Michael Jeh June 18, 2009

There's something about Dhoni

Why apologise
40

What’s not to like about MS Dhoni? Even as an outsider, a neutral, someone who just watches cricket for the sheer pleasure of the sport without any patriotic leanings, I find myself drawn towards a character like Dhoni. He is hard to dislike.

Reading his post-match interviews after India’s surprising exit from the World T20 Championship, it is clear that Dhoni is a man who is comfortable in his own skin. He offers reasons, not excuses. He accepts blames, shares it sometimes but never looks to shift it. He concedes mistakes, both by himself and from his team without appearing to be too self-effacing or disloyal. He has a quiet dignity that is able to accept defeat with relative grace whilst still showing the right measure of pain and disappointment. The captain of India needs to walk this line carefully. Too many self-recriminations and the knives will be out. Too blasé and they’ll accuse you of not caring enough. Dhoni looks to have found the right balance.

It was interesting to see that the first person he singled out for blame was himself. He admitted to not doing as well as he would have liked, to not playing the sort of explosive innings that his early reputation was forged on and for getting it slightly wrong with certain tactical decisions. He wasn’t necessarily apologising because he doesn’t need to. Why apologise? He didn’t mean to bat poorly or make tactical errors – it just happened. That's T20 cricket for you - it's a very fine line between winning and losing. So he didn’t apologise but he still expressed regret and took responsibility.

Even on the field, there’s a lot to admire about his captaincy style. He manages to strike that delicate balance between being animated and excited without crossing the line to becoming hyper-excited or irrationally emotional. Watching from afar, you sense the players trust him, respect him but do not fear him. Chris Gayle errs on the side of being ‘ultra cool’ although the word on the street is that his players adore him. To be fair, his style tends to suit the West Indian cricketing culture where almost all of their captains were strong men who rarely got flustered. I can’t think of the last Windies skipper who ‘lost it’ in public, despite some terrible floggings in recent times. Even Lara, tortured genius that he was, displayed great manners and dignity throughout his difficult reign.

Back to Dhoni though – I just hope that the post-mortem from the T20 disappointments don’t go too far and see him removed from the job. He’s a breath of fresh air for the game and it continues India's recent tradition of captains who command respect. Dravid and Kumble were both men who believed that to be strong did not mean you had to throw your weight around like a bully. Both quintessential gentlemen. Like them, Dhoni appears strong enough to stand up to any international captain but affable enough to make every effort to get on with them too. You get the sense that he commands genuine respect from the opposition.

He might have to look at his own game and ponder on whether the captaincy is curbing those wonderful attacking instincts that announced his arrival on the world stage. He is probably more reliable these days but does India need that from him? I would prefer to see someone else playing the Mr Reliable role and Dhoni returning to being the powerhouse middle-order batsman who can transform a game in a few brutal minutes. He is probably less feared today than he was two years ago. Ask most opposition teams which Dhoni they’d fear more and I suspect it would be Dhoni Mark I.

The partnership with Gary Kirsten should be a good one for India. Kirsten was an uncomplicated player without frills or ego but his effectiveness as a very fine batsman was never questioned. Like Dhoni, he seems to be an essentially decent man who operates without histrionics and public displays of petulance or triumphalism. For India’s sake, I hope the partnership is allowed to continue. For the sake of world cricket, it’s important to have two strong men of integrity leading the most influential team in the world, on and off the field.

I just hope the team balance allows the real MS Dhoni to show himself again. I’m talking about the man with wrists of steel who uses a short backlift to muscle the ball over the boundary. India has plenty of others who can play the percentages but when a player like Dhoni comes along, it would be a crying shame to shackle his instincts. Maybe that’s what captaincy does for you. Maybe that’s why Adam Gilchrist never really fancied the job. Mind you, it hasn’t worried Chris Gayle too much – he still only knows one way and it is that reputation that makes teams nervous. Just knowing that Gayle might go off is enough to put you off your game. Dhoni has that same power but it's been locked away for some time. Unleash the beast I say.......

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arunkumar on December 9, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    yes i like his smile all the time, even in failure. He shows a new path to Indian cricket as a one of the leading capataincy. His positive attitude and sence of belongingness makes great in all time.

