 4 the present and future captains.I want to tell one thing that dhoni rides only on luck not by performance.This match clearly shows dhoni's poor decision making skills and his faith on our bowlers.Anyway congrats INDIA and gambhir.

  • kumaran on April 8, 2009, 7:25 GMT

    hai guys! we won a series yaar. just think like that dont blame captain dhoni for his attitude. ok let put that way if we declare in 450 or 500. suppose if black caps manage to draw this match by batting 2 days like india (coz anything will happen in cricket) then all people will go against dhoni. y this man declare early, c guys it is very easy to say and questioned anyone but really on the field is matter. so guys lets enjoy ourself while our team is in high peak. dont blame anyone.

    CONGRATS TO MEN IN BLUE (DHONI & CO) a true cricket fans are always behind u and ur boys.....

    jay hind! vanthe matharam!

  • Ibrahim on April 8, 2009, 7:25 GMT

    It was really a good chance to wipe out the series with thumping victory in the final test, and leave New Zealand on a high note. I am not sure why Dhoni showed no faith on Indian bowlers who bowled them out for meagre 197 and the innings didn't even lasted for three full session of the day. Overall I am very happy for all the Indian team members for their first ever test victory in New Zealand after 41 years. But still we need to change the tradition and look to be more aggressive and demolish the opponent which mighty Australians do all day long when they we hav their noses front.

  • Mohan on April 8, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    First congrats for indian team....but series win alone cant determine a teams capability...if playing for india is possible if thats the case case no one needs to post a blog here..to represent india.Luck plays part for dhoni.this is his first tour outside the subcontinent and that too with more or less conditions similar to home and against a weak black caps...Let him tour south africa with the bouncier pitches and let him win the series there...then il agree to watever u defend dhoni and the current indian team excluding the seniors...

  • satvik on April 8, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    Samir, great article, you hit the nail on the head and I'm happy that atleast one of the so called experts has the guts to call a spade a spade.. In my opinion there is simply no excuse for batting on and on, slow on the fourth day and then declaring just after Dhoni got his 50, its shameful and disgraceful to say the least.. yes,lets roll out the red carpet for the underdogs ( ranked no.3) who have comprehensively thrashed the Kiwis ( ranked 8) 1-0 in their backyard..

  • Aaron from Tasmania on April 8, 2009, 7:20 GMT

    But Dhoni would have been sacked if he declared 475 ahead and India lost!!

  • aby on April 8, 2009, 7:19 GMT

    Firstly, All of India is proud of this glorious achievement. The fact that the grounds are small , and if 6 sessions are given , there is a probability of new zealand scoring them( history might suggest otherwise), but why should dhoni give them even a sniff of a chance??, Just check what happened at WACA and Chennai when India and South Africa won chasing huge targets . What did you think before the series, A clean sweep by the Indians??. New Zealand team are far better than that !!. New zealand grounds are notorious for high scores in the final innings. Nathan Astle nearly took them at christchurch.( they ended with 450 odd), Had Astle been there for another 10 overs , he would have scored a triple century and they would have chased 568. I couldnt care less about this result. The fact remains we were the better test team and we won the series 1-0 after 41 years. Dhoni has been simply superb , . He has achieved a lot more than more captains could in a lifetime.

  • Mitul on April 8, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Well said Vivek and Umesh.

    We won the series... and it is true, if NZ managed to chase down an early declaration than India would have lost the match and drawn the series rather than have won the series!

    Like Vivek said, India are maturing and evilving into the best team in the world now and at times you have to sit back and look at what is happening - can't empect them to WIN every test... that is almost impossible even for teams like Austalia at their peak when they had Warne and McGrath - some will be drawn.

    Just because NZ are 8th as someone said and just because India are 3rd... this does not mean NZ cannot put up a record chase. Moving away from tests, who would have though SA would chase down 400+ runs in a ONE DAY game against world champions Australia a few years ago, the same day the record runs in an ODI was broken... but they did... and broke the record again on the same day.

  • sam on April 8, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    I am really disappointed that instead of being happy that we won Test Series and ODI series comprehensively. They were expected to win and they did. Every time Dhoni does well for this country and these pessimists keeps talking about ifs and buts. We all know what happened in Napier. Dhoni didnt play and NZ posted 610 and he comes into the side and the change is evident. Dhoni scores 2 fifties and had the weather not intervened his decision would have been right. Its because heavens opened up you guys are giving him hell. For one second stop and think. This man gave hope for billions that this particular Indian Team can deliver with excellent captain like Dhoni and probably best ever. Even ganguly had the same team but what he did do? While he was captain we didnt even come close. Once in a blue moon they used to deliver and that too not because of Ganguly but because of others in the team. He was a liability. Dhoni is far better he averages 70 as a captain and in this series 77.50

  • barani on April 8, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    Dhoni did a blunder mistake by batting on the fourth day. He should have declared in innings on 3rd day itself, so that we could have won the match. I think he wanted to score 5o...selfish innings.

  • Dr. Amrit Lal Ghosh on April 8, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    Dear Sir, I personally feel that the decision of Dhoni was defensive which is justified keeping in mind that there is no 100% gurantee for rain prediction. If Dhoni had declared the innings at the end of third day and rain would not heve been there, then it was more likely that India would have lost the match.

  • dips on April 8, 2009, 7:17 GMT

    I believe Dhoni's was right.Just think,what if we have declared on 500 runs at the end of day 3rd.They would have 2 days & needed less than 3 runs/over.They had Ryder (Who already made 200 + in one of inning),Tylor(who had scored two times 100+ ),Mc cullunm ( 100 + ) Vittorie (100+)..They could have win.If they won this match ,then what about serice win in NZ after 40+ years.During next visit ti NZ we wont have Sachin,Darvid or Laxaman & NZ team would be not at No.8.So,next time to win NZ is like dream.So,No one want to take chance with such a dream come to win.

  • Muthu on April 8, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    I agree with the post on the point that every test captain has planned his things around weather forecast. So, Dhoni coming back and saying that we thought about 120 overs and based on that only we played is total bluff. He wants to be conservative and he did that, all we want from him is to stand up and accept that. I believe most of us don't have any issues with being conservative our issue is with the persons ability to stand up and accept when that fails. From my end Dhoni failed in that by not doing that, someone mentioned about Dravid being doing the same in England. Yes, he did that but only difference is Dravid stood up and accepted that he intentionally did that to make sure that we win the series in post match presentation ceremony...

    Anyway, Congrats to Indian team winning the series. I'm hope & pray that will defend the T20 too in June...

  • Adarsh on April 8, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    I totally agree with Vivek. A forecast can't always be true. Giving an international team to play near to 180 overs for 500 runs is too easy to put pressure. Guys think before you write. It was a opportunity which can't be wasted (we waited 41 years). If one catch and the LBW decision in last hour of play wouldn't have gone against India, we might have won in this situation as well. And lastly to all who are criticizing can really predict at what time rain will come for sure. Lots of loopholes, one should take into account before writing e.q. In 2nd inning it was Tendulkar and not our regular bowlers who took 2 wickets, whose decision was this. Why Sehwag failed miserably in 2nd test as captain. Are all theses depending on Luck?

  • Nishanth.S on April 8, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    Guys all those who are talking of defensive approach, can any one explain to me did they dream of rain playing the spoilsport to India's victory.. come on guys start being realistic.. enjoy the moment rather than point the defects even in victory!!!!

  • Nikhil on April 8, 2009, 7:12 GMT

    hi, firstly its a very nice article. the thing you are talking about is a change in the mindset of indian captains. i think we need to give some more time for this change and slowly it will happen. from Dhoni's decision it is clear that we not very used to win overseas tours, may be next time over when he tours new zealand he might be able to take those bold decisions having previous series in pocket(hopefully many more). when we talk about teams like australia and SA, they can take such bold decision bcoz they have been winning overseas tours on consistent basis...

  • sam on April 8, 2009, 7:12 GMT

    Looks like we got so many pessimistic people here commenting about Dhoni not declaring earlier. For gods sake! give me a break. He declared with more than 160 overs as his peril. All you guys are talking nonsense because Indian Team took 8 wickets and that is why it looked close. Remember james franklin and ross taylor both were planted to crease and looked as if it would be boring dull draw by these two. But Indian Team came back strongly. Where would all you fellows be if Ryder got stuck at the crease and made 150 in quick time? What would have happened if Ross taylor or Mccullum got stuck? Dhoni thought about all this. Not so long ago they made 610/9 declared. Accepted this pitch is different but you cant underestimate your opponents any time. And arm chair critics will brood over spilt milk rather than in bask in glory with Indian Team which won the series comprehensively. Which captain has done better than Dhoni? Not a single previous captain came this close. Grow up guys!

  • Rajeev Iyer on April 8, 2009, 7:11 GMT

    Dhoni's decision, like many others of his, was the right one. And I'm sure it was well-reasoned as well as deliberate. Put yourself in his place and it is obvious that the best thing to do was what he finally did with the timing of the declaration.

    Was he playing safe? Yeah maybe. Yet we did come pretty close to winning. If he was really playing safe the match would have just meandered into a boring draw.

    On the other hand, if he made an aggressive play with the declaration and we lost or came close to losing, then that would have looked a much poorer decision than this one.

    He chose the lesser of the two evils. Because what was the downside? Only that a few unknowns and wannabes and maybe the odd respected writer might criticise his decision. The vast majority of India and those that matter are overwhelmingly thrilled at the overall results he has brought on this tour and no-one who matters is really moping the lack of a 2-0 scoreline. Touche.

  • sameer on April 8, 2009, 7:11 GMT

    Samir writes that captains have formed strategies around weather, but when the threats posed by weather were quite eminent (like when you are in the field and it start to get cloudy and all) not on third day for the forecast of the last day. I remember a ODI between Australia and Sri Lanka, where Sri Lankan team tried to score quickly in case the forecast rain came but in the process got bowled out and match was over before the rain came. So you can't play for weather until its only thing to play for. Forecast was for rain on 5th day but when to expect it; after lunch or after tea or a wash out, no one knows. According to me time of declaration was may 10 overs late but don't count it as overs required to get last two wickets.

  • Praveen on April 8, 2009, 7:11 GMT

    I fully support Vivek's post. It always seems ridiculous to me to see Tendulkar being offered batting tips on blog posts by people who have never faced a single delivery in an international match. Same goes for advising Dhoni on what he should or should not have done. He is the man entrusted with the captaincy. Trust his judgement and go with it. Did anyone imagine India chasing down 400 plus in West indies in the early 70's in the 4th innings? Anything is possible in the 4th innings and if NZ had decided to go for broke, 450 would not be defendable. Steve Waugh never heard the end of having asked India to follow on in the Kolkata test in 2001 instead of setting up an insurmountable target for India in the 4th innings. A series win is a series win. Nothing can diminish that. After a long time, we are able to enjoy a team that is consistently winning around the world in some form of the game all the time. Lets be appreciative of that.

  • Manish on April 8, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    I entirely agree the decision to declare came a bit late. At the same time-considering Dhoni's record as captain- I believe it had something to do with collective decision. Dhoni alone could not be responsible for this decision. I personally think the team management as also the BCCI would me on his mind [phone too?] to look for a series win, rather than trying to win this game.

    On another note, analysing and criticizing comes naturally to cricket writers. After all, if they dont open a debate, who will read them?! So, guys bask in the glory of a series win, let the captain and team decide how and whys to keep more of these coming.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    he played for his fifty every player plays for himself. Match Drawn was a good enough result India won the series.

  • Manish on April 8, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    I entirely agree the decision to declare came a bit late. At the same time-considering Dhoni's record as captain- I believe it had something to do with collective decision. Dhoni alone could not be responsible for this decision. I personally think the team management as also the BCCI would me on his mind [phone too?] to look for a series win, rather than trying to win this game.

    On another note, analysing and criticizing comes naturally to cricket writers. After all, if they dont open a debate, who will read them?! So, guys bask in the glory of a series win, let the captain and team decide how and whys to keep more of these coming.

