Samir Chopra April 9, 2009

Dark cloud over Dhoni - 2

Given the large number of responses to my previous post , I thought it only fair that I write some sort of response
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Given the large number of responses to my previous post, I thought it only fair that I write some sort of response. I've tried to organize this into a series of questions and answers. More broadly, I would say that it doesn't really matter what my (or anyone else's) background is when it comes to writing on cricket or on anything else. What needs evaluation is the argument, not the person making the argument. Anyway, here we go.

  1. You're just drawing on the benefits of hindsight. Why didn't you say this before? Actually, I did. On the third day of the Test before tea-time, I wrote in Eye-on-Cricket, "I'm glad that it has rained a bit at the Basin Reserve. And I hope someone has pointed out to MS Dhoni that it'll get darker an hour sooner there. For hopefully, this lunatic suggestion going around that India should just keep on batting, and batting and batting will die the quick death it deserves. Get the lead to 500 and declare, and give yourself time and plenty of runs on the board to set attacking fields and get the 20 wickets to win. Why imagine the Basin Reserve will remain sunny and dry till the end of the fifth day? And if you don't think you can win despite setting a target of 500 I'd suggest a hunt for the proverbial chullu-bhar". I followed this up with a post on the fourth day as well. I had hoped for a declaration on the third day. When India batted on, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that NZ might not have batted anyway, given the poor light. Perhaps they could declare overnight? But I also thought, that at most, please at most, don't bat more than an hour. In the end, India batted on for some 90 minutes. I had a bad feeling then, given the clouds hovering around over the Basin Reserve and given the light situation. Just a reminder, once again: India was up by 231 runs with nine wickets in hand at the end of the second day.

  2. What would you have said if New Zealand would have chased down the 500? My post above should give the game away. Those of North Indian origin will recognize the reference in the last line of the post I quoted above (for the benefit of others, I was saying something like "you should drown yourself in a thimble-full of water if you can't defend 500 in the fourth innings"). I would have said the Indian bowlers were pathetic, that the fielders needed catching practice, because almost certainly some dropped catches would have helped the NZ team, and quite possibly I would have lambasted Dhoni's field placings, because he might have contributed to the disaster by panicky field settings. I would have also have congratulated the Kiwis for pulling off the well-nigh impossible. I wouldn't have criticized the declaration, that's for sure. I like attacking declarations.

  3. History is irrelevant to what will happen in the future, surely? In the strict sense, yes. However, there is a reason why teams don't make big scores chasing in the fourth innings. The pressure factor is qualitatively different.

  4. Captains can only pay attention to impending rain not to rain forecast the next day or day-after. Actually, they can and they should. The former, because forecasts are better now. The latter, because cricketing strategy demands it. Captains should be aware of local conditions. Any captain that doesn't plan on rain in New Zealand is being a bit naive. Should a captain touring India in the later part of the season not account for the fact that the afternoons get scorching hot, when thinking about whether to enforce the follow-on? How is that not planning around the weather? But let us discard this point for a second. Let's forget about planning for the rain. Should Dhoni have waited till the lead was over 600? My answer to that would still have been a No.

  5. Do you think Dhoni should be fired as captain? No. I think he is a very good captain. He is pretty canny; he clearly inspires the team. I do think he is a better T20 and ODI captain than a Test captain. Perhaps he will get better as he gets used to the idea of winning tests. But he needs to snap out of a conservative mind-set before it becomes too deeply ingrained in him.

  6. Lastly, have you ever played cricket or captained a team in your life? Yes; I captained Mathematics in the Inter-Departmental Competition at Hindu College in 1987. We lost in the first round to Chemistry.

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

  • nimaUnmataHem on July 6, 2009, 0:07 GMT

    Awesome blog! Subscribed on rss. Regular will read it. Good job.

  • Ajay on April 18, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    i think we are basically worried that Dhonis style of play will making test cricket even more boring. But you can't really complain as long he wins the series. The real dark cloud over Dhoni is if he loses the test match, then the criticism will be much more severe.

    Winning the series is the only thing that matters to him. if we won first 3 ODIs in 5 match series, then he doesn't mind losing the other two, he always insists on giving opportunity to new players at that time and not about winning all the games in th series.

    also may i remind that Dhoni has to captain the team, bat well, and also keep the wickets. besides the pressure factors of leading the Indian Cricket Team which is on winning note, people expect them to win every series.

    Samir Chopra says he likes attacking declarations but unfortunately people of India , BCCI, selectors hate to see India losing a match, would prefer the match drawn. Dhoni definitely knows that.

  • Sagar on April 17, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    Another interesting thing to note about Dhoni's captiancy is that he is more focussed about winning a series than winning all matches. Good or Bad? I dont know. But if we can all series we play, I will take it anyday even if it's less 'entertaining'

    His comments through Aussie Series, English Series and The Kiwi Series are on the lines of "We are focussed on winning the series".

    "If a war is won, let the opponent have its fun on some battles."

    Some may say its not competitive. But If i can win a war, who is to complain!

  • Narsi on April 15, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Sameer,

    A trend I have noticed in dhoni's attitude is to win the series and then let the opposition play for it. sometimes the oppostion have gone for it and have lost in their efforts and sometime the oppostions have just given up going for a win and india have won the series anyway. Remember the last match we lost to the SL after we won the OD series, remember the last ODI we won of the NZL. To that extent dhoni has been consistent in his captaincy across the different formats. Is that justified..maybe..maybe not..but that is his attitude and who is to blame when he gets the team to a position where he can let the team sit back and let the opposition do the hard walk every time.

    so..I wouldnt really question bother about that one last match as long as india performs as consistently as it does now.

    Why should a clean sweep be the prerogative of a champion team ? It makes perfect sense to lay back and enjoy the game from time to time after the series in our pocket.

  • PD on April 14, 2009, 23:01 GMT

    wow!!! RKM - can CI consider you for their Blogs? I am copying-&-pasting your comments again:

    Give us a break,Samir. At best, a blog is an opinion & you have made yours.Move on. Let's say this. We can accuse MS Dhoni of several things, to keep a blog alive. But,we need to realise that his peers,competitors and antagonists cant deny his success. The team and its fulcrum hasn't changed since the nadir- 2007 World Cup.The same middle order,same bowling,same keeper.Indian Cricket fans FINALLY have the team ( which includes its captain by the way) that it deserves. A team that comes back from the dead, a team that is consistent, can't be taken lightly under ... & a team that is fearless. While all of this credit does not go to MSD - contributions from SC Ganguly and A Kumble cannot be denied - it cant be a coincidence and certainly not just luck that it happens under MSD. For every Wellington there is a M & C to judge him. He has secured much and doesn't need fans who have no perspective.

  • Sumeet on April 14, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    Hi Samir,

    Your view is interesting is all I can say ,not sure it was right or wrong? One thing for sure ,I would have completely agreed with your view had it come out at the start of Indian second innings.. Cheers mate! Sumeet

  • Surya on April 11, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    as a blogger rightly pointed out, with a team having a gr8 bunch of seniors as much along with these youngsters it is never an easy job to decide on your own and break the bonding amongst these guys, and more than the margin or the scoreline the winning attitude is more important, which after Kapil is seen in abundance in Dhoni than the other captains who came in between, give him and the team time to grow and they will show their true spirit

  • Vasanth on April 10, 2009, 21:48 GMT

    Dhoni ,generally seems to be a courageous captain. But this time , i feel the 41 yr old record came in..and more than the fear of losing, dhoni feared answering millions of critics back home in case he lost.

  • Anil Mehra on April 10, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    One more thing about winning mentality ... Just have to look at the way the Austrailian team - Only inconsistency in hteir team is the team Roster. But how come they always seems to manufacture ways to win sooner than later? With us - lets see how to change a winning proposition into a draw and a draw into a loss.

  • Ravi Metlapally on April 10, 2009, 17:08 GMT

    Samir, Good post! I completely agree. To all of you who have been harsh on Samir: 1. I respect Dhoni for what he is as a leader and what he has achieved. 2. Leave all the weather and light conversations out. 3. 600 was too much and forced the NZ batsmen into survival mode - a mode which will not create (relatively) as many chances to get those 10 wickets on a good deck. 3. Australia won many matches in their golden era by leaving the carrot dangling and India should have done that.

  • nimaUnmataHem on July 6, 2009, 0:07 GMT

    Awesome blog! Subscribed on rss. Regular will read it. Good job.

  • Ajay on April 18, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    i think we are basically worried that Dhonis style of play will making test cricket even more boring. But you can't really complain as long he wins the series. The real dark cloud over Dhoni is if he loses the test match, then the criticism will be much more severe.

    Winning the series is the only thing that matters to him. if we won first 3 ODIs in 5 match series, then he doesn't mind losing the other two, he always insists on giving opportunity to new players at that time and not about winning all the games in th series.

    also may i remind that Dhoni has to captain the team, bat well, and also keep the wickets. besides the pressure factors of leading the Indian Cricket Team which is on winning note, people expect them to win every series.

    Samir Chopra says he likes attacking declarations but unfortunately people of India , BCCI, selectors hate to see India losing a match, would prefer the match drawn. Dhoni definitely knows that.

  • Sagar on April 17, 2009, 14:19 GMT

    Another interesting thing to note about Dhoni's captiancy is that he is more focussed about winning a series than winning all matches. Good or Bad? I dont know. But if we can all series we play, I will take it anyday even if it's less 'entertaining'

    His comments through Aussie Series, English Series and The Kiwi Series are on the lines of "We are focussed on winning the series".

    "If a war is won, let the opponent have its fun on some battles."

    Some may say its not competitive. But If i can win a war, who is to complain!

  • Narsi on April 15, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Sameer,

    A trend I have noticed in dhoni's attitude is to win the series and then let the opposition play for it. sometimes the oppostion have gone for it and have lost in their efforts and sometime the oppostions have just given up going for a win and india have won the series anyway. Remember the last match we lost to the SL after we won the OD series, remember the last ODI we won of the NZL. To that extent dhoni has been consistent in his captaincy across the different formats. Is that justified..maybe..maybe not..but that is his attitude and who is to blame when he gets the team to a position where he can let the team sit back and let the opposition do the hard walk every time.

    so..I wouldnt really question bother about that one last match as long as india performs as consistently as it does now.

    Why should a clean sweep be the prerogative of a champion team ? It makes perfect sense to lay back and enjoy the game from time to time after the series in our pocket.

  • PD on April 14, 2009, 23:01 GMT

    wow!!! RKM - can CI consider you for their Blogs? I am copying-&-pasting your comments again:

    Give us a break,Samir. At best, a blog is an opinion & you have made yours.Move on. Let's say this. We can accuse MS Dhoni of several things, to keep a blog alive. But,we need to realise that his peers,competitors and antagonists cant deny his success. The team and its fulcrum hasn't changed since the nadir- 2007 World Cup.The same middle order,same bowling,same keeper.Indian Cricket fans FINALLY have the team ( which includes its captain by the way) that it deserves. A team that comes back from the dead, a team that is consistent, can't be taken lightly under ... & a team that is fearless. While all of this credit does not go to MSD - contributions from SC Ganguly and A Kumble cannot be denied - it cant be a coincidence and certainly not just luck that it happens under MSD. For every Wellington there is a M & C to judge him. He has secured much and doesn't need fans who have no perspective.

  • Sumeet on April 14, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    Hi Samir,

    Your view is interesting is all I can say ,not sure it was right or wrong? One thing for sure ,I would have completely agreed with your view had it come out at the start of Indian second innings.. Cheers mate! Sumeet

  • Surya on April 11, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    as a blogger rightly pointed out, with a team having a gr8 bunch of seniors as much along with these youngsters it is never an easy job to decide on your own and break the bonding amongst these guys, and more than the margin or the scoreline the winning attitude is more important, which after Kapil is seen in abundance in Dhoni than the other captains who came in between, give him and the team time to grow and they will show their true spirit

  • Vasanth on April 10, 2009, 21:48 GMT

    Dhoni ,generally seems to be a courageous captain. But this time , i feel the 41 yr old record came in..and more than the fear of losing, dhoni feared answering millions of critics back home in case he lost.

  • Anil Mehra on April 10, 2009, 19:30 GMT

    One more thing about winning mentality ... Just have to look at the way the Austrailian team - Only inconsistency in hteir team is the team Roster. But how come they always seems to manufacture ways to win sooner than later? With us - lets see how to change a winning proposition into a draw and a draw into a loss.

  • Ravi Metlapally on April 10, 2009, 17:08 GMT

    Samir, Good post! I completely agree. To all of you who have been harsh on Samir: 1. I respect Dhoni for what he is as a leader and what he has achieved. 2. Leave all the weather and light conversations out. 3. 600 was too much and forced the NZ batsmen into survival mode - a mode which will not create (relatively) as many chances to get those 10 wickets on a good deck. 3. Australia won many matches in their golden era by leaving the carrot dangling and India should have done that.

  • Mugesh K on April 10, 2009, 15:41 GMT

    Hello Mr. Samir, It's bcoz you like attacking declrations doesn't mean that Dhoni did the wrong thing. According to me, we could have still won the game provided the cataches were taken. So no point in blaming Dhoni.

  • Nihar Desai on April 10, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    Samir, you and the others who agree with you have no right to judge his decision. It is true that the 4th innings pressure on any team is much more than 1st innings, but that said, what is to stop New Zealand chasing 500?. Weather has saved them, but Dhoni has assured that the team he is leading WON...not LOST, WON the series. If you take a look at some stats throughout this series, you will see that many Indian players, especially Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan have done particularly well and Im sorry, but you criticizing Dhoni is just merely criticizing his efforts to put together a winning team. Again, your article is worthless and those who agree with it have no cricketing sense. IF New Zealand had won the 2nd test, then your article would have made some sense, but you, nor anyone else, have no idea what achievement Dhoni has brought to the Indian Team.

  • S.M Arsalan Arif Khan on April 10, 2009, 14:28 GMT

    great column!

  • Don Juan on April 10, 2009, 13:37 GMT

    Given for all the above arguments, i still believe what Dhoni did was the right thing to do. "You cannot play for weather." And that too, plan 2 days in advance. Its easy to criticise in retrospect; but standing there in the middle, the job is much tougher. Dhoni fastidiously carved out his priorities - Series over Match. Exactly what the nation wanted.

    N yes, a million dollar question - what if against all odds, Kiwis would have had chased a total of 500 odd. Especially, when there has been a recent global trend of record setting chases and Black Caps scored above 600 in the previous test. The author says, he would have not criticised Dhoni if India lost the match. But is that all. Its not Samir Chopra whom Dhoni is answerable to, but its India. A loss would have been disastrous and have had costed him the captaincy and more important, the series.

    And as i persieve it, talking is hell lot easier than walking. Keep yourself in his shoes and you will understand that.

  • vishal Dh on April 10, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    I have no problem with DHONI as a captain. regarding weather forecast if I m not wrong, rain was also predicted for day 3/4 of 1st test and we had complete test so no point on planning ur game on a prediction made by bunch of highly tech savy persons who were not able to forcast tsunani and other disasters. There is no point in blaming Dhoni when your fielders keeps on dropping simple catches & remember he took 6 in the 1st inning (record by indian keeper). But yeh i m disappointed we the draw afTer playing so weel. hats off to TEAM INDIA for winning in NZ in 41 years. ADVICE never take a risk when something historical is gooing to happen. REMEMBER criticism faced by WI & AUSIS when India won the test after they're dominated in major part of the test but the test they were least expected to do so

  • shriram on April 10, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    i don get wat is the problem with dhoni's decision.He just backed the bowlers to get 10 nzl wickets in 5 sessions,the same guys who did the job in just over 2 sessions in the first innings.Wat he thought was if nzl go on the attack right from the start and get a partnership going, then he cannot set an aggressive field.And as for planning around rain,how can u predict how much its going to rain???As he said in the interview,he had planned for 110 ov minimum...but even tat didn happen.It was the weather which drew the match and not dhoni.There is no reason blaming a man under whom the indian team is creating history wherever they go except for ur publicity.