  • Sanjay on July 2, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    Absolutely true, we have seen batsmen and bowlers "born with talent". This guys is someone who was born with leadership qualities or at least his composure prompts me say this.

  • Angshuman on June 24, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    Nice article. I could not find time to put up a blog post along these lines after India's elimination. I would hardly have been this good at analysing Dhoni's specialities. MSD's successful tactics from the past have largely been based on luck that some captains seem to be entitled to. But while he was lucky without being brave in some cases, he was also lucky for being brave in most cases. That should be good enough for a 2yr report card.

    While in this tourney he wasn't particularly brave and set defensive batting orders, his responses before and after the tournament to media were quite revealing. It shows that he treats media like the guy on the road - in other words, he is not too bothered by what they are going to say about his acts. He may have lost the world cup but he must retain this approach if he is going to be the captain courageous of the past again. Shelf lives of captains are only as long as they can put off the headlines of tomorrow while making an on-field decisions

  • cricfollower on June 24, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Dhoni is the right man to build indian team for the future. We will become champions only if we win test,ODIseries against all oppositions everywhere which will happen eventually. Our young batsmen rohit,raina should apply themselves to envisage thought of playing for over a decade. Dhoni,Yuvraj,Gautam need time to find balance in their batting. They need to bring in more variety to their fast bowling,not just look for swing,also bowl fast and slow bouncers. Sreesanth could be brought back. Sachin and Sehwag comeback will only add more strength. The selectors should back players like Virat,Jadeja,Pujara,Tyagi,Chawla,Pandey. Once they get sufficient rest they will get back to winning ways.

  • vibhu on June 24, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Dhoni is the right man to build indian team for the future.We will become champions only if we win test,ODIseries against all oppositions everywhere which will happen eventually.Our young batsmen rohit,raina should apply themselves to envisage thought of playing for over a decade.Dhoni,Yuvraj,Gautam need time to find balance in their batting.They need to bring in more variety to their fast bowling,not just look for swing,also bowl fast and slow bouncers.Sreesanth could be brought back.Sachin and Sehwag comeback will only add more strength. The selectors should back players like Virat,Jadeja,Pujara,Tyagi,Chawla,Pandey.Once they get sufficient rest they will get back to winning ways.

  • Kinshuk on June 24, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    i've seen some ppl saying that dhoni's had a free ride, tht criticizing him is ok b'coz its professional sport nd u either "perform or perish".... a free ride...a skipper with a more than 60 % win % over two years is not getting a free ride.....

    nd all those comparing him with ganguly should go check ganguly's captaincy stats against test-playing sides.... it's revealing....there's a major drop in his win/loss ratio if u take out the bangladeshs nd the zimbabwes of the world frm his captaincy records....

    dhoni's done a fine job..better than most of his predecessors... he should b given atleast a second chance (going by ppl's reactions it seems like we hv had gr8 results b4 dhoni took over!!!! :o...but even then he does deserve a second chance....doesn't he????)

  • Asif Sarfraz on June 23, 2009, 21:28 GMT

    I think Dhoni is cool! Some bad decisions were made especially the game against England. I think they should not of dropped Irfan Pathan for Jadeja. I know Jadeja took wickets, but I believe Pathan would of done the same by taking wickets and making a bigger contribution with the bat! I agree with Arman Hashmi that there was a boasting of over confidence as well, for example, we will practice when we want to.

  • Chris on June 23, 2009, 13:54 GMT

    I confess I'm not a fan, either of Dhoni the batsmen or Dhoni the captain. His batting is functional in that tediously modern way; he lacks real defensive mettle, and relies of placid pitches, enlarged bats and muscle to score runs.

    As a captain, I fail to see what he actually does. He's neither as innovative as a Jardine or Brearley, nor as abrasiveas Ganguly, Waugh or Border. Beyond conventional field placings to suit conditions, his sole achievement is to pack the offside and have his seamers bowl a foot outside off-stump. Forgive me if I'm not overly impressed.

  • Arman Hashmi on June 20, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Well, I tend to disagree over here. It's Dhoni's leadership boasting of overconfidence which has lead them to an ouster-quite unprecedented in the History of Indian Cricket. There is definitely the IPL factor which has taken its toll on players. After playing the IPL the players probably started feeling as if the 'T20' flows from with-in and this is something which Dhoni has to work on real fast in order to get the team going once again-internal discords if any have to be dealt with sternly in the interest of the Indian Cricket.