  • Vijay on April 8, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    Dear Vivek,

    It is not that, the author is simply criticising MSD. Just get the bottomline of the article, the author just wanted to win more and more matches for India. I strognly disagree with your thought, that we should not use stat/data/other players performance while comparing captaincy. Without this how would you know that MSD is a great captain or whaterver he had done so far for India? Take a simple example, this is our first series win over NZ in 41 years. You know what is the importance of this win? On other day it is an ordinary win but MSD had done what our great captains like Kapil Dev, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid hadn't done in the past. This makes todays win extraordinary and special. Mind that 2-0 result is always better than 1-0. In last match MSD was defensive no doubt. Now tell me he had done the same thing what our prevoius captains did. If you and he want India to become no. 1 team, he must be attacking all the way like other teams do(SA, AUS).

    Chill.

  • sree on April 8, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    A bird in the hand worth more than a dozen on the tree. There is many ways of going about the same thing. But it is about the risk and reward ration, which Dhoni managed well to my mind.

  • B S Kumar on April 8, 2009, 7:08 GMT

    It is one thing to think of a lost opportunity and one that we never had for 41 years. Dhoni did full justice to what is important, and I am all for the insurance he bought. He broke the spirit of NZ and gave them no chance at all. Fantastic job, MS! I don't care what you all think about Dhoni, he has what it takes in various tricky situations. For heavens' sake, this is the only captain who actually put his team through a practice session for a "bowl-out" and we saw how the T20 cup came home, so shut up.

  • PSK on April 8, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    The situations that Samir has described where captains had taken decisions based on the weather where the "immediate ones" where "dark clouds could be seen hovering above" etc.

    This match circumstance was quite different - expecting a captain to take decisions based on weather forecasts two days ahead.

    No captain can decide actions based on forecasted weather - he could be left looking stupid if the forecast was inaccurate

  • Augustine on April 8, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    I completly agree with vivek.Although in hindsight we can always give gyan.Come to think of it now,it appears that dhoni declared a bit late.But think of the pressure on him.What if it didnt rain and Jessie,dan and gang went along and played 6 sessions.Why would any body want to take a risk.If we were 1-0 down,then i would agree. Give dhoni a break,He has just started his career and he is managing players like sachin,dravid,vvs,viru etc.He is captaning the side so well.I woudnt call it only as luck,its also man management.I am sure that he is amoung the best in indian,if not world cricket and the very best is yet to come... unless dhoni gets carried away. 3 cheers to MSD. 3 Cheers to Team India

  • SHRIDHARAN on April 8, 2009, 7:06 GMT

    A test win anywhere should not be laughed at.The best teams and captains look at the slightest opportunity to grab a test win because you never where the next one is going to come from.Agreed that MSD was intent only on the series win but after having 600 plus runs on the board what was the necessity to go on the defensive.When the opposite team had to chase down 460 runs or so on the last day of the test match (Let alone 600 run chase in the second innings) it is going to be next to be impossible. Was MSD reminded of the Nathan Astle innings of 250 plus a few years back when he was going bonkers against i think a English team.

    This sort of mindset is not good going into the future.There is no question in my mind that MSD is one of the best captains India has seen so far and the apparent maturity that he brings to his game in any situation is worthy of emulation by all.

    This was clearly a chance to win the series 2-0 and MSD missed the opportunity.

  • soorya on April 8, 2009, 7:05 GMT

    Get out of the typical mentality of finding faults anywhere and everywhere. Learn to savor the good moments.If past records were to go by, SA should never have won the epic match were they had to chase 438 runs.

  • stapp on April 8, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    atleast DHONI is winning all the series he plays. look at the horrible records of previous captains such as sourav( 21 wins of 49 test matches ,of which 7 wins came across zimbabwe & bangladesh) ,sachin (4 wins of 25 ) & dravid (8 wins of 25)

    7 series wins in a row , i have no doubt DHONI will be one of the great captians the game has ever produced

  • Vasan on April 8, 2009, 7:04 GMT

    Congraulations! to Dhoni and the Team. Captaining a National team with a couple of million armchair critics is a tough task, but is more than adequatley compensated by the adulation received for every success. Declaring a innings is always a tricky issue. To err on the side of caution is universally accepted. However Great captains dont do what is universally accepted, always. What happened in the final test shows a defensive approach contrary to what is being spoken about Dhoni and his team. To expect a team to score more than 550 runs on a wearing 4th & 5th day pitch in a Test match (No field restriction,relaxed wides etc), with the World's best Bowlers, shows a reluctance to play agressively without looking foolish. Moreover Bowling is all about creating chances/Opportunities to take wickets. If a score is in the realms of being achievable , more chances are crreated as the opposition tries to go for it. To Play cricket with a Risk/Return ratio nearing Zero can be only defensive.

  • brendon on April 8, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    I was pretty surprised Dhoni didnt declare earlier, like he doubted his team because he needed 600+ to be sure he wouldnt lose, maybe he was being selfish so he could get his 50. NZ were definitely lucky to get a draw from the last test. Theres no doubt India should have won it and the they could have wrapped it up quickly. Sure they got 600 in the last test match but on a different pitch. He should have noticed that they only got 197 in the first innings, 400+ would have been challenging enough let alone 600. A win gone begging and in no way could you credit NZ salvaging a draw, only India failing to take the win

  • prem on April 8, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Samir- Let me point out various flaws in your article

    1) 500 runs could have been chased down- Ryder , Ross Taylor and Brendon Mccullum were in form and 6-7 sessions is a lot of time.

    2) 500 runs hasn't been chased in the past, because a 500-run target over 2 days has been set very few times in the past. In how many of your 1918 tests over 132 years, has a team been given 6 sessions to chase down 500 runs.

    3) There is no doubt is series win is more important that a test-match win. Don't you agree !

  • surya mayya on April 8, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Rahul dravid was made to look like a weak captain for adopting "safety first" approach against an English batting line up boasting of Kevin petersen(then the world no 1 Batsman)> That series was also historic as India won in England after a gap of 25+ years. Whole Media critizied him and the gentlemen that he is had to quit captaincy. Dhoni definetely is first among equals in indian cricket

  • Amit on April 8, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Well... But can you imagine if the Kiwis have chased 500 or 500+ score. Remember they have chaseda score of 400+ in one dayers. I am happy with the outcome. The only fact missing is the Rain. Nobody knows when the rain will start. It is fine that they have not bowled well on Fourth Day (in last session). But for setting target, i am supporting Dhoni.

  • Hareeswer on April 8, 2009, 7:00 GMT

    I am sorry guys...I would like to stop everyone critisizing DHONI. Case 1) Declaring at 537 lead: Still two days are left. We batted well in 2nd innings. Possibly pitch nature is varying. In this case if NZ targets to stay for two days(with out rain), there is a chance of nearing the target. Dhoni did a right thing. Remember Shewag and Yuvraj erased some myth on stats when they chased in second innings ags=inst England shocking KP. Ryder and Taylor were capable of this. Case 2) Declaring as he did: Right move to not give any scope of winning, to secure series after 40+ years.

    Guys every one is writing after considering rain will come. Think if it didn't.....

  • Biju on April 8, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    India can never reach No 1 position if they are like this.If they won the last test they would have been in No 2.

  • VIMAL SINGH on April 8, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    I am quity happy with the decision made by Dhoni. If he would have declared at 500+ and if, rain would not be there, theen NZ had a good chance to score those runs. In that case, if NZ wins, then everbody would have changed their opinions and must have blamed Dhoni for his worong decision. Therefore, whatever happned, good for Dhoni & good for team and good for indian fans as well.

    It was great victory by Indian Team and we all must appreciated the efforts of team, which broght this comprensive series victory after a wait of 41 years..... I hope that Indian Team will become Champion Team in the days to follow....

  • Murali on April 8, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    Well said Vivek. I totally agree with your sentiments and you have mirrored my feeling. Dhoni is a great captain and he deserves lot more credit for what ever he has done to make our country proud.

  • RAJESH GOLYAN on April 8, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    Well done Samir, tremendous article and dead right as well. The way Indian players were relaxing in the middle on the 4th afternoon, such as Harbhajan yelling and Laxman laughing as if having just wathed Sidhu's Laughter challenge show, just depicts that they were satisfied and were sitting on the laurels of 1-0 series win.

  • phasor on April 8, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    Well the fact is that whenever a team gets close(say 150 runs away) to the target the captains set defensive fields. What dhoni wanted was to have no such situation where he should be worried about changing his field placements.

  • Pritam on April 8, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    One is always smart in retrospect. Had Dhoni planned around the weather, as you suggest, and India declared an hour after tea on day 3 or at close of day 3 setting a target of 500 odd and the Kiwis had chased it down in two days (they had shown in the earlier match that they could and it was still a good batting wicket with little surprises) I wonder what Samir would have written here. If you bat through two days, 500 is a surety. The media for sure would have been dunning for Dhoni's head for squandering the opportunity of an away series win; and that too against the No.8 ranked team. Indian public may have burnt his effigies, thrown muck at his home, etc., etc. Sitting in our couches and making comments is easy. Dhoni does not just have to manage a team, he has to manage the expectations of a billion people. Maybe, Samir, you can be even smarter in retrospect, and re-write this piece. :o)

  • Srini G on April 8, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I would go with Dhoni's decision was correct. Infact, Harbhajan managed an lbw appeal against Ian O'Brien which was turned down by the umpire. Reviews showed that the claim was correct. These situations are very subjective. What if, the New Zealand batting line up had showed some vigor on the last day? Then, the Indian team would have had to fight hard to save / win the test, if we had declared earlier.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 6:57 GMT

    I completely agree with vivek, comments above. I think the author should write about how sitting in the stands is easy . I think he will like it

  • Chalaka on April 8, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    Back your captain's instincts. Don't over dramatize. When the team left what was on all your minds ? win series. Objective achieved. Yes things could have been done differently if Dhoni took a chance but if his gamble backfired series leveled 1-1. Then what. If you are crossing the road to meet your girl friend and you see a car speeding at you will you still cross even to get knocked down or move aside and cross after the car passes you ? You Indians don't think. Use your head before you write. You are putting your own captain down just to get your name on this blog. Selfish Indians

  • Bineesh on April 8, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    This is typical Indian story. I guess India just started winning matches, also Dhoni is still a junior captain... there will be time he will do everything right........ Easy to comment from the chair like sameer doing

  • George on April 8, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    Every one in entitled to have his style of captancy. Dhoni has his style and he went for a "safety first" option. If India were 0-1 down, then the declaration obviously would have come a lot earlier.In the long term, you are counted by the no of wins under the belt and Dhoni is intelligent enough to know that.

  • Neeraj Chitkara on April 8, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    Very true Samir. Finally we have lot many people sharing the same thought.It was surely point of discussion on fourth evening,what if NZ is 8 down and rain comes in..and its hard to beleive it actually happened. Considering weather forecast Dhoni was expecting to bowl 110 overs,and still he chose to bat on day 4 and post a target of 600+.. Never heard any team even thinking of scoring around 6 per over batting last, for 600 runs. We surely expect our team to be more positive and ruthless in approch in situation like this.. We have seen so many times Australia in its prime,giving a target of around 250 and bowling the opposition out..Well done team India for winning 1-0 but we surely expected 2-0 after first 3 days of play.Hope we learn from this and move forward.

  • Moses on April 8, 2009, 6:54 GMT

    This is the only article on cricinfo that has dared to be bold. All your other writers should be dumped. India has the best set of players, but will deserve to be called the #1 team only when they show the desire to get there. The lack of killer-instinct on field was disappointing, but Dhoni's post-match attitude and his refusal to own up his mistake was even more frustrating. Before this match I was sure that MSD had the potential to be India's best captain ever, but I have my doubts now.

  • Dan Ramasamy on April 8, 2009, 6:53 GMT

    Dear Samir Chopra, Well said.. wow, I fully agree with you. Your comments were the best blog I have ever read... to the point. I was watching the third day of play and I couldn't believe they wasted the time in scoring runs at a pathetic pace.