  • vish on April 10, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    With due respect to all the arguments for and against, I think we are so much influenced by MSDs innovative captaincy in the T20 and ODIs that we expect the same in tests also, that too in only his 7th!! Had the bowlers shown the same intent in dismissing NZL for under 200 in the second innings also, when they knew the opposition was under pressure to win scoring 600+, the result would hav been diff. Not even Aus has done this!!! If the same weather logic could be applied, NZL would have still not won the match due to rain on final day, but would have lost more wickets in trying to go for the runs. but MSD is a deep thinker and would have been advised by seniors to play it safe...It is complex and difficult being a captain of a side with so many seniors..coz when u make a decision on ur own and it goes wrong, the team chemistry is affected. On the whole, I think with younger players, India can be a bit more aggressive..in the meantime lets be satisfied by this win!

  • Sahil on April 10, 2009, 6:55 GMT

    I strongly believe that Dhoni should be removed from captaincy, he is just playing on luck, late declaration was a big issue.............why were we so defensive?????? it shows the mindset of person...is he only bothered about playing IPL? we could have won the series by 2-0. I believe Sehwag or Yuvraj must be better option.

  • Parminder Gill on April 10, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    I wasn't a Dhoni fan two years ago, and I still think he has some distance to go. He does appear to be on the right path though, I can say that based on what I see with the naked eye. I still remember people criticizing his batting technique when he first showed up 4 years ago. Then it was his wicketkeeping. But I also read people who came in his contact were impressed with his ability to listen and learn quickly. That perhaps has been key to his success, and I hope to see a plenty more of that...his success.

    As for the criticism on this page, don't we all love to take a side? Elvis once said "Just walk a mile in my shoes; Before you abuse, criticize and accuse". I'm not sure how many of us have walked in Dhoni's shoes...but in the end it's a free world and we are all entitled to our opinions.

  • Vinod Sinandi on April 10, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    Though I respect the views of those who criticize Samir for his blog, I agree with him as he was absolutely right and spot on in calculating the situation. This is not about questioning Dhoni's captaincy or his commitment, but about a particular test and particular situation in the test. We were having a lead of nearly 200 runs but spoilt it by giving a target of 618 runs. India won the series after 41 years, it is admirable, but CRICET LOST. Dhoni is very lucky-mitti ko bhi haat lagata hai to sona ban jaata hai. But he is smart and cunning too. That is visible in his decisions in one dayers and T20 matches and not in test matches. His cunningness takes over his brilliance and smartness in the dire situations in one day matches and T20 matches when team needs him more. He sends new faces like Raina to come up in the order and when team is in good position he came for batting up in the order! Still no complaint, as long as we won!!!!!!

  • Vinod Sinandi on April 10, 2009, 6:20 GMT

    I have a very simple question. If India was 1 down or 1-1 in the series before the third test, what would have been the declaration point? Would Dhoni still continue to bat and delay the declaration till 600-odd runs? Chasing 450 runs for a win in the fourth innings is very-very difficult by any team and history can prove it. And please, don't blame your bowlers coz in recent time these bowlers won more matches abroad for India than batsmen and of course,the captain. The same bunch got NZ out at 197 in first innings. Captain needs to believe in them to get NZ out less than 400 or so. Another important point, MIND U, that this NZ team was the weakest and least experienced side. If this team managed 600 runes in IInd test, it is coz of dropped catches and auful fielding. Viru was very liberal in giving free runs by placing attacking field to settled batsmen. My dear friends, if you think that NZ could have made 400 runs in fourth innings, then no point of arguing with you. Ask ur capt

  • Rajesh on April 10, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    Mr Samir is one of those people who always think they are right. "I am right even if I lose. You are wrong even if you win. Somehow I am always right no matter what is the result. I was right even if we got knocked out in first round of 2007 world cup. You were wrong even though you won the world cup in 2008."

    Well, you can never win an arguement with these people. Can you?

    Samir, if you are into mathematics, you'd know that the simplest solutions are the best solutions. And the simple math is this: 1-0 means a win. 1-1 means a draw.

    And here is another simple equation for you:

    MSD = Wisden TEST captain of the year = a Great Leader

  • lakesidey on April 10, 2009, 5:54 GMT

    @Sajil : Just for your info, Team India has declared before with Sachin on 195. Don't project your own love of personal milestones on to them please - at least give the minimum due respect :)

    And in the context I the more general discussion, I still believe that he did the right thing. Had we lost the match (and yes, Waugh and other fans of the "sporting declaration" have ended up with egg on their face more than once in the past! And in the last one year itself, New Zealand, India, South Africa and even Bangladesh have made a mockery of that "fourth innings pressure" idea - mindsets have subtly changed) then the recriminations and insults would be far worse. Given that this is India, people would probably go stone the poor chap's house :P

    Anyway, what's done is done. As far as I am concerned, a job well done; we need to stop looking back at it and look forward to the next (and probably tougher) steps on the thorny path to #1...

  • Rajaneesh on April 10, 2009, 5:10 GMT

    Dear Samir,

    India has won a series in NZ after 41 years and the Indian captain, MS Dhoni has played a big role in the series win. He didn't want to miss the opportunity and he never do. He grabbed the opportunity and completed the job recklessly. India is currently going through her golden era in world cricket and Dhoni is in the driving seat. Where were you and your criticisms when India lost the series in previous tours? Dhoni did a spectacular job to win the series. To him, the series was important, not the match. Suppose if he declared when India was 500 runs ahead and NZ chased the target! everyone would have blamed him, including you. May be you wouldn't have blamed him with that declaration, but surely you blame him for series loss. So, in such a situation, you might think "why this guy didn't give importance for the series rather than the match?". Dhoni is a man who knows exactly what to do and how to do. So, please stop blaming a real hero.

  • Surya on April 10, 2009, 5:08 GMT

    there is no truth in saying Newzealand could have chased 500 runs or more, i don't for sure think they were in a chance to chase anything more than 350, but said that, Dhoni is a learning captain and he is not worried about making mistakes if he believes in a theorey to be put into practice, after all he is the one Indian captain after long time who has made the Kiwis bow to us with respect in their own land, hats of mate.

  • subash on April 10, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    last year in india vs england , dhoni made best use of weather report in one dayers.dhoni is best captain after dada india had seen.he needs time to settle down to tests.but at the same time , it was sachin who brought us close to win.otherwise , nz was safe playing out for a draw.

  • John on April 10, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    I was the captain of my university cricket team. We had a 20-20 game against a weak team that we had to win to reach the semi-finals and rain was forecast. My plan was to win the toss and bowl them out. But the backup plan if we have to bat was to declare our innings as soon as we reach 100. I knew with our bowling, they had no chance to win. Not the same level and consequence, but the attitude.

  • Rajaneesh on April 10, 2009, 3:48 GMT

    Dear Samir,

    India has won a series in NZ after 41 years and the Indian captain, MS Dhoni has played a big role in the series win. He didn't want to miss the opportunity and he never do. He grabbed the opportunity and completed the job recklessly. India is currently going through her golden era in world cricket and Dhoni is in the driving seat. Where were you and your criticisms when India lost the series in previous tours? Dhoni did a spectacular job to win the series. To him, the series was important, not the match. Suppose if he declared when India was 500 runs ahead and NZ chased the target! everyone would have blamed him, including you. May be you wouldn't have blamed him with that declaration, but surely you blame him for series loss. So, in such a situation, you might think "why this guy didn't give importance for the series rather than the match?". Dhoni is a man who knows exactly what to do and how to do. So, please stop blaming a real hero.

  • Ani Mehra on April 10, 2009, 3:15 GMT

    You are right. Stephens,Hindu & HansRaj were good Math schools those days. I finsihed few years earlier you did - 1980 Hans Raj in Maths and then 82 Operation Research from the Main Campus. Alas - Those were the days... Listened to all the innings - S.M.Gavaskar did get to play. I myself was never a good player but am a keen observer and analyst of the game with a respect for the teams/players who compete to win.

  • dhoni on April 10, 2009, 1:31 GMT

    In one ODI a team makes 300+ in 50 overs batting first and in second ODI given a taget of 200 in 50 overs under same circumstances and the same team takes more then 45 overs to win. Question is why no one questions slow run rate or defensive approach , because after all winning matters. Same way for Indian team winning the series mattered and guys considering NZ's 2nd test batting performance(600+ they loosed 3 wickets cheaply) and our brilliant but still un-reliable bowling dept can't be trusted. Remember we are still not no 1 team, we are in path of being no 1 team and till then players need to build up confidence with consistent victories. After all after certain level its all the confidence which decides no 1.

  • Ranjan on April 9, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    Here is another flaw in your arguement of declaraing with 2 or more days left. If you can't get a team out in 120 or 150 overs, that means that the team will bat for more than 120 or 150 overs. If you allow them to bat for that long, don't you think they can score 500 or more. I don't think people should question any declaration if it is done with more than 5 sessions left in the match. If you can't bowl'em out, don't blame the declaration. If it rains, tough luck. Any gambling as per weather forecast or anything else will only make sense if you are behind (or perhaps tied) in the series.

  • Raj, USA on April 9, 2009, 22:31 GMT

    Mr Chopra, Now I am convinced that I shouldn't be reading your blogs. I am sure you will appeal to some in India because India is such a divided country in these silly things for silly reasons which I don't want to mention. You have some Indians going ga ga over Obrien's blog no matter what he writes wishing him whole hearted good luck and advising him how to get Indians out. Which I have no problem with but I am sure some of those were actually wishing bad luck to Dhoni in their hearts. That is how India is and it is really sad.

    In most countries, a leader like Dhoni will be respected and will be treated as a source of pride for the country. But sadly in India we demean our leaders and their accomplishments. I can forgive those who don't know any better because of regionalism and other agendas ingrained in them or who just live in the awe of anything western. But you having lived in the west and as per your profile being around the block should know better. Open your eyes.

  • cricfan on April 9, 2009, 21:27 GMT

    Ha ha ha Samir, I like your touch of humor at the end! You should have said something like - Lastly, have you ever played cricket or captained a team in your life? Yes; I captained Mathematics in the Inter-Departmental Competition at Hindu College in 1987. We lost in the first round to Chemistry. "have you?" :) Points well made. Dhoni is a very good captain - but he has not proved himself to be more aggressive than Dravid (a la England), Kumble or Ganguly - at least not yet.

  • Madhav on April 9, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    If TEST series WIN is more important than a TEST match WIN then there is no point to play more than ONE test match.

  • Rajesh NJ on April 9, 2009, 19:19 GMT

    For all the people who have said "It's easy to sit and criticize" , are they doing anything different here ?

    It's a blog & Samir Chopra has aired his views... And so too have all of us. So, chill guys !!

  • Ahmed Shareef on April 9, 2009, 19:10 GMT

    Thanks Sameer for both of your excellent articles. You dont have to give justification to whatever you wrote though. Everyone has a freedom of speech and its brave on your part to do it.

    Its not that, if someone has not played highest level cricket doesnt mean that he is less qualified to give his opinion. Its not the playing skills you require for analysing the match. So, kindly dont disrepect the author for his views. If you dont agree with what he said,, fine..different people have different thought. just leave it.

    personally, MSD did a blunder. To his rescue, every indian captain did that. Dravid, Kumble (I dont remmber the precise incedent though), Ganguly, Azhar .. everyone did that. Basically India is very defensive in their approach. I wonder how much Sachin, Dravid have influenced this decision, because both of these players are world class batsmen but I dont they are aggresive any way. Look at Steve Waugh or Ponting, India could never make such declarations as these ppl did

  • Southi Dhoni on April 9, 2009, 18:58 GMT

    Sameer saar, you are saying like you are inventing sporting declaring. Everywone is knowing declaring. Opposite team getting 500, 600 and all not important. Can you saying they are having 0 percentage chance? I am winning outside my house everyday means I am also sporting wonly declaring. I am not winning daily means I want to win serious wonly. In my place and all I am going 1-1 means stone throwing will happen. I am going 1-0 also I am getting flower, 2-0 also means I am getting flower, I am going 1-1 means I am getting chappal means what I am doing? What you are doing? After 40 year 50 year I am winning means you are wonly giving credits. Slowly I am becoming powerful and winning every time and outside house also, I am doing sporting declaring and all. You are waiting upto then.

  • Raman on April 9, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    Samir is right in pointing out the flaw in the captaincy by dhoni.He is not a risk player. Buddies 500 would have been more than enough.Which team has been able to get that in 4th innings. We need to win more matches to become number one. We lost a chance for our 100th test win.

  • San on April 9, 2009, 17:59 GMT

    Yes you are right. You must be captain of Indian Team to take decision. You know what is going to happen in future. Batsman of Newzeland are not at all in form and just by luck Ryder able to score 201 & Taylor 151 in same inning Newzeland's total was 619 in 155 overs. In India there are many places where people are not sure about rain and my dear friend plaese help them to make it certain. Also you would be grate wetherman for people of Newzeland, please help them too.

  • Rekha on April 9, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    Samir... .... Did some1 tell ya that U r smart.??

  • amarendu on April 9, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    I thought of commenting after reading the post and then found myself scrolling down and down and down... wow! I think that in itself shows that dhoni and his team have finally brought this country to a stage where we animatedly discuss a declaration timing rather than shrug and say "oh its just those losers". Sameer, dhoni does seem to be a canny leader and to me it looked as if he was following the management theory of ensuring small successes first before going for the big kill. If thats so, then insted of a conservative mindset, it reflects an even deeper thinking brain.

  • jasmeet on April 9, 2009, 16:50 GMT

    I completely agree with you when you say the team you captained lost ...... just kidin', mate! I still think there is a bit more to playing around with weather 500+ scores have been made in 4th innings atleast in domestic cricket , dont mess with nature and it might not mess with you

  • Atul on April 9, 2009, 16:39 GMT

    1 Nil is certainly India would have gleefully accepted before we landed in Kiwi land , but the fair result at the end of the series would have been 2-0 to India. To whom should we blame, weather??? I really do not think so. The whole world knows about the Newzealand weather specially Basin Reserve. specially when you have a lead in excess of 450 with 2 days to spare. Dhoni did great but he shouldnt have batted more than 10 overs on the last day only to get some extra cushion of runs with yuvi, bhajii and zaheer throwing the bat around for half an hour but batting 90 minutes was playing in the hands of NZ. NZ would be the happiest team seeing india batting for so long in the 4th day. Ideally India should have sealed the match and the series 2-0 if we had declared either on the 3rd day evening or the 4th day in 30 mins time, but we batted and batted and batted for no good reason. No way in this world NZ can chase 500 in a test match and if they ever do hats off to them.

  • Prasanna on April 9, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    Hi, Samir....now u must know why dhoni didnt declare at 500, He knew that indian fans dont bother abt competetive cricket, what matters most for them is a series victory, why waste ur energy in posting such explanations to these guys who love individuals than the game...........

  • mo husen on April 9, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Dhoni did not take a chance & declare earlier because if he had even given a sniff to NZ & by some miracle NZ got there & won & drew the series 1-1, even though they were thoroughly out played for most of the series by India, some irrational ppl in India would have burnt down Dhoni's house. It's only a game of cricket & it's not worth dying for or being subjected to personal & physical abuse. Till, the culturally risk averse, people of India learn to accept with grace a defeat in pursuit of victory then the Captains of Indian sports team will always err on the side of caution & will restrict India from becoming like the all conquering W.Indies team of the 70s &80s & the Aussies of the recent past.

  • Samod on April 9, 2009, 16:04 GMT

    I agree totally with Roger that "Its smart thinking by Dhoni, than calling it a conservative Captaincy"

  • rajesh kamath on April 9, 2009, 16:04 GMT

    People are still not done with the "what if NZ had chased 500/550/600" theory...there is no point trying to debate the issue with these people..no offence meant.People are imagining ryder smashing a double,mc cullum and taylor smashing 100s while zaheer and co look on forlornly..the pitch was notfrom the second test..india had already dismissed them for under 200 and you could always play defensively if need be..

  • Shikhar on April 9, 2009, 15:52 GMT

    I don't know if what I think is a completely nonsensical thought, but whatever Dhoni might have said, I believe he had a different planning. I personally think dhoni wanted to maul New Zealand out of the game, he wanted to completely dominate the New Zealand team and destroy it. I mean would a victory by 150-200 runs sound better or a victory by 300-350 runs? Ofcourse, winning is the foremost priority, but I think that in the arrogance of being an annihilator, Dhoni forgot about the weather.

