England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston August 9, 2011

How much more can Dhoni's body and mind take?

In the last two-and-a-half years the India captain has played almost non-stop, and the sure weight of work is finally showing in his performances
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There are management gurus and researchers waiting to map MS Dhoni's brain so they can understand how India's most successful captain's mind works - how he manages to synchronise his thoughts into ideas and then into deeds. One of India's leading business schools wants to use the research as part of a neuromanagement course they plan to introduce. They might also try and find out, for research purposes, just how tired that brain is after the rigours and grind it has gone through since Dhoni became the leader of the Indian cricket team in all forms.

From 2009 till date Dhoni has played more top-level cricket (see sidebar) than any other cricketer, if you put the IPL and Champions League Twenty20 in that bracket. He has played 24 Tests, 61 ODIs, 16 Twenty20 internationals and 49 matches for Chennai Super Kings over three IPLs and a Champions League Twenty20. His closest contender in terms of workload is Kumar Sangakkara, who stepped down as Sri Lanka captain after the World Cup, and has logged 20 Tests, 61 ODIs, 24 Twenty20 internationals and 40 IPL games since 2009. Matt Prior might have played more international cricket than those two players - 33 Tests, 35 ODIs and five T20 internationals - but does not have the rigours of marquee Twenty20 tournaments to worry about.

If you further dissect Dhoni's schedule you wonder how the man has been able to continue walking, let alone squat, heave bats, keep a smile on his face while leading India to the No.1 position in Tests, lift gongs like the World Cup, the IPL title (twice) and the Champions League Twenty20.

Dhoni has the onerous task of leading four teams, which include so many players from different places, in three different formats, in addition to carrying out his wicketkeeping duties. A captain, a man-manager, a strategist, a wicketkeeper, a brand ambassador, a husband, a friend, an idol; Dhoni has to play all those roles convincingly, and at times, all at one go. Now you know the reason behind his increasing grey-hair count.

The trend is set to continue. India's schedule for the 12 months from May 2011 contains 125 days of work: 17 Tests, 36 ODIs and four Twenty20 internationals. In contrast, England play 12 Tests, 20 ODIs and eight Twenty20 internationals. With the BCCI reluctant to bench their most-marketable brand, Dhoni could either hope for a miracle or will be forced to call it quits in one of the formats.

It does not take an analyst to tell you that quantity can impact quality. This year, Dhoni has played in 21 international matches across all formats, and scored 472 runs with a top score of 91 not out, achieved in the World Cup final. In England so far his scores in the Tests read 28, 16, 5 and 0. In the tour match in Northampton he made just two runs before walking back in the face of taunts such as "Dhoni, what was that", having edged a half-hearted stroke to the wicketkeeper. Those figures seem ridiculous for someone who was once an impact player.

But India need Dhoni to stand strong and govern the lower order, which has been pathetic in comparison to England's. Dhoni feels the problem is more mental than technical. Men like Paddy Upton, India's mental conditioning coach during the years Gary Kirsten was coach, are confident about Dhoni's ability to bounce back.

"His workload is unbelievable and the level of performance he has delivered despite that is unbelievable" Upton says. "Dhoni is a warrior. Warriors don't complain. I certainly know there were times where he was fatigued but he soldiered on. He accepted what his responsibility was and also he probably realised the impact on other people. Dhoni would drop dead before he said he couldn't go on anymore."

It is easy to see that Dhoni is a bit distracted by the pressures of the ever-increasing-never-ending-workload. You can see him fluffing easy picks behind the wicket, which has also had an impact on the slip fielders. "I would imagine it is," Upton said about Dhoni being affected by the multiple roles he needs to perform efficiently. "But by the same token he will deliver. If anybody else had gone through what he has gone through their slump would have started a long time earlier and lasted a lot longer."

As for the mind-mapping gurus, they can only guess the vastness of the project they aim to undertake.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • InnocentGuy on August 11, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    All, Dhoni never personally quoted tight schedule as an excuse. It was Upton here who's talking about it. None of the players have ever quoted that as an excuse. Some players said that it is infact very hectic but never as an excuse. These players are like everyone else. They pride themselves in being able to play for India. Don't question their commitment. Sometimes they fall out of line, but it's only human. They are as human as everyone else. Just back them when they need our backing the most. Don't pounce on them.

  • Jaggadaaku on August 11, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Iyer, you are right. If Dhoni is tired from tight schedule, then he should rest it, and yes he did it in West Indies tour. Then why the hell he used tight schedule excuse? and if he wants more rest then be the guest and should go for it. These kind of people never complains about tight schedule in IPL where they make so much money playing more and more games. They rest during West Indies, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka tours because they don't like to go for shopping there. But countries like England, Australia or New Zealand, even if they are not in good form or fit they never rest because they have large amount of shopping opportunities in those countries. Most of them are millionaire and they don't like to buy the things what they are selling on the TV.

  • InnocentGuy on August 10, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    @araams, please Dhoni is 1000 times better than Nasser Hussain. That isn't even a comparison. Whether people forget it or not, Dhoni is the best ever captain India has had. Ganguly is a close second. Obviously you do not know (or care) what it is like to be Dhoni or any Indian captain. Chances are, you aren't good at what you do, that's why you are unable to identify excellence.

  • on August 10, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Good or a bad day...MS is a legend..Dhoni rocks foreva...this is just a start and I am pretty sure he will lead us for more victories ahead :)..Muaah MS :)

  • rohanblue on August 10, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    dnt worry dhoni we r with u, u keep smiling and try your 100%, let people say whatever they want , U ROCKKKKKK MAHI......