  • Prodyumna on April 8, 2009, 6:52 GMT

    First of all congratulation to team India for the series win which came after 41 years. 41 years!! isn't that too long for a series win in New Zealand for team India who has produced so many gifted players over the years. But the main drawback was we have to rely on individual performances to win a game. The team effort which the current Indian team has displayed over the last few years was missing in the past. Thats where Dhoni's men are simply outstanding and which is helping them to win overseas so frequently. No one can become No.1 within a day. It's a gradual process and the self belief which makes a team No.1 in the world. I think Indian team is moving towards right path and that day is not very far when we will become No.1. Now we are wining test series very frequently although the margin is less, but that series win is very important to boost up the confidence that "we can do". And I firmly believe that this Indian team will soon start wining test series with bigger margin. :)

  • Nishit on April 8, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    I dont think the article makes sense.If by any chance India had lost then I would not be surprised if the same ppl would have not criticized MSD for his desision. Dhoni does what he thinks is the best and relies on his understanding of the game and given the tag of a smart cricketer that he is I am sure he made the decision on what he felt was right for India. If the person commenting on it was smart enough he would have been making decisions and not MSD. I am pretty sure MSD must have atleast thought about this but winning a series is more important and dont forget he is very new to test cricket yet. Pls support ppl instead of criticizing them. Even if he made a mistake... he is smart enough not to repeat it.

  • Prodyumna on April 8, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    First of all congratulation to team India for the series win which came after 41 years. 41 years!! isn't that too long for a series win in New Zealand for team India who has produced so many gifted players over the years. But the main drawback was we have to rely on individual performances to win a game. The team effort which the current Indian team has displayed over the last few years was missing in the past. Thats where Dhoni's men are simply outstanding and which is helping them to win overseas so frequently. No one can become No.1 within a day. It's a gradual process and the self belief which makes a team No.1 in the world. I think Indian team is moving towards right path and that day is not very far when we will become No.1. Now we are wining test series very frequently although the margin is less, but that series win is very important to boost up the confidence that "we can do". And I firmly believe that this Indian team will soon start wining test series with bigger margin. :)

  • prasad on April 8, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    I agree with Samir.

    In simple words, is Dhoni telling Zaheer, Ishant and Bhajji (with Yuvraj, Sehwag and Tendulkar as backup slow bowlers) that they can't take 10 wickets in 4th and 5th day of the match and prevent a #8 ranked team from scoring a record 540 4th inning runs?

    Me thinks some of the seniors (Dravid perhaps) might have suggested the conservative approach to Dhoni or maybe Dhoni wanted some batting practice for demoralized Yuvraj who was at the crease. Dhoni might have thought that even after consuming one hour of 4th day, there is still enough time to take 10 NZ wickets.

    I don't agree with vivek (posted at April 8, 5:33AM) at all that people who haven't captained an international side should shut up. This article is not a character assassination of Dhoni, just questioning one of his decisions.

  • Madan on April 8, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    Sorry, but being audacious to a fault is not possible in a country that goes hyper about anything cricket. Dhoni would have taken a punt if there was anything worth betting on in the last Test; there wasn't, NZ were out of the match and the series was won. If however, Taylor or McCullum had in some unlikely event played a blinder and brought NZ close to the target, I can assure you everybody would be accusing MSD of recklessness. Until we learn to be less result-obsessed and enjoy the game, the captains will not have incentive to play positive, sporting cricket. :) Oh, and a skip can't plan for dropped catches, which, if they had been taken, would have got us a result before the rain. :) Instead of endless analysis of the merely statistical difference between 1-0 and 2-0, I would like to see some criticism of the catching of India's fielders, it was consistently awful through the Test series and not what's expected of a team aspiring to be no.1.

  • Anuj on April 8, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    Dhoni has shown that he's no different from any previous Indian Captain. And there goes a serious blow to our expectations that India will ever be the top test team. Forget it! The ICC ranking this time actually made sense. India started the series at 118 points and finished at 117 points. Which means 1-0 is a sub-par result against an 8th ranked team. Instead of celebrating today a test match won 3 weeks back , the India team should apologise for a sub-par result in the series. As a follower of India team, I am thoroughly disgruntled with Indian players casual approach and the Captain's generosity to batsmen (himslef, Yuvraj included)in the 3rd test. And it's not the first time ; dont forget another 1-0 win against England recently. How Dhoni delayed declaration in Mohali, because he wanted Gambhir and Yuvraj a chance to score 200 and 100, because you dont get such chances easily; and if we can bowl England in 70 overs, we can do the same in 50' Deja Vu. And we ignored the signs.

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    Here we go again. A billion opinions from people with billion agendas.

    India needs to win every match with a big margin or face the wrath of armchair experts.

    Come on guys! Learn to appreciate a good performance. There is a reason we had not won at that place in 40 years. We all want India to be number 1. But there is work that needs to be done. We have to be positive but we have to be smart. It's not going to happen with a gung ho approach. You won't come to the rescue if things go wrong.

    There were people claiming that Dhoni will never win in NZ before the series started. Now that they have done it, you are clutching on straws.

  • Sted on April 8, 2009, 6:43 GMT

    I clearly agree with sameer...Dhoni is no different from others and finally sameer has brought down the myth surrounding dhoni...We had an oppurtunity of going 2-0 but nw we will have to wait a few more years or decades for it....

  • Saket on April 8, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    @vivek By your definition, i guess you or me or sambit or harsha bhogle or anyone who has not played international cricket cannot have a sensible point of view on how things should happen in cricket. Do you think that dhoni should only be praised and never criticized till he loses a match and that too only by ex captains? there have been umpteen posts saying good things about him, there are bound to be some which criticize him. Every person on earth deserves objective criticism of his actions, and so does dhoni, tendulkar, dravid or sehwag. as much as i read there was no hint of slander. the author put his points and defended them. you cannot take away someone's right to criticize logically.

  • Rohit on April 8, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    I agree with Vivek. I would like to see how Samir, prabhu raj and all the others advocating that India should go for the kill would react if NZ did chase down the total to win the match and draw the series...I am pretty sure the comments would have chastised MSD for being too aggressive and so on!! I feel sorry for MSD as it seems he can NEVER WIN!! For all the "critics" Just want to point out that NZ were only 8 down because of two umpiring decisions (McCullum and Southee) that went in India's favor.

    Hats off to MSD and the team...securing a series win after the humiliation the last time around is fantastic...this was truly a TEAM effort with every single player contributing is some way at some point in the series (including Yuvi and Viru!!).

    Just enjoy the series win.

  • Arun on April 8, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    @Vivek: Few things... Firstly, your post does not address any of the points that Samir Chopra makes. It's what's called an ad hominem attack: if you cannot attack the argument, attack the person making it. Secondly: Welcome to the internet where everyone has an opinion, and is free to express it, expertise notwithstanding. Deal with it. Thirdly: By your argument, one should not have an opinion about the government's response to the economic crisis, or foreign policy, or indeed handling of law and order if one is not an expert. The people who held protest marches after the taj hotel attacks had no business doing so, given how little they knew about espionage and counter-insurgency.

    Cricket is a simple game played by 22 flannelled fools chasing a red leather ball for 5 days. You don't have to be Einstein to grasp it. Now Chopra may not be privy to all the little things that made Dhoni decide what he did. Even so, the fact remains that he was conservative, and open to criticism.

  • Sted on April 8, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    I clearly agree with sameer...Dhoni is no different from others and finally sameer has brought down the myth surrounding dhoni...We had an oppurtunity of going 2-0 but nw we will have to wait a few more years or decades for it....

  • Asif on April 8, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    Congrats to Indian team. Dhoni decision is poor at this stage. India deserve to win the third test. For future he must relay on our bowling attack.

  • kumar on April 8, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Well summed up and you have played the role of a critics perfectly. But some things to ponder..this is MSD's first overseas series as captain in a territory which was unconquered for 41 years.

  • bala on April 8, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    MSD was more interested in getting his 50 than winning the test match

  • Ryan on April 8, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Hear, hear!! Dhoni had gotten a free pass over this from the media, everyone accepting that appalling post-match-conference-explanation. Excellent article.

    Gambhir said "If we can't get them out in five sessions, we don't deserve to win". Surely, if we can't get them out in the 4th innings under 500, we don't deserve to win either?

    The decision to set a target over 600 smacks of disrespect to the bowlers and the fielding side. Given the "giggling schoolboys" and dropped catches, perhaps he was right.

    (Clearly living in New York gives you a sense of perspective. All my pals and I in the Empire State are LIVID!)

  • vivek on April 8, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    I completely agree!While all of us agree that the series win was more important, a 2-0 victory would have taken us further in our quest to become the worlds No.1 Team. In fact even the act of declaring when we are 500 runs ahead, would have shown that we are mentally ready to take the No.1 crown. Thats where all the disappointment comes from I guess. Like a few others have pointed out, there was a similar approach in the last teast against England.The bigger worry is about Dhoni's hunger as skipper. How much does he believe the team can achieve, how much he keeps pushing for greater achievements. With the talent in the team and the bench today, it is only the extent of our belief and out hunger that will stop us achieving greater heights and Dhoni needs to keep pushing these marks up.Am sure, the man that Dhoni is, we will get to see this hunger too, soon.But of course, by then we , as cricket fans and mere mortals, would be criticising him for something else !!

  • Hemant on April 8, 2009, 6:40 GMT

    Dhoni is from a country where weather forecasts have never been true.... So, thats not his fault...

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I completely agree with vivek, comments above. I think the author should write about how sitting in the stands is easy . I think he will like it

  • John Rajkumar on April 8, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    Declaring on the third day would have been too risky, had it not rained on the 5th day it would have meant NZ would need around 500 runs in 2 days. Being 1 up in the series giving the opposition a required rate of 3 runs an over would have been an unnecessary chance to take, but after crossing 600 and leaving only 5 sessions for NZ to bat, the field settings were not attacking enough. Their behavior on the field post tea on the 4th day was nothing short of an insult to Test Cricket, to the New Zealand team and most of us watching. One can only hope Harby and Co. will complete their journey from adolescence to adulthood soon.

  • Resham on April 8, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I think Dhoni did the best what he can do in such circumstances. A draw in third test is suffcient to win a series after 41 years which is quite an achievement. I do not see any problem in becoming defensive in such conditions. After all the figures will read that India won the series after 41 years against NZ in NZ. Just think what would have happened had Dhoni declared early and NZ would have won the test (it can happened in Cricket). Remember the one day match between SA and Australia where Australia lost even after making a mamoth total of 434. I am 100% sure that none of the individuals in the universe would have thought that Ponting and Co. will lose the game. Therefore, lets try to develop the habbit of thinking positive and stop blaming any others. In theory, 500+ runs could be made easily in 180+ overs. It would have been best to have 2-0 win than 1-0. But a win is win, what counts in the end

  • Augustine on April 8, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I completly agree with vivek.Although in hindsight we can always give gyan.Come to think of it now,it appears that dhoni declared a bit late.But think of the pressure on him.What if it didnt rain and Jessie,dan and gang went along and played 6 sessions.Why would any body want to take a risk.If we were 1-0 down,then i would agree. Give dhoni a break,He has just started his career and he is managing players like sachin,dravid,vvs,viru etc.He is captaning the side so well.I woudnt call it only as luck,its also man management.I am sure that he is amoung the best in indian,if not world cricket and the very best is yet to come... unless dhoni gets carried away. 3 cheers to MSD. 3 Cheers to Team India

  • Akhil Hawelia on April 8, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    I agree with Vivek. You see what difference Dhoni makes by referring to the 2nd test match. Who would have thought that India would not get even 110 ovrs to bowl out NZ in two days. Some people are into finding mistakes in everything, they tend to ignore the positives.

  • ajay on April 8, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    well guys when you have to break the record of past 41 years and future does not hold any garantee then you have to block all the doors so dhoni gave them task of 150 overs 600 run with avg of 4 runs. giving 500 was possible with 175 ov ers. it was not odeniery series. Tell me when was the last time india have won 1st and last test of the series on foreign soil I think never so just shut your mouth and what he did was correct considering the indian record of wining the series

  • Guruprasad on April 8, 2009, 6:38 GMT

    I think there was a selfish motive here. Dhoni wanted his pal Yuvraj to get some runs so that murmurs and question marks about his efficacy outside sub-continent started to surface. He thought if Yuvraj plays like ODI since there was no pressure, and gets some 60+ runs, his position can be safeguarded. It is this which prevented him from declaring overnight. All the talk about 70-80 runs make you set aggressive fields is rubbish. It is clear that Dhoni prefers younger brigade to replace older ones as then he can have a firmer grip on the team. Just look at how he brings on Yuvraj to bowl earlier than Sehwag/Sachin, despite the latter two having proved themselves as partnership breakers. It is just that Dhoni is distinctly uncomfortable with the senior around and he is trying hard to have folks like Yuvraj etc in the team despite repeated test failures so that he will have some authority.