  • Maninder on June 20, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    Yaar more like Dhoni was good - he earned superstatus or glamour boy status only by being good and if he starts failing he has to drop down the latter and someone else will take over - this is India Yaarrrr you can be popular only when you perform and win as well - you take the glory and you have to learn to take the shit too - Ganguly suffered the same fate so why not Dhoni - perform and win or get out.............

  • Arunkumar on December 9, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    yes i like his smile all the time, even in failure. He shows a new path to Indian cricket as a one of the leading capataincy. His positive attitude and sence of belongingness makes great in all time.

  • Sanjay on July 2, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    Absolutely true, we have seen batsmen and bowlers "born with talent". This guys is someone who was born with leadership qualities or at least his composure prompts me say this.

  • Angshuman on June 24, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    Nice article. I could not find time to put up a blog post along these lines after India's elimination. I would hardly have been this good at analysing Dhoni's specialities. MSD's successful tactics from the past have largely been based on luck that some captains seem to be entitled to. But while he was lucky without being brave in some cases, he was also lucky for being brave in most cases. That should be good enough for a 2yr report card.

    While in this tourney he wasn't particularly brave and set defensive batting orders, his responses before and after the tournament to media were quite revealing. It shows that he treats media like the guy on the road - in other words, he is not too bothered by what they are going to say about his acts. He may have lost the world cup but he must retain this approach if he is going to be the captain courageous of the past again. Shelf lives of captains are only as long as they can put off the headlines of tomorrow while making an on-field decisions

  • cricfollower on June 24, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    Dhoni is the right man to build indian team for the future. We will become champions only if we win test,ODIseries against all oppositions everywhere which will happen eventually. Our young batsmen rohit,raina should apply themselves to envisage thought of playing for over a decade. Dhoni,Yuvraj,Gautam need time to find balance in their batting. They need to bring in more variety to their fast bowling,not just look for swing,also bowl fast and slow bouncers. Sreesanth could be brought back. Sachin and Sehwag comeback will only add more strength. The selectors should back players like Virat,Jadeja,Pujara,Tyagi,Chawla,Pandey. Once they get sufficient rest they will get back to winning ways.

  • vibhu on June 24, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    Dhoni is the right man to build indian team for the future.We will become champions only if we win test,ODIseries against all oppositions everywhere which will happen eventually.Our young batsmen rohit,raina should apply themselves to envisage thought of playing for over a decade.Dhoni,Yuvraj,Gautam need time to find balance in their batting.They need to bring in more variety to their fast bowling,not just look for swing,also bowl fast and slow bouncers.Sreesanth could be brought back.Sachin and Sehwag comeback will only add more strength. The selectors should back players like Virat,Jadeja,Pujara,Tyagi,Chawla,Pandey.Once they get sufficient rest they will get back to winning ways.

  • Kinshuk on June 24, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    i've seen some ppl saying that dhoni's had a free ride, tht criticizing him is ok b'coz its professional sport nd u either "perform or perish".... a free ride...a skipper with a more than 60 % win % over two years is not getting a free ride.....

    nd all those comparing him with ganguly should go check ganguly's captaincy stats against test-playing sides.... it's revealing....there's a major drop in his win/loss ratio if u take out the bangladeshs nd the zimbabwes of the world frm his captaincy records....

    dhoni's done a fine job..better than most of his predecessors... he should b given atleast a second chance (going by ppl's reactions it seems like we hv had gr8 results b4 dhoni took over!!!! :o...but even then he does deserve a second chance....doesn't he????)

  • Asif Sarfraz on June 23, 2009, 21:28 GMT

    I think Dhoni is cool! Some bad decisions were made especially the game against England. I think they should not of dropped Irfan Pathan for Jadeja. I know Jadeja took wickets, but I believe Pathan would of done the same by taking wickets and making a bigger contribution with the bat! I agree with Arman Hashmi that there was a boasting of over confidence as well, for example, we will practice when we want to.

  • Chris on June 23, 2009, 13:54 GMT

    I confess I'm not a fan, either of Dhoni the batsmen or Dhoni the captain. His batting is functional in that tediously modern way; he lacks real defensive mettle, and relies of placid pitches, enlarged bats and muscle to score runs.