  • rohanblue on August 10, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    ia blame dhoni fr everything, what is sachin doing? though i'm an indian supporter, indian team surely dosnt desereves 2 b no.1, because of terrible bowling line up.....

  • SaravananIsTheBest on August 10, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Commitment, he's one of the guys who really mean it.... Mark these words, he will be one of the guy would stand in the leagues of Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble etc. Ups & Downs are always part & parcel of the game. Ppl would even blow away Sachin, Dhoni is not an exception at all :)

  • blondblackberry on August 10, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    why criticise dhoni sachin is playing poorly,likewise gambir,laxman are.u guys name an indian wicketkeeper even from old days with the calibre of dhoni.how many of them atleast kept well leave alone their batting exploits.for guys critizing dhoni's captaincy he is the best in biz.want to recal what happened with sachin,dravid it wil b the same if u giv to gambir or some others.

  • ElPhenomeno on August 10, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Yeah, it must really be hard to play a sport for a living while making a fortune enough to buy an island of the coast of bahamas and then some.

    I once remember, someone asked Jose Mourinho how much pressure there is in football. Here is his reply, word for word.

    Pressure? What pressure? Pressure is poor people in the world trying to feed their families. Working from dawn till dust just to feed their young. There is no pressure in football.

    Go figure ....

  • on August 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Nobody can comment on Dhoni's performance after reading this article. Now its very hard time for Dhoni. But has a captain Dhoni will surely bounce back and keep Indian Cricket in the Top position. So everyone please stop your negative comments and keep hope on one of the Most Successful Indian Captain.

  • InnocentGuy on August 11, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    All, Dhoni never personally quoted tight schedule as an excuse. It was Upton here who's talking about it. None of the players have ever quoted that as an excuse. Some players said that it is infact very hectic but never as an excuse. These players are like everyone else. They pride themselves in being able to play for India. Don't question their commitment. Sometimes they fall out of line, but it's only human. They are as human as everyone else. Just back them when they need our backing the most. Don't pounce on them.

  • Jaggadaaku on August 11, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Iyer, you are right. If Dhoni is tired from tight schedule, then he should rest it, and yes he did it in West Indies tour. Then why the hell he used tight schedule excuse? and if he wants more rest then be the guest and should go for it. These kind of people never complains about tight schedule in IPL where they make so much money playing more and more games. They rest during West Indies, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka tours because they don't like to go for shopping there. But countries like England, Australia or New Zealand, even if they are not in good form or fit they never rest because they have large amount of shopping opportunities in those countries. Most of them are millionaire and they don't like to buy the things what they are selling on the TV.

  • InnocentGuy on August 10, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    @araams, please Dhoni is 1000 times better than Nasser Hussain. That isn't even a comparison. Whether people forget it or not, Dhoni is the best ever captain India has had. Ganguly is a close second. Obviously you do not know (or care) what it is like to be Dhoni or any Indian captain. Chances are, you aren't good at what you do, that's why you are unable to identify excellence.

  • on August 10, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    Good or a bad day...MS is a legend..Dhoni rocks foreva...this is just a start and I am pretty sure he will lead us for more victories ahead :)..Muaah MS :)

  • rohanblue on August 10, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    dnt worry dhoni we r with u, u keep smiling and try your 100%, let people say whatever they want , U ROCKKKKKK MAHI......

  • rohanblue on August 10, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    ia blame dhoni fr everything, what is sachin doing? though i'm an indian supporter, indian team surely dosnt desereves 2 b no.1, because of terrible bowling line up.....

  • SaravananIsTheBest on August 10, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Commitment, he's one of the guys who really mean it.... Mark these words, he will be one of the guy would stand in the leagues of Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble etc. Ups & Downs are always part & parcel of the game. Ppl would even blow away Sachin, Dhoni is not an exception at all :)

  • blondblackberry on August 10, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    why criticise dhoni sachin is playing poorly,likewise gambir,laxman are.u guys name an indian wicketkeeper even from old days with the calibre of dhoni.how many of them atleast kept well leave alone their batting exploits.for guys critizing dhoni's captaincy he is the best in biz.want to recal what happened with sachin,dravid it wil b the same if u giv to gambir or some others.

  • ElPhenomeno on August 10, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Yeah, it must really be hard to play a sport for a living while making a fortune enough to buy an island of the coast of bahamas and then some.

    I once remember, someone asked Jose Mourinho how much pressure there is in football. Here is his reply, word for word.

    Pressure? What pressure? Pressure is poor people in the world trying to feed their families. Working from dawn till dust just to feed their young. There is no pressure in football.

    Go figure ....

  • on August 10, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    Nobody can comment on Dhoni's performance after reading this article. Now its very hard time for Dhoni. But has a captain Dhoni will surely bounce back and keep Indian Cricket in the Top position. So everyone please stop your negative comments and keep hope on one of the Most Successful Indian Captain.

  • on August 10, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Man MSD u r the man!!!how do u do it? I can understand y the indian team is slacking off in England.. You dnt need to worry, u cnt always expect to win!!!

  • on August 10, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    After a poor show everybody pulling MSD, first of all he is also a human being not machine. We should him a free hand let him decide what to do next.

  • on August 10, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    I dont understand being not from India, I adore Dhoni for what he has done to Indian Cricket.....He has lead his team to many tournament victories more than any captain in the world right now. Just because Indian batsmen and bowlers are not performing does not mean him a Wicket Keeper has to score triple centuries and take 10 wickets for zero runs. He is a Wicket keeper for gods sake with a brillient mind. He has taken India to No1. Its now up to the Great BCCI to groom better bowlers and better batsmen and make his job easier. The new generation is not promising for Indian Cricket and its not Dhoni's fault. Its the BCCI's cricket prigrams fault.