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  • Pavan Metri on April 8, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    I think Dhoni should have declared much earlier when the lead was 531 because NZ does not have the capacity of chasing more than 500. Dhoni should have thought at the forecast weather conditions and should have made a smart move for which we would have won the series 2-0. One more thing to add on, surprisingly, India's ICC Test ranking fell from 188 by a point. That is illogical since we have won a test series and not even drawn it. Someone could please expain me that?

  • Mukul on April 8, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    I completely agree! We all knew about the risk of rain. Keeping that in mind, I -and other fans- expected the declaration after a lead of no more than 550, and that too, scored quickly.

    I agree that it was paramount to save the Test first, but that was achieved a long time before the declaration. Even if NZ batted really well in the 2nd innings, they wouldn't even have had the time to score 550. In the worst case scenario, had they scored 350/2 in 3.5 sessions, Ind could've been defensive and saved the game. With the delayed decl, we couldn't have forced a win if NZ got off to such a start anyway. So there was absolutely nothing risked by declaring on 550.

    The thing that worries me is the attitude which Samir has rightly hit upon. India didn't care to win the Test. They were content with the series win. This is not an attitude of a Team aspiring to be No. 1. As it is, a 1-0 win over lowly NZ actually reduces our Test rating. Serves the team right. Fans like me got cheated tho.

  • Praveen on April 8, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Dhoni took the game too easy and did not play to win the game. Overall i am not too impressed with his captainship as its too laidback, thinks he can win any game and a bit of a show off. Hope he continues to get the accolades he is getting and continues to win better games

  • Mayank on April 8, 2009, 6:33 GMT

    Draw + Series Victory > Chance of loss + Drawn series.

  • Amruth on April 8, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Why is every one commenting on Dhoni now. When there were two days left, do you think it is reasonable to declare at 500. Just because we were able to get them all for 197 in first innings it doesn't mean we can do the same in the second innings...no test team chased a 400+ total in 4th innings in test history doesn't mean it will never happen..or atleast do you think that it makes sense to declare early based on this fact (do you really think a team like New Zealand cannot score 500 runs in 2 days had we declared on 3rd day itself???). I agree that we could have taken a chance...but what we might have lost is not just a test match or a series....we might have lost is a chance to do something India has been waiting for 41 years...and if it comes to planning according to weather forecast...who would have thought that the match would get completely canceled... and in anyway wen hardcore fans like us are commenting even after a series win think about it had the result be otherwise...

  • RAJENDRA on April 8, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Dhoni should have declared earlier, but i think it should have been a collective decision & individual should not be blamed.

  • Django on April 8, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    Dhoni is a defensive captain. India should be obliterating teams now but instead they win series 1 nill. If India want to be considered a great team then they have to change their mindset. Setting 7/2 fields and bowling outside off stump when your ahead wont cut it. Steve Waugh would never have stood for this rubbish. He would finish a test in 3 days because he liked to play golf and help sick children on the last 2. India are good but certainly not great. Whoopee you beat NZ 1 nill.

  • sanjay on April 8, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    Congrats to India on a fine series win. India have won series in the Caribbean, England & now in New Zealand all 1 - nil. To be a great team India needs to learn from Australia to win series by bigger margins. New Zealand are a average team, India played on pitches more suited to Indian conditions, if they really need to test their skills they need to win in South Africa. The bounce will trouble most of their top order but their bowling can match SA'S. South Africa is India's final frontier to conquer not Wellington......India should celebrate now, winning after 40 odd years is a major achievement but it is only part of the process to become a dominant team........

  • Rajesh on April 8, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    It is a terrible article to be honest. Begging for some cheap publicity. There is no guarantee the extra hour would have made any difference given the way Taylor and Franklin batted on day 4.

    Dhoni's declaration actually came at the right time. What is the need of gambling on a weather forecast when you can secure the series win. Let's say he declared at the end of day three. NZ would have needed 530 in potentially 180 overs. That is less than 3 runs an over. Why would you take a chance when you are up in the series at a place where you have not won in 40 years? The way Taylor and Franklin batted on day 4, it is very likely they would have played that extra hour. Did we really know for sure the exact time of the rain. It only arrived late in the afternoon on day 5. It could have very well come a couple of hours later. Trust me, had NZ come anywhere close to the target, people like you would be claiming the early declaration as the most foolish one.

  • sanjay on April 8, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    Congrats to India on a fine series win. India have won series in the Caribbean, England & now in New Zealand all 1 - nil. To be a great team India needs to learn from Australia to win series by bigger margins. New Zealand are a average team, India played on pitches more suited to Indian conditions, if they really need to test their skills they need to win in South Africa. The bounce will trouble most of their top order but their bowling can match SA'S. South Africa is India's final frontier to conquer not Wellington......India should celebrate now, winning after 40 odd years is a major achievement but it is only part of the process to become a dominant team........

  • nirav upadhyay on April 8, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    If anything is responcible for the draw is the only bad wheather.Dhoni and tea india had enough time to bowld out NZ team after set the target of 600+ we lost almost 50 overs or more than that due to the rain and badlight otherwise we had defenetly a win.so stop malking the coments on dhoni.He did the right thing as far as situation concerned.This series win comes after a 35 years, so just appritiate them for their game.

  • bajrang verma on April 8, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    ms dhoni should have decelered earliar . he is not intelligent caption

  • Farrukh on April 8, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    I think 500+ was more than enough target for new zealand. dhoni was clearly late in declartion. they unnecessarily extended their 2nd innings. dhoni made a mistake for sure

  • Sam Moorthy on April 8, 2009, 6:30 GMT

    A very valid point, and made well too! This was an opportunity lost. Not only to go for a 2-0 series win, but also to send a signal to other teams.

    That even when given the opportunity of playing it safe (for no apparently good reason) to secure the first series win since the White Album; India would aim to win the test match too. This aggressive intent would've spoken louder than all the rhetoric at post-match press conferences.

    And to the writers who believe that one needs to have captained a county side (at least) to have a point of view, your loyalties to MSD and the Indian team, while laudable, is sadly misplaced.

    We expect more from a team aiming for the No.1 slot. This will not do.

  • Pushpak on April 8, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    i think i can understand Dhoni's Decision. if india would have been lagging 0-1 in series then he surely would have declared long back around 500. Ground are not big in New Zealand and if any batsmen would go for Assault he can easily scored a fastest double century or something then the total would have been around 300 and that is quite chasable. I support Dhoni's decision and he has given enough time for his bowlers to win the match.

  • Ankith on April 8, 2009, 6:28 GMT

    Once the Indian team wins series abroad on a consistent basis, then you will see them taking more risks. I totally agree with the logic Dhoni used to set the target

  • pmukherjee on April 8, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    I couldn't agree more with Sameer. Every one who was watching the match heard the comentators anounce repeatedly about forecast of 'gale strength winds' on the fifth day. In plain English, that implies - stormy winds. I dont know exactly how many test matches around the world have been played in stormy conditions and results obtained. However the fact that enough play was possible on the last day to allow India to get four wickets, itself was a bonus and not the other way around. Dhoni's delaying the declaration on the fourth day so he could complete his 50, Harbhajan's clowning around, failure to employ Zahir and Harbhajan after tea on the penultimate day and the dropped catches have robbed India of a test victory on foreign soil, something of which we dont have that many to boast of. It is unfortunate. Dhoni has only himself to blame and not the weather, the weather had given adequate warning.

  • Rajat Jain on April 8, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    Can't disagree more with the author. This is the same captain who has won us series in England and New Zealand, won its first ODI series in Australia and has achieved phenomenal success to the team.

    Sadly, the author doesn't even consider that the person in question is carrying the expectations of a billion people (the same way Sachin did in 90s), and yet he is achieving results! Some people just want to find faults.

    Well done MS!

  • TakNeha on April 8, 2009, 6:26 GMT

    110% agreed with the writer with no ifs n buts ..I along with most of the Indian felt that till now Dhoni was different but in the last test he did that he shud not have ...I mean how on earth you are expecting Kiwis to score more than 500 in the final inning of the test match which is never achieved at all till now in 2000 odd tests..It shows that Dhoni wanted to keep the lead and didn't showed enough confidence on his bowlers to defend 500 odd runs in the 2nd innings...and to say that he was hoping to get 10 more overs to get the remaining wickets he shud/ must have declared atleast by the end of 3rd day with 500 + runs ...well done to them to win the series but as the writer said don't make this a habit of protecting the lead n don't go for the kill even if you have ur toe on the oppositions throat ...

  • Naseer on April 8, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    I could not follow the live match, but when I knew that the match is drawn,it was unbelevable, a team that looks like to be the NO 1 team of world is doing such stuff, why such late declaration, 400 runs should have been enough for Dhoni to declare, he should have trusted his bowlers, it whould have boosted theri confidence as well, by doing so, Dhoni sent a very negtive messgae to his bowlers. Look at Ponting how many times we have seen him declaring at 300+ runs. this is why Aus has been on top of the world for more than a decade. the aggressive appraoch is what it makes you the champoin of champoins. we can understand the excitment of winning the serirs after 40 years, but a top champoin is the one who gets things right in all of these sort of emotional and pressure cooked situations. If Indai is to become World's best team, they have to be postive, and even thy will have to take gambles in some tricky conditions.

  • Vinay on April 8, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    Not sure why people think Dhoni is any different from other Indian captains. Not in test cricket at least. He never showed the flamboyance in tests as he did in T-20's and ODI's. I wish he learns from this game.

    I see a lot of people commenting on various aspects of game, but trust me Test cricket is the hardest. I've played a bunch of 3 day games and it takes a lot of your head and body to be fit and fighting. I know how one feels like after a long tour and you don't want to waste all the good work put in winning the first series.

    Still, i would like to see a more aggressive captain for the team India have. West Indies and Australia did it in there prime. Time for India. Gambhir, you punk! Tell me where you live and i'll send the best rum punch. God bless!

  • Arun on April 8, 2009, 6:24 GMT

    Sure, Dhoni should've declared earlier. Sure, that is what Steve Waugh or Ponting might have done. However, one must remember the fact that India hadn't ever won a test series there in 41 yrs. Regardless of the fact that Dhoni et al. have stated that the past is irrelavent, what's past is prologue. It is understandable for Dhoni to play it safe. The ever present threat of a lynch mob in the event that we failed to win might also have affected his decision. Hopefully, with more wins under our belt, we will be more adventurous. This is only the second major test series victory outside the subcontinent (not including Zim) in an age. The likes of SRT and RSD have seen but one overseas test series victory! Can you really criticize them for being cautious?

  • V Kom on April 8, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    The aim was to win the series. Dhoni did just the right thing. He declared with an unassailable lead.Why take a chance by relying on the accuracy of weather predictions & the certainty that New Zealand batsmaen could not hit form. Dhoni's strategy ensured: 1. We would win the series 1-0 2. A good chance that we would win 2-0

    With the flak this exceptionally good Captain is getting for his basically sound & logical decision can you imagine what he would get if he had declared earlier & we had lost this Test, thereby blowing away a certain series win in 41 years!! Please folks have a heart & have the courtesy to thank Dhoni instead of flaying him

  • Shrikanth on April 8, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    A defensive decision like this by Dhoni & Co does not reflect well for a team aiming to become No. 1 in test cricket. Had it been Ponting or Smith they would had declared at the end of the 3rd day itself and went for a win. Dhoni had 500+ on the board and 2 days to bowl out 8th ranked Kiwis who have a very fragile batting line up. This reflects that Dhoni has no faith in his bowlers and the series victory on the weakest test team too came as fluke.

  • Ankur Khandelwal on April 8, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Good Article, I respect Dhoni, but this kind of decision are not acceptable from him.

  • Aniruddh on April 8, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    completely disagree with sameer's post.....it's a tad too easy to criticise a decision in hindsight, don't you think....I mean geoff boycott's grandmum can do that.....put yourself in dhoni's shoes for a moment....why take a risk and jeopardise a series victory that has been a long time coming.....that too in a country where player's homes are attacked if they fail to hold on to a catch....would you do it sameer?.....i for one have my doubts....in fact, the same people would have written dhoni's cricketing obituary with an i-told-you-so smirk on their faces if the match had been lost due to an early declaration......

    so lets be a little empathetic towards the man who is making good things happen and support him instead of questioning his decisions sitting in an armchair a couple of thousand miles away.....and if being all aggressive and taking risks gives you the jollies, i suggest bungee jumping in new-zealand.