    So, even at being disappointed at not winning, I am being optimistic that Dhoni WAS aggressive.

  • Habib Mohamed on April 9, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    Dilip Vengsarkar is one of the best batsmen India has produced and I still remember with awe listening over radio the way he and Kapil Dev put together a partnership against the likes of Richard Hadlee and Co. in their own backyard to win a one-dayer. But sadly, great batsmen/bowlers don’t make great leaders and coaches nor do they make great Selection Committee Chairmen! Dilip Vengsarkar is an emotional fool and can’t handle a situation or person with cold-blooded logic, but he is very vindictive as well. This makes him totally unsuitable for a pressure-cooker job like the one he held until very recently. This doesn’t mean that the decision made by the Committee headed by him in appointing Dhoni as India Captain was a wrong one; only that it was sheer chance and luck that the decision came good, at least in the short-term. But do we have a method or policy when it comes to appointing a captain? The answer certainly is a big ‘NO’! We made Azharudin the captain when Shastri was eminently more qualified and available. Azhar couldn’t even handle his own private life and we were placing our faith in a person who would have gone nuts, but for luck.

    The best captaincy material we had had in years was Sachin Tendulkar but the aggression shown by him early in his career as captain proved to be his undoing. Captaincy came to him a bit too early and that didn’t help. Thankfully, the great man with his trademark innate wisdom decided against accepting the job, when it came to him a second time, unlike the Laras of the world.

    Who among the current crop, which should include all the contracted and all on the fringe, are captaincy material? Has anyone done any work on it with a long term perspective? Dhoni shouldn’t take things for granted even though to his credit it must be said that his giving Zaheer the freedom to set his field was very thoughtful; or was it in spite of him?

    Someone with grassroots level knowledge of the emerging leaders should make a short-list of potential leaders, which would be a great service to Indian Cricket.

  • Anonymous on April 9, 2009, 15:25 GMT

    I wonder why these peoplr are making so much mess of it. India won the first ever one day series here and they won Test series win after 41 years. Instead of enjoying the moment why they are bothering about that decision that was made. They would have different ideas when did their decision. So stop blaming india cheers

  • angshuman on April 9, 2009, 15:19 GMT

    "People, why are you getting worked up? It is obvious that Samir, being the sourpuss he is, wants to write provocative on his blog since most of his writing doesn't get enough attention from fans here." - Well said, Goblue!!

  • Gammon on April 9, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Well,let me put this question to everyone. Do you think MSD was trying to get to his 50?? Was he trying to boost his avarage?

  • Sunil on April 9, 2009, 15:15 GMT

    I agree Dhoni is the most overrated test captain in the world.His so called innovative field placings have become stale by now and he was too defensive in the final test.He has not proved himself as a batsman in the test arena,leave alone proving himself as a captain.With only one century against his name in 37 test appearances, think he does not deserve a place in the test squad.

  • Hemant Bhim on April 9, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    I think it is very clear that Dhoni ****ed up. What is there to argue?

  • Sunil on April 9, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    I agree Dhoni is the most overrated test captain in the world.His so called innovative field placings have become stale by now and he was too defensive in the final test.He has not proved himself as a batsman in the test arena,leave alone proving himself as a captain.With only one century against his name in 37 test appearances, think he does not deserve a place in the test squad.

  • Tejas on April 9, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    Samir, though I agree with you that 600 was too big a total to put on for a 4th innings chase, you have to look at the other factor too. Had NZ somehow managed to score 500(had we set that target)and win this Test, it would mean waiting for 47 years now for a chance to win a series in NZ-assuming we only tour after another 6 years. It sometimes is nice to get a monkey off your back. Nothing wrong with it. With the team we have in place, one extra win does not matter. Honestly, I think that. This team is destined for many more Test and series wins. We'll take a shot at a whitewash 6 years from now when we tour again but for me, reading that we havent won there in 41 years in every damn article is a harsh reminder of our inability so far. And I'm sure not too many fellow Indians liked to read or hear that. It wont be brought up anymore and I'm glad. Hence, this one lost chance does not bother me anymore even though I would have liked to win especially coming so close to bowling them out.

  • Tejas on April 9, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    Samir, though I agree with you that 600 was too big a total to put on for a 4th innings chase, you have to look at the other factor too. Had NZ somehow managed to score 500(had we set that target)and win this Test, it would mean waiting for 47 years now for a chance to win a series in NZ-assuming we only tour after another 6 years. It sometimes is nice to get a monkey off your back. Nothing wrong with it. With the team we have in place, one extra win does not matter. Honestly, I think that. This team is destined for many more Test and series wins. We'll take a shot at a whitewash 6 years from now when we tour again but for me, reading that we havent won there in 41 years in every damn article is a harsh reminder of our inability so far. And I'm sure not too many fellow Indians liked to read or hear that. It wont be brought up anymore and I'm glad. Hence, this one lost chance does not bother me anymore even though I would have liked to win especially coming so close to bowling them out.

  • Sid on April 9, 2009, 14:46 GMT

    Probably the captain and the team weren't as desperate to win the final test as the author was, so as to risk a loss. I am with the team on this one.

  • Raghu on April 9, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    i mentioned ponting and the 540 target. any comments guys. so ponting was defensive, so what that's ponting, whatever he does is strategy.. what dhoni does under pressure is foolishness, crazy we won the series, fine thats what we wanted , right?

  • Jacks on April 9, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    It is pointless to analyze Mahendar Singh Dhoni. Fact is India has won the series, and the cricket that happened is now in the history books. When India went to England and batted out the 2nd innings and saved the test and went on to win the series, a trend had been set. They tried to do it again in Sydney, Australia. In his interview with Cricinfo when Anil Kumble said as much, the interviewer was critical of him. Now the same thing has happened with Mr. Dhoni. That's cricket, Indian style. Is it going to happen again? You bet, and count on it.

  • Shyam on April 9, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    Samir. I was surprised by the lack of your knowledge reg. India. You had said "Those of North Indian origin will recognize the reference in the last line of the post I quoted above (for the benefit of others, I was saying something like "you should drown yourself in a thimble-full of water if you can't defend 500 in the fourth innings") ..that "thimble-full" saying is widely prevalent across the length and breadth of our country! Besides that, I agree with you that a target of 600 was an overkill.

  • Ryan on April 9, 2009, 14:25 GMT

    How dare anyone criticise Dhoni! He can never ever ever be criticised! Every decision he makes is flawless! No one but a former Indian captain with 6 Test wins or more can criticise him, and even then we will defend Dhoni! He's afraid of house stoning, even though no one stones houses for overseas Test losses agains NZ, okay? Only ODI defeats to Pak)

    We are jingoistic fans of India! India I say!! Cricket is an extension of our great country! My team, right or wrong!!! You, Samir, fan of cricket, *NEUTRAL* traitor to India, stop writing your critical articles of our great captain!

    We play the man (Samir) not the ball (a criticism of Dhoni- sacrilege!!) Kiwi batsmen can overhaul ANY target, against our fine and wonderful bowlers....oh yeah, hmm, should we defend the "best new-ball attack" NO!!! Dhoni's assessment of them is better than yours!! Draw first, win second!!! When he plans for a draw, he draws, no matter how winning a position he's in!!

    /sarcasm

  • Biso on April 9, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    Agree with Joel and with another gentleman who has stated that India could not win the last test because of pathetic catching. Dhoni was aware of the rain and he wanted about 120 overs. Even though he got a few overs less , maybe, he had not taken such pathetic catching (below club standards) into consideration.Or Newzealand were lucky that those dollies were dropped. Do not blame Dhoni.

  • Anil on April 9, 2009, 14:20 GMT

    As per my opinion Dhoni is not a good captain he is a lucky captain. its his luck that making him a good captain, a captain should lead from front but i have not seen much of this in his cricketing career. on his declararion in the last test match against the kiwis i think what he wants to do is want to make his team safe from loosing the match so they can win the series, but they should have won the match if he would have declared arn 520 to 530 target.

  • Rakesh Mehta on April 9, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    Dear Samir nice comments but please stick to the field of your expertise - Dhoni is the one & only captain after Kapil Dev who has restored India's presence and reputation in the world of cricket. The enthusiasm and killer instinct he demonstrates on the field as a captain is contagious rubs off on all the other Indian players on the field. Look at the performance of Gambhir, Sehwag, Harbhajan, Zahir, Ishant and even Munaf Patel who were under achieving under other captains; however have excelled under Dhoni. His decisions on and off the field are undisputable because he thinks about team India first - which other captain would take the captaincy in T20, one dayers and test cricket without complaining and worrying about his own future he is sacrificing his ownself for team India and I commend him for that cricket is a game played on the field and those in the stands will always second guess - it is easier said than done so please let him do what he is good at and u do the same

  • Tanuj on April 9, 2009, 14:07 GMT

    You are hilarious. A year back everyone wanted Sachin to retire as he was not performing. Same thing for Sehwag. Suddenly against England and Australia, Srilanka they are back in form, so no one is better than them. Sehwag makes an error about a shot so mister "sour grapes" starts up again. Why don't you go in there and try to captain the Indian team who are in some sense accountable to a billion ppl. living in India and millions around in other countries. If you could understand the pressure you wouldn't be making such stupid remarks. Who cares they won 1-0 or 2-0. They still won. And anyone who saw can clearly figure out that it was 2-0 if rain hadn't started. What if he had not piled those extra 100 runs and the Kiwis felt less pressure and actually made it 1-1. I am sure then you would have written the other way, Dhoni the great stupid idiot who declared not realizing that Kiwis' had 2 days, or maybe you would like to bowl to Jesse Ryder and see him smash each bowl for a six.

  • srini on April 9, 2009, 14:01 GMT

    totally in agreement with you on this. Totally surprised by the way media reacted to Dhoni not considering the weather.

  • Mahesh Balakrishnan on April 9, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    I agree,Dhoni was defensive.My take on captaincy now Dhoni is being hailed as the "Captain" and all accolades-which is good ,I do not hold any grudges against him,in fact have appreciated him,but I do not feel he is the best,he is the greatest etc,these are all media hype.I remember Dravid being roundly criticised for the England test match in England in 2007-India hung in for a 1-0 win,the same media is silent now.I firmly believe Team maketh the captain in a game like cricket.Smith was great when winning in Australia,and the team looked ordinary in SAfrica. If the batsmen bat well and the bowlers bowl well,the team looks good,while if the team does not do well aka India's tour of Srilanka,they end up looking disarrayed. Instead of comparision between Saurav and Dhoni or Dravid or who is greater,media should stop turning them into instant heroes and instant zeroes,they should encourage the team to do well rather than focus on individuals,to build up at least a decade of dominance

  • Babu D on April 9, 2009, 13:41 GMT

    There is a thin line between being ruthless and being greedy, I think many here (the author included) can't differentiate between the two.Give a break and cherish the series win after 41 years, instead of cribbing what could have been.I appreciate 'Indian' and 'Sanjay Choubey' for going against the author courageously.

  • Charan on April 9, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    You made a good point stating your points why India should have declared early. How ever, extra 80-90 runs on the board, There is no way for NZ to think about scoring that runs, all they have to do is to defend. This is what Dhoni wanted exactly because that way he can have extra fieldsmen around the bat, and go for the kill for full 90 odd overs left. India managed to get 8 wickets. On some otherday, Match would have finished in 50 overs, the way these NZ are playing especially with their lack of proper footwork against spin and fast bowling..

    Neverthless. I enjoyed every bit of this series, especially the part where rains seems to be closing, India managed to get 3 wickets in a short time, will they get nother two? Ishant dropped a sitter, It was exciting... I wouldn't bother too much about thinking whether he should have declared or not?? I can;t wait for IPL to start.. :-)

  • Arvind on April 9, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    Your post is excellent. I just have one thing to say for most of those who have commented above who have supported dhoni. I am very pleased that india won a series in NZ but if u remember just about one year ago India won a series in England and Dravid was criticized like hell for not declaring soon. And i can surely say that this NZ team is far worse than that England team. I really don't understand when the same people who criticized Dravid are supporting Dhoni this much!!

  • Amlan Jyoti on April 9, 2009, 13:32 GMT

    Yeah.. suppose India have declared earlier, setting New Zealand about 400 runs to win, it does not rain in the last 2 days, Indian bowlers are unable to take a wicket, and NZ some how gather the runs.

    AT THAT MOMENT, YOU WILL BE CRITICIZING DHONI THE MOST. If you are that qualified to talk of cricket, why don't YOU lead a side to a foreign country. Let's see how many YOU win..

  • Angad on April 9, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    Remember,when Rahul didn't declare in d 3rd Test against ENG,u pple were blaming and criticising him,nw Dhoni has done the same thing and u guys want 2 talk about d series,dats not how a team becums no1.!!

  • naeem on April 9, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    how dare you people blame dhoni's captaincy??? just keep in mind that dhoni has bought up india from zero.. indians was tiger in their home ground and a rat in overseas.. but dhoni proved they are still tiger using his ability of leading from from front..5th day was going in india's way but bad luck that rain hit the match as well as indians heart also... keep on going india.. we r there with u always..

  • Ron on April 9, 2009, 13:11 GMT

    Thank you Samir for writing the second blog on this topic.

    If India had declared with 500 on the board then there would have been just two outcomes; either India win or a draw. So why not declare at 500!?? This was such a basic decision a no brainer!! A declaration at a 500 run lead would have given India at least 25 overs more and Dhoni mentioned in his closing statement he needed 10 more overs! There was no way NZ would have won because it rained!

    So all you guys who support Dhoni just because of his past laurels, think again!! In professional sports there is no place for procrastination!

  • akshat on April 9, 2009, 13:08 GMT

    ..And one more thing

    One excellent batting performance from NZ made life a little difficult for india in Napier. NZ are not bad or incapable batsmen on any particular day. They lack the consistency and need sufficient motivation to perform. Declaring late Dhoni actually ensured that they lack such a motivation in the last innings. Actually making it easier to "Bowl Them Out" quickly.

  • goblue on April 9, 2009, 12:58 GMT

    People, why are you getting worked up? It is obvious that Samir, being the sourpuss he is, wants to write provocative on his blog since most of his writing doesn't get enough attention from fans here.

    Samir: Where is your sense of the big picture? Dhoni led a team to a series win in a country where India has only tasted humiliation for a long time. If you did not get the big picture, thats one thing. But it takes someone truly pathetic to speak without regard to the occasion. It is bright and sunny times for Indian cricket, dont spoil it by your dimwit thinking.

  • ranjit on April 9, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    Let's just forget Dhoni's foolishness for at least once and look. India had already won the series. After setting a target of massive 617 runs New Zealand had no way coming back into the game for sure. Dhoni is a tactical captain. I would say Dhoni was taking the last match as a experiment. He does everything by thinking. I would say he was just preparing or testing how it would go to declare after a lead of 617 and give the bowlers a chance. Dhoni was checking the capability of his team. You can't Dhoni's captain ship just because he did some thing different in one game. This match was not a must win game. ANd just guess what would you say had Dhoni declared at a lead of 500 runs and had New Zealand got the target................ We should let him do his experiments in this kind of match and criticise or appreciate his captain ship after he has captained at least 20 test matches. He has a got a good starting. First trouced Australia and then England and now New Zealand.

  • akshat on April 9, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Very Smart Sameer! You still evaded the most important question: How many overs did you think Dhoni should have reserved to bowl out NZ? And how many hours should one reserve for the rain forecast?

    This second Post of yours seems to be an attampt to save your skin by pretending you answered all the arguments. May be you just want to defferentiate yourself from generally appreciative gentlemen of the game.

    The next topic you will try imposing first and defending later "Why Dhoni should never be the captain of a dream team?"

    LOL.

  • Sandy on April 9, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    Absolutely 100 % agree with Samir, if we can't defend 500 runs on fourth inning of test match then we better not call ourselves No 1 aspiring team. Then we are ordinary test team. To win this test match we should have declared at the close of play on day 3. Reason 1. Daylight saving issue was well know 2. Weather prediction was already there 3. How many runs you need to defend when in form bowlers like Zaheer/Bhajji are there, all you need is above average fielding team :)

  • Ramkumar on April 9, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    Samir! Dont act too smart....Its the series win that counts at the end of the day.