    People who mock Dhoni after all his victories (than any captain in the world), is just stupid. It also says Indian fans are never satisfied.

  • on August 10, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    yes guys..its so easy to blame someone..this and that....but just for a moment think urself in place of dhoni....first of all those who are talking about his replacements from test side please suggest a capable replacement...i know many are jealous of dhoni coz he has achieved amazingly beyond their expectations....and those who are considering themselves to be grt analysts that dhoni is only "lucky"...a man cannot be lucky forever..okk...we cant even imagine the fatigue and transformations dhoni has to go through...and stil maintain that smile and calmness...just coz u have decided on ur own once...u cant just always keep blaming the players plz reanalyse...and i m really upset with those people who transform like chameleons...they were shouting and praising the man on the eve of world cup victory...remember it was achieved through an efficient management of an average team....u cant be lucky for everyone..

  • SanjivAwesome on August 10, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    Dhoni comes in for stick from some contributors in this column occassionally. But I think he is awesome for India. What he has achieved for India. Keep going strong, Mahi

  • araams on August 10, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    I dont think this team is better than what Saurav and John Wright formed esp.in test cricket.And this is to much about Dhoni.Simply praising beyond the line.He is not shrewd captain like Nasser Hussian or Steve Waugh.If England is closer to No.1 spot now they whole credit goes Nasser Hussian and Fletcher.They changed the complete system.Dhoni has done nothing like that.He has 'n' number background staffs to support when it is required.In IPL franchise working hard than players to bring their teams to top.His work is very less there.How a person can change a team within few days.Its all done by manager,coach and all bakroom staffs.He is simply leading the guys to the ground.May be some small inputs.But it is not something impossible by a human who has been playing cricket so long time.He is a very practical guy.He is very matured and have good cool head on his shoulders.Thats it.But he is not a wonder.Brain mapping and all too much.!!!

  • tanweeralam on August 10, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Indians have very short-lived memory. It was not long ago people were asking Sachin's head as he was facing a slump in form (Including the great Kapil who asked Sachin to quit) and the reasons were immense, from his fragility to in-swinging delivery to back problem to ultra long cricket carrier. Today same Sachin is to whom the whole of nation is looking forward to for the first ever 100th century. Today Dravid has become the best ever cricketer (I donot doubt his abilit) following two magnificent knocks but it was him who was disgraceful stripped of the captaincy and even team spot after humiliating defeats and he was suggested to retire. The greats of Sachin and Dravid took captaincy and left it disgracefully because they could not cope with it (except for Ganguly is a fighter like Dhoni). People should at-least give credit to Dhoni for not only making the Team India a result giver but also had maintained his own form (barring the current and WI tour) his records has been good.

  • ansram on August 10, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    @Mihir - 125 days of high level cricket is not the same as a sedentary 125 day job. The physical demands are not even comparable to a white collared job. A wicket keeper's job is even more tougher.

    Dhoni's fitness and mental toughness are very high and the guy looks like a top athlete, but then there is a tripping point for anyone and Dhoni is riding on such a trough now. He will bounce back. He does not have the best technique as others said but he is a fighter and will make up for his deficiencies.

  • on August 10, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Chennai Superkings is run by Mr. Srinivasan (secretary, BCCI)... Now why would Dhoni refuse any of the BCCI or IPL proposals when he knows the above facts... ? Its common sense... u keep playing and u get paid... ups and downs in one's productivity are part and parcel of any professional outfit.. be it corporate or sports... if u know this then why are u questioning the poor fellow now when u know u have laden so much of responsibility on the person without any planning and without giving him enough rest and practice... this basically refers to the flaws in the Human resource management the BCCI as a company has... They not giving their FTEs (Full Time Employees) the benefits that they actually deserve... Mr. K Ravi Shankar does enjoy his weekends which are free but think about this fellow who has to work like clock work day in a day out... and then when u are sipping ur hot cup of lemon tea over the weekend u want Dhoni to entertain by performing ?? lovely indeed... !!

  • on August 10, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Mr. K Ravi Shankar... a very valid paraphrase indeed... does money really matter that much... ?? lets just say u are an IT administrator governing around 20 systems in an office... suddenly ur company get ambitious seeing ur performance and asks you to manage another 5 offices with 30 systems each... What would u do then... firstly whatever u do u are a junior to the management and u only take order and are not invited for opinions (read BCCI's refusal for Dhoni's demand for practice matches in South Africa) secondly if u become much obsessed with ur quality and dash straight to the board to refuse the task, what would be its aftereffects ? management would very well say they understand but in reality they are looking for people who actually can... ! So where does that leave ur job ? Even now, there is only one person having a permanent place in the cricket team and that is Tendulkar... imagine what all he had to achieve to be able to say that... ! Why would ... (Cont.)

  • on August 10, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    TRUE LEGENDARY NOTHIN TO SAY....DHONI THKNS FR GETTIN THE WORLD CUP ITS ENUGH FR MI

  • AMLA-DRAVID-TROTT on August 10, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Dhoni was never a batsman with good technique. His style is suited only for T20's and ODI's. He's simply not good enough for test let alone captaincy. A captain should lead from the front. His average says he isnt. I dont blame him for playing IPL. It's the only way to be financially secured after retirement. A player's career ends after 35. Most of us can work till we are 50. However, I blame him for taking a test spot. He should give the captaincy to Gambhir and groom a younger player. Either he comes up the order and scores runs or he leaves. Those who say Clarke and Johnson are good examples are crazy. They were never good enough. Clarke cant score quickly and Johnson bowls all over the place. Bopara is another fool. He left the IPL to prove what? He was never good enough to earn a test place. I dont believe that the schedule is busy. Players need to choose a format and master it. Dravid-sachin-vvs are good because they know where their strenghts and they play to it.