  • Raj Meena on April 8, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    I really don't understand why everyone is so negative about Dhoni's captaincy in the 3rd test Vs New Zealand?

    If India had lost this game even after putting up a lead for 500+, I am 100% sure that most people would have been criticizing his captaincy once again. These would be the same people who would say that India didn't make enough runs and thats why they lost the game. I just don't understand why people don't understand that this is just game of cricket and there is always one team that looses. India is by far the best team in the world at present, and I believe that people should be happy about this fact.

    I just want to ask the writer he would be happy losing the game by putting up a total of 500 or be happy with winning the series after 41 years in New Zealand by putting up a total of 600+ runs on the board??????

    GO DUDES DHONI>>> YOU ROCK Thanks RAJ MEENA

  • ramkumar on April 8, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    The way you have summed up the article is spot on. MSD should (will?) try a different approach in future. It is perfectly OK this time as it involves a 41 year history (as did dravid in england). The next time we head to a country where we won pretty recently, things might be different! Hail India for their achievements.

  • Sharekh Jabbar on April 8, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    Dhoni has time and again proved that he is a timid captain , when it comes to declaring . His only Mantra seems to be ' Safety First' .All the hype and hoopla surrounding his captaincy comes to nought , if he is not willing to give his team the chance of winning , for mortal fear of loosing.I wonder what the Aussies of the recent past would have done when faced with a similar situation.No doubt Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh's actions would have been a lot more positive than Dhoni's.I guess we can never come close to achieving what the Aussies have achieved if we remain encumbered by such negative thinking.

  • Harsh on April 8, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    @vivek: thats wat losers do in life, dude. Their lack of achievement on any front creates that need to undermine everyone else's achievements.

    @samir chopra: stop blogging for cheap thrills dude. u can write no doubt; y not utilize it for something useful?

  • Sundar on April 8, 2009, 6:22 GMT

    Spot on Samir. I was gonna write about it, but you have put it much better than me. India could not have declared at Tea time Day 3, no captain is that positive. Best thing would have been for India to get bowled out. To an extent it is OK to be conservative even with lead of around 500, remember Astle's innings against Eng. But there is absolutely no excuse to not declare after Yuvi got out. India plays a high percentage of drawn games. They have won twice against Eng, once against WI, Pak and Nzl by margin of one test. If they had won each of those series more comprehensively we will have a much better claim to be the best team. The way Dhoni expressed his disappointment after the defeat, I suspect he may have been influenced by the seniors. I am not giving him the benefit of doubt, but you cannot declare against the wishes of Tendulkars and Dravids, even if you are Dhoni. If India alteast learn a lesson, thats good enough. More test matches and results, please!!

  • Raj MEENA on April 8, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    I really don't understand why everyone is so negative about Dhoni's captaincy in the 3rd test Vs New Zealand?

    If India had lost this game even after putting up a lead for 500+, I am 100% sure that most people would have been criticizing his captaincy once again. These would be the same people who would say that India didn't make enough runs and thats why they lost the game. I just don't understand why people don't understand that this is just game of cricket and there is always one team that looses. India is by far the best team in the world at present, and I believe that people should be happy about this fact.

    I just want to ask the writer he would be happy losing the game by putting up a total of 500 or be happy with winning the series after 41 years in New Zealand by putting up a total of 600+ runs on the board??????

    Thanks RAJ MEENA

  • sam on April 8, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    You are right Samir. The late declaration has a major role to play in the drawn result. However i would also attribute the result to the toothless bowling in the 4th innings by 2 of the premier bowlers in the line-up. Why had Tendulkar to bowl and take 2 wkts? What were Ishant and Munaf doing in the team? Ishant still managed a wicket, but what about Munaf? After 5 wkts in Hamilton, he lingered on for just a wkt in 2 tests. Can we afford his lax attitude? He is a liability.

    531 lead on day 3 end was good enough to declare and go all out for attack. But may be MS knew that he has a 3 bowler attack!!

    A 2-0 result is always a better return than a 1-0. And it reminds me of Oval 2007 when Rahul Dravid opted to bat slow and save the game which we could have won easily and won 2-0.

    To be top Test team India would need to cut off this conservative mindset. I really worry what would happen with this attitude when Sachin, Rahul and VVS are gone!!

  • Pravin on April 8, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Guys relax. India won the series away from the subcontinent after a long time.

    Remember those days when we would loose the series and our players had to suffer the humiliation of getting their effigies and houses burnt !!!

    Relax. Let us enjoy the IPL now.

    Jai Ho !!!

  • Umair on April 8, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    This is not new to me, as I have seen several times in past that Indian did the same which is such a negative approch and lake of confidence to their own bowling force..

  • Giri on April 8, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    totally agreed Vivek.fully correct........on feild decisions are difficult to those made by sitting outside

  • VINAYAK on April 8, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    It is a hard bargain. It is alwayas easy to coment after the game is over. What would this gentleman write if MSD had declared the innigs for say 500runs and Newzealand had successfully chased and won the game. I think it is better to be safe than sorry. Never mind this article Mr MSD. You are doing a good job with loads of luck on your side. I would like to pointout one thing here, your batting strike rate has become as good as Dravid's. But Dravid got all the bashings from the media and the FANS. At the same time you are getting all the praise for batting like that. Job well done Team India. Good Luck for the future matches

  • SP on April 8, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    Win at any cost, that's the Dhoni mantra, and that's how it should be. So the cost of making sure the series was in the bag was to be safe for a couple of sessions. Small price for a historic series win. If the Kiwis had slogged it out like Nathan Astle in the past and lost much fewer wickets for, say 450 runs, then critics would say Dhoni declared too soon.

  • Jayaram Iyengar on April 8, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    I fully endorse the opinion of Samir Chopra, well done Samir. Team India has sent a wrong message to win hungry Australia and South Africa. Both Ricky and Smithy would be sipping a cold one and would be saying “He Dhoni has chickened out man and has betrayed his bowlers!” When they play against no 1 & 2 team they will apply huge pressure on Dhoni. Now he needs a Shrink to put him back on track! Common Dhoni you are better than this, Show us your nerves of steel and hunger for winning the game! Our bowlers are have performed better than number 1 & 2 team.

    Looking forward to that win hungry team behavior, please learn from that tiger - Vivian Richards

  • Munna on April 8, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    Come on be practical!!! I feel MSD's decision was right, whats wrong with it????? They had more than 5 sessions to bowl out NZ. Rain & bad light are not there 100% always. I dont know why people should critizize so cheply like this!! India will be the No 1 !!!!!! Dhoni will lead it to.......... Come on INDIA

  • Shiva on April 8, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    What if the rain had come earlier and washed off play on the fifth day...would you say 300 was enough? 8 Wickets fell, it was just a matter of two more good deliveries....we can blame Dhoni if they couldn't get all the wickets in two FULL days of scheduled play. Dhoni has made a great difference in the way India plays its cricket.

  • Hurez Hussain on April 8, 2009, 6:17 GMT

    Samir I do agree with you if your looking at what happened in the short term. However, you must remember a thing or two about Dhoni. He is an intelligent person and above all a shrewd captain. His outlook must be for the long term. This is an Indian team that is on its way to the top, they are still not number 1. Being somewhat defensive to acheive a series win in New Zealand will only boost the morales of this team. Upon delaring at 500+, New Zealand managed to magically score the runs making the series 1-1. The Indian team would lose all it's momentum for future series to come. Dhoni is in this for the long run. His aim is the number 1 spot!

  • Kausthub on April 8, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    All I can say now is. Well done to Vettori and his boys at staying in there and surviving so well. Bad luck to dhoni and the rest of our boys.

  • Pratyush on April 8, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    Well we all hoped for more play on the last day than what actually took place. Even then India had the chance to wrap it up, had they taken the catches well. So I think MSD was right in declaring the time he did. He is the skipper and he knows best. India had won the series and why give it on a platter .. saying that 500 could not be scored is taking a guess, it was still a good batting track and plenty of time remaining .. So I really dont think you know what you are talking here..

  • Rajbir on April 8, 2009, 6:16 GMT

    I was aghast to see India batting on 4th day morning of the Test knowing very well that it may rain on 5th day. Samir has really put the things in perspective. In the backdrop of flak Shewag took for being not so innovative & allowing NZ to score 600+ in 2nd Test, this decision of Dhoni has bigger hole yet you don't see any Indian Newspaper s pointing this out. Come on, win was there to be taken and Dhoni simply refused to take it.

    Signs of a great team and a great captain are single minded focus, ruthlessness, desire to go for win and an appetite to take calculated risk. If Dhoni's team wants to graduate from a good team to great one,the team has to convert more such matches into wins.

    What a great opportunity it was and Dhoni failed to capitalize on it? Dhoni, we want you to take these chances and go for WINS. Otherwise, the era of lifeless draws in Test cricket would return. Dhoni,you are different from previous captains and you are capable of learning from mistakes.

  • Gen Mahajan on April 8, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    I wonder how much cricket Mr Vivek has played!! His comments are amusing to say the least and ludricious to put it bluntly. It is this very attitude (lack of killer instinct) which is self defeating and makes us poorer sporting nation that we should be despite our skills

  • Hatem Rajabdeen on April 8, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    Yes I guess he should have 425 target would have been sufficient. the extra 200 runs was not required. and being a cricket fan i already knew the wheather would be a problem on the last day and i am sure team management would have followed these reports as well. this problem of declaration haunts the subcontinental teams who always try to play it safe. sri lanka has been caught unable to finish of test matches over the last few years for the same reason. so i suppose yes with 1-0 lead india should have declared early. doesnt take anything away from dhoni as a captain i think his the best in the business at the moment and i think this would have been his only negative point in the series.

  • Kausthub on April 8, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    Hey all. I think that i agree with everyone who said Dhoni should have asked Gambhir and VVS to score faster and then declare earlier. But the fact of the matter is, you can't prematurely make a strategy depending on something that may not even happen. But i do agree in saying that Dhoni should have had more trust in his bowlers. I mean seriously they were down and almost out in a short span of time. They lost wickets cheaply and i think, had dhoni given his bowlers even just under another session, we would have won. But in that case, something totally different could have happened. Dhoni is clearly evolving as a thinker because normally he would have made a sharp or even reckless move. But as a captain, it is his first priority to ensure the sries win rather than getting as many wins as possible. They are helpful, but aren't as important as the whole series. You can't blame the weather. Rain has saved india's lives a number of times.

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 8, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    Hi, Team India is good achievement in NZ after 41 years this is really good achieved from sachin,Rahul,Laxma,Viru,Yuvi & Gautam, and this wining continued in the life & best of luck to IPL second edition in South Africa

    With warm regards

    B.S.G.

  • vicky on April 8, 2009, 6:14 GMT

    i am not agree with u vivek....i think Dhoni only wants to improve his average..thats why he delayed in declaration...if u want to be no 1 team then u should have faith in ur bolwers ....and have courage to take risk....

  • Chaitanya on April 8, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    It is always easy to be an armchair critic and talk about different aspects of the game from the confines of one's home. It is a totally different ball game, when you are out there in the middle, calling the shots. While there will continue to be arguments on whether or not Dhoni should have declared earlier, it is also pertinent to note that the Indian catching in the second innings was way below acceptable standards. Sitters were dropped even towards the end of the match, when just a couple of wickets were required. So while the blame game is being played, even the fielders have to accept their share in India not running away with a victory. Considering that we dropped three catches and needed just two more wickets on the 5th day, just castigating Dhoni would be unfair. Lets raise a toast for what our team has achieved rather than dwell on what ifs ! Cheers team india for a fight well fought!!

  • sanjay jain on April 8, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    india win series but dhoni make wrong disegan

  • Sohan Ranjan on April 8, 2009, 6:12 GMT

    I completely agree with what Dhoni did. NZ had nothing to lose, and with about two days in hand, a score around 500+ would have been within easy reach of NZ. So a lead of 600+ was needed to make NZ stop dreaming. I wonder people going gung-ho about India saving the second match, which was kind of ridiculous. Ex-NZ Captain was right that such a performance wasn't expected from a top performer team.