    As a captain, I fail to see what he actually does. He's neither as innovative as a Jardine or Brearley, nor as abrasiveas Ganguly, Waugh or Border. Beyond conventional field placings to suit conditions, his sole achievement is to pack the offside and have his seamers bowl a foot outside off-stump. Forgive me if I'm not overly impressed.

  • Arman Hashmi on June 20, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Well, I tend to disagree over here. It's Dhoni's leadership boasting of overconfidence which has lead them to an ouster-quite unprecedented in the History of Indian Cricket. There is definitely the IPL factor which has taken its toll on players. After playing the IPL the players probably started feeling as if the 'T20' flows from with-in and this is something which Dhoni has to work on real fast in order to get the team going once again-internal discords if any have to be dealt with sternly in the interest of the Indian Cricket.

  • Maninder on June 20, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    Yaar more like Dhoni was good - he earned superstatus or glamour boy status only by being good and if he starts failing he has to drop down the latter and someone else will take over - this is India Yaarrrr you can be popular only when you perform and win as well - you take the glory and you have to learn to take the shit too - Ganguly suffered the same fate so why not Dhoni - perform and win or get out.............

  • meggie may on June 19, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    MS Dhoni is an impressive leader and highly skilled cricketer and India is most fortunate to have such a gem at its cricketing helm. Whilst Dhoni hasn't been in his best form during the 20/20 format this year, he doesn't deserve the flak he is currently receiving. People have very short memories. Teams seldom keep winning ad infinitum and it will become even harder with the three forms of the game coming more into play now with each requiring slightly different skill sets. It was obvious that fatigue, injury and lack of preparation time were all major factors in India's recent departure from the 20/20 WC earlier than expected. The BCCI needs to take very good care of their most valuable asset in Captain Dhoni with far more sensible scheduling of tours, otherwise he will soon be in serious danger of 'burn out'. If this were to happen it would be a shame not only for Indian cricket but world cricket as the game needs such characters at their best. Good luck to young Dhoni and team.

  • Badsha on June 19, 2009, 10:45 GMT

    Mr.Michael I Agree with you.the media in India trying to put more pressure on Dhoni because he is not gone along with them nicely while they interviewed about shewag injury recently. if you watch indian news channels regularly you can figure this out easily,how they are making out a smallest of mistakes to macro for blaming Dhoni.It is a sport we win one day we lose the other day and i am sure Dhoni and his men will come with bang

  • Milton on June 19, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    I think Dhoni is highly over-rated, both as a captain and as a batsman. His captaincy was brutally exposed in the T20 world cup. His decisions to elevate Ravindra Jadega, leaving out Praveen Kumar, bowling Ishant Sharma for a full quota of 4 overs even though he went for 9 runs an over...his list of blunders can go on and on. And add to that his batting woes. When India needed 12 runs an over, Dhoni was busy playing himself in!! Whoever invented the role of a sheet anchor in 20-20 cricket!!! Dhoni was never a technically correct batsman. He neither has the technique of Dravid nor the brilliance of Yuvraj. His batting has been painfully slow for some time now. So if he can't bat well and if he can't even marshall the brilliant resources he has, he deserves every bit of criticism that is coming his way.

  • isha on June 19, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    you've hit the nail on its head with this article...the media uproar over his form/captaincy in 09 t20 world cup is irritating to say the least...i think he's a done a wonderful job of curbing his attacking instincts for the sake of the team...hope we can find someone to do soon, so he can once again become the six hitter he was....