  • on August 10, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    Why is working 125 days too much for these guys? It is simple, if you want to earn that much money, more you work.. Lot of top CEO's of the company work that much!

  • bhaloniaz on August 10, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    There is no doubt Dhoni can score faster than many (specially in subcontinent). He averages below 40 in tests. Many great batsmen (with 50+ average) go through batting slumps. His captaincy is overrated. At times his unconventional bowling changes brought a few wickets. He favors spinners and so its no wonder he is having hard time to manage medium pacers. Indian quicks were never great, but they are decent. They are not good enough to lead India to number 1 spot. Current indian team will have problems in OZ and SA.Indian batting is strong (almost all batsmen average 50+). Indians love to make hero. So Dhoni and Tendulkars are like Gods. Statistics will show other indian batsmen are very close to Tendulkar. Also batting condition have some effect on statistics (indian batsmen are good but still overrated because they mostly play in india, indian bowlers are decent, their statistics donot always show that).

  • popcorn on August 10, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Dhoni has been riding on his luck ONLY. His glovework is poor, his Captaincy pathetic.Now he is exposed.Time fior him to be sacked.

  • on August 10, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Thanks Mr. Nagaraj for even caring to write about this area often neglected. Please guys, relax. Please show some empathy. Step in this man's shoes for 1 minute and then type anything you want. Dhoni has done more than enough for Indian Cricket. In stead of criticizing him, try and became or produce a good cricketer for India. Don't keep on blaming IPL for everything folks, IPL has revived interest in cricket without doubt for many. As someone who is so talented, Dhoni should be allowed to chose which ever form of game he wants to focus. One of the best solutions for Dhoni could be playing just the shorter versions of the game, which best suits him and his natural game will yield better results for the country. An other interesting option is to select a WK and Dhoni play as a specialist batsman apart from captaining the side.

  • Susmit on August 10, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    I liked the article..because it reminded me of the past three years of Indian success (which I think is a result of some pretty hard work put in by Dhoni & Kirsten). People who have criticised Dhoni should first read this article and see what he has acheived for India. Try remembering the last time India had enjoyed such a purple patch. You wont remember because there hasnt been one. And now just because we have lost 2 test matches people start criticising Dhoni. I must admit that Dhoni is playing really poorly at the moment, but give the man some break. His records (even in tests) are much better than any of our wicket keepers till date (His one day records are so good that they explain themselves). Plus he captains the team admirably. What more can you ask from a player. Give him some time and he will be back at his best

  • KKSHARMA144 on August 10, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    I would not blame it on Dhoni, rather 1st test loss would have to be attributed to Zaheer, when he was not sure about his fitness he should not have opted for being included in the playing 11, which would have given India a bowler in hand, which would have certainly boosted the bowling attack and helped in atleast ending the match in DRAW if not a win for India. For the second test it would be complete failure of the team on the whole, except for bowling in the first innings and Dravids batting in the first innigns, rest all went wrong for India.

    As truely quoted IPL has put lot of stress on India's top players, my suggestion would be cut down the total number of matches per player to 70% of the total matches to be played by the team in IPL which would mean the main player would have some breathing space at the same time would allow the teams to provide the needed oppotunities to the new players to prove themselves in IPL, which was the very purpose of the tournament.

  • on August 10, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    I think Dhoni should be given rest for sometime or give up captaincy of test team.A person can only take so much.A new wicketkeeping batsman for test will do India a lot of good also it will give Dhoni much needed rest.In my opinion India should build different teams for both one day and test giving more importance to test cricket.

  • takingguard on August 10, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    As far as i know, Azhar was a great captain for India, but Dhoni now has become the greatest captain of India in less than 3 years. That is a fantastic achievement and theres no doubt he would manage to come out of these difficult days....All the best MS..

  • Alexk400 on August 10, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I am not dhoni fan. But i know Dhoni is greatest captain ever in cricket history. Assume if he has steyn in his armoury?. He will win every game. He is very effective in how to use his tools. He looks exposed when he has no tools. He never miss an oppurtunity to win. He is not a good TEST player in swing conditions like rest of indian players except dravid. India can lose anyone and win in India with dhoni. if they lose dhoni , all hell break lose because indians will not win even with all the tools. Because dhoni can speak in media without offending anyone. Have you ever seen him bad mouth anyone ? Very rare. Respected by opponents and peers. Ganguly was also aggressive captain hated by opposition because his irritating behaviour.

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    Well if Dhoni is playing all these matches can he himself say why he needs to take such a 'burden' ?? Who asks him to play in the IPL ? why does he need to captain in IPL ? Does that money really make all that difference , i think not. We also tend to overlook one important factor, that is todays, players are proffesionals. That is all they should do and they get very big bucks for doing what they have to do !!Try mapping out a busy executive who would be travelling around the globe making decisons that would affect thousands of employees, who has to ensure his organization does well and would probably be having meetings all day and sometimes night. And he/she is doing this for many many years !! So playing without responsibilites is not such a life and death issue !!!!

