Eng v Ind, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day August 17, 2014

Dhoni's control test

For all MS Dhoni's many trophies and accomplishments, Test cricket continues to resist his magic and indefinitely postpone his motorbike ride into the sunset
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Play 02:30
Giles: Dhoni adapted technique to conditions

The cricketer comes home from the ground, turns on his computer and fires up his favourite game. It's one of those strategic warfare fantasy games that takes a long time, and needs much attention. He gives it his all. He conquers gods, vanquishes trolls and protects his castle.

The game has programming rules that cannot be cheated. It's an epic, but an epic within the guideline of modern computer gaming knowledge. He understands it. A mistake on it might cost some pride, but it won't be reported on for days by past greats. He doesn't have to front up to cameras, or answer pissy questions about decisions he made. No one will stone his house. No one will blame his family.

It's just a game. You switch it off.

****

MS Dhoni told All Out Cricket magazine of how he would have catching practice in front of a senior player's motorbike years ago. It was to scare him into not missing the ball. And his keeping is like that. It would make Wally Grout cry from an aesthetic viewpoint, but it's survivalist keeping.

Dhoni might be gifted, but he also knows how to survive.

****

The ball drops on the off side and Dhoni takes off for a risky single. There is an 8-1 off-side field. The ball goes past the stumps and overthrows are taken. It could have been just a simple lucky break. But maybe it was Dhoni's magic cricket brain looking for an easy single if they couldn't shy at the stumps, or easy overthrows if they missed the one stump to aim at.

It's not even a question you would ask about most players, but Dhoni thinks about cricket on a different plane than most people.

The myth of Dhoni has always been there. He drinks four litres of milk a day. He runs eight kilometres a day. He won't cut his hair for luck. On the back of Tendulkar and Dravid, Dhoni is almost too good to be real. India's first great keeper-batsman. A man who doesn't hit the ball but hurts the ball. A leader. A statesman. A patriotic hero from the boondocks.

Dhoni has magic. Dhoni is magic.

The Joginder Sharma over. Him moving up the order in 2011 World Cup final. A simultaneous long- and regular mid-off for Kieron Pollard. The Ishant Sharma Champions Trophy over. The 7-2 fields. They are the glory stories that sometimes don't look as magical when you really think them through.

For instance, there were virtually no other options other than Joginder for the 20th over in the 2007 World T20 final. Harbhajan Singh had bowled himself out of the game in the 17th over. Sreesanth bowled his last over in the 18th. There were two overs left, and three frontliners left to bowl. RP Singh bowled the most important, penultimate over. And Joginder was a specialist last-over bowler that Dhoni had seen up close and personal do that job before. Including in the match before.

And yet, if Misbah had got a tickle, instead of a mishit, on that scoop, Pakistan could have won. Second ball after Dhoni promoted himself in the World Cup final, he could have been stumped. Processes and results.

Nothing deserves more analysis than the Ishant Sharma over. It was heralded as one of the great masterstrokes of captaincy. Your fast bowler is not bowling well. There are three overs left. You probably don't want him bowling in the Powerplay at the end. You have a medium-fast new-ball specialist and a young kid with overs to spare but you turn back to probably your least reliable death bowler. Ishant bowls a dot ball, followed by a short ball on leg stump that goes over the rope. He follows it up with two wides. What should happen next is an over that loses the game. Instead Eoin Morgan chases leg side, when he should have gone over off, and is out. Next, a short, average ball is smashed by Ravi Bopara straight to a fielder. Ishant wins the game. Dhoni is a magician.

The processes seemed flawed there, but the result was not.

****

You can't really know what it's like to be an India cricketer until someone has stoned your house because you decided to bat second on a day that might rain. That is what happened to Dhoni in Ranchi when, against Australia, he decided that batting second with rain around would help his side. Instead, the match at JSCA International Stadium was washed out. And some fans on the way home decided to let him know his decision not to let them see him and his mates bat was rubbish.

"We spent money to watch our country's sensations Dhoni, Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan. We lost both money and an interesting match due to rain." We threw stones at your house.

****

The press conference at the WACA is in a sweaty concrete box that has brown ooze leaking from the roof, with gym equipment moved to the side. It's a horrible place for anyone, and a weird place for a multi-millionaire to have to front up and explain his actions.

India are now 0-3 against Australia, 0-7 in consecutive overseas Tests. The Indian cricket historian Boria Majumdar is in front of a camera and the veins on his hands, throat and forehead are dancing violently. The press pack sit and whisper to each other. Dhoni walks in. The Indian journalists try their questions, it goes nowhere. A lone English journalist asks a question. It's not really a question, it's more an outpouring of frustration of having been at the last seven away Tests.

He asks Dhoni what is happening behind closed doors, if Dhoni is furious with his players. If he's grabbing them by the throat. That he's showing passion. If this hurts him. If he is really doing anything to fix it. The questions come with passion and frustration, the emotion is obvious. Dhoni smiles, shows none of the emotion of the questioner and suggests that all players are different and that some don't respond well to yelling so you have to do whatever you can to get the most out of them.

In one question from a neutral there was more passion than Dhoni ultimately showed in any of his eight losing press conferences in that run.

