India in England 2011 August 26, 2011

Dhoni needs to put his foot down - Lloyd


Clive Lloyd, former West Indies captain and leader of one of the most dominant teams in cricket history, feels the time has come for MS Dhoni to put his foot down and ask for a team he wants. That is the only way, Lloyd reckoned, that Dhoni can lead India back to the summit of Test cricket.

Lloyd was virtually in a similar boat to Dhoni in 1975. On June 21 that year, West Indies had won the inaugural World Cup, beating the favourites Australia in the final. Four months later, they travelled to Australia to face Greg Chappell's team, the best Test side of the time, and were overwhelmed 5-1 in the six-match series. Lloyd's men were knocked off their pedestal by the supreme velocity deployed by fast bowling quartet of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Gary Gilmour and Max Walker.

Lloyd understood the only way West Indies could regain their preeminence and hit back at Australia was to use the same method - extreme pace. That was the genesis of perhaps the most famous fast bowling quartet of all time in Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner, who intimidated the best batsmen in the world for close to a decade.

"When I became captain I decided, fine, I have to do something different," Lloyd told ESPNcricinfo at St Lawrence County Ground in Canterbury where he had come to announce the shortlist for the 2011 ICC Awards. "I just put my foot down and said this is what I want. If you are going to be the captain you have to fashion things in your way and you have to tell the board exactly you are trying to do it. And they must back it."

The West Indies Cricket Board did not dispute Lloyd's decision. "They did [back it]. And that is how we came out trumps."

For the record Lloyd would go on to lose only one more series as captain - in New Zealand in 1979-80. According to Lloyd, India could actually use the 4-0 Test series defeat to England as a "catalyst" to develop the right tools that will help them get back to their winning ways. "It is entirely up to them how they use this opportunity and learn from their mistake," Lloyd said of India. "Eventually they will get back to their winning ways as they still are one of the best teams. This should be catalyst for making things right. They need to admit that we have made mistakes and we have to rectify them. "

One big reason Lloyd's West Indies reigned supreme for close to a decade was he had the respect of his players. In the aftermath of his first series defeat as captain, there is a steadily growing perception in India about Dhoni's ubercool attitude, a trait that has helped him enjoy a healthy relationship with the players in the four teams he currently leads (India in all forms of the game and the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL) needs to change. The suggestions are that he needs to be more involved in man-management.

Lloyd said he had the support of his players and a good management team that put a hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear if there was anything going on that wasn't in accordance with team plans. "That is where your team management comes in: they need to help him and remind him how exactly to getting back the winning ways. People will make remarks but you have to work at what you want, what you think is good enough for you to sort of to be the top team. You made them No.1 in the world, you lead them to world cup victory, so you have to try and re-group and make India a top team again."

Simultaneously, Dhoni also needs to perform to strengthen his grip on the captaincy. He made twin fifties in the third Test in Birmingham but his last century (132) came in the series-levelling Test in Kolkata against South Africa on Valentine's Day, 2010. An increasing workload that has reached unmanageable proportions has also affected his wicketkeeping, as witnessed during the England series where Dhoni failed to collect the ball neatly on many occasions.

"I respected my players and they respected me. It is the respect that is important," Lloyd said. "You have to go out there and perform and play by example and think about what you want to do is a captain. This is just a little blip and I hope Dhoni understands the importance of what he has to achieve in the next year or so to get India back in the park."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2011, 21:57 GMT

    If Cricket is religion in India then Indians are the new sect - T20 - Shehzad Ghani :P

  • Raj12345 on August 29, 2011, 15:29 GMT

    @StraightHit. You too understood tricks. Yes. Dhoni only selects the team so far and always ask for his friends. Fans,Please forget WC2011 Win. that is over. if you argue for Raina, RG, Kohli, read out their scoring outside indin in last 2 years. It is really surprise, why these people are not allowing any new cricketer to play in middle order. That is always big question. they want to play all formats T20, ODI & Test. this is really upset for other eligible players.

  • Raj12345 on August 29, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    At least some people started realizing now why DK is kept far away from his game. Whenever Dk asked to play, he played. He never given chance like Raina/RG/Kohli, then how will you expect him to score runs in single match. I respect Dhoni's win at 2011, but I can't remember that too long. You have to play every day with 100% involvement if not take rest, don't kill others chance. I am sure, not today, one other truth will come out, how present indian cricket is controlled by few players and not allowing any new people in middle order. Some more people will believe this once Rahane is denied with chances in future.

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    in my opinion it is wrong to blame dhoni.he lost the series 4-0 but this is not the one sided affair as it looks.1-1 series result was what indians could have achieved easily. i will explain how, in first test 5 wickets were left and only one session was there to negotiate draw was manageable(0-0).in second test indians were on top twice as england 124-8 and india 267-4 but they failed to capitalize and eventually lost the match they could have won(0-1) .in third test they were outplayed and they deserved the defeat(1-1).in last test we saw the heroics of mishra and tendulkar on final day, little responsible innings from raina and dhoni could have saved us for a draw.1-1 is what the series result could have been easily achieved.this series would be remembered fo rlost of opportunities.

  • kaathir on August 29, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    we found so many young players but none of them are promising. i would like to point out that our team is lacking (bowling) than other international team thats for sure. the lacking is not happened now its always there but our batsman hide it by some solid performances . but in england when the batsman failed the weakness has been shown.

  • kaathir on August 29, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    IPL sure spoils cricket which is used to be.

  • kaathir on August 29, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    @Nishikanth first of all i am not a sachin fan i love all the players who plays sensible cricket according to the circumstances. its the duty of the captain (Common) to maintain a team. if he is a better captain then why can't he save a single innings.

  • Nishikanth on August 29, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    @kaathir on (August 29 2011, 05:16 AM GMT) ... LOL, "Dhoni was never a cool captain. if see when ever a crucial time comes he never last in the pitch"???? What about recent world cup performance??? He made sure India worn the 2011 wold cup with 91*. From 2007 T20 world cup to 2011 ODI world cup to No1 spot in tests to many more records... many accolades to this great man! the problem withyou guys is that you all are not happy with him cos he is not a conventional cricketer.. his styles are new, his leadership is new, he methods are new.. so much for a change averse country of ours, we cant accept change, we love being in a condition where if Mr.Tendulkar does not play we MUST loose, not that I am against Sachin, he is great player of the game, but why are you behind Dhoni? The sole reason we lost the test series and performed poorly starting from west indies to england is because of player unavailability and nothing more.. see if England can perform with so many players missing..

  • kaathir on August 29, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    to my opinion Dhoni was never a cool captain. if see when ever a crucial time comes he never last in the pitch. how mwny times he scored when need to win and he is the only batsman left where is his coolness

  • dummy4fb on August 29, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    i m seeing everyone saying that dinesh karthik and Parthiv Patel are as good as dhoni...that is a joke...dhoni is just not in the nick of things at the moment... but i would actually like to see...raina out...and uthappa in... pinch hitter...and a player that can bat anywhere... raina has been given quite a few chances...while robin (even after what he did in the IPL) hasnt even been given a look... + with that...people like RP Singh...who are not even fit...are playing...while people like IK Pathan are sitting out...when they can bowl as good as them...but bat even better... this is just the way i see things...i might be wrong...but this is a team that should have the top 11 players playing in the 1.2 BILLION population...and not just Dhoni and friends...

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