  • Sami on June 19, 2009, 7:14 GMT

    India have no divine right to win Memo to Indian cricket supporters: it is time to grow up. Sport is not about winning, it is about losing. Twelve teams have been taking part in this tournament and only one of them will return winners. The rest will be losers. They will lose in various ways - some thrillingly, some abjectly - but lose they will. It is what makes the moments of triumph all the more special. After all, if winning was all that there was, what would there be to celebrate? Indian supporters, the most immature in cricket, cannot seem to grasp this simple fact. So where once temples were erected in Ranchi to deify its most famous son, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, now effigies are burnt. Once the Army had to be called out because the mob had laid homage to a hair salon where Dhoni was having his luxuriant locks lopped off, but veneration has now turned to vituperation. Burning effigies of losing captains on the sub-continent is nothing new, as Wasim Akram and countless others would testify. It was, though, more understandable at a time when Indian cricket was looking to flex its muscles. In India, as elsewhere, cricket was part of a wider struggle for independence and respect. That battle has been fought and won long ago. Everybody now accepts that India is the epicentre of the world game, just as everybody accepts India as an economic and political powerhouse. There is no more powerful cricketing nation on earth, either financially or in terms of playing resources. But that does not bring an entitlement to victory. It is time for Indian cricket supporters to grow up and accept defeat as an essential part of the game. Sport is not about winning; it is about losing. Trust me, we in English cricket know more about that than anyone.

  • Jerald on June 19, 2009, 7:12 GMT

    i completely agree with shan, his free ride s over, the sehwag - dhoni rift is still a mystery, there was an article in cricinfo just for one single day - it was about dhoni accusing anil kumble about his fitness and commitment on anil bhai's last test, dont really know why pathetic fans and journos try hiding dhonis faults and mistakes. now the time s over dudes.. open your eyes and wake up from dhoni worship..

  • sundar on June 19, 2009, 6:58 GMT

    Bang on Michael. I am with you on this. In India you are a good captain as long as you win matches. Many people & media critise Dhoni for sending Jadeja before yuvraj agsinst England. If India would have won that match all these would have been forgotten, like what he has done against pakistan in t-20 final in 2007, sending yusuf pathan,as a debutant, to open with gambhir. he tried different things, it didnt clicked. Nver mind Dhoni better luck next time.

  • gopal tolani on June 19, 2009, 6:50 GMT

    MS Dhoni is one of the best Indian cricket captain, he always try his best,but some of the team partner or media always disturbing, I just asked to people if you are Dhoni what you will do ,talking is very easy but do something in ground is very difficult. MS Dhoni you are the best no question at all keep it up and Try your best in future.

  • sunny singh on June 19, 2009, 5:29 GMT

    i think he is da best...lets see wt happan in west indies...good luck dhoni

  • Shan on June 19, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    I am sorry. Just who is asking for Dhoni's head? I haven't seen a single article anywhere that asks for him to be removed from the captaincy! In fact, this sounds like deliberate defensiveness from his fans - "look everyone's after my hero" type of self pity. Dhoni has had the longest honeymoon period of any India captain I remember. The press loved him to death - to the extent of not question his defensive captaincy tactics in tests where he preferred winning 1-0 rather than 2-0, and his sorry batting form in both Test and ODIs. He has been given a free ride so far. This caused him to get a swollen head and an unjustified arrogance! This T20 workd cup was the FIRST time anyone has actually questioned his tactics, or his temperament. And what does he do? Whine, overreact dramatically, call the entire team to "prove" they are united (protesting too much) and then was rude to the same journos who had elevated him to his hitherto godly status! It's ain't easy being captain - ask Sourav!

  • ashwin on June 19, 2009, 5:06 GMT

    all i have is one question: why do you play a player like ishant sharma ahead of RP singh who is in form. i mean ishanth was getting trashed for atleast one boundary an over. also looking at his stats in t20 internationals, Praveen and RP have way better stats. an average around 90 not including bangladesh is not good at all. i think ishant and zaheer should stick to tests.

  • manish on June 19, 2009, 5:02 GMT

    A great article... MSD reminds me of Saurav Ganguly, one of the best captain & batsmen India had hope people will leave him alone or else like what happened to Ganguly....

  • manish on June 19, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    A great article... MSD reminds me of Saurav Ganguly, one of the best captain & batsmen India had hope people will leave him alone or else like what happened to Ganguly....

  • FlySlip on June 19, 2009, 0:16 GMT

    In my books, he is the most over-rated player that ever came out of india. cheers.

  • sitaram on June 19, 2009, 0:05 GMT

    As a true emotiona; India fan I am confused. Should we build a shrine to worship Dhoni or is today the day we should be burning his efigy. Or maybe I should file a law suit against Dhoni for defaming India's cricketing pride.