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    I think everyone is mature enough to know when to play and when to rest ... and it will be silly to say that the schedule is busy or didn't had time to prepare.. One can voluntarily ask for rest no one is there to blame you for that .. till someone is performing he loves to play each game and when performance dips down start blaming schedule . silly

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    What a Joke? IIM wants to analyze Dhoni's brain. He is the most overrated cricketer ever. Fortunate to get captaincy, over sehwag and yuvi . Lucky to survive by playing most of his matches in sub-continent pitches. He has a better team *(sub continent) and it is not his effort to win world cups, it was a team effort. Tell me a substantial innings from him in test matches. He should have been long gone from the team if it is not for his captaincy post. Remember this is the first tour to England as a captain. All other test series victories for him are from only subcontinent pitches. Do not defend the Indian team and dhoni. Accept the fact that England is playing much better than us and we are fortunate to be in top rankings by our test matches schedule.

  • KiwiRocker- on August 10, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    I agree with Naresh's comments- This is all driven by greed and modern day hunger. Dhoni has an extra workload of being a wicket keeper compared to most captains..But no one forces him to play IPL. This article is pointless in that sense. Johnson, Clarke and Ravi Boparas are fine examples of putting country before club. Those titles and home manufactured wins at world cup and test matches mean nothing. India's real test was in SA and they were lucky to draw while second test came in England and they are being beaten by wider margins as to what teams like Pakistan and SL lost in summer...A clear indication that ICC ranking system is also flawed. Sadly the golden goose if IPL has shot itself in the foot. Based on current form, Dhoni is lucky to be in the test team..But so is the case with Tendulya..

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    dhoni is a good captain just a god captain....not a good batsman....

  • notvery on August 10, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    must be so tough having to stay in 5 star hotels get massages everyyday and play cricket for millions of dollars a year...and then have nannies/cleaners/cooks etc at home when you do stay there. makes me feel so much better about working 5-7 days a week, cleaning my own house, looking after my own rug rat and having to PAY to play cricket, oh and not being able to afford to travel let alone in 5 star hotels, sure has made me feel better about myself knowing that he has it so hard!

  • rsurya on August 10, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Its not becoz of dhoni we lost today neither becoz of dhoni we won yesterday. its when players are in form and out of form.

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    What really matters is an Indian win. And if the captain plays the top knock the team would do good. MS hasn't impressed the Indian fans so far.

  • on August 10, 2011, 5:00 GMT

    @xylo Dhoni who is a wicket keeper first and batsman next is struggling in both departments.And for the record he was always a batsman who could keep.so were many other great WK batsmen..and they improved over time BUT dhoni hasnt he still has a lot of flaws for an international keeper and not enough technique for a Test No:7

  • MaruthuDelft on August 10, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Forget scheduling; India bowling never never never looked convincing but with that and some luck Dhoni has managed to draw a test series in SA but make no mistake the reputation of the India cricket team and the respect for Indian physicality and competing ability have not really gone up even after winning the WC. SA, Oz and England still don't believe Indians are good sportsmen and they are right. Until India has developed a good bowling unit to outplay one of those teams convincingly in their own backyards India is not good in sports. WC win is not deserved. It is just like an unconvincing student getting a certficate. The Marvellous Dhoni has managed to float India for a while but India has a problem no captain can solve. Inferiority in bowling is a cultural problem; the society has to eat well and approach things in a hard honest way in order to win fame; Spin, Batting & Chess need it to a lesser extent; Fast bowling & Olympics need it in full which Indian don't have right now.

  • on August 10, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Dhoni is going through a rough patch - because of the excessive work load enhanced by the non performance of his team. There have been glaring mistakes all around. His field placings are found wanting. His bowlers appear over-worked, by bowling in long spells. Fast bowlers should generally be used in short bursts of 3-4 overs at the most and here we have a Praveen Kumar bowling 10 overs on the trot. The team compositiion is not always right. I sincerely hope they put on their thinking caps for this one. We have a green top for a wicket. The weather forecast puts the temperature at around 20-21 deg C through out the game, with light showers, almost every day. Overcast conditions, means the ball will move. Four pacemen should be the order of the day or even five, if you can afford them. The batsmen will have to bat out of their skins, and Dhoni should bat higher up the order and take the onus on himself to put up some runs. He has always batted better, high up. The toss is not important.

  • Joby_George on August 10, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    Our media is responsible for the failures of Sachin & Dhoni. All knows sachin is the best batsman in the world, media writing too much about his 100th ton. he is a person who can never overcome tension. We saw him struggling from the semi final match against pakistan for his 100th ton. Leave him alone, let him score or not score his 100th ton. Also, Mahi, he always speaks in press about our media, if he fails, "WHY" will be the question surrounding him, if he wins all praises, but failures counts and are more exaggerated

  • on August 10, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Give Dhoni a McGrath or a Tim bresnan along with a swann or mural and you will see magic, this guy has the worst Indian bowling attack and even worser management to work with and he still delivers, just imagine what will happen if Strauss is asked to lead with the Indian attack, or pointing is made to work with bhajji in current shape....what drone needs is someone like Kumble who will be the workhorse ti go to.

  • chin-music on August 10, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    Hang on, there ! Are you suggesting Dhoni or any of the other "poor, overworked" team - are not repsonsbile for their own decisions? Nothing other than their own inability to say no to the big bucks - forces them to play the meaningless tripe of the IPL / Champions Trophy etc . And these are not guys who have'nt already made enough from the game - I think there is something to learn from the example M.Clarke , Broad etc who turned down IPL to stay fit for international commitments.

  • blondblackberry on August 10, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    some guys r complaining that ipl cost us dearly.wait those clarke's and johnson's r doing no better than india.what happened in the ashes why clark&johnson didn't save them.dhoni knows what he is doing if can't do he wil silently sit out,not like others. i hav a doubt if dhoni comes up with a matchwinning performance with the bat and gloves what these critics wil do shave their ass or what?