    Mera Team India Mahan Hai....

  • karthi on April 9, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    critic samir........ selfish dhoni..

  • Jay From New Jersey on April 9, 2009, 12:41 GMT

    I love this blog. I don't agree with Samir but that doesn't mean he's wrong. The fact is that Dhoni is a very young and inexperienced captain when it comes to Test matches. He needs to learn how to walk first before he can run. I agree with the author that MS's decision in the third match was not agressive enough for a No. 1 Test team. But, before MS can start thinking No. 1 he has to start thinking winning series overseas. And, I think MS is well on his way. So, MS's decision was not good enough for a captain for No. 1 team but it was a perfect decision for India and for himself. I've been reading a lot of the comments and all I want to say is, Guys... relax. These are opinions and everyone's entitled. There's no need to bash Samir. I think Dhoni did good and hopefully once he starts winning series at home and away... he'll start becoming more aggressive. Go India

  • LNReddy on April 9, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    Come on Guys give a break!If u guys say luck is playing part in Dhoni's success,it is a part but guys don't forget the pressure he has to deal as he leadin Team INDIA with billions of people expexting him to win test matches everytime.Guys India has won test series IN NZ give them the credit.Haven't u seen Austrailia losing to SA in Perth last year as they went for runs and lost wickets which gave SA 2 days to chase down the target easily.I heard seen one guys saying Ghambhir is not scoring and Dhoni hasn't hit SIX for longtime,just check the stats Ghambhir has max runs in Test series and check first innings as Dhoni hit vettori for SIX.Why u guys are moaning about the success of Dhoni and saying his luck is good,so what if luck is part of his success? Aren't u guys lucky that u got breaks in ur life at right time and working hard to keep it up in ur fields so is Dhoni and his team they too are working hard.

  • brian on April 9, 2009, 12:35 GMT

    Dhoni still undefeated as test captain.Beat Australia England South Africa and New Zealand which cannot be said to most of the captains from the past.End of story

  • Aadil I on April 9, 2009, 12:27 GMT

    Are you not getting too defensive? You are on your back foot literally. I smell a Dhoni here. I guess he is too much on your mind.

  • Harish on April 9, 2009, 12:25 GMT

    I would like to leave this whole topic of late declaration, Dhoni's captaincy, blah blah blah. One thing which strikes me is the catch dropped by Ishaant. He is usually not such a bad fieldsman. But the fact that he struggled to even bowl a single decent over against the wind rubbed off his confidence and interest in the match as it happens to a typical Indian always (pardon not all Indians). Ishaant forgot that he was fielding in that position to take catches, but was remembering more about his poor bowling. If he ever took that catch, I dont think you Samir would even posted this blog and then 100s of comments about Dhoni, declaration and weather. Even Yuvraj dropped few slip catches in the 2nd test bcos he was not scoring runs. This is the mindset of most Indian players. Unless this is addressed, Dhoni or any other Indian captain can't win many matches either at Home or abroad. I think many Indian players need a lot to be told how to field in cricket.

  • Anup Das on April 9, 2009, 12:08 GMT

    I don't think MS Dhoni deserves any criticism at all. If I were in his shoes, I would have batted on and on and on grinding the Kiwis to the point that that they would have been too exhausted to even lift a bat! Grind them to dust, that's what I would have done. Who cares If I had won the series 1-0 or 2-0 I would have won the series anyway! THAT IS WHAT matters most. Everything else is purely academic and I am not interested.

  • Hassan on April 9, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    I thinks its a very well written piece and as a columinst its your right to express your opinion as it is ours as readers to debate it. Dhoni is a great player and will in time learn the art of captaincy in various match situations and till that time we have to enjoy the learning stage that he must go through. I also imagine that he would have the niggling fact that India havent one in 41 years in NZ and that he wanted to take no chances, as viewers of cricket we want to see action and as you said an attacking declaration but from his point of view it was series victory first. Great teams of the past have always used these instances as areas for improvement and i think India should do the same. To the lot of annoyed readers i think we should relax have a cold one as someone suggested and enjoy the debate that has been brough about by the particular article.

    P.S. you dont have to have 10,000 runs and 150 Tests under your belt to write about cricket!!!!!!

  • prakash2007 on April 9, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Probably why you couldnt do better than your 1 match loss record as a captain was that you read the conditions differently. If given a option you might play the match and draw it if Not win. Thats why Dhoni is Leading India in all formats and already a resounding captain. You are still writing on conservative mindset deeply ingrained on the captain... It is logic dude.. U may never understand unless you win one as captain.

  • keyur on April 9, 2009, 11:56 GMT

    pleased to know somebody shares my views on cricket. going through the responses to this and the earlier blog, i feel people have been harsh on you because dhoni is being criticised. let me specify that the question isn't about dhoni's overall captainship: he is a good captain with a good team. its about his captaincy in this test and i felt let down. the difference between india and aus/sa is that india is content with one win in each away series while aus/sa look to win each match. if india doesn't have the confidence to defend 500 against the 8th ranked test country, which it dissmissed for 197 in the 1st innings, india doesn't deserve the 3rd rank and should forget about the 1st rank. seriously with the talent india has, india should look to win every game. records shall say dhoni won 5 test and drew 2, but i shall note that india could as well have won the other two tests(2nd test vs england and this test). so we should now call dhoni captain cautious not captain courageous!

  • Kunal Kothari on April 9, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    Samir, although I havent read your first part of the blog, I agree that we should have declared earlier. What was the thinking behind the late declaration, we can only speculate. I agree with one who mentioned that Gambhir and Laxman should have upped the scoring rate on Day 3. At least Gambhir could have done that. And by posting a total of 600+, you are only showing disbelief in your bowlers and fielders. Of course, the fielders gave Dhoni ample reasons for the disbelief but the bowlers didnt. I believe that if you cant get 10 wickets in 200 overs, you should stop playing. Yes, the Kiwis wud have become defensive but batting 200 overs to win / draw a game is no joke. Even the mighty Ozies wud have lost the game even if they were to chase only 500. We all forget that there is a reason why the 5-day games are called "TESTS" & why the each players dreams of representing the country in this form of the game. A match/series win doesnt necessarily mean everything was done perfectly.

  • Jits (Zambia) on April 9, 2009, 11:18 GMT

    Its easy to criticise sitting in your chair but trying playing at that level mate. As for your article it is but all hosh wash. I for one enjoyed every minute of te Indian tour to NZ and believe Dhoni is a very inspirational captain.

  • Abbas on April 9, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Samir your article is a load of crap pal! Did you read what Vettori had to say about Dhoni's declaration? When asked to comment on late declaration, he said and I quote "There was forecast of rain entire summer".. That lays to rest this debate and your crappy blog about Dhoni's captaincy. On the flip Samir had India bowled another 5 overs at the NZ tail and taken those 2 wickets would you still say it was a late declaration?? Response to me directly on my email abbashyder@yahoo.com , I bet you would'nt. Enjoy and let the entire indian fan base enjoy this little piece of history. Moreover I personally feel Cricinfo.com should not allow you to blog here. Load of Crap is all I can say about your article my man!

  • Jitendra_IITD on April 9, 2009, 11:04 GMT

    First of all great congratulation to Dhoni and brigrade....and then to these man who is wriiting all these comments. Its really very interesting to read these various aspect of thinking. After reading all these i am fully agree that in india cricket is life of people..whole day they can spent with such type of talk..but really very intersting.but this is the time for joy..not being rothulu..we dont cried so much when we loss the whole series in newzland in 2003. and even we got out of worldcup 2007. let me clear one thing being no. one is not very easy..and if you become no. one then its very tough to retain it beacause Aus and SAF is not fay away. It will create more pressure..so it is to good be not play number game just enjoy cicket. I wish dhoni will bring worldcup for india ...this time of 50-50.

  • Rajesh NJ on April 9, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    Dhoni might be a good captain but I agree with the author on his observations in this article. Dhoni did declare far too late & it's the fact. People who have criticized Samir Chopra here should learn to accept it. It's not uncommon in India to praise someone overboard when he is doing well & also to criticize him beyond a limit when the going gets tough.Remember Saurav Ganguly ? That's exactly what's happening with Dhoni too now. Any criticism of Dhoni is seen as foolish but it actually is not. People should learn to see things in perspective & not go overboard, either with praise or criticism.

  • rajesh kamath on April 9, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    Someone has hit the nail bang on the gead when they said if we lost after 500,then its not the declaration but the bowlers who wuld b at fault...still cant get over the idiocy of it all...and someone else has said ..at 120 for 4,bhajji bowling,dhoni has deep fields with a long on...the other thing is,what are dravid and sachin doing...these people are Indian Greats,surely they know better..it was so irritating to watch this farce being played out...upto now most Indian teams were pathetic travellers..now we have a crack team which did everything right but close out the game...

  • Saurabh Pandey on April 9, 2009, 10:39 GMT

    MSD, your team created history, after 4 odd decades. Well done, dude.

    But great leaders must judge themselves on their last performance. I am sure if you had to rate your leadership during the last test, you'd give yourself a rap on your knuckles. Yes, you will also learn and improve. That is why we like you. I am not prepared to believe that you really feel captains can't plan around rain. If they can't, they have no business leading the national side. Imagine it was someone else who had led the side until Napier to secure a 1-0 lead. And you were called in for captaincy in the last test. Would you have been proud of the result? Would your worshippers here have showered the same praise? You know the answer.

    Let us not get carried away by dates and events in history. If a 1-0 has come after 4 decades, a 2-0 result would probably have been the first ever! Won't you give all you have for the latter?

    We know you will, and that's why, we still like you.

  • Aryaman on April 9, 2009, 10:25 GMT

    I dont agree with you at all. India won the series 1-0.If by chance India had lost and the series had be drawn thouands of peole like u would have blasted him. Even if it is a 1 in a thousand chance, why take it? India would have needed only 4 to 5 more overs to win. How could Dhoni have thought more than a session o play?

  • Gaurav on April 9, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    All I can say is that I completely agree with Samir.

  • Senthil on April 9, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    Well, even might Australia lost the Kolkata test after making India follow on (which I'm sure you'd have approved of).

    So if the Indian team loses, it is because of bad catching/bowling, but if it draws the test, it is wrong timing of the declaration? What if Dhoni somehow read your mind and knew that the catching/bowling will be bad, and therefore postponed the declaration? By that logic, Dhoni saved the test, so he should be applauded :)

  • Jithendra on April 9, 2009, 10:20 GMT

    Dhoni is the best thing happened to indian cricket in last 20 yrs after sachin. So think twice before criticizing him like you critics do for sachin

  • Jithendra on April 9, 2009, 10:17 GMT

    Why do you want to write a part-2 for defending your stupid article ? If it doesn`t rain, its a foolish move to give 530 in 2 days with even some extra time for time lost on day before.

    Did you watch SL vs Bangla match this year, where Bangla gave a real scare to SL in similar situation, afterall NZ is better than Bangla. 600 is a perfect declaration in any sense, only dropped catches can be blamed.

  • Abhishek on April 9, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    i absolutely loved this article.. definitely a series win in new zealand after 41 years is a great achievement.. but to think of a team chasing 500 in the last innings is unimaginable (highest score chased till date in the history of cricket has been less than 500).. even if you would have had australia/south africa/india batting with bangladesh bowling it still would have been a 50-50 chance.. to expect new zealand chasing 500+ in the last innings shows that the so called 'agressive' captaincy by dhoni is still not so agressive in reality.. and if a team chases down 500+ in the 4th innings against a good bowling attack we should not shy away appreciating the feat which no one has done before rather than blaming the bowlers & fielders.. A 2-0 series victory does appear convincing rather than a 1-0 victory against a side which everyone would agree is 'weak' by any cricketing standards..

  • Neutral Spectator on April 9, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    For me the attitude of the indians whilst bowling and fielding said it all they didnt really look like they were pushing for a win it was like they couldnt care less just because they had won the series. There didnt seem to be no determination what so ever. Dhoni talked about taking advise from the experienced guys in the team well I think theyve always had a conservative mind set. After seing the performance its 100% clear that india only want to win series not every single match for that reason they wont be no.1 as they prize themselves more on saving and drawing rather than winning.

  • Confusing on April 9, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    I've read a lot of comments saying that no one could predict the weather which is daft as everyone in NZ could see that the rain was coming and would hit Wellington on the 5th day, why Dhoni didn't ask the locals regarding the weather or check the record books to see that no one let alone the 8th team in the world had chased over 500 to win a game is beyond imagination. The truth is that this Indian has the talent and the ability to be number 1 but doesn't have the belief, this side is still a year + away being from what it could be...and that's coming from an NZ supporter!! Disappointed that India felt that they had to completely shut NZ out before looking for the win, this Indian side is the best that India has ever produced but lacks the cajones of a true champion side.

  • Raju on April 9, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    It is pathetic for any critic to give explanation of what he said or written. It crearly shows that this critic doesn’t deserve to have a place in cricinfo. First he should have to understand that an Indian behaves like an Indian. Never say that Dhoni is like any other captain. Say he is just like any other India including you (don’t know whether you are an Indian or not). So his instincts will also be similar to an any other Indian in equal measure. But the problem is critics don’t behave like Indians. They behave like English people using harsh words. Let’s enjoy cricket and encourage someone who is doing best for the country or else dig in and do the best. Stop crying.

  • Sumit on April 9, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    Dhoni is not a test captain - Completely unaceeptable statement. Tell me who else in the present or even past India team is capable of leading this team which has a blend of youoth and experience. No one has delivered what Dhoni has in limited time period. You may call him lucky or his skills whatever. With each passing day, I strongly believe he is the best thing to happen to Indian cricket. Although I am still waiting for more overseas series victories particularly in South Africa,Australia and Sri Lanka as these are the three most difficult teams and place (read Sri Lanka)to win test matches. Dhoni should be mentally prepared for the retirement of seniors in the near future and just be himself. People say whatever they like and will continue to say whatever they like. All the very best and at least I am proud of your achievements. Keep it up

  • Anand on April 9, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    I expressed similar concerns in my blog at www.leggully.com I heard Arun Lal saying that New Zealand would be 8 down and it would rain and they would be able to escape. How true it turned out be. It's very stupid that a test win was sacrified when you had 550 on the finish of 3rd day. I know many people will bring reference to Rahul not going on to win in England. The case there was little different. We did not have such a balanced bowling attack. Other is we did not 550 run to defend.

    Yes MSD is good. But he has been hell lot lucky as well. I am yet to be impressed with his instinctive moves and calculated field placements.

    If something happens due to batsman making a mistake Dhoni should not be getting the credit for that.

    We will know when he goes through tough times. I rate Fleming the best one, coz he had the tactics based on the opposition players and he did not have any grt talent to work with.

  • Rocky on April 9, 2009, 9:32 GMT

    all you come back with is blah blah blah blah!!!! forget it man....continue playing the fantasy cricket on computer...

    cheers Rocky

  • Ruchir on April 9, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    Hello Samir, Fellow Indians

    First of All congrats to the Indian team for securing such a marvelous victory in New Zealand. Secondly I would like to point to Mr. Samir that Dhoni is a better captain than your and some fellow Indians think. Although I do agree to the basic sentiment that we were robbed of a Test victory but the credit goes to weather. We all know that Wellington is the windiest city so the showers are scattered away sooner rather than later. This was commented even by the Mark Richardson after it started drizzling.

    Dhoni was a bit defensive.Agreed.But the fact is that India has only just started winning series abroad and still hasn't won a series in S.Africa & in Australia since mid 80's. It was Dhoni's 1st series out of subcontinent. Add to this that decision is taken by entire team management which contains defensive old players and ideologies. On top of all this the media would have been ready with swords(pen) had we lost because of a blinder innings by home team.

  • Jitendra Agrahari on April 9, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    Hahahahahah..its very nice to read out all these comments.would you please stop blaming dhoni ..for late declaration. Its time for some IPL masti..so enjoy dude..