  • javlik on June 18, 2009, 22:52 GMT

    oh dear, Dhoni is a class act and no doubts. I absolutely enjoyed his captaincy in Australia and against Aus. at home test series in 2008. He is superb, but he has totally ruined it all in this world cup, anybody else couldve made better choices but Dhoni was just not thinking and terriable at decisions. Why not using Ojha enough. Ojha should in team at any 20-20 game against any team. Why didn't bowl Sharma in opening spells? Kept Yuvi and Yousuf for too late for big hitting. Yuvi should bat at 3 and Yusuf at 4, Raina and Dhoni could do it at lower order when runrate is high and just have to go through with shots. Y Praveen Kumar was not there? I think he couldve opened with Ishant sharma with ball swinging eartly on. Why Zaheer even play T20? I am sorry Zaheer just doesnt suit in T20s. He could be ok in odis and test, but not with these. Overall, pathetic and nonsense decisions and selections. I'M sorry mr. cool, youve made a mess of the whole t20s in england. SIMPLY worst decisions

  • sunil on June 18, 2009, 21:07 GMT

    great article,i think that he is a very good cricketer and captain.he has made mistakes, we all have so instead of calling for head why dont we support him evem more and let the team knows they have support and see what happends.in every game,there is a winner and a loser, so come on guys the wi tour is coming up, let the team know of thier support so that they can perform the best of their ability.after all it is what we all wanted.

  • HimaS on June 18, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    Well said Michael. I hope some sense prevails and Dhoni goes on to do what he has been doing so well in the past. MSD himself reads cricinfo and I hope he reads this piece on himself. He'll be happy to know what others think of him!

  • pradeep on June 18, 2009, 14:42 GMT

    Dhoni,is a very good captain but his batting performances were not at all good , worst infact. In the match against WestIndies he scored 11 from 23 balls which made india fell short atleast by 20 runs which costed the match.And in the match against South Africa his knock of 5 from 12 balls made the target impossible. Even the tailenders can do better than him. He is really not at all in form with. may be he should be rested so that he can find form. We cant pick a player for captaincy alone. He should be contributing to the team what he has to. If he is not doing that consistently I think he should be sacked from the team.

  • thushan on June 18, 2009, 14:10 GMT

    This is all about media evryday nobody can win i.e. AUS.it is pathetic media wants something to show either win or lose they will make a big blow in india.i know Sl very well allways fans are with them only (be a simple charechters as cricketers)

  • Kamil Bakar on June 18, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    MSD has to put his mind and soul exclusively for Cricket and staying away from the limelight. I wonder how does he juggle his hectic schedule with cricket & appearing for advertisements.

  • Subramani on June 18, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    Dhoni is and will always be a fine captain notwithstanding India's inglorious exit from the World Cup. He has the cricketing acumen and till this World Cup had an instinctive quality of finding solutions in any situation on the field of play. Some have called it luck. That may be true to a large extent as one saw at the last 20/20 World Cup. After his initial popularity with the media almost suddenly, he is being made to be the villian of the piece over the Sehwag issue. I think the media is being a bit too reactive if they reckon he does not answer too clearly. Dhoni could do much better in his press conferences by keeping his answers short. At present he gives answers that seek to intermingle cricket with philosophy. With this little correction I think happy days will be back for him.

  • Dikshit on June 18, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    MSD is still the cool captain he used to be.A T20 match is more of a lottery where you might need a little bit of luck,which unfortunately ran out for india.It's disgusting how the media,for whom Dhoni was the blue-eyed boy just two weeks ago,is adamant on hanging the man.Ex-cricketers who have hardly played a dozen test matches are critisising him.Get real,guys!!!

  • giri on June 18, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    MSD cant quite unleash the beast within him becoz there is nobody else to play the sheet-anchor role. its a mark of his commitment to the team that he is willing to reshape his game to suit the team's needs in ODIs. rohit, sehwag, yuvi, raina, yusuf cant modify their game. that leaves only gambhir and dhoni. admittedly, that leaves him incapable of moving into a higher gear in T-20s where the concept of sheet-anchor is mostly redundant

  • arun sharma on June 18, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    I agree he is different and honest but can Indian fans & media who "changes with the wind", can hold on for such person. He has a bit of work to do on his own batting as well. These 20/20 matches often doesn't require much cricketing brain hence his true challange will come when facing tougher teams overseas where his own batting along with his calm & uncanny skills to manage his team and bring their skills out will be fully tested.