  • Munish Sharma on April 8, 2009, 6:12 GMT

    I am just not agree with you sir.. If team India would have set less target and ended up loosing the match you would be writing in your article that what the hell is the need for MS Dhoni to declare when even a draw could have sealed the series for India. But it hardly matters what people have their views on this. the most important thing is that we won the series under his captaincy after 41 years. Isn't that enough. I guess yes. So instead of criticizing him in your blog you could have written something about great victories India got under his leadership.

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 8, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Hi, Team India is good achievement in NZ after 41 years this is really good achieved from sachin,Rahul,Laxma,Viru,Yuvi & Gautam, and this wining continued in the life & best of luck to IPL second edition in South Africa

    With warm regards

    B.S.G.

  • P.H.ramaswamy on April 8, 2009, 6:11 GMT

    Absolutely right. India should have wrapped up this match by 5th day first session & they should have declared by end of day 3 at the latest. We defenitely lack the killer instinct and let go of a great opportunity .If we have to atleast emulate the Aussies let us cutivate their ruthless attitude which is a must in modern day test cricket

  • Shyam on April 8, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Even I agree with the statements mentioned in respect to the declaration of second innings of the third test by Dhoni. He could have easily declared at 500+ score. A Good Quote "Alls well that ends well". Great Job !!!!!!

  • S.M. Tiwari on April 8, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Dhoni should aggresive develop trust upon bowlers, 450 score was defendable , He should learn from Sourav Ganguli, Ricki Pointing , Imran Khan.

  • Bharat on April 8, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Absolutely Right Samir! Finally someone has posted the truth. I was literally frustrated on seeing India reaching so close to a victory only to be spoiled by the weather and some poor tactical decisions by Dhoni. If a team is good enough to get 500 runs on the last day then another 100 runs is not a big issue for that team. So going by Dhoni's logic even 600 would not have been safe. But it has never ever been done by the best of the teams earlier. Expecting NZ to do it at this stage was an extremely defensive ploy. I never understand why every decision of Dhoni is given ultimate credence and no one tries to reason out apparent mistakes. He is a good captain but certainly he does make tactical errors which has to be corrected to become a great captain. I think India should have declared around 500 and then should have grabbed the game by its throat with aggressive field placings rather than just loafing around trying to just save the game. Well done India but we can be more aggressive.

  • Guess me on April 8, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    I read someone writing about with Rahul Dravid and his decision of not declaring in one of the above posts and he was labelled Defensive. The same rahul declared when sachin was close to 200 and the indian cricket (fanatic) fan came up with the suggestion he should have waited for the 200... it is the perspective... Dhoni decided 600 was a safer score on this pitch( Zaheer and Harbhajan made it easier for us to by some brilliant bowling), but had they failed a little and had the NZ players applied themselves like in the 2nd test.... we would have been discussing on a different line...

  • Ratish on April 8, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    Playing the game is totally different from taking a pen and writing about the game. Just in case we had declared overnight and still managed a draw, we would have said we should have declared as soon a Laxman got out.

    We all just sit relaxed on our Couch and watch the game on TV.

    We should be really proud that we are winning overseas. When India left for New Zealand, i was hoping we win a match there, and the results of the Twenty 20 was making my fears true.

    Hats Off to Dhoni and the entire team. Everyone pitched in, From Gambhir to Munaf Patel.

    We should bring the World Cup Home.

  • Ramasubramanian on April 8, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    This is the difference between the world champions Australian team and Indian team. While I appreciate what Dhoni and this team has achieved in NZ, I am sure either a Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting would have won the third test comfortable by declaring with a lead of 475 and applying pressure. Dhoni simply chickened out. With this attitude, mark my words, this team will NEVER REACH the number one status in tests. They will always be behind Oz or SA.

  • salahuddin on April 8, 2009, 6:06 GMT

    First of all we no that we are winning after 41 years and this a big acheivment for 120 crore people of india.I think MSD did not any mistake to declare before he is take right decision we are two wickets short his plan was right .If He declare at 500 and we lose we should to wait again 4 years and also think after four years we have same combination or not because defnetly we lose Master Blaster and The wall ofcourse laxman and shewag,may be zaheer also.We have back up but this combination we will not see any more .so MSd decision is right.

  • Srinivas on April 8, 2009, 6:06 GMT

    Samir,

    Living outside India, we're quite used to the weather forecasts that are fairly accurate. If the report says it is going to rain.....it is going to rain....Sunny means sunny..... But back in India, weather forecasts are source for humour in all walks of life.... No wonder Indian Team including its Captain ignored the weather report comfortably.... Luckily, they are already up in the series otherwise it could have been a huge mistake.... Sure, they can rejoice and all its fan base celebrate....but on beating a B grade team 1-0 after 40 years they should re-evaluate their strategy.....

  • venkat on April 8, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I agree. So much for critizing rahul dravid the way we did during that oval test when he did not press enough for a min. Dhoni did no different. If you cant defend 500 or say 531 in a 4th innings chase then be rest assured that you will not defend even a 600 plus target. Dhoni to my mind missed the plot completely and the chance to win the series 2 nil.

  • Sanjay on April 8, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I think its easy to write on these blogs. Of course RAIN for forecast for the last day, but it was forecasted for the whole series. Everyday was under threat. It easy to criticize DHONI. Just imagine this INDIAN team without (his skill and street-smart cricket during the Australian Series) his services in the Napier Test. If anyone of you who have criticised DHONI & the Indian Team had played cricket the harder way, you would have not written these comments. Dhoni is not a captain who goes not only by his instincts, there are others whose advice he regards highly. People like Sachin,Dravid & Kirsten would have also had a say in the declaration. And whoever wrote 'Sorry to say but the article underplays what this man Dhoni deserves' watch your words

  • raj on April 8, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    dhoni did the right thing...........why to take even minimal risk when you are in a good position..........if he would have declared at around 500 and if India would have lost the match..........the persons who are now against for his declaration ..........they would have been critcizing dhoni.........different shades of persons.......i suppose.....

  • nimesh on April 8, 2009, 6:03 GMT

    I really can't understand you indians...i am a sri lankan and i follow the the indian team like my own and i think Dhoni did the correct thing by declaring at 600+. Just imagine he declare at 500 and leave NZ two days to get the target...lets say they get the target...then you guys will be blasting Dhoni as to why he gave them such amount of time and not battered on for sometime to up the lead to 600+...for me Dhoni did the correct thing and like he said ...you can't depend on the weather....you are one up in the series and no way you are going to let that slip ....end India won and be thankful for that...Dhoni may not be a great leader....luck has been with him...but he is evolving into a greater leader than Saurav....i am sure he will end up as the best captain to lead india...Go India!

  • Abhishek on April 8, 2009, 6:03 GMT

    You concentrate too much on "500+ target never been chased/done before" and on the same line you criticise Dhoni for not doing newer things. How contracdicting is that

  • vijay krishna on April 8, 2009, 6:03 GMT

    i couldn't agree more with u VIVEK!!! we can probably show our emotions to ourselves or ppl arnd us but we can never copmplain as to what the captain has decided on the field!!1 its not like lalloo prasad is captaining the side!!! we have a well qualified, well proven logical thinker as a captain!! his reasons might have been many!!! and the weather is one factor u can never add in any of those equations!!! u need to plan ur cricket for the full five days and the weather plays its own part!!! and the job was done by both dhoni and the weather :D!!! but i would like to express my happiness on the way team INDIA has evolved over the past two years!!! the freshness is ebbing from every corner and the previous sluggy nature we seemed to have posessed seems to have worn out during these 2 years!!! bravo team! we love ur brand o cricket!

  • kamesh on April 8, 2009, 6:00 GMT

    There is a second side to this. Had India set a score of 450+(no team ever chased that in 1900+ tests so far) and declared and had NZ won the match, The same set of people here would have been discussing on a different issue... Why did Dhoni not wait till 600+... it has nothing to do with the captaincy etc... its our mindset.... Grow up please

  • Prasad on April 8, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    I feel dhoni was more keen to get to his fifty and some opportunity to Yuvi for increasing the avg. Not a way to go..;-)

  • Sirajudin.k.a on April 8, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thing.Critics have their own way of opinion.Dhoni aimed for 1st series win.He just confirmed it and enjoy with teammates which was very nice to watch without giving them a hope.One should understand india's strength is still in batting and we are playing only 4 specialist bowlers.So no need for greedy thoughts.If rain had not stopped match surely Dhoni has his own plans to win.Let them enjoy winning streak and relax which is happened while rain comes....

  • Deepak Jayaraman on April 8, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    I think it is a bit unfair to blame Dhoni using hindsight. One way of thinking about this is to think of the worst case scenario and protecting yourself against that. i.e if NZ were to play very conservatively and play out for a draw (just like India did in Test 2), then could they make the target without taking adequate risks. If you use this metric, then you would like the asking rate to be around 3.5 - 4 to ensure that if the opponents want to go for a win, then take some chances and give you wickets.

    Just to take one scenario and think it through, let us say India declared at the end of Day 3 with a lead of 540 odd. NZ could have had a decent shot at winning @ 3 runs/over even without taking chances (if Ryder, McCullum had supported Taylor).

    When you are chasing a historic series win in 40 odd years, you must think about the marginal importance of a win over a potential loss. I think Dhoni did the right thing by ensuring that NZ didnt have a chance to edge to a low risk win

  • sajimon philip on April 8, 2009, 5:58 GMT

    dony made a fatal mistake of not declaring 3rd day evening . its horrible to draw the test after dominating 3 days continuously , he could have declared just before or over 500 runs lead. what a loss , its a huge loss to the country, dony acoountable for it, he should bow his head in shame.

  • Sinto on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Congrats to Team India for achieving the series win in NZL soil and Rahul for reaching the milestone.i go along with MSD's decision and he did the right thing to ensure the series win which the senior players haven't achieved in NZL turf. Most of them will find fault only if someone is performing. Come on guys... he just started his test captain career and is in a learning process and definitely he will come across all the barriers.. Hoping for the best from as a captain MSD.. Keep going .. cheers.. once again congrats to Team India...

  • Prabhat, San Francisco on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    I admire Dhoni, he has delivered us. But he made a serious blunder here. I just hope that dark cloud hung over him is a temporary one and go away fast.

  • sathya on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    This is response to Vivek's post: In your line of argument, no one who is not made a movie should not criticise a movie. No one who does not cook should not criticise food. and so on...

    Ultimately we make them fail by being blind to their mistakes. In another couple of years, Dhoni may end up an arrogant captain than a matured captain, if he is beyond any criticism.

  • Mayank on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda....a series win was not going to be gambled with...good decision from Dhoni....i would blame the post daylight saving 11 a.m starts myself.

  • senthil on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Dhoni has taken the right decision due to the points elucidated below:

    1) India has already taken the lead in the 3 match series. So there is absolutely no need for them to do any adventures 2) We all know Kiwis were one down in the series and they could have gone in the attacking mode if the declaration was made with 500+ runs. 3) Pitches were favouring the batsmen throughout the series. Hence no point in giving them 6+ sessions and taking a chance. 4) Absolutely correct decision and Kiwis were 8 down shortly after lunch. Another 20 or 30 minutes extra time would have given 2-0 lead 5) What if the rain has come in morning itself? Would all the people who raised the question will then say "Dhoni should have declared with a lead of 300+" :-)

    Lets welcome the proud Indian team who has achieved what has not been achieved for the last 40+ years. Dhoni manages the team by Objetives, he saw the need and clearly knows the goals. Kudos to Dhoni and team.

  • Pavan Dudday on April 8, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    It isnt so Dark why dont you give a better Title to the article.

  • Ganesan on April 8, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    I cant support samir view. Suppose if dhoni declared around 500 to 550 then two days are remaining. The season for Newsaland is rain will come at any time. If the rain is not come means, newsland chase around 550 is easily because two days are remaining.So Dhoni decision was good. He thinked to save the series first. so he declared for 616.Suppose if he declared around 550 and lost the series means the same people will criticize the dhoni captainship. so Dhoni make good decision. Congrats Indian Team

  • sakthi on April 8, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    At first,you all people stop commenting about dhoni.U all are just use only to sit back and talk .but when u pupil get a team and get a sutiation to take a decision of ur own u all will take a step back.....We all shd appreciate the way MSD captaining the team ......does any one till now for india get such a winning steak like this .......either DADA or WALL doesnt done it....they all waste ........u rock MAHI.....cont ur good work

  • Straight Forward on April 8, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    Let us say for talking purpose, if Dhoni had declared at 450/500 and NZ had chased it in 4+ sessions, how many people those are blaming Dhoni's late declaration would have supported early declaration with such a result? I want to see if at least 50% of the pool say that they would have supported early declaration in spite of lost Test and drawn series.