  • on August 10, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Well said xylo... Best XI is back, Edgbaston is gonna be all together a diff game, ENG Get Ready...

  • on August 10, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    Clearly - his form in England shows that the party is over. Its not too much of a case-study anymore than is it?

  • Sukumar_Kantri on August 10, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    It happens with all the cricketers having a slump phase in thier career. Sachin,Rahul,VVS,Sourav,Sehwag,Bhajji everyone had it in the past and Dhoni is not an exception considering his schedule. Most imp thing is Dhoni didnt say he is having fatigue or needs rest or he is over burdened. Its the view of the author only. Dhoni cant be blamed for this. Its highly appreciable that he had kept his slog phase to lesser extent than other Indian greats. When he won the World Cup, he made India get no1 rank in tests, made CSK win IPL & CLT20, made Ind win T20 WC he was considered the best by all those criticisers. But when nothing went right in this series , he became worst for them. Injuries,Inexperienced bowling attack, Batsman performing to lesser extent than needed, in such conditions it is impossible for any captain to win the series...

  • iphone1 on August 10, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @middlestump. Your comments are in poor taste. Sl fans accuse Malinga of turning his back on tests. At least Dhoni is committed. Earning millions is not a joke. While Eng players/ fans carp about IPL, the auction last season had a lot of names from England. If you had $1000 you found on the street compared to an imaginary $1000 you are about to get in 1-2 weeks the temptation is different. If you cant make constructive comments maybe take your criticism elsewhere.

  • xylo on August 10, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    @MiddleStump... gee... he was asked to captain the World Cup team, and the world cup was home delivered to him? you think the BCCI would have been okay with Dhoni sitting out of the IPL? People are mostly jealous of someone making money.

    @nareshZZZ... Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson have surely been the best performers for Australian cricket in the past one year, you might want to add? And, you think cricketers from India/Pakistan have other sources of income other than their paychecks?

  • Iyer on August 10, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    Nobody is forcing him to play. If he his tired let him stay away from cricket. Nobody is indispensable. Men may come and Men may go, but the caravan goes on forever. Atleast we will see some young blood coming into team, with the vigor to make money and fame. Indian cricketers value to cricket team is more only during their growing days to stardom, once they achieve stardom their value to the nation's team declines, and their wealth increases manifold. If I were the selector, I would keep these guys on the hook. The moment they hit the stardom I would put more pressure on them to perfrom, otherwise I would not hestiate to drop them. The incetive to perform well is only at the young age when they are tying to establish a name for themself. Probably sachin is an exception to this. But 95% of the cricketers fit into this theory. Look at Ishant, how dare could he refuse to bowl on day 4 after lunch break at Lord's citing his future? And he is not punished for that.

  • arpzzz on August 10, 2011, 2:44 GMT

    Just few months before, Dhoni won the World Cup for India, he was Man of the match in final. Everybody were praising Dhoni for his fantastic job. He won T-20 world cup, Asia Cup also. Now India lost 2 Tests in a row, so everybody is pointing fingures on him. I dont remember which Captain has got success in all 3 formats of game? and He achieve success with such depleted bowling attack, is more remarkable.Ponting come close to Dhoni as successful captain but Ponting did have best bowling attack in the world, and he was not able to lead Aus to any T-20 Glory.

  • on August 10, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    I still remember a quote once the legend sachin said refering to dhoni that 'Indian cricket is in golden hands now'.Hope these words remain true in the years to come.I wish dhoni'll come out of these tough times in england n lead the team to glory.

  • Joji_ on August 10, 2011, 1:27 GMT

    Whats with all the anti Dhoni bashing... May not agree with the article completely but have say that Dhoni is one of the best cricketing minds around at the moment. He along with zaheer is the reason that India is at the top of the points table for the tests at the moment. P.S. this is coming from a Pakistani cricket fan !!

  • MiddleStump on August 10, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    Poor Dhoni! He is being forced to play for the Chennai Super Kings (for a few million), captain India in the World Cup, lead the Indian team in test series at home and abroad. He is also being forced into shooting for so many commercials. Even a soldier serving in the armed forces is allowed a break, but not Dhoni. All this stress have naturally led to some form of early memory loss since he forgot the third man position altogether on the 3rd day at Trent Bridge when 417 runs were scored. But I am sure come the next IPL season, Dhoni will be the first to arrive at the stadium preparing himself admirably to take his millions, er, catches. Such dedication for the game never seen before in the history of cricket.

  • krazzyking on August 10, 2011, 1:10 GMT

    i cant believe some of the comments here... ostracizing dhoni just because a few fatal errors... this shows how graceless the public. the guy is just going through a lean patch that every one goes through once or twice. you have seen it with the greatest of players. why should msd be any different. Once back, all these sycophants will revert back to praising him.

  • krazzyking on August 10, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    take a break mahi. might do a bit

  • on August 10, 2011, 0:58 GMT

    To prevent this all the main 15-18 main players of team India should not play IPL. They can take rest during that period instead of going behind money and allow young potential players to showcase their talent. Its crazy to hear that people wants to research Dhoni's brain.

  • on August 10, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    It's hard to feel sorry for Dhoni. No doubt, he has been an excellent cricketer. I really think him and Sachin should put their foot down and get the BCCI to have a normal schedule. Unless this happens, they are as much responsible for this lousy scheduling, as the BCCI. Secondly, no one forces Dhoni to play in the IPL. He will still be making loads of money if he doesn't play such tournaments. But his priority definitely seems to be to catch up with Sachin in the money stakes, if not his records....Sorry, but if you insist on tiring yourself out, it's silly to blame anyone else for that....especially given his status in the team.