  • malik on April 9, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    i think is not good captain but the presently indian team is the best ever,good spinner good opening pair, well organized middle order that is why dhooni is successful the only quality that is dhooni is cool customer.as for as last test match is concern 450 is a good score.why he has opened his heart to win another test.he was feared of loosing.

  • Chetan Asher on April 9, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    Visibly biased article & almost equally biased comments, except PD. Sameer, Do you or any of the others who have taken after Dhoni for not declaring know whether Zaheer, Ishant & Harbhajan were 100 % fit ? Munaf with all due respect was unable to get wickets in NZ. Also, given his fitness record, the fact that he is bowling the first ball in an over does not guarantee that he will bowl a 2nd. After the way the wicket played on the 3rd day, if any one of the other 3 was down with anything (including fatigue), India's chances of defending 500 would be out of the window straight away. Before doing the fashionable thing & criticising what might be a sensible decision just because it is not something you might have taken basis what you know, at least try to gather all the facts and establish whether there is more to it than meets your eye.

  • Vazoo on April 9, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    Your article yesterday was good but the response today is kind of sad. Anyways, I stand with Dhoni on this one. Couple of reasons - The wind factor which you have quite blatantly ignored and the fact that we didn't give the kiwis enough time to regroup between the innings break by declaring in the middle of the session and were hoping our lead bowlers would be able to bowl for longer on either side of the lunch break and e more effective.... 600 may have been a bit too much but had Ishant held on to the catch then things would have been much different.. anyways, its the sign of the times we live in ..everyone has a right to an opinion - some, like you, just have the bigger stage .. enjoy your '15 minutes' buddy!

  • Gaurav on April 9, 2009, 9:04 GMT

    Mr. Samir i think you are out of your mind,Just because the test was drawn you are up at your critic best. Just think of India losing the match and the series would have been 1-1, the whole of India would be criticizing Dhoni for his stupid declaration.People like Samir are never satisfied, they are greedy people.

  • Indian on April 9, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    You are really not ready to accept others view. May be you hate Dhoni (And I'm not a Dhoni fan). That's why you criticise him a lot.Comm'n buddy! Try to appreciate the feat they have achieved. It's really annoying to see your post.Nothing is enough for you people. It's really a shame to comment on your own countrymen who have brought lot of joy on millions of faces across the country by winning a series after 41 years.Shame on the on critics who blames the team or the captain!! Did you read today's paper. Dhoni has been nominated as the Captain of first ever Wisden team 11 although the team contains Pontings and Smiths. Good going Team India!!You Rock!!!

  • kanth on April 9, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    I differ. Team India is evolving now. They have learnt to win a match and secure the series while touring over the past 3-4 years. Next couple of years they will learn to secure 2-0 leads in series before learning to whitewash it in the captancy of dhoni. I give the benefit of faith to this team, instead of pushing for it too fast. Least, if they win one series 3-0 - without really known how they did it - then our immediate expectations will kill them. Growing is always through a process of learning. There are a billion things that this team would have learnt along the way, which will help them become a dominant No.1 and hold on to it for long. I guess we should realize this and applaud them. To be continued …

  • Anil Rao on April 9, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    We all including Samir should read a book by Indian noble laureate Mr.Amartya sen called “Argumentative Indian” .

    Really i feel some times we debate and argue unnecessarily like this present issue.

  • Kanav Arora on April 9, 2009, 9:00 GMT

    Well, I always believe that everyone has their own views on everything and it is a very subjective thing to say who is right or wrong. That said, its easy to comment on what Dhoni should have done or as Samir has claimed he should have been doing (because he made a claim on the third day), but you gotta put yourself in the captains shoes who has the whole responsibility on his shoulder. Leading by 1-0, idea of the first series win 41 years, why leave chances. Maybe Ponting would have gone for the kill (he did and he lost it once too), but thats Ponting. This is Dhoni, its his style. If you like other things he does, you have take some of the more contentious decisions he makes too. He has his own style which I dare say is actually working. Love him or leave him!

  • Sankar Kalyan on April 9, 2009, 8:58 GMT

    Guess Martin Crowe is someone who has played a bit of cricket? He too has advised us to pay heed to weather forecasts. The comments here to the blog refer to a hypothetical situation where the Kiwis would have created cricketing history by chasing a mammoth total in the fourth innings. Well, in that case, the decision to declare would not have been wrong, the way we bowled would have been. All the author is saying is that the declaration could have come one hour earlier or even half an hour. Surely that is justified? And no, if I can find a flaw in a strategy doesn't mean that I hate Dhoni. Sadly, we behave too simplistically. A risky declaration would have been like the one Border did against us in that famous tied test, not when the target is 500+.

  • ganapathy R Iyer on April 9, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    I think Dhoni has done his job very well; and the precision people expect from an Indian cricket teams captain is too harsh; and that shows the mean nature of some loud-mouth TV channels in India.

  • Natwar Modani on April 9, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    They say that to win a war, you may have to lose a battle. If we look at the bigger picture with series as the war and match as a battle, Dhoni did the right thing. Pushing for a win in this test would have made sense if India were sitting on a 2-0 lead (so a loss would not make a difference to the series result). With a lead of only 1-0 with no further chances, it is better to make sure of the series result rather than match result. Without context, making judgment is not a good idea.

  • pd on April 9, 2009, 8:43 GMT

    ON ANOTHER NOTE-

    "a captain is only as good as the team"

    So blaming Dhoni in this case is not fair because he can be given the benefit of doubt on the basis that he has taken challenging and tough decisions.

    The problem is the team - the fact that Munaf and Ishant were not penetrative enough and had an OK series, how can Dhoni not take that into consideration and leave a score that's gettable.

    So with the bowlers performance that he has seen till then it's very PRUDENT decision. Blame Ishant Sharma for having a below average series. Blame the team's ability, but, heck, they are the best we Indians have. so...?

    Hindsight is 20-20. Oh, just because you had said so, please don't make a baseless argument.

    Given what was at stake, given the bowler's performance (and don't forget that tiredness of being on a foreign tour for 50+ days) - everything taken into consideration, batting Kiwis completely out and then declare was the only rational thing to do.

    That's not called "defensive"

  • hari on April 9, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    "We lost in the first round to Chemistry. " :)...that was frank admission...:)

  • srivathsan on April 9, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    I fully agree with you samir. This is not for criticising dhoni but he missed a golden oppurtunity .If australians were to be there, they would have declared at 500+& won the match. we indians lack fire in the belly.As u have rightly said if NZ had won scoring 500+ in the 4th innings , they richly deserved to win & no body could point a finger at dhoni.any way oppurtunity is lost.At least had he brought spinners earlier instead of too long spell of pace without success, still there was a chance.repeatedly all the indian captains are following the same logic & missing the oppurtunities.It is really strange.

  • PD on April 9, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    The way people think and their actions change dramatically and drastically under pressure.

    Ask the cops and they will tell you :)

    Make Samir Chopra the captain of India and he will tune a different voice.

    For now let's empathize with Samir and Dhoni, though for opposing reasons :)

  • S Dutta on April 9, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    My reaction is more philosophical...The Kiwi series win is already history now. Yes, very recent experiences do leave a taste in mouth. But it is strictly limited to that only feeling only. Would we have committed suicide if India lost the test and drew the series? 99.99% would not have done that. So why to shield some actions/decisions which definitely could have been bettered? What is more critical is "Next" performance. And next performance is linked with how you performed last time. You go ahead with that feeling in your mind about your last performance. It is natural to be up-beat now and see only the '+'s. Just like "Love is blind". But we don't see our 'backside'. Others do. Just like Samir did for Team India and Dhoni. That's why they say "Look before you leap". But yes, it is up to us as to how we react to others' comments about our back. Let us be open and neutral. Samir is doing his job. So am I. So you all are. Dhoni shall decide if all this deserves merit for him & India.

  • DSK on April 9, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Hello all, I made my point earlier. I am not sure if it was posted. Anyways, the end result matters to me: SERIES WON. I would never accept a 1-1 result after declaring with a 500 odd lead. Besides, if we can bat for 2 days, why can't the black caps do, considering the luck factor? Kudos to Indian team and to the captain for winning the series convincingly.

    Regards, DSK.

  • Madan on April 9, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    "I would have said the Indian bowlers were pathetic, that the fielders needed catching practice, because almost certainly some dropped catches would have helped the NZ team"

    This is the real reason why incidentally the result did not materialize. If all the catches had been taken in the second innings, India would have done regardless of the timing of the declaration. You can say it is a theoretical suggestion but it is also a theoretical suggestion that the declaration was too late because the skip wouldn't have known just when the rain would have hit. You are right about the defensive field settings, seems to be in vogue with captains these days. I would like to see criticism of that because the discussion over the timing of the declaration is just splitting hairs. India had ample time to win either way and they blew it through extremely poor catching and by pushing the fielders back when Taylor counter-attacked.

  • Kaura on April 9, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    well...u guys are right in saying that it was a very poor decision to extend the lead par 600 when the external factors were expected to intervene...but i do think, given the kind of track record Dhoni has in the ODIs n T20s as captain, the decision to bat on, to further cement the series victory was very much influenced by the senior players in the team...Dhoni still doesn't have a free hand in the tests as compared to oder forms...u need to give him some time to establish himself there n den he'l have the confidence 2 apply his street-wise thinking in tests...n im sure this guy will change the approach of indian cricket..where every match would b played to get a result, rader dan "save ur ass first" attitude of the past.

  • Parminder Gill on April 9, 2009, 7:45 GMT

    I wasn't a Dhoni fan two years ago, and I still think he has some distance to go. He does appear to be on the right path though, I can say that based on what I see with the naked eye. I still remember people criticizing his batting technique when he first showed up 4 years ago. Then it was his wicketkeeping. But I also read people who came in his contact were impressed with his ability to listen and learn quickly. That perhaps has been key to his success, and I hope to see a plenty more of that...his success.

    As for the criticism on this page, don't we all love to take a side? Elvis once said "Just walk a mile in my shoes; Before you abuse, criticize and accuse". I'm not sure how many of us have walked in Dhoni's shoes...but in the end it's a free world and we are all entitled to our opinions.

  • Harki on April 9, 2009, 7:33 GMT

    Okay, so the long story cut short is that despite recent claims of having one of the best bowling attacks in the world, Dhoni still had doubts in its ability to prevent NZ chasing 531 in the 4th innings. The same NZ side that they got for less than 200, when the pressure on them was a lot less than what they would feel chasing a target on the last two days of a test.

    I don't have much issues with Dhoni's decision, it just reaffirms my belief that our bowling is not as potent as it is made out to be. Zak and Bhajji are doing a good job, no doubt, but should not intimidate an opposing batting line-up when their captain has his doubts. Need to remember that NZ are no Aus or SA, and though having honest triers, simply shouldn't be expected to chase 500+.

    Our side was so confident in Napier when it was upto the batsmen to save the game. But sadly, such confidence is not yet bestowed on our bowlers (and fielders).

  • angshuman on April 9, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    Mr. Samir, I was forced to read your profile - and now I can understand your comments - you don't live in India and have played in Australia. So, I need to take your comments as a neutral or maybe as an Australian - but never as an Indian. The grapes are sour :). Accept it yaar, this Indian team is better than Australia.

  • ramesh on April 9, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    This is the first time dhoni doing captaincy in overseas,so give some time,this r learning process.

  • manj on April 9, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    God whats wrong with you lot! Arent you all happy that India is consistently in a winning position nowadays and not being rolled over like many painful times in the last 20 years or so? Cant you give credit when it is due and just enjoy our successes? Do you have to crib for everything, EVEN WHEN WE ARE WINNING? Really pathetic. Are you all really fans of Indian cricket? SHAMEFUL.

  • Ritesh on April 9, 2009, 7:15 GMT

    Hindsight is 20/20. In my perspective, there was one big objective - win the series, which hasn't happened in so many years in NZ. With 2 days in hand, New Zealand may have done a good chasing job. What was the risk - to be down from 1-0 to 1-1 and throw away a series win! Was it worth it? In my mind - no no no no...

    Dhoni did the right thing - if we would not have won the series, it would have been heartbreaking for the Indian fans!

  • N Murugan on April 9, 2009, 7:08 GMT

    I agree that Dhoni was conservative given the situation. He was however right in saying that they did give themselves 5 sessions to bowl out the Kiwis, which is fair enough. But come on man, get off your high horse! Dhoni and his team have been fantastic in recent months, better than any of past teams. Give them credit. Nobody is perfect, and one can criticize anything of anybody. Let us not pick at straws and sit back and enjoy a fine Indian win by a fine Indian team.

  • Mayur on April 9, 2009, 6:53 GMT

    why do u forget the fact that a few catches were dropped on the fifth day?...how come you don't blame the fielders for not winning the game for India?...and FYI the captain is not the dictator in the team, decisions are taken by a group of people collectively...well u probably wudn't know that as you just got stuck between Math and Chem...chill out dude

  • Sharma on April 9, 2009, 6:52 GMT

    you have captained Mathematics in the departmental cricket competition! wow and also played C-grade cricket in Sydney and makes guest appearances for old club when possible. that's how you can tell a 3rd placed team a bunch of school boys. YOU DESERVE THAT. dont you??

    Dhoni is not a good captain. it's another issue that ICC has named him captain for wisden test XI team. you should replace DHONI deservedly. i mean that. this is the greatest analysis i have ever read. thank you. keep on blogging

  • kay on April 9, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    I believe a lot of people on this forum are looking at the test series win. The key here is to understand that we lost an opportunity to win another test. When you play a game of cricket, and I know a bit about it having represented teams at division and university level, you do not look at the past. There is only one goal- to win the present game. It was poor strategy on the team management part to not realize that weather can play havoc any time any where. If I was the captain, I would have declared at 421 runs and would have liked kiwis to play aggressively as that opens up window to take wickets. If the kiwis were to bat brilliantly, we could have always bowled a defensive leg stump line to stem the run flow. This late declaration will always go in as a serious judgmental error and should not be shoved under the carpet to prevent any future incidents

  • praveen kumar on April 9, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    I did not read the 1st part but I do not agree that dhoni is not a better test captain. we had an opportuity to win by 2-0 but there are some things which are beyond our control and don't see any msitake in dhoni's decision and people like sameer are just trying to create unnecessary pressure on dhoni

  • Raju Iyer on April 9, 2009, 6:35 GMT

    Point by point reply to Samir : 1.You may have written earlier but even cricinfo did not find it newsworthy, so can't blame M S Dhoni for not reading it! 2.You can like "sporting declarations" sitting pretty in Brooklyn but over a million cricket crazy Indian fans will not be as forgiving should a mishap occur after a sporting declaration. 3.History gets rewritten, after T 20 anything is possible and by the way NZ scored more hundreds (5) than India in this series,including a double! 4.Forecasts may be getting more accurate by the day, but can you imagine a losing captain quoting a metrological report as his alibi for declaring early! 5. M S Dhoni and conservative? Sir, take a walk , if only down memory lane - asking Joginder/Irfan/Sachin to bowl in T 20/CBS cup/last test is anything but conservative thinking! 6. Sure all of us have played some form of cricket or the other, just that M S Dhoni captains Team India , which represents a billion hopes!

  • aby on April 9, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    1. Nobody can plan properly for Rain. If we had gone for quick runs and got bowled for 200, we would have set 400 with 7 sessions and probably lost out on winning the test & the Series 2. Seriously, you have not thought about the notoriously small grounds in NZ, and ability of NZ players to clear the ropes. Indian bowling except Zaheer aren’t exactly in Mcrgath league . 3. Anybody remembers Astle innings, at Christchurch in 2001, if he had stayed there another 6 overs he would have got a 300 and NZ 568 runs against England. India smacked English bowlers at Chennai just 6 months ago chasing 380 odd in fourth inningswith time to spare. 4. Dhoni was very much aware of rain, he said he needed atleast 110 overs given his tired attack after a long tour., Speaking of hindsight ,Had not rain come in , we would won the game by atleast 250 runs margin.2-0 or 1-0,whats the big deal? We won after 41 yrs, rather than looking at optimistic point. why a pessimistic view of not winning a test.