  • Mind Eraser on April 8, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    Dhoni should have declared MUCH earlier. I guess he has learned the politics in cricket pretty quickly. If this was an Australia or South Africa, they would have declared with a maximum lead of 500. Not to mention, this New Zealand side is one of the weakest after Fleming, Bond, etc were gone. Very selfish of Dhoni to do what he did!

  • Ranganath Bala on April 8, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    Dhoni follows his predecessors. Now, he is in a comfort zone and nothing can shake him. Indian team had no business to bat after a lead of 500+. This means, you could have ideally inserted NZL on Day-3, an hour to go for stumps. Might have knocked off a couple of wickets and could have wrapped up the match on Day-4 itself. After returning with a shamelss draw in a match where India dominated 90% of the time, Dhoni had the audacity to distract the public by saying we set 'bench marks', 'example' and all frivolous statements. He is no more an attacking captain. He is one of those docile, dormant sleepy typical Indian captain. He should be held accountable for the result. BCCI should be run as a corporate with a CEO at the helm of affairs. Everyone is accountable. Your perks is directly proportional to your performance. If they had worked like this, I am sure we would have had a 2-0 series victory against the below par, underdogs NZL. Come on folks, be mature, grow up.

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    worst article, Dhoni Rocks

  • TXDude on April 8, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    You need to know when to go or kill and when to step back. This was enough to keep the Indian camp happy and playing safe is not a bad plot. These guys were having from forth day onwards and once a while it's OK to have it as otherwise usually matches these days in any form are fairly close. Indian team doesn't have the killer instinct as aussies or africans, that's the truth, whether you like it or not. And i feel its OK to lay low and just relax for a bit. I don't think it was Dhoni's decision alone, the seniors and coach must have had say in it.

  • Dharani on April 8, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    Excellent piece of work Mr.Chopra...I totally agree. The media needs to be more cricket oriented...than captain oriented. I was surprised to see that none of the TVchannels raised this issue as well. Dhoni is a good captain, but his plus the coach's decision cost us a test victory in New Zealand and may be we will have to wait another 41 years for a clean sweep!

    It would be great if Sambit Bal or Dileep PremChandran or any of the Cricinfo's editors respond to this wonderful article by Mr. Chopra

  • Binu on April 8, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    well said!! Vivek

  • Marasa on April 8, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    Dhoni did the right thing,because if he declares earlier Newzealand will not feel any pressure ,there is a chance to chase 500+ runs..One thing everyone should know is we should not give any chance to opponents,anyway we have won 1 match,so if we give them 600 runs the task will be very tough to Newzealand ..

  • Sankhadeep on April 8, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Dhoni played it safe and the weather forcast for Tuesday was well known to everyone,atleast from the third day of the test onwards. So ,I do not see why would you have to consume important overs to go upto 600!! This NZ team with all its Ryders and Taylors notwithstanding was surely not capable to garner 400 runs in the 4th innings...

    Anyways,Dhoni would definitely get away this time in the light of this history he created !

    But I am sure this Indian Team can justify a #1 Test Rank if they can start being ruthless in their execution,irrespective of the position they are in.

  • altaf shaikh on April 8, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    I am very shocked at the late declaration by the Indian captain. He uselessly continued for too long in the morning of the 5th day. What was he waiting for? Was he scared that New Zealand might stage an upset. I thought he was in the ranks of agressive captains like Imran, Ponting and Wasim Akram but in this test I believe he chickened out. He got his half century for what purpose? He should have told himself and the Magnificient Yvraj that we have 40 minutes and lets go bananas and launch a severe onslaught on the Kiwi bowlers and play like its a 20/20 game and we are chasing 100 runs in 12 overs. Both were quite capable of playing that bravo innings but it turned out that they instead just batted to pile a huge unnecessary total and the end result was that the match was drawn. Dhoni should have always kept in mind the weather conditions and when you have 3 fine bowlers in Ishant, Zaheer and Harbajan and they all are match winners than why worry Mr Dhoni.

    He has lot to learn

  • Gunz on April 8, 2009, 5:48 GMT

    Samir, Why dont you become the captain of a cricket team then???? oh well... u dont play cricket innit.. Instead of being critical and commenting on what u dont do... you can praise the ones who have worked hard for 5 days and not sitting in front of the laptop typing

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    i 100% agree with Posted by: vivek at April 8, 2009 5:33 AM.

  • Prateek Maheshwari on April 8, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Firstly,INDIA WON SERIES AFTER 41 YEARS. This was the kind of news that some Indians heard after 41 yrs but there were some people like me who heard it for the first time.It was never about runs in the second innings.It was always about time.Even with a score of 600+ u can never let a team to play for 2 complete days whatever be the weather forecast is ( which is as uncertain as stock markets these days). Secondly, it doesn't make any sense to say that this huge score has never been chased before. There's always someone who breaks the shackles, who knows it could have been NZ.Then next day headlines would have been "NZ CREATES HISTORY BY CHASING THE HIGHEST EVER 4th INNINGS TARGET". That time, it would have been some of us only saying that India should not have declared. Thirdly, It's not that Dhoni completely ignored the weather forecast. As per news conveyed to him, Indians had min. of 110 ovrs to bowl in last innings but even that didn't happen. So i think Dhoni made a rite decision

  • Aditya Gokhale on April 8, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    I not generally one to post my comments but an article of this nature forces me to. I cant help thinking this is a case of filling space/ content and the urge to FORCE a criticism. (I fully agree with what Vivek says here). Self preservation is among the most basic instincts of man and why take risk when the house (series) is already secure. Besides, the line between bravery and foolhardy as we all know is very very thin and even for whatever reason a brave decision backfires then not just Samir but tens of others would have had a field day!

    The last point I would like to make is exactly what Gambhir made the other day - which is if 150 overs is not enough to get a side out (which was what Dhoni would have got - weather permitting) then there is no guarantee that 180 would be enough.

    Lets just savor this Great win, a wonderful team led by an able captain and not waste any more time finding faults.

  • Krishna Jambur on April 8, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    I think the declaration is probably the hottest topic being discussed in India next to only 'why journalists are bad aimers". But knowing Dhoni's leadership style, I am sure the declaration was a collective decision of (majority of) the team. Therefore, while raising the question is justified, I am not sure if one man can be expected to answer it.

  • Prabhu on April 8, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    We can come up with a thousand reasons to substantiate Dhoni's decision but they are not really necessary. The main reason I can come up with is we are not the ones who say "come on, be a sport". We inherently want to win at any cost. Dhoni is more than a president to 110 crore Indians and he cannot just freak out and declare a war on Pakistan. It's safe to say that democracy prevailed in Dhoni's mind, which is understandable.

  • dude! on April 8, 2009, 5:45 GMT

    duh! i tripped over a load of poop online ya thats ur article...conservative mind set blah blah poop all over. nz just got lucky and got u a chance with ur diarrhea of words. period.

  • VGR on April 8, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    It is easy to say these things in hindsight. The pitch was still good for batting and setting a lower target could have made NZ team more aggressive; this is what Dhoni said and I agree with him. Suppose Dhoni set a target of 500 runs and NZ somehow achieved it and won the test, and India lost the chance to win a series after 40 years, what would you say? What every one else will say? They will pounce on Dhoni.

  • dude! on April 8, 2009, 5:43 GMT

    duh! i tripped over a load of poop online ya thats ur article...conservative mind set blah blah poop all over. nz just got lucky and got u a chance with ur diarrhea of words. period.

  • Anurag on April 8, 2009, 5:43 GMT

    I agree with you Samir. Maybe, Dhoni should have asked his boys to go all out in the final session of the 3rd day and get around 550 or so. He would have gotten another 20 good overs to go after NZL. Anyway, I think Dhoni was conservative, and we did not win because of it. Who knows even that could have been insufficient. I think when we have these historical series out of the way (first time in 40 odd years etc) we as a team, can play more freely. Maybe we will develop that killer instinct that is there is some other teams.

    Indian team is pretty good right now and I think with a good seam bowling all rounder (if Irfan wakes up or if we find a hidden gem), this team will be unbeaten for some time to come.

    Finally, very good performance boys!! These Indian fans have been thirsty forever, So ye dil maange more!!

  • Yuvaraj on April 8, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    I don't think Indian team got the declaration wrong. The rain could've come down any time or the New Zealand batsman could have shown some resiliance. What could've been the situation if scoreboard was reading at 281/4. MoreOver what we forget is the nature of the wicket, it's not a crumbling one. It's a very good batting wicket if batsman apply themselves as it was the case in Gambhir, Taylor etc. Therefore, there is absolutely no point in critiscing our players when we need to celebrate the victory along with them. After all, they have lost only to Nature and not to the New Zealand team. So Please stop Critiscing them atleast for a while because they have come with a rare gem in their hand.

    Cheers!

  • shahid on April 8, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    i totally agree with SAMIR CHOPRA 100%.i was hoping india will make it 2-0.india not need lead of 600.i am sure MS DHONI must have known that weather will play a part in this game.let,s hope MS DHONI would not do this again.

  • Malav on April 8, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    Totally untrue!! Why do we never be happy with an Indian performance and keep finding silly reasons to criticize achievers? Agree, 600 was an exaggerated target, but had Dhoni set 500 and it backfired, you would've been the first to criticize it. Don't forget, this is cricket and it is extremely unpredictable. Who would've thought SA could chase down 434 in an ODI or for that matter two of the top 5 fourth inning chases have been in the past 6 months. The game is evolving. The most important thing here was to seal the series. To be left out by just two wickets is disappointing.And again, at the same time if NZ were just 3-4 wickets down, you wouldn't have bothered to write this down. The fact that we took 8 wickets is important and not the fact that we were denied the last 2 just coz of bad light on day 4 and rain on day 5. Stop criticizing the Indian team and give our players a break. They deserve it given their performance over the last year and a half.

  • Naveed on April 8, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    The Indian captain Dhoni is responsible for the drawn third test. 2-0 would have been much better than 1-0. Dhoni is selfish, timid and defensive captain. He declared after he himself scoring a fifty, so he plays for records not for the team. It's strange to see him telling that he waited until the lead was 600. No team has chased beyond 450 in the fourth innings of a test match and our captain was so scary of the 8th ranked team in the world that he wanted make sure that New zealand don't chase. Ricky ponting in his place would've declared with a lead of just 300 on the board for sure.

  • Anish on April 8, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    I dont think there is any need of anyone complaning MSD on his declaration.I really dont understand,why everyone is pointing the Indian team for each and every small issues rather than looking the big screen.Go,applaud Gautam who saved the second test.If that was not for then,Imagine? This is so ridiculous that,everyone wants Indian team to play as per their own wish.One should understand that,They managed to take 8 good wickets and if it was just 2-3 wickets,none would have raised a issue on Dhoni's declaration.We have lots to take it from here and for the future ahead.

  • Uday Menon on April 8, 2009, 5:39 GMT

    Samir's comments are 100% on the ball. The famous Indian team once again successfully snatched a draw from the welcoming arms of victory. Almost similar to the 2006 series in England where Rahul Dravid did not enforce the follow-on in the last test to ensure a 1-0 series win. Contrast this with some of the declarations of the Australian captains in the last few years and then we truly understand a winning mind-set. Dhoni continues in the tradition of his predecessors with a safety first attitude. The Indian fielding in this series has been utterly dissapointing and with the likes of Munaf Patel etc it is not going to match-up with any of the top 5 teams in the world in the near future. It is high time that Suresh Raina and Balaji are given a chance to prove themselves in test cricket. Yuvraj singh is good for 20-20 and one dayers but is Mr. Inconsistent when it comes to test cricket - he proved it yet again in New Zealand. Selectors, coaches (especially Robin Singh).......Wake-up!

  • ANIL MALHOTRA on April 8, 2009, 5:39 GMT

    MSD should have declared at 500 lead. They could have easily won the match and 2-0 win is much better then a 1-0 win.