  • nareshZZZ on August 10, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    It's the greed for money, pure and simple. These guys should learn from Aussies like Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson who have said 'no' to the Big Bash because they want to prepare and stay fresh for their national team. Dhoni, Zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Harbhajan are all guilty of placing club (read mega bucks) over country. If these guys are tired, they should be dropped. We're getting thrashed anyway - better to lose with a second-string side playing for India.

  • xylo on August 10, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    Dhoni's importance will dawn on people only when he retires, which I am afraid will happen sooner than people expect. He will leave as a very content man, and then there will be panic trying to cover up the void. As for people who talk about the money that cricketers make and compare themselves, they should realize that the earning window of such a player is probably 15 years(on average). "God" is still struggling to get to his 100-th 100 when asked to play on a seaming pitch after skipping the West Indies tour to be with his family, and people cut a lot of slack for him; Dhoni (who is a wicketkeeper first and batsman next) tries to keep his troops up to the task with some of his troops sporting new belly muscles and some getting conveniently injured and some sporting egos as big as their bellies, and people call for his head?

  • HyderabadiFlick on August 9, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    It is up to the player to decide to take a break. Dhoni himself is a good example of missing the 3 test series in SL and 5 ODI' s in the WI due to fatigue. But I do not think this series performances are all due to Dhoni's fatigue. It is clearly show Dhoni's ability in swinging conditions. He goes after the ball very hard and the ball goes after his outside edge very hard. He is probably the only batting Indian captain who failed in English conditions very badly. That separates Viru from Dhoni. Viru is a great test cricketer T20 style. BAN and ZIM are bottom 2 teams and margin of victory shows the competitiveness of both the teams and when the world#1 team is competing in testing conditions you expect a fight and not submissive performances test after test. Viru will surely bring spark into the team and will make life easy for the batsmen to follow. India will win one test of the next 2 and we'll see a draw giving END(2-1). This is the most appropriate result to this imbalanced series.

  • vattettan on August 9, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    I think all the Indian cricketers who are certainties in both ODIs & Tests (Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Ishant) shouldn't be allowed to play IPL. May be BCCI can do something about it. Like pay each of them (or make the franchises pay them) some big money like the highest bid (last year it was Yusuf's 2.1 million). That way they get rest & get paid too. I really can't complain them playing for money as I see me and everyone around does the same with our jobs. People keep switching jobs or roles for higher pay even though current pay is more than sufficient for living. Unfortunately that is a curse on human being that they always wish for more. Very few are free from this, may be like Mitchel Johnson. By the way, there are comments here blaming Dhoni saying excuses. I never heard such an excuse from him. I heard him only saying about some of his bowlers. This article is purely the author's analysis, not an excuse from Dhoni, please understand before commenting.

  • kitten on August 9, 2011, 23:13 GMT

    The success rate that Dhoni has achieved is phenomenal, an envy for all captains around the world. But the writer is right, Dhoni needs a break if he is to carry on making India successful in the future. It doesn't matter that this series will be lost, but for heavens sake let us make sure our best cricketers are taken good care of and given a rest. Make Gautam Gambir captain for a series and give Dhoni a break. The IPL too should be reduced by a few weeks, in other words, fewer games involved. The teams should be divided into groups, and the games played on a round robin basis until the next round, which should then be on a knockout basis. The full tournament should not exceed three weeks or so. Common sense should prevail, and ofcourse cricketers themselves should take responsibility and look after their bodies, to prevent a fiasco like Zaheer taking place again.

  • DaveLaw on August 9, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    This only shows that Dhoni is not enjoying his cricket. He should take a break and let others to play who will enjoy their cricket and desperate to play for the country.

  • gsreddy851 on August 9, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    Its not Dhonis burden... He has become burden to team lately.....

  • ab1968 on August 9, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    This team probably underestimated England - particularly the bowling - and the weaknesses that were seen in the West Indies have been exploited; plus the breaks haven't come. As a consequence, runs haven't got on the board and the decisive moments have not been taken advantage of.

    But the guys also need to be given some slack. No. 1 for a while, drawn series in SAF, the World Cup; they have given a lot to make people happy. Now is the time to support as, no doubt, they are trying their hardest.

  • gsreddy851 on August 9, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Dhoni is clearly on decline... He had the advantage of best indian team ever.. i dont think he made too much difference with his captaincy... His brain is not that of Abdul Kalam to do research....this ranchi guys have nothing more than highlighting this DHONI factor...

    Dhoni all together palyed 200 International cricket days compared to Prior 205 days... Who the hell asked Dhoni to play IPL... he did for money.. When u take up ipl for money...why the hell he always complain abt tight schedule...

    All the indian cricketers are out there for money except few guys who play for nation... I dont know why Bhajji, Zaheer, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Sehwag dont felt the need to take rest/break right after of World Cup..instead they played IPL and skipped WI tour...which clearly shows their greed for money... GOD SAVE INDIAN CRICKET....

  • Master01 on August 9, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    Time ti quit ipl for DHoni i think, thats 2 months off he would get

  • Patchmaster on August 9, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    Good captains can work with poor sides - Lets see how Michael Clarke and Dhoni do now that their teams are not strong anymore - that is the true test.

  • on August 9, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    BTW who is stopping him from taking rest. Look at how other International stars are able to manage the workload.Dhoni never skip a series because he fears that if someone like Dinesh Kathik comes and perform well his position will be in doubt. Its a ridiculous article. On batting pitches the fatigue never comes only when ball is swinging and bouncing they give so many excuses !! Come on guys don't just defend them.Make them learn from their mistakes.