  • xcrictic on April 9, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    had it been a loss for Team India in the last test because of an earlier declaration, the heading of this post would have been some thing like "missed greatest oppurtunity to make history by arrogance or over-confidence" "too aggressive MS Dhoni" "why not save the series first" etc by the same author i guess.

    people make comments either way. so my take, don't care. i fully agree with what Dhoni did. he is in the feild. what we are doing here is just a post-mortem. when we go there and play we do like a dumb-****.

    no more comments from me on this topic.

  • Nanak Sen on April 9, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Comgratulation to Dhoni @ his team.

  • Rasheedh on April 9, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    Samir, you are right, Dhoni did not lead with maturity in the last test. And just as it has been about the team behaving like school kids in the last session, (gigling schoolboys) it reitteraes the fact that "We Indians are easliy satisfied" . We did not display the right professional demeanor and the killer instinct which the Aussies and the SA team would have shown. Simply out we are happy with 1-0, why should we strech ourselves more....

  • Pratap on April 9, 2009, 6:25 GMT

    Guess a lot of people read your blog which really has no reason to be there. You have a point that we drew a test we could have won, but look at the brighter side, atleast we didnt lose it!!! like we have been over the last 41 years. Why do you always have to criticise and blame people when they dont deserve it? Well, if you think you are so perfect at your thinking prowess and building tactics how come you never played for a recognized team or at least coach a recognized team. The point is Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a winner for the fact that he is in a position which guys like you can only dream of being. I believe he is doing a great job. Now if you wrote this blog just for people to feel bad and write comments on it, please find a different forum.

  • Riyad on April 9, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    Hey guys, stop this nonsense. Agreed, 2-0 would have been better than 1-0. But, isn't 1-0 better than 1-1.

    Let us also not kid ourselves with this "first in 41 years" crap. It was a good series in which India played good cricket most of the time. Don't forget that we have yet to win a series in Australia and South Africa. It would be great if we could build on this series win.

    I saw somebody commenting about ICC ratings. Let me remind that person about the list of best players that the ICC brought out recently.

  • Jasbir on April 9, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    India had a great chance of winning the 3rd test within the time they got if they did not drop the catches. I do agree that they went past 600 to be absolutely sure that NZ would not get those runs. But to think India should have declared overnight on 3rd day with around 500 runs lead is ridiculous. Just because no team has done it before does not mean that it cannot be done. Having 180 overs to make around 500 runs needs two very good partnerships. This whole thing about 4th inning pressure is crap. Who would have thought South Africa could get the world record 434 runs chasing in a 50 over game? Does that mean that the Australian attack was bad? NO. Dhoni had to make sure that he does not end up losing the test and allow NZ to even the series. He would have been killed by the Indian Media or his house burnt down. Just be happy that India won a series on foreign soil.

  • S George on April 9, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    Dear Mr.Samir, Luck or not luck, Fluke or not fluke, stand up and accept the fact that MS Dhoni has acheived something which his predecessors have only dreamt of. Pushing for a win by declaring early in anticipation of forecasted rain- if that was what you were looking for, then Dhoni was not ready to do it. Simple, and take that. Result Inda-1 New Zealand-0 in a 3 match test series played in New Zealand. For most of us Indians, that's something great the Team has acheived under Captain Dhoni.

  • Arvind on April 9, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    It's not one person sole desicion to declare an innings, There are many thing to think few of examples- on same pitch harbhajan and jaheer played with grace and scored with very good strike rate,India can leave 7 more catches like privious test,ryder taylor macc..can score the target,NZ has nothing to loss any many more things can be discuused. For me it's all about security...they cant affored to loose as we love to ransack there houses

  • Sriram on April 9, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    If somebody is saying that 532 runs target was not enough on a pitch which is helping a bit for all the kind of bowlers then he should be a fool or the person only follows slam bang gully 20-20 cricket only

  • Varun on April 9, 2009, 6:04 GMT

    You are bang on there, Samir!! Declaring at the end of Day 3, with a lead of 531, would have been the apt decision. Even if NZ would have come close to scoring 500 (or even winning the match, for that matter), the decision to decalre at end of Day 3 would have been hailed by everyone as a bold and attacking decision. Dhoni's captaincy would be seen in a whole new light by all cricket lovers around the world.

    Teams chasing a huge total in the 4th innings always have huge pressure. NZ have scored around 3 r.p.o throughout the test series. They certainly wouldn't have gone for a win. Rather than trying to achieve victory, and lose wickets in the process (and lose the series 2-0), they'd have tried to bat the two days out. It was heart-breaking, to say the least, to see rain snatch away a famous victory from India. I don't understand why anyone would criticize this article. This is the most sensible post-mortem report of the 3rd test I've read in any media. Keep writing, Samir!!

  • Hemendra Bhatia on April 9, 2009, 6:02 GMT

    Most Foolish, Defensive and Selfish part of Dhon's Captaincy was not to Declare after Yuvraj Got out on Fourth Day. Why should you not have your Bowlers Fresh and why to Risk them getting hurt by opposition bowlers? Just to complete your half century? Pathetic. Had those 10 overs not been wated we would have still won.

    Two- Allowing ROSS TAYLOR to Force Umpires to go to the Third Umpire after Simon Taufell had adjudged him out. As per the Rules they can not do so unless Fielder o Fielding Captain agree to do so. Dhoni should have protested. The way Vettori Influenced Umpires to go off the filed on Fifth day was the example one need to look at. Of course the best thing to do was to have asked Gambhir and Laxman to go all out attacking on DAY Three in Last Session. That would have given us a lead of around 525- 10 overs ealier than when Dhoni Accepted Light. Dhoni isn't best captain - captain of best team. He has been selfish in promoting himself in ODIs and IPL.

  • hai dupati on April 9, 2009, 6:01 GMT

    "But he needs to snap out of a conservative mind-set before it becomes too deeply ingrained in him"

    hahaha biggest joke by an infant cricket observer. If u guys dont understand english which dhoni said for the reason not declaring, u better go and have a re-match with chemistry if avaialable

  • Keone Fernandes on April 9, 2009, 6:01 GMT

    samir this time do please post my comments. got nothing against your view, but just cause your in charge of the blog doesnt mean you can't be wrong. tc dude

  • Keone fernandes on April 9, 2009, 5:58 GMT

    For me your last question and answer said it all.

    Lastly, have you ever played cricket or captained a team in your life? Yes; I captained Mathematics in the Inter-Departmental Competition at Hindu College in 1987. We lost in the first round to Chemistry.

    The difference, he captained the INDIAN national team and WON the series. Nice try Samit but the reason you couldnt be a better captain was because of how calculated you actually are.

    the difference with Dhoni is that no one knows what he will do. Not you not your stats. All i know is that last test was as good as won, and i could put the tv off hours before knowing for sure India won that series. For me its not the match, its where the Indian team is going. I'm sure if you speak to the New Zealanders you'll know how dominated they feel, and believe me they'll remember it. Batting to 600 not just saved us the game but definitely showed NZ that they nothing compared to us. in the long run, i think that is more imp. thanks

  • Amogh on April 9, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    Hahahaha !! I like your response !!

  • SSC on April 9, 2009, 5:53 GMT

    I cannot believe how many people are out to skin M.S !! Whats the deal with you guys. You started it Mr Samir & its spreading like the plague. You all should just chill & give credit where it is due. Also, i fully agree with 'ifty'. WE should have realistic expectations. Dhoni does not have a Mcgrath, warne, Pollock etc in his attack. He is still very new to test cricket. But despite these factors he has done very well. If he had declared earlier & they had chased down 500 with more than 2.5 days to spare(which is possible on that flat track,you same fellows would have asked for MSD to be lynched & his house to be burnt down!!The fact is that MSD used whatever resources & skill he had at his disposal to the best of his & his teams ability. I do agree that they dropped catches & the bowling was not as good as before. But this team has improved drastically & we as Indians should support & encourage this.Stop this Indian habit of being jealous & discouraging success!We won the series !!

  • Nipun on April 9, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    Well done Samir.I really appreciate both of your posts.It's interesting to notice that had Sourav Ganguly done the same thing as MS Dhoni did now or Rahul Dravid did against England at the Oval,the media would have gone nuts over his defensive strategy & criticise him to such an extent that poor Sourav would have thought he had committed the sin of a lifetime.& now,when Rahul & MS do that,they are being praised by the media.Oh God!!! & lastly,Dhoni won India in a 20-20 World Cup,& Sourav led India to the finals of a 50-50 World Cup.MS has not lost a test as captain in his first 7 tests;let's see his statistics after he has captained over 20 tests. I am a big fan of MS,but no one can judge a test captain from 7 tests.

  • Umesh on April 9, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Imagine this Sameer. What will be the thing people will remember 25 years down the line ? That Dhoni won a series in NZ after 41 years or he let the chance of winning it 2-0 in stead of 1-0 ? I bet not many people will even bother about checking whether it was 1-0 or 2-0. I'm sure if the series was level (say 0-0 or 1-1) he wouldn ensured he had sufficient time to bundle NZ out. There's nothing wrong in his or your thought processes. But often than not we try to force our views rather than accepting that not everyone will have similar view as ours but may achieve same end result.

  • swami sawme on April 9, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    @Gunz and Nandu..lol..you peeps are right eh..11 fools play, 11k fools watch and comment for 11 days until the next game and the cycle repeats..what a legendary game...btw, looks like samir has joined the so called purists bandwagon..dhoni could play for 5 days and still make right decisions while our friend is the opposite..lol..peace eh

  • santosh john samuel on April 9, 2009, 5:48 GMT

    In response to ‘Clouds 1’ i wrote that we should have declared at 448 and gone for a win. Records should not distract us from playing attacking cricket. However, after reading the ‘D can make no mistake’ mails in response to ‘Clouds 2’, i’ve got a suggestion: to ensure that NZ didn’t have the remotest of chances, we should have continued batting on (until NZ were able to get us all out). Sports (including test cricket) is not a larger than life event – it is a trivial pursuit. An element of risk taking and its unpredictability (among other things) is what keeps many of us glued on to sports long past our adulthood. Test captaincy is an art unlike no other and D possibly needs time and the men who are willing to go for broke. (I’m suggesting that a plausible reason for his risk-averse attitude might be the presence of so many seniors for whom records matter – can’t imagine Dhoni not listening to Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman if they had suggested declaring at 450).

  • Joel on April 9, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    I dont think you made a fair judgment of Dhonis captaincy.

    The whole idea behind giving huge totals is not because he doesn't have confidence in his bowlers but when you completely put the opposition out of the game the batsmen start playing differently. When they try to defend too much they are much prone to getting out. This is the point he constantly said in his interviews.

    Also, I think he made a mistake by saying we cannot play around the weather. But I truly believe he did predict the rain and it is evident from the lines "we expected to get at least 120 overs". And he was, contrary to your idea more confident that his bowlers can take all 20 wickets in 120 overs.

    Now do you disagree with MSD ?

  • Venkat on April 9, 2009, 5:46 GMT

    You have a fair point. And I respect that you respond to comments. Let us all be sportive and have a sense of humor, for after all it is sport that we are discussing here. Dhoni went for a 1 - 0 series win and got that. If he wanted a 2 - 0 he would have declared earlier. One step at a time. May be he knew something that we all did not. After all you never know what is it with BCCI.

  • Rahul K on April 9, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    Also, by batting NZ out of the game, India ensured their series victory as early as possible.

  • amit shrivastava on April 9, 2009, 5:43 GMT

    Everyone crticizing the late declaration and dhoni's safety first approach but what about the sponsors like sony tv who put presure on nz cricket board for a 11am start so they can get maximum viewers in india. In my last six years in Newzealand i never saw test matches starting at 11am and even when day light saving finished they still didnt start an hour early which i think didnt make any difference for the indian viewers watching in india but it does effect the test match on the third, fourth and final day and to some extent one of the main reason for the outcome. Thank god NZ cricket board didnt except sponsors plea for the 12pm start. Really its a money money and more money approach from the start of the tour thats why all the odis were dayniter too. Really they(sponsors) love the money.

  • surya on April 9, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    Dhoni is an aggressive batsmen but to extend it to his captaincy is naive and irrational..We will have to see many complex situations before judging him to be different froM previous ones.A dogged waugh's defensive batting in no way represents his captaincy style.To be frank,if a celebrity manages to win the hearts of the indian people,there is no way in the world that one can expect the people to judge him without personal bias and a just head...

  • Ravi on April 9, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    Samir, Cool man,Why are you taking this to heart.. Don't expect MSD to satisfy all the critics at the same time. You have your point, he would have.. and lets not forget what MSD has achieved is not even comparable to many in India. Give Dhoni and I will say Indian team some space,and accept other points also, instead of coming with part 3 now, have fun and cherish some of the best moment of Indian cricket with this team.

  • Sandip on April 9, 2009, 5:40 GMT

    Only one question for Dhoni - Why did they accept the offer for bad light on Day 3 with 10 overs to go - they could have gone for quick runs and if the fear was that they may get injured batting in that bad light - the light was not all that bad, NZ bowlers are not in the Shoaib Akhtar express category, and Dhoni and Yuvraj are frontline batsmen - they could have just backed away from the stumps and just thrown their bats around taking care that they do not get injured. I think no one has made this point yet - Why on earth did Dhoni accept the offer for bad light on Day 3 when he and Yuvra were batting ???

  • Rahul K on April 9, 2009, 5:39 GMT

    If India weren't ahead going into this test, it would make every sense to take risks while declaring. Since they were already ahead, I think the foremost thing to do was to eliminate the slightest chance New Zealand had of winning. I don't think that its a question of having or not having confidence in your bowlers. I think it was a question of making 100 percent sure that the series was won. Why give them any hope at all! Well of course no team has chased anything around 500 in the fourth innings. But history has constantly shown that things that have never happened before happen! Do you guys remember how SA chased 434 in an ODI against Australia? Or how India chased 390 odd runs against England and how SA chased 430 odd against Australia recently. Commentators like Ian Chappell have in the past criticized similar moves as defensive but i feel such a move is borne out of common sense. The bowlers will have other moments to show their worth - when the team is defending 250 for example!

  • Upen on April 9, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    Hey guys why are u critisizing Dhoni. Dhoni is good captain in all the formate of T-20, ODI and Test. I truly agree the decision of declaration made my Dhoni, if the declaration comes under 500 runs and by chance NZ chases it, than what happen if India lost the game as well as the series and the history can't be repeated after 40+ years! Please donot put silly question that 5th day can rain, Nobody knows what will happen in next day it is not guranteed that the rain will definitely stop the match so that Dhoni can't take a risk of declaring earlier. If I Captain I will do the same what Dhoni did. Lots of catches put down by the fielders. No one wants to take a risk while leading in the series 1-0.

  • surya on April 9, 2009, 5:37 GMT

    More than anything else,One thing that irks me about us indian fans is the Superficial reasoning and gross stereotyping..Remember how much flak rahul faced or for that matter even kumble faced at times for being 'defensive' when they were all but normal.Why do people stereotype cricketers superficially?..A defensive batsman rahul is called defensive in every aspects and an elder kumble is called unimaginative whereas a younger dhoni is stereotyped as an aggressive,new age captain just for the sake of calling them so..An aggressive captain has to project him by his attitude towards winning matches which is done by smaller things as setting attacking fields and pushing for win in every possible situation.Pushing the lead towards 500 is nothing wrong but 600 is too much by any stretch of imagination.Frankly,if a bowling attack cant defend 500 on a last day track against the shakiest batting lineup,it doesnt deserve a worldclass tag.Dhoni is in no way more aggressive as previous captains..

  • suhrid on April 9, 2009, 5:35 GMT

    Samir, i am suprise to see the critics...well it goes for devil advocacy if u name it ....india won and it matters ,...being leader u have to win and Dhoni did that .... sometimes leader becomes so much of over confident that they decide proactively....dhoni did right on declaring on 600+.... getting to number one is not so easy now and we have to look 1,2,3 number in similar manner ... the matter of fact is that he played safe...one who is consistent and play safe and agreesive wins battle ... Dhoni is long term player not the short one ,,, so congrats india

  • Pallath on April 9, 2009, 5:19 GMT

    Dhoni should have declared since India had runs on the board.The argument that Newzealand would have chased down has no merits. I could probably understand had this been the Australian team with Haydens ,Pontings ,Symonds & Gichrist & them being in similiar position. The habit of winning doesnt come easily . Its very cozy to have lead & mainatain the lead & win the series & then follows all the riches..To be frank this Indian team is the cleverest of all. Everything revolves around the sponsors & amount of time they spend in the middle & the bank balance. Not trying to deride the win. Its just that this talented team had to face a much poorer opposition.