  • Satish on April 8, 2009, 5:39 GMT

    Dhoni should have declared earlier when lead was around 510. As everyone was aware of the rain and also the fact that 500+ is just like climbing MOunt Everest. If any team will successfully chase 500+ in fourth inning them he deserve win. No body would have mind if New Zealand have won chasing 500 but chances are very remote in such case only 1 in 2000 i.e. 0.05% only. But chances of drawing a test after posting 600+ was around 30% which actually what happened in Wellington. Dhoni come on! be agressive!! Your bowlers are not as bad as you had projected in this particular test.

  • Khan on April 8, 2009, 5:39 GMT

    Being an Indian instead of writing about complimentary tea, batata wada and doklas you should have apreciated our indian team, which acheived some thing what we were never able to get in past 38 years. Writing a blog and playing on the field is entirely different, you spend your time by watching cricket and they give their life to the game so called cricket. A team which is at world's no.3 position, it would be unfair to call them the school boys.

  • Rakesh on April 8, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    Dhoni did a fantastic job and no one is even worth to raise comments on him. He is the one who made the Indian team stornger than anyone else who cant even dream about it. I have a huge respect over dhoni...he is the most succesfull captian India has ever produced and i am sure will produce in the future. My heartly congratulations to Dhoni for there thriumphing test series win and I will consider it as a 2-0 win. Anyone who raise comments on dhoni can keep there views by themselves and please try to see the greener side.

  • Nitin on April 8, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    Dhoni should ask himself if India actually needed 600+ runs. With a lead of 531, India should have made New Zealand bat in the morning session of 4th day. This is nothing new for Indian captains. Rahul Dravid once didn't force follow-on opposition where it seemed the most obvious thing to do.

  • Gautam on April 8, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    I still feel India lacks a super express pace bowler like Waqar or Shoaib who can clean up the tail. Regardless of the conditions, some like that will be very effective.

  • Gautam on April 8, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    I still feel India lacks a super express pace bowler like Waqar or Shoaib who can clean up the tail. Regardless of the conditions, some like that will be very effective.

  • Ashok Sridharan on April 8, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    Dear Samir,

    Excellent point, but let's not forget that this is a team with 3-4 veterans of countless overseas defeats. It's easy for a side that has never experienced defeats to be more positive. A side that's still discovering winning ways is likely to err on the side of caution.

    I would have agreed with you, had an Indian captain done it in a tour of West Indies/ England, where India won the last series. But I can empathise with the captain of a team that has not won a series in a country for over 40 years, especially one that has frequently squandered a series lead in the recent past. Historic baggage cannot be shed overnight, can it?

  • asit k kundu on April 8, 2009, 5:35 GMT

    yeah, it's absolutely correct. I believe that 85 minutes of Indian batting on fourth day cost the victory!

  • yusuf nagri on April 8, 2009, 5:35 GMT

    If he would have declared on 500, and what if as being one of the lucky days for New Zealand they would have chased the target, what would be your comments then????? Look at the positive side that Dhoni and his team won the series which most of the indian team has not done it. Whose conservative now????? To boost the morale of the Indian team we do not need people like you writing such comments. My advise to you leave journalism!!!

  • R Ramanujam on April 8, 2009, 5:34 GMT

    Well thought out article. To Dhoni's defence, he was ofcourse defensive bcos, he was in unchartered area. India wouldn't have wanted to put the series win on the line for whatever reason (howsoever remote the probability may be), because it his historic.

  • vivek on April 8, 2009, 5:33 GMT

    I always wonder why people who are least qualified to criticize someone keep coming out with posts that are based on data(of other players/stats) and not on real life experience.

    Unless the author has captained a Country and has been in a position to make a decision that will eventually take a team to higher grounds i dont see a reason why we should even consider publishing posts like these.

    Its sad that someone who has played minimum level of cricket wants to take on someone who is doing wonders to a team by winning more and maturing into one of the best teams in the sport. Agreed the team is no where near the best teams, but havent they proved time and again they can stand up to pressure.

    Sorry to say but the article underplays what this man Dhoni deserves.

  • Paresh Lodha on April 8, 2009, 5:32 GMT

    A very good write up Samir. I feel that MSD missed the opportunity but I strongly believe he'll be learning something from that test match. Bravo India! ( & MSD o'course )

  • prabbu raj menon on April 8, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    first of all , congrats to the indian cricket team for winning after 41 years . Indian captain did not press for victory in this match . India lost plot on two occasions . first was when india batted even after yuvi got out . india scored on 35-40 runs in the partnership between zaheer and dhoni in 10 over . these runs would not have counted in the aspect of the game . secondly , we lost when india put 8-1 field to ross taylor during 4th day tea session . such a defensive field after seeting a target of over 600 did not show india pressing towards victory . it should have been an attacking field . i feel india gets a bit complacent after winning a match in a series . team india showed same attitude towards england in 2nd test at mohali . if india wants to become the No 1 in the world ,in such situations IT SHOULD GO FOR THE KILL .

  • Neha on April 8, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    Dhoni"s delay in declaration of innings is only reason to draw the match and he is poor in decesion making the reason is they already know about the weather report

  • Anonymous on April 8, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    I agree

  • Rajeev Lochan on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Completely agree with Samir's views!

    By his own admission, Dhoni mentioned post match that another 10 overs would have secured them the win. At the beginning of the 4th morning, India was ahead by 530 odd runs. Yet they consumed another 13-14 overs to go past a target of 600! Had they declared overnight, these additional overs of bowling would have come in handy to secure a win.

    If the impending rain threat was against India, it was equally against New Zealand to push for an improbable win. So why worry. In the unlikely event that New Zealand got those 530 odd runs batting last, you then just take a bow to a great effort. So why worry!

  • Vishal on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Hi Samir, I totally agree with ur comments. I think India could have declared on Day3 evening only with lead of around 540-550. It would have given then 2 days to bowl at kiwis and if kiwis would have scored 550 to win in the fourth innings, the they deserve to win and India deserve to lose.

  • Umesh on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    If we declare early and lost the test match, the same people will criticise by saying that we declared early so NZ got enough time to chase the target etc. So first be safe, don't loose, then go for win. Right now we are not all conquering team to win all the matches whatever the target is. but we will in near future. all the best to indian team

  • Sethu on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Absolutely! The declaration must have happened when the Indians were 450 and that would have given a paved way for a close contest. But for Ryder, the Black Caps wouldn't have chased the score at any point in time and Jessy can't do that always. Rather than blaming the rain for the draw, I would say that it was a mistake from Dhoni. Of course, to error is human!

  • Narayan on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Amen! Finally some body spoke out this rotten truth. More than the team, I have not seen a single article in any Indian news paper criticising the overly defensive move. It was really pathetic to see a draw out of a test that we dominated so much. Walking out of the ground on 3rd day, we had 537 runs lead. Who in the world does not think that would not be enough ? If our bowlers can not really defend that total, then let us not call this team a potential world number one ( am I kidding myself ). If we are really aiming for number one, then you need to act like one. Series win is fine, But I would have rather like even a 2-1 result better than 1-0 result. Nice article Samir.

  • NZDesi on April 8, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Point well made. Dhoni should have been more attacking and declared with a lead of around 550. If he wanted NZ to chase abig score, he should instructed Laxman & Gambhir to score quickly on day 3.

  • DeepakNaidu on April 8, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Well said Samir... Dhoni could have declared with 500+ lead but guess he does not have enough faith in his bowlers ! Was this indian attack not capable of defending 500+ in the fourth innings at NZ??? He is no different from other captains but for his 'luck' factor which rocks for India...

  • Krishna on April 8, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    Dravid did same in England. He didn't declare if I remember correctly. He was ridiculed endlessly for that. Zaheer came up with different story that he was not tired and bowlers were raring to go. We all know Dravid is good in defensive strategies... I don't see any thing different with Dhoni here. He last a good opportunity to show he is different. He is one of many captains but has loads of luck on his side and they are winning over teams who are not at their peak. Dhoni.. u r no different... that is the conclusion.

  • Akshay on April 8, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Well, I go along with Dhoni. For one thing, there was lots of time for the Indians to take down NZ in the second innings. Nearly two days was enough and Dhoni did the right thing to make sure there were lots of runs on the board. If anybody is to be blamed it has to be the managament and the daylight saving time fiasco. I still can't comprehend why can't the playing time rules be changed according to the situation? I don't see any harm in it. For example in this scenario, why did they insist to start the match at 11am inspite of the daylight saving time being reverted to the normal time? The game should evolve, not stick to such jaded rules.

  • Vishy Bhatia on April 8, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Hmm..I really don't know how to react that article. While I agree with the writer, I sorta also understand Dhoni's decision. Talk about sitting on the fence!

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  • Vishy Bhatia on April 8, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Hmm..I really don't know how to react that article. While I agree with the writer, I sorta also understand Dhoni's decision. Talk about sitting on the fence!

  • Akshay on April 8, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    Well, I go along with Dhoni. For one thing, there was lots of time for the Indians to take down NZ in the second innings. Nearly two days was enough and Dhoni did the right thing to make sure there were lots of runs on the board. If anybody is to be blamed it has to be the managament and the daylight saving time fiasco. I still can't comprehend why can't the playing time rules be changed according to the situation? I don't see any harm in it. For example in this scenario, why did they insist to start the match at 11am inspite of the daylight saving time being reverted to the normal time? The game should evolve, not stick to such jaded rules.

  • Krishna on April 8, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    Dravid did same in England. He didn't declare if I remember correctly. He was ridiculed endlessly for that. Zaheer came up with different story that he was not tired and bowlers were raring to go. We all know Dravid is good in defensive strategies... I don't see any thing different with Dhoni here. He last a good opportunity to show he is different. He is one of many captains but has loads of luck on his side and they are winning over teams who are not at their peak. Dhoni.. u r no different... that is the conclusion.

  • DeepakNaidu on April 8, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Well said Samir... Dhoni could have declared with 500+ lead but guess he does not have enough faith in his bowlers ! Was this indian attack not capable of defending 500+ in the fourth innings at NZ??? He is no different from other captains but for his 'luck' factor which rocks for India...

  • NZDesi on April 8, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Point well made. Dhoni should have been more attacking and declared with a lead of around 550. If he wanted NZ to chase abig score, he should instructed Laxman & Gambhir to score quickly on day 3.

  • Narayan on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Amen! Finally some body spoke out this rotten truth. More than the team, I have not seen a single article in any Indian news paper criticising the overly defensive move. It was really pathetic to see a draw out of a test that we dominated so much. Walking out of the ground on 3rd day, we had 537 runs lead. Who in the world does not think that would not be enough ? If our bowlers can not really defend that total, then let us not call this team a potential world number one ( am I kidding myself ). If we are really aiming for number one, then you need to act like one. Series win is fine, But I would have rather like even a 2-1 result better than 1-0 result. Nice article Samir.

  • Sethu on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Absolutely! The declaration must have happened when the Indians were 450 and that would have given a paved way for a close contest. But for Ryder, the Black Caps wouldn't have chased the score at any point in time and Jessy can't do that always. Rather than blaming the rain for the draw, I would say that it was a mistake from Dhoni. Of course, to error is human!

  • Umesh on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    If we declare early and lost the test match, the same people will criticise by saying that we declared early so NZ got enough time to chase the target etc. So first be safe, don't loose, then go for win. Right now we are not all conquering team to win all the matches whatever the target is. but we will in near future. all the best to indian team

  • Vishal on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Hi Samir, I totally agree with ur comments. I think India could have declared on Day3 evening only with lead of around 540-550. It would have given then 2 days to bowl at kiwis and if kiwis would have scored 550 to win in the fourth innings, the they deserve to win and India deserve to lose.

  • Rajeev Lochan on April 8, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    Completely agree with Samir's views!

    By his own admission, Dhoni mentioned post match that another 10 overs would have secured them the win. At the beginning of the 4th morning, India was ahead by 530 odd runs. Yet they consumed another 13-14 overs to go past a target of 600! Had they declared overnight, these additional overs of bowling would have come in handy to secure a win.

    If the impending rain threat was against India, it was equally against New Zealand to push for an improbable win. So why worry. In the unlikely event that New Zealand got those 530 odd runs batting last, you then just take a bow to a great effort. So why worry!