  • NewYorkCricket on August 9, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    If he is tired. He should resign captaincy and concentrate on his performance. May be that's what he will do.

  • asillypoint on August 9, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    Have I missed something. Only two months off - more than most people. Travelling the world, paid vast sums of money. Wop - de - do. He doesn't HAVE to play so much cricket. Amazing how the moaning from cricketers about too much cricket suddenly disappeared when the riches of the IPL came. Perhaps we all need a reality check and maybe consider some occupations which are far more onerous and pay a very small percentage of Dhoni's income. Come on - wake up to the real world.

  • on August 9, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    People want to research Dhoni's brain? What a joke, what was the reason he couldn't rest during the IPL? And he did choose to rest against WI so the point is moot. Probably his priority is money that's why

  • zico123 on August 9, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    Dhoni should give up captaincy for IPL and CL and should skip first and last week of every IPL session to gain extra mental and physical rest. BCCI should seriously do something about it, they should realize quintity is killing quality, they should reduce IPL to 2 week event rather than 7 week event, or atleast restrict participation of Indian international players to middle part of the tournament only

  • Nampally on August 9, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    When the opposition is strong, the captaincy is put to test. Unfortunately, Dhoni made many captaincy mistakes in the current series against England and also in the WI test series. In the current England series, Dhoni failed as a batsman, WK and made some crucial tactical errors in captaincy. So he is a human after all.For goodness sake, lLet us not get carried away and try to analyse his brain.Fortunately for Dhoni he was supported by the best Indian team ever. Also he had the advantage of having the best Coach in the World - Kirsten. Now with an ordinary coach like Fletcher & injuries to the key players, Dhoni has his problems just like any other captain. This has affected his performance in every department of the game. Hopefully with the return of Sehwag & Gambhir and dropping of Bhaiji, Indian team will do better.Good Luck Dhoni.

  • VickGower on August 9, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    Thank you for this article. I hope all along, especially when Dhoni finally enters his inevitable decline, we have such reminders of what an unbelievable person this man is.

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  • VickGower on August 9, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    Thank you for this article. I hope all along, especially when Dhoni finally enters his inevitable decline, we have such reminders of what an unbelievable person this man is.

  • Nampally on August 9, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    When the opposition is strong, the captaincy is put to test. Unfortunately, Dhoni made many captaincy mistakes in the current series against England and also in the WI test series. In the current England series, Dhoni failed as a batsman, WK and made some crucial tactical errors in captaincy. So he is a human after all.For goodness sake, lLet us not get carried away and try to analyse his brain.Fortunately for Dhoni he was supported by the best Indian team ever. Also he had the advantage of having the best Coach in the World - Kirsten. Now with an ordinary coach like Fletcher & injuries to the key players, Dhoni has his problems just like any other captain. This has affected his performance in every department of the game. Hopefully with the return of Sehwag & Gambhir and dropping of Bhaiji, Indian team will do better.Good Luck Dhoni.

  • zico123 on August 9, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    Dhoni should give up captaincy for IPL and CL and should skip first and last week of every IPL session to gain extra mental and physical rest. BCCI should seriously do something about it, they should realize quintity is killing quality, they should reduce IPL to 2 week event rather than 7 week event, or atleast restrict participation of Indian international players to middle part of the tournament only

  • on August 9, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    People want to research Dhoni's brain? What a joke, what was the reason he couldn't rest during the IPL? And he did choose to rest against WI so the point is moot. Probably his priority is money that's why

  • asillypoint on August 9, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    Have I missed something. Only two months off - more than most people. Travelling the world, paid vast sums of money. Wop - de - do. He doesn't HAVE to play so much cricket. Amazing how the moaning from cricketers about too much cricket suddenly disappeared when the riches of the IPL came. Perhaps we all need a reality check and maybe consider some occupations which are far more onerous and pay a very small percentage of Dhoni's income. Come on - wake up to the real world.

  • NewYorkCricket on August 9, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    If he is tired. He should resign captaincy and concentrate on his performance. May be that's what he will do.

  • on August 9, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    BTW who is stopping him from taking rest. Look at how other International stars are able to manage the workload.Dhoni never skip a series because he fears that if someone like Dinesh Kathik comes and perform well his position will be in doubt. Its a ridiculous article. On batting pitches the fatigue never comes only when ball is swinging and bouncing they give so many excuses !! Come on guys don't just defend them.Make them learn from their mistakes.

  • Patchmaster on August 9, 2011, 22:37 GMT

    Good captains can work with poor sides - Lets see how Michael Clarke and Dhoni do now that their teams are not strong anymore - that is the true test.

  • Master01 on August 9, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    Time ti quit ipl for DHoni i think, thats 2 months off he would get

  • gsreddy851 on August 9, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Dhoni is clearly on decline... He had the advantage of best indian team ever.. i dont think he made too much difference with his captaincy... His brain is not that of Abdul Kalam to do research....this ranchi guys have nothing more than highlighting this DHONI factor...

    Dhoni all together palyed 200 International cricket days compared to Prior 205 days... Who the hell asked Dhoni to play IPL... he did for money.. When u take up ipl for money...why the hell he always complain abt tight schedule...

    All the indian cricketers are out there for money except few guys who play for nation... I dont know why Bhajji, Zaheer, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Sehwag dont felt the need to take rest/break right after of World Cup..instead they played IPL and skipped WI tour...which clearly shows their greed for money... GOD SAVE INDIAN CRICKET....