  • Rahul Vivek on April 9, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Well Mr. Samir, it looks like you are making a mockery of the people who have made comments against your essay. It needs to be understand that we are not agreeing with your point of view but not you. Anyway, to be serene, it was a good article but may be you should have sounded soft on Dhoni's stance and may be should not have questioned the captaincy capability of such a person who has lead India to T20 world cup and 5 test victories without ever a loss!!

    Vivek Rahul

  • Dnyanesh Nadkarni on April 9, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    While there is some merit in what you say...I wouldnt still catgorize Dhoni as a conservative captain. Remember the pitch was still playing true, the NWZ batsman had scored more than 600 not more than 10 days back. I have often seen that when batsman score to reach a target they seem to play better than when they play to bat out overs, Dhoni's ploy seems to be more of getting the opponents into a "Bat the day out" mindset. Talking of declarations what would you say of World No 1 Australia's declaration in Sydney last year. Didnt Ponting go on and on and not give India a chance to win, that declaration was also made to get the Indian batting lineup into "Bat out the overs" mindset.

  • Paul in NZ on April 9, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    I think Dohni is a very inspirational captain, something the Indians have been lacking in recent times. But some credit needs to go to the New Zealanders for scaring him into thinking they could score over 500 runs in the second innings after they had been bowled out for 180 odd in the first innings. I guess the threat from our greats like Guptil, McIntosh and Franklin were too much for Harbajahn and Zaheer, even tho these two had destroyed the batting line up on multiple occasions during the tour. For me a draw was as good as a win in that game after the kiwis were completly outplayed - the indians had nothing to show for after four days of dominance. If they want to be number 1 they need to learn how to win, not draw.

  • Arvind Sekar on April 9, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Whay such a heated up debate ????.... It all over and Dhoni and his men have achieved something significant after 41 years ... Praise them and not find faults with them ... If your tougue is still hungry, retrieve the history and analyse why the captains in the past havnt able to achieve such a feat !!!!

  • Nandu on April 9, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    To all the prime minister's and presidents and heads of finance should also go drown themselves in a "chullu bhar" as they ended up losing trillions of $s for all citizens over the world.

    Same goes to the captain of mathematics, so much talent that he could teach MS Dhoni who had series win against Aus/ENG/SL/NZ and managed to draw a series that our great Kumble handed SA in a platter how to win 2-0 against NZ, but didn't find water to do so. Enough times I have told myself Dhoni should bring Sehwag and he doesn't and when he does he immediately gets a wicket, does that make me smarter than Dhoni, Of course not. He does the job while I come up with ideas sitting in front of the TV. Either way the result goes, I could say I would have done this. Does he have that choice, answer is "NO". He is answerable for his actions, because a billion people watch him.

    In northern India they also say "Chhoti mooh badi baat"

  • Gunz on April 9, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    What a waste of time... the article, so much for the "Prestigious" website,

  • bimlesh on April 9, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    LOL. Cant stop laughing reading some of the comments and the best of them is the writer of this article himself. Guys who have achieved zilch in their life are trying to teah MSD the differences between a good and a great team and such other nuances of the game. Awesome, wonderful, enthralling, exhillirating.

    Next what? Tell MSD whom he should give the ball when and in what situations?

    Go on folks, continue your c**p and waste a lot of bandwidth.

  • Angi on April 9, 2009, 5:02 GMT

    Absolutely agree with you. Please do not mind the fanboys of Dhoni who are the only ones criticising you; for them, Dhoni is God and anyone criticising him is a Devil.

    Dhoni is a good captain, but it is quite strange how he has changed since captaincy. He was a flamboyant dasher who I loved to watch when he first came into being, now after captaincy, he has become staid, another Gambhir. I do not recall seeing Dhoni hitting a six for some time now. I guess that conservancy is being reflected in his captaincy as well.

  • bala on April 9, 2009, 5:01 GMT

    The whole 40 years thing has clouded our thinking.I remember very well that India were the favorites to win the series (especially the tests)before the series started.Of course they have won it .convincingly? yes .ruthlessly? no.

  • gwf4life on April 9, 2009, 4:56 GMT

    Well I agree that Dhoni was a bit defensive with the declaration but this was the 1st series victory in nearly 40 yrs!!!! As the saying goes One bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush

  • Avinash on April 9, 2009, 4:50 GMT

    I believe you are right, the declaration should have come at least by the end of 3rd day (overnight) when the lead was around 530. If we cannot defend that target against the 8th ranked team in the world how else can we ever win a test? Given that top teams play to win a test match and not to draw, the late declaration was either a fatal mistake (cost us a 2-0 victory) or Dhoni was right in being conservative and hence we can never expect India to be No.1. I am a fan of Dhoni and I hope it was a mistake on his part and he learns from this experience and takes India to No.1 in tests.

    Some of the comments posted sound very naive. They either seem to be from hardcore Dhoni fans or from people who are lost in obscurity.

  • Balaji on April 9, 2009, 4:48 GMT

    This is an article commenting on a cricket match and I see comments that drag someone personally onto the streets and question his credentials! If Samir cant complain because he has a humble cricketing background and if the likes of Shane Warne/Adam Gilchrist or even Greg Chappell cant say a word because they dont understand the culture in India and all the Indian commentators to-date atbest defend a bump ball held by indians inconclusive and by the opponents violation of the ten commandments, who dare comment? It was indeed a poor decision to play on for obviously no point and even NZ in their press conf admitting that they will already play for a draw, a good 100 runs before India declared!

    Comments say,'secure the series first and then go for a win!'. The pitches were horribly subcontinental, neither having swing nor seam movement sans 1/2 sessions! To secure a series in such a pitch over no 8 team more important??? revenue, IPL, TRPs, corporate..YE...Cricket..NAY!

  • Sunish Appukuttan K on April 9, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    I would have clearly ignored this blog, but for its Part-2. The respected writer is not over yet!!!!He is still questioning Dhoni, one of the rare species - Born Leaders. Ok.Let us say he is write. Dhoni did not declare on the 3rd day/overnight or 4th day after 1 hour. He is talking about that 30 minutes that eventually India did not get to take the last 2 wkts. There was rain/badlight forecast, but how many thought that the game will end in the 2nd session just with some 40-odd overs in the day. And moreover if Newzealand were, at the end of the 5th day, say at 300/4 do this blogs be there?? Criticizing a person of Dhoni's stature should have worth more quality and precise. And one more thing captaining Mathematics Vs Chemistry in college and getting out in 1st round is not that much comparable to that of Dhoni's Test captaincy.It should be better if I try to remind everyone that the people who criticized Dhoni for 8-1 field were eating their pies after Ondia won that Test match!!!

  • Min Visiri on April 9, 2009, 4:35 GMT

    (continued from page 1/2)

    (page 2/2) Test cricket is not one day or T20 cricket - you can use your best bowlers and set field placings as you like and can delay a bit, bowl one sided, bowl wider ones if there is danger as you mentioned. And with big target, you have enough time to adjust. If Target was 500, if NZ kept attacking, set buffer at 250 and stop attacking & set defensive fields - its not that difficult to manage for a draw then, which was what achieved eventually anyway.

    We missed GOLDEN opportunity for 2-0 and thus #2 with ICC rankings due to very bad decision.

    I can't believe Dhoni scratching around for runs on 4th day after 7th wkt fell for ~30 mins before decl. That 30 mins would hv changed the result too - minor things but major difference.

    END

  • stapp on April 9, 2009, 4:32 GMT

    "Dark cloud over Dhoni" - what a load of crap. dude dhoni is the best thing that has ever happened to indian cricket .look at the teams perfomance after he took over as captain.i agree, anything above 500 or 550 would have been enough.may be dhoni wanted a win by a bigger margin.i m guessing samir ..is a big sourav ganguly fan & is pissed because dhoni is doing so well( since many believe dhoni is the reason ganguly got kicket out after he became captain). before you start criticizing dhoni's strategies & captaincy ,just look at the past "PATHETIC" winning records of previous captains, that might give u some relief.

  • kris on April 9, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    Criticizing is very easy while decision making is not

  • Min Visiri on April 9, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    (page 1/2) I am a Dhoni fan no matter what. But here he blundered. A test win away is not easy to come by that too in NZ, he simply killed the golden duck where there were absolutely no risks with stupid reasons.

    Though I agree, we need to preserve series win, there should hv been better plan to push 2-0 not over conservative as he did here.

    very stupid of Dhoni if you look at the facts - we should hv gone for quick runs after lead of 450. We lost min 1hr there.

    Also weather report which I could read clearly on 3rd day itself - there will be no rain on 4th day and rain after noon on 5th day. I can't believe being local & gets enough brains to determine accurately.

    Even if weather changed a bit, he could hv easily planned around that.

    (follow next page)

  • Srinivasan on April 9, 2009, 4:29 GMT

    Sir. Mostly logically argued. But I feel, here, you are wrong. With a 1-0 lead, I would assume a captain would only declare when it is mathematically impossible to lose. 531 runs withy 180 overs is still less than 3 per over. Chullu bhar pani ??? Sure, but still doesn't change the fact that we squandered a 1-0 lead in the pursuit of heroics, backed my nothing more (or less) than hostory. Not pretty, definitely, frustrating, definitely, but exactly the same as 8-1 offside field on the third day at Nagpur. Bottomline, it guaranteed a series win and that is more important than plaudits.

  • krishna darooka on April 9, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    well Dhoni did bat far too long in the 2nd innings lead of 550 would have been sufficient in any circumstances and if NZ can make 550 in 2nd innings then they definately deserve victory However lead and time was not the factor even with late declaration there was ample time to get them out who knows rains could have come earlier with less lead and more time could have been lost or days game on final day would have been lost The point is India and its captains are very defensive when coming to victory Dravid lost a victory in England by not forcing follow on same thing Ganguli did not force follow on to Australians in Australia test All praise and good work by Dhoni has been nullified by this bad decision of batting too long One more point I want to make is Dhoni is very poor in utilizing services of some great bowler in his team. his using of Sachin as a bowler is miserable he did not give him bowling till the last 2nd innings,though he bowled for injured kumble in west indies

  • Krishna on April 9, 2009, 4:26 GMT

    It is commendable that you came back and posted some responses. But there is a reason to be believed that if NZ can score 500 on small grounds. You may admit or not, some corner of you mind will be occupied by this fact. Yes as writer you will have words to describe that in the same vein that you said in either case. How can you be so sure of things when you are not frequent winner in foreign arena? Pontings, Steves started going for attacking plays because they were frequent winner outside their country in 90s, till early 2000s. Now if Ponting were to declare at teams' innings lead of 500 for India to score, he will delay the declaration only to think and re think about it. Cricket is still unpredictable and can not be run by your writ no matter when you said it.

  • Voltaire on April 9, 2009, 4:19 GMT

    Samir-I read with interest your first post and since I agreed in toto I dint think of responding. I guess team India would probably take your feedback better than most of the edgy readers here. Yes batting on a 4th day given the unassailable situation was plain stupid or timid or both! It's hard to understand the strategy of a team which is actually leading the series and the test in question too. Dhoni is a very good captain but if he's to justify the midas touch badge conferred by a fawning media, he should surely do better than setting targets of 600 in 4th innings! If India aspires to be anywhere as consistently winning as Aussies or Springboks they should back themselves to wriggle even out of lost causes like the Windies of 80's did and NOT wriggle out of almost won test. If it cannot be done with the current team(arguably the best) than brace for the odd win buffeted by the losses like Ahmedabad to SA and to SL last yr.

  • sreeram on April 9, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    Because we didnt declare @ 500, we were able to set such aggressive field that helped take those wickets. I do agree that he could have declared 30 run earlier, but hey, if New Zealand had chased us down, criticizm wont be just on this remote blog, it will the headlines in every news paper in India....Lets not lose perspective here!

  • RKM on April 9, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    Give us a break,Samir. At best, a blog is an opinion & yYou have made yours.Move on. Let's say this. We can accuse MS Dhoni of several things, to keep a blog alive. But,we need to realise that his peers,competitors and antagonists cant deny his success. The team and its fulcrum hasn't changed since the nadir- 2007 World Cup.The same middle order,same bowling,same keeper.Indian Cricket fans FINALLY have the team ( which includes its captain by the way) that it deserves. A team that comes back from the dead, a team that is consistent, a team that cant be taken lightly under any conditions and a team that is fearless. While all of this credit does not go to MS Dhoni - contributions from SC Ganguly and A Kumble cannot be denied - it cant be a coincidence and certainly not just luck that it happens under MSD. For every Wellington there is a Mohali and a Chennai to judge him. This is only his second series as a Test captain. He has secured much and doesn't need fans who have no perspective

  • Chandra on April 9, 2009, 4:15 GMT

    My problem with the delay in declaration is the reasoning behind it. If the team management had been more forthright and said "The series matters to us more than this test", well then. Thats understandable, having not won here for such a long time and more so because this team is just beginning to feel what it is like to feel. Afterall, my son didnt try to run the day he started taking his baby steps! What worries me for the future is the comment that the team cannot plan around rain. What if we were 0-1 down in the series, what if it was 0-0? This match was a great chance to have tested our ability for the future, even given the delayed declaration. How often did we see bowlers and fielders hurry-up between overs during the entire 2 days? In a must-win situation, small things matter, and they dont come easy to the captain. We just blew a wonderful chance to practice these skills in a real international match.

  • Also Indian on April 9, 2009, 4:13 GMT

    To "Indian": There is no doubt that MSD has done an incredible job leading this team. But the difference between a "good" and a "great" team is the fire to go on winning. Pick a series where Australia was up 1-0... they try and win the series decider. India won a series after 40+ years - thats awesome! But still no excuse for "behaving like silly school boys on the 4th day" as another author wrote. All that said, this is still the greatest Indian team we have ever seen!

  • Apyboutit on April 9, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Continued from previous post ..… Discussions on "when should they have declared ..." are not for us yet. It is for those teams like Australia, West Indies, etc. that have dominated the rest of the world during periods, or like England and S.A. that have whined and argued or choked always, but also with a lot of history of winning overseas. We (public, media, opinionists and team India, will be best served if and when we realize that we are still about 5 years away from getting there. I think that the teams under Ganguly and now Dhoni have realized this.

  • Apyboutit on April 9, 2009, 4:11 GMT

    I differ. Team India is evolving now. They have learnt to win a match and secure the series while touring over the past 3-4 years. Next couple of years they will learn to secure 2-0 leads in series before learning to whitewash it. I give the benefit of faith to this team, instead of pushing for it too fast. Least, if they win one series 3-0 - without really known how they did it - then our immediate expectations will kill them. Growing is always through a process of learning. There are a billion things that this team would have learnt along the way, which will help them become a dominant No.1 and hold on to it for long. I guess we should realize this and applaud them. To be continued …

  • Sharma on April 9, 2009, 4:08 GMT

    Excellent Article. Let's not jump with joy over a 'first victory in 41 years' kind of nonsense. We live in current times ; and India is a 3rd ranked team, and NewZealand is lowly 8th ranked. 1-0 is a sub-par result , as for once, even the ICC ratings suggest. India's rating was 118 points before the series, and 117 after the series. If we had a great series victory, our rating points should have gone up, right ? Dhoni should have realised that the third test is a must win test (to win the series by 2-0 which was the minimum expectation of ratings as well as India fans - but not apparantly of Dhoni and his team-mates), and hence should have gone all-out , including declaring early and showing a serious desire to win the test , and not an attitude which says'batting dominated draw is fine, we'll take a victory if it comes'. This combined with Dhoni's late declaration in Mohali against England , a few months back , makes us wonder if Dhoni is any different as a captain.