  • Anshu on June 18, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    Yup, Dhoni certainly is an exceptional man. Sachin Tendulkar to Kirsten to good ol' Greg Chappell have also acknowledged that in the past. And fortunately no one in the BCCI or the selection panel has turned against him (or the coach).

    I'm really looking forward to how he and team India look to redeem themselves in the WI series. It's going to be a challenge for sure, especially without Sachin / Sehwag / Zak. But I have faith in guys like Yuvraj, Dhoni, Gambhir, Rohit and Bhajji. I'm sure they're all hurting at this point. And really wanting to reassert themselves.

    As for Dhoni the batsman, I agree he should "unleash the beast" (nicely said!) more in T20 cricket. But in ODIs, I think he's been doing exceptionally well, despite his self-restraint. (I think he is still rated among the top 3 ODI batsmen, as per ICC rankings) But should be really interesting to see how he bats, and at which number, in the WI. (My top 6 would be M Vijay, Gambhir, Rohit, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Pathan).

  • Pranav on June 18, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    I'd agree with the sentiment that India shouldn't crucify a good -- and to date reasonably successful captain, at least in ODIs -- because of one disappointing T20 tournament. However, I would disagree with the inference, indirect though it may be, that India lost because Dhoni (and others) chose the percentage game over the big hitting one. India lost in this tournament because it (and especially Dhoni) could NOT play the percentage game effectively. Look at the number of dot balls played out by India in each of its Super 8 matches, and compare that to the margin of defeat -- you'll get your answer. India didn't HAVE to have Dhoni the basher, it could have done very well with Dhoni the (recent) master of ones and twos. In situations where the ball was bouncing (vs WI, ENG) or spinning (SA) it was India's inability to effectively rotate the strike that made really piled on the pressure and made the real difference.

  • Hammad on June 18, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Dhoni is undoubtly india's best captain they ever had. But this time he fails both in his captaincy and also with his batting. Also he was under pressure by the indian media over Sehwag controversy. I think he need some rest both physically and mentally. So Mr. cool give your self some rest and then come back with fresh ideas.

  • Cerin Pathrose on June 18, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    Michael, you are bang on. Dhoni is gem of a person to lead a team. I admire him with others in the league - Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar. Like you said, he is shouldering too much of responsibilities and Mark 1 is not an option for him. If we look back, the team with Dhoni Mark 1 had reliable people in the middle order. The coming WI tour is even without Tendulkar. Dhoni should be asking for Dravid, to build a much potent team. It would be strategic to have Dravid. This will also help Dhoni and his young brigands to cut loose.

  • Gautam on June 18, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    Very true Michael ! But the problem is nation doesn't realize this .. may be majority of India..All they want is Dhoni's head. My question to all those is .. have they forgotten their own past when they hailed Dhoni as the best captain or the ultra cool captain . 10 days of T20 cricket..is that enough to change the way you think. The answer obviously is definite NO. And the hints of it.. watch the press conferences where he is the same Dhoni who accepts the mistakes without even blinking an eye. I have a simple question to so-called-Dhoni-haters " Have you all been always , at all times successful in the field you are employed in" . Ask your boss to get a more insightful answer. In between kudos to Michael for the greta post.

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  • Gautam on June 18, 2009, 7:49 GMT

    Very true Michael ! But the problem is nation doesn't realize this .. may be majority of India..All they want is Dhoni's head. My question to all those is .. have they forgotten their own past when they hailed Dhoni as the best captain or the ultra cool captain . 10 days of T20 cricket..is that enough to change the way you think. The answer obviously is definite NO. And the hints of it.. watch the press conferences where he is the same Dhoni who accepts the mistakes without even blinking an eye. I have a simple question to so-called-Dhoni-haters " Have you all been always , at all times successful in the field you are employed in" . Ask your boss to get a more insightful answer. In between kudos to Michael for the greta post.

  • Cerin Pathrose on June 18, 2009, 8:09 GMT

    Michael, you are bang on. Dhoni is gem of a person to lead a team. I admire him with others in the league - Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar. Like you said, he is shouldering too much of responsibilities and Mark 1 is not an option for him. If we look back, the team with Dhoni Mark 1 had reliable people in the middle order. The coming WI tour is even without Tendulkar. Dhoni should be asking for Dravid, to build a much potent team. It would be strategic to have Dravid. This will also help Dhoni and his young brigands to cut loose.

  • Hammad on June 18, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    Dhoni is undoubtly india's best captain they ever had. But this time he fails both in his captaincy and also with his batting. Also he was under pressure by the indian media over Sehwag controversy. I think he need some rest both physically and mentally. So Mr. cool give your self some rest and then come back with fresh ideas.

  • Pranav on June 18, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    I'd agree with the sentiment that India shouldn't crucify a good -- and to date reasonably successful captain, at least in ODIs -- because of one disappointing T20 tournament. However, I would disagree with the inference, indirect though it may be, that India lost because Dhoni (and others) chose the percentage game over the big hitting one. India lost in this tournament because it (and especially Dhoni) could NOT play the percentage game effectively. Look at the number of dot balls played out by India in each of its Super 8 matches, and compare that to the margin of defeat -- you'll get your answer. India didn't HAVE to have Dhoni the basher, it could have done very well with Dhoni the (recent) master of ones and twos. In situations where the ball was bouncing (vs WI, ENG) or spinning (SA) it was India's inability to effectively rotate the strike that made really piled on the pressure and made the real difference.

  • Anshu on June 18, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    Yup, Dhoni certainly is an exceptional man. Sachin Tendulkar to Kirsten to good ol' Greg Chappell have also acknowledged that in the past. And fortunately no one in the BCCI or the selection panel has turned against him (or the coach).

    I'm really looking forward to how he and team India look to redeem themselves in the WI series. It's going to be a challenge for sure, especially without Sachin / Sehwag / Zak. But I have faith in guys like Yuvraj, Dhoni, Gambhir, Rohit and Bhajji. I'm sure they're all hurting at this point. And really wanting to reassert themselves.

    As for Dhoni the batsman, I agree he should "unleash the beast" (nicely said!) more in T20 cricket. But in ODIs, I think he's been doing exceptionally well, despite his self-restraint. (I think he is still rated among the top 3 ODI batsmen, as per ICC rankings) But should be really interesting to see how he bats, and at which number, in the WI. (My top 6 would be M Vijay, Gambhir, Rohit, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Pathan).

  • arun sharma on June 18, 2009, 10:40 GMT

    I agree he is different and honest but can Indian fans & media who "changes with the wind", can hold on for such person. He has a bit of work to do on his own batting as well. These 20/20 matches often doesn't require much cricketing brain hence his true challange will come when facing tougher teams overseas where his own batting along with his calm & uncanny skills to manage his team and bring their skills out will be fully tested.

  • giri on June 18, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    MSD cant quite unleash the beast within him becoz there is nobody else to play the sheet-anchor role. its a mark of his commitment to the team that he is willing to reshape his game to suit the team's needs in ODIs. rohit, sehwag, yuvi, raina, yusuf cant modify their game. that leaves only gambhir and dhoni. admittedly, that leaves him incapable of moving into a higher gear in T-20s where the concept of sheet-anchor is mostly redundant

  • Dikshit on June 18, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    MSD is still the cool captain he used to be.A T20 match is more of a lottery where you might need a little bit of luck,which unfortunately ran out for india.It's disgusting how the media,for whom Dhoni was the blue-eyed boy just two weeks ago,is adamant on hanging the man.Ex-cricketers who have hardly played a dozen test matches are critisising him.Get real,guys!!!

  • Subramani on June 18, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    Dhoni is and will always be a fine captain notwithstanding India's inglorious exit from the World Cup. He has the cricketing acumen and till this World Cup had an instinctive quality of finding solutions in any situation on the field of play. Some have called it luck. That may be true to a large extent as one saw at the last 20/20 World Cup. After his initial popularity with the media almost suddenly, he is being made to be the villian of the piece over the Sehwag issue. I think the media is being a bit too reactive if they reckon he does not answer too clearly. Dhoni could do much better in his press conferences by keeping his answers short. At present he gives answers that seek to intermingle cricket with philosophy. With this little correction I think happy days will be back for him.

  • Kamil Bakar on June 18, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    MSD has to put his mind and soul exclusively for Cricket and staying away from the limelight. I wonder how does he juggle his hectic schedule with cricket & appearing for advertisements.