  • whocares on April 9, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    Unbelievable... you are critical of things during the best of times? Just enjoy the moment dude... it was a great team performance and excellent leadership. One can always ask for more. Not saying that 2-0 would not have been great or that team India did not play it safe. But, who cares? Obviously you do... but which sane person cares? A series victory after 41 freaking years. A terrific performance to save the 2nd test. What more can one ask??? Just be bloody happy during great times. You Sir have not performed an ounce to get any plaudits on cricket field... do not take away from a memorable win by being nit picky. Those who are of complete agreement with you --- Get a life!

  • Murali on April 9, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    The delayed declaration because of Dhoni wanted makes his 2nd fifty of the match to make record. History shows all Indian past and present captains won’t declare when they were batting 30-40s or 80-90s. If a team chases 400 and above in the fourth innings they are deserve win the match, which apply to any nation.

  • Youvi on April 9, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    Samir- You are right on the snout with your comments. A deserved India 2-0 series win squandered away with Dhoni's unfathomable tactics. Definitely not a "benchmark" series win as Dhoni stated after the match. Even more so, if India is bracketed with Australia and SA.

  • Sanjay Choubey on April 9, 2009, 4:01 GMT

    Samir Your article is not worth commenting, because this doesn't deserve much attention, however, since you have tried to make pointed remarks about Captaincy of Dhoni as if he is a novice captain. I am forced to write a few words.: 1. It is not your call to decide if 500 is enough, because NZ had scored 600 in the previous test. By just mentioning at the end of it that,"you should drown yourself in a thimble-full of water if you can't defend 500 in the fourth innings" !!!! You might escape by making these kind of comments, but any responsible person will be Risk averse unlike you. 2. Picth was still playing fine. It is not common that fifth day pitch will always be bad; Remember Faislabad pitches, where you can score a centure on 10th day pitch? 3. Your entire comment is kind of "Sour grapes", India couldn't have got 8 wickets to begin with. It was Tendulkar, who got some crucial break through, which brought us near victory, else, the way, NZ was playing, match was draw anyway.

  • Tushar Patel on April 9, 2009, 4:00 GMT

    I dont know y Dhoni is being targeted. I mean if the fielders drop three catches on the fifth day, its not the captains fault. Taking that into consideration, his decision was still a decent one, he cannot take into account dropped catches to decide when to declare.

  • Vishal on April 9, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    This was my earlier post before I read your comments on the 3rd n 4th day : 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.

    I retract my comments

  • Vishal on April 9, 2009, 3:58 GMT

    Dhoni is still relatively new to test captaincy. Give him some time. I don't know if we should pounce on him for making a 101% sure the match is unwinnable for NZ. Yes, it was a tad too conservative of him, but that's the way people learn. No need to get worked up about this. You need to chill, have a cold one and celebrate the series win!

    I'm sure Dhoni will learn his lessons from this test. He is nothing if not the learning-on-the-job kind.

  • Shri on April 9, 2009, 3:56 GMT

    Samir, after some thought, I do agree with your criticism of Dhoni's captaincy in the last test match. He certainly had the personnel to restrict NZ to under 500 in the fourth innings! It was a bit reminiscent of the last test against England, when Dhoni delayed his declaration to allow two set batsmen to get to their centuries, when a more positive declaration would have allowed the Indian new ball bowlers to have a crack at England. From what we have seen thus far, Dhoni appears to be a shrewd captain who will do whatever it takes to preserve a series lead, even if it means playing defensive cricket. However, your criticism itself illustrates the progress that Indian cricket has made in the last decade. A 1-0 test series win abroad would have been cause for undiluted euphoria not very long ago. But not anymore.

  • Rex on April 9, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    Another thing- let us not criticise Dhoni for being conservative. If Dhoni had declared at the end of the 3rd day's play with 531 run lead, here are some possible sequences on the 4th and 5th day:

    4th Day: NZ 240 for 4 from 72 overs (some overs lost due to bad light)

    So NZ require under 300 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand. With Ross Taylor, Vettori and McCullum still batting, they would have overhauled it. No point in blaming Dhoni for not trusting his bowlers- Ishant wasn't disciplined and he didn't look threatening as well bowling against the wind.

    Munaf was uninspiring. So how to get 10 wickets? Bhajji or Zaheer could be batted out and the other end could be attacked.

    Indian media is a hard taskmaster. Had India lost the 3rd Test or even if NZ had come close, then all the good work done in the 2 Tests would have been lost.

    The media will portray India as having fallen to old standards and once again India & Dhoni will have to earn the trust from scratch.

  • Sudhi on April 9, 2009, 3:50 GMT

    I agree with the author. Dhoni seemed unaware of the limited time India (and the Kiwis) had in the fourth innings. What's worse - after they set the target of 600+, the Indian team went about their task in the most lackadaisical way, especially after the 5th wicket partnership started flourishing. Rather than try different bowlers like Yuvraj, Tendulkar etc., Dhoni stuck with Ishant Sharma and Munaf. And on top of that, was all the giggling and applauding balls that were aimed at the 10th or 12th stump.

    Looked like Dhoni didn't care if India won. And not surprisingly, they didn't.

  • Ashutosh on April 9, 2009, 3:49 GMT

    Good post samir.I feel that criticism is necessary for the constant progress,as a fan and as a cricket lover i have a right to present my views as anyone else.Lemme give my take on your arguments1. Rain forecats .Forecasts are brilliant i use the international agencies forecasts and they are mostly correct.2&3Even bangladesh can defend 530 in the last innings on that pitch with spin,surprisingly!India boasts of a robust pace attack and a world class spinner need i say anymore.3Cricket is a game where the conditions have to be taken in account unless you are a Sehwag.5Should dhoni be fired.No.He needs to undestand what has he got for a team.If ganguly had this bowling attack india must have been ruling the world since 2001(Reminds me of ponting not enforcing followon w lead of 445 in brisbane in ashes 2006 with Lee,Mcgrath,Warne and Clark in the ranks. dhoni was even more defensive.If youre not confident of defending 500 in the 4th innings you are not entitled to claim the No 1 spot.

  • Rex on April 9, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    I understand that a lot of us (including me) were hopeful that India would win this Test.

    Let me point out another factor in India playing 18 overs on the 4th day. First of all, there was the choice of roller made available.

    Another important factor is- by playing 18 overs, India could bowl with the new ball for 15 overs before lunch, rest their fast bowlers during lunch and then have another shot with the newish ball at NZ.

    That meant Zaheer could bowl 15 overs at a stretch (either side of lunch). Dhoni must have felt that, on a flat pitch, India's best chance of bowling out NZ was to make full use of the new ball.

    However, Zaheer could only get 2 wickets with the new ball.

    Even then, I'll say India had to settle for a draw because of their pathetic catching standards. Ishant's reprieve of O'Brein cannot be tolerated. Sharma has been dropping too many sitters (Delhi 2008 he dropped another sitter).

    Simple way to turn draws into wins:India must improve their catching.

  • Samod on April 9, 2009, 3:34 GMT

    "I like attacking declarations" - Sorry to tell you that Team India is not out there to please only you. Talking about your comments "I would have lambasted Dhoni's field placings, because he might have contributed to the disaster by panicky field settings" If a person who is batting so hard for attacking declaration could criticize Dhoni ( doesn't matter for what reason ) for the loss, just imagine how the other bunch of people (Majority) who were happy that India secured a series win would have reacted.

  • Chetan Kumar on April 9, 2009, 3:33 GMT

    A very good article Samir, well said. When a team is high, we tend to forget the failures like dropped catches and misfieldings. Dhoni is still a baby to test cricket. Its not like the other 2 forms of the game where you just go bang bang...... Lot of things have to be taken care of off the field. It's been said that Dhoni doesn't believe in too much of pre-match strategies. Its better for him to learn them ASAP especially for Test Matches. It's time for him to think beyond his Good Luck!!!! which has been working wonders for him. We Indians have a short memory, he should keep it in mind that a 5-for from Amit Mishra made people think that he was ready to replace "Anil Kumble" one of the best bowlers India has produced along with Srinath even after his unmatched contributions to Indian Cricket. After that match Amit Mishra was never to be seen again.

  • Harsha on April 9, 2009, 3:32 GMT

    After reading your responses, I am even more convinced that you are not qualified to write about cricket. I think it is time you started looking at an alternative career. I hope Cricinfo finds some real experts/writers else it will end as cricket scoreboard site with lots of ads.

  • SAJIL on April 9, 2009, 3:30 GMT

    Imagine Sachin Tendulkar was batting at 165 just at the time of lunch on 4th day of the 3rd Test; in that context, I am sure India would have dragged the declaration until Sachin gets out. Team India is grown on playing in Ranji cricket where personal records are more important and first innings lead tantamount to victory. I think Dhony delayed the declaration so that he and Yuvraj singh can get some runs against a very tired attack. Only moron would believe that New Zealand would chase down 500 runs on wearing, fifth day track.

  • vinod on April 9, 2009, 3:29 GMT

    What you wrote about dhoni is a complete crap. Are you out of your mind ? If we set a lesser target and if they chase down and we will have to come back home with a drawn series...You are so funny

  • Roger on April 9, 2009, 3:25 GMT

    NZ was the team that had to win the match, not India. If India set them 500 runs and 200 overs to get them, there is a good chance that NZ would make a chase rather than trying to play out time. Why take that risk thinking that it would rain on the 5th day? I fully agree with Dhoni that with that in windy Wellington, it is not guranteed that the rain will definitely stop the match so that we take a risk of declaring earlier. NZ scored 600+ in the previous test, so let them get 600 this time if they are desperate to win. This is not conservative captaincy, but smart thinking.

  • Qalandar on April 9, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    excellent piece -- I too was complaining to my brother at the start of Day 4 that India needed to declare. The fact that they probably would have done so had they not had a lead isn't good enough -- most teams beat NZ, so the fact that India hadn't won in NZ for four decades shouldn't blind one to the fact that a top-ranked team would probably not be leaving NZ with only a 1-0 victory. A 2-0 victory was there for the taking.

    [That being said, congrats to the team for a generally well-played series! :-))

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    I thinking dhoni captaincy is good and better than before captain and in T20 & ODI match changing of bowlers and changing of batting doing well in this time this is good inup to team india & team used the dhoni captaincy in all formats but in 3rd declaration before 600 is definite in won the 3rd test also.

  • Indian on April 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Well,Mr.Samir you didn't accept my comments on your post the last evening and I'm sure you'll not accept this too.I don't want the whole World to read this.It's enough if you read this clearly. You are really not ready to accept others view.May be you hate Dhoni(And I'm not a Dhoni fan).That's why you criticise him a lot.Comm'n buddy!Try to appreciate the feat they have achieved.It's really annoying to see your post.Nothing is enough for you people.It's really a shame to comment on your own countrymen who have brought lot of joy on millions of faces across the country by winning a series after 41 years.Shame on the on critics who blames the team or the captain!! Did you read today's paper.Dhoni has been nominated as the Captain of first ever Wisden team 11 although the team contains Pontings and Smiths. Good going Team India!!You Rock!!! Now let me see if you're dare enough to accept my comment.

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 9, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    I thinking dhoni captaincy is good and better than before captain and in T20 & ODI match changing of bowlers and changing of batting doing well in this time this is good inup to team india & team used the dhoni captaincy in all formats but in 3rd declaration before 600 is definite in won the 3rd test also.

  • ifty on April 9, 2009, 3:12 GMT

    Funny thing with the english and the indians. They are always setting expectations that exceeds the team's capability. Set your expectation according to your standard is the advice i would give u. The ausssies were aggressive because they had a superb team for a generation and they grew into the ruthlessness... Dhoni has just started to build this team into the most formidable team in cricket...give it some time. Try to remember that previous teams lost almost everything when they toured overseas... Just be happy that u won a series and try to keep your feet on the ground.

  • SAJIL.A on April 9, 2009, 3:12 GMT

    I completely agree with you.

  • Uday Mallik on April 9, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    I did not read Samir Chopras earlier blog but I am glad someone has roundly criticised Dhoni for his most unimaginative, indeed foolish declaration.This combined with Sehwags shocking batting in the second Test will remain the abiding moments of the series- not the so called historic win.I like a good game- not whether we won or lost.Therefor, the redeeming feature of the tour was the rearguard action of Gambhir and others in the drawn Test

  • Nitin sharma on April 9, 2009, 3:06 GMT

    Well said mr samir,its nt important that who is making d argument its the argument which matters. You were spot on when you said if this bowling line up can not defend 500 in the 4th innings against this present newzeland line up then i am sorry,we are long way away from calling this team the number 1.

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  • Nitin sharma on April 9, 2009, 3:06 GMT

    Well said mr samir,its nt important that who is making d argument its the argument which matters. You were spot on when you said if this bowling line up can not defend 500 in the 4th innings against this present newzeland line up then i am sorry,we are long way away from calling this team the number 1.

  • Uday Mallik on April 9, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    I did not read Samir Chopras earlier blog but I am glad someone has roundly criticised Dhoni for his most unimaginative, indeed foolish declaration.This combined with Sehwags shocking batting in the second Test will remain the abiding moments of the series- not the so called historic win.I like a good game- not whether we won or lost.Therefor, the redeeming feature of the tour was the rearguard action of Gambhir and others in the drawn Test

  • SAJIL.A on April 9, 2009, 3:12 GMT

    I completely agree with you.

  • ifty on April 9, 2009, 3:12 GMT

    Funny thing with the english and the indians. They are always setting expectations that exceeds the team's capability. Set your expectation according to your standard is the advice i would give u. The ausssies were aggressive because they had a superb team for a generation and they grew into the ruthlessness... Dhoni has just started to build this team into the most formidable team in cricket...give it some time. Try to remember that previous teams lost almost everything when they toured overseas... Just be happy that u won a series and try to keep your feet on the ground.

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 9, 2009, 3:13 GMT

    I thinking dhoni captaincy is good and better than before captain and in T20 & ODI match changing of bowlers and changing of batting doing well in this time this is good inup to team india & team used the dhoni captaincy in all formats but in 3rd declaration before 600 is definite in won the 3rd test also.

  • Indian on April 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    Well,Mr.Samir you didn't accept my comments on your post the last evening and I'm sure you'll not accept this too.I don't want the whole World to read this.It's enough if you read this clearly. You are really not ready to accept others view.May be you hate Dhoni(And I'm not a Dhoni fan).That's why you criticise him a lot.Comm'n buddy!Try to appreciate the feat they have achieved.It's really annoying to see your post.Nothing is enough for you people.It's really a shame to comment on your own countrymen who have brought lot of joy on millions of faces across the country by winning a series after 41 years.Shame on the on critics who blames the team or the captain!! Did you read today's paper.Dhoni has been nominated as the Captain of first ever Wisden team 11 although the team contains Pontings and Smiths. Good going Team India!!You Rock!!! Now let me see if you're dare enough to accept my comment.

  • Babugouda.S.Goudar on April 9, 2009, 3:17 GMT

    I thinking dhoni captaincy is good and better than before captain and in T20 & ODI match changing of bowlers and changing of batting doing well in this time this is good inup to team india & team used the dhoni captaincy in all formats but in 3rd declaration before 600 is definite in won the 3rd test also.

  • Qalandar on April 9, 2009, 3:24 GMT

    excellent piece -- I too was complaining to my brother at the start of Day 4 that India needed to declare. The fact that they probably would have done so had they not had a lead isn't good enough -- most teams beat NZ, so the fact that India hadn't won in NZ for four decades shouldn't blind one to the fact that a top-ranked team would probably not be leaving NZ with only a 1-0 victory. A 2-0 victory was there for the taking.

    [That being said, congrats to the team for a generally well-played series! :-))

  • Roger on April 9, 2009, 3:25 GMT

    NZ was the team that had to win the match, not India. If India set them 500 runs and 200 overs to get them, there is a good chance that NZ would make a chase rather than trying to play out time. Why take that risk thinking that it would rain on the 5th day? I fully agree with Dhoni that with that in windy Wellington, it is not guranteed that the rain will definitely stop the match so that we take a risk of declaring earlier. NZ scored 600+ in the previous test, so let them get 600 this time if they are desperate to win. This is not conservative captaincy, but smart thinking.

  • vinod on April 9, 2009, 3:29 GMT

    What you wrote about dhoni is a complete crap. Are you out of your mind ? If we set a lesser target and if they chase down and we will have to come back home with a drawn series...You are so funny