****

Ishant Sharma didn't want to bowl short at Lord's. Dhoni convinced him.

The balls before the wickets, England were playing the hook with ease. They were scoring freely. The India lead was fast disappearing. Commentators were already starting to attack this stupid tactic.

But if you'd followed England up to that point, you knew the hooks were their bravado. You knew that they couldn't keep it up. You knew that eventually at least one of them would fail. Luckily for Dhoni, it was far more than one. It's more than possible that this was a mistake by Dhoni, who became the genius when English players made more mistakes more often.

It will be added to the Dhoni myth.

****

Dhoni is not suddenly leading the first ever great India touring team, and doing it badly. In his time, it hasn't been a great team, even if it's had greats in it.

Zaheer Khan is skilful, to use the modern parlance. Bhajji was great at home, average away. Ishant may still be a work in progress after he has retired. RP Singh was gone before he went to Southbeach. Ashish Nehra never quite made it. Munaf Patel slowed down. R Ashwin isn't the answer.

There is no Harris, Johnson, Philander, Asif, Amir, Herath, Swann, Ajmal or Steyn in that list. To win on the road you need consistent wicket-taking threats. Zaheer aside, India haven't been close under Dhoni. If Dhoni wanted a bowler to improve his team, he should trade a couple of his potential batting prodigies for one Javagal Srinath clone.

But now even his batting is looking poor. And his slips can't catch the few chances his bowlers make. It's not a time of milk and honey.

****

In one question from a neutral there was more passion than Dhoni ultimately showed in any of his eight losing press conferences in that run

Dhoni backed Ravindra Jadeja when no one else would have. But Jadeja can go either way. And while he was lucky in his innings at Lord's, he was largely useless at each and every other time he was used. Ashwin spent three Tests reading fiction, and two Tests bowling and batting better than Jadeja.

The most frequently asked question of this series is what the hell is Stuart Binny? A No. 8 who has bowled 32 overs across three Tests isn't a Test cricketer, he's a passenger. If he is a swing bowler, why was he consistently across all games deprived of the ball when it was swinging? If he was an actual bowler, why was he deprived the ball in every game? If he was a batsman, why the hell was he behind Jadeja in the batting order?

Rohit Sharma played one shot and he disappeared. He must look at all the other shots everyone else played and sigh.

Dhawan is a match-winner. He was replaced by Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir's average is 6.25 in this series. And that flatters him.

The only time he stayed in the middle was to check if he was run out. One of India's biggest fighting men, standing mid-pitch in the rain, as everyone else runs off, just hoping he had just got back in the crease to continue his miserable attempt at an innings. Even on a depressing tour, this was a dark moment.

The broadcaster should be fined for showing India fans such unedited brutality.

****

India are 1-0 up, chasing 180. They needed 87 in 15 overs with seven wickets in hand. Dhoni shakes hands.

There are India fans who have read that and just gone back into a fit of rage they might take a hour to get over. This was against West Indies in 2011. It was their last victory in an overseas Test series. It was their first in two years. Sure, they were the No. 1 Test team but much of that had been made from draws, they had only really beaten New Zealand away from home, 1-0 in 2009. The one before that was in 2007.

India don't win away from home.

So now think about what Dhoni did. Of course, they could and should have batted on to win that Test against West Indies. But why would Dhoni, a man who loves to weigh up the odds and numbers in his favour, a man who likes to bat in ODIs until the bowler is under as much pressure as him, throw all caution to the wind and give West Indies a chance of denying India a precious away series victory?

That series was their last win away from home. Dhoni's team had earned it. He wasn't going to risk another Test win against his series win. Dhoni's brain isn't programmed that way.

****

The owner of Chennai Super Kings might be hard to work out but we know who picks the team.

Dhoni picks role players, working parts, that make his team better than other teams. Their overseas players aren't Gayle, Malinga and KP. They are players who fill gaps in their Indian roster and will play the game in certain ways. Brendon McCullum is their biggest name but Ben Hilfenhaus, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry and John Hastings are the other players listed there. While most IPL teams rely on overseas batsmen, Dhoni relies on the locals at the top of the order.

It gives him a team of no missing parts, a real team. Not a few stars with teenagers filling in the spots. That Chennai team is probably the best team there has ever been in domestic T20 cricket. It brings Dhoni much pride. He likes the way he brought it together, he likes how it works, he loves to play with them.

He tries to create this in Test cricket. Good, honest, battler cricketers. What you have to do in Test criket, is wherever possible pick your best team.

India did not do that once here. Arguably they did not do that once in South Africa. Arguably they did not do that once in New Zealand. This Investec Pataudi series we saw Dhoni's Frankenstein in full horror.

****

Most cricket journalists refer to players by name, or just ask them the question. Not so for Dhoni. Indian journalists refer to Dhoni as "captain" or "skipper". It's the ultimate respect. It's as if his position is not just captain of the cricket team, but captain of the nation.

The next captain probably won't be called that. Dhoni may be the last. Dhoni is not just a captain, he is the captain. The most winningest captain in the history of India.

Dhoni has won the World Cup. Dhoni has won the World T20. Dhoni has won the IPL. Dhoni has won the Champions League. Dhoni has taken India to No. 1 Test nation. Dhoni has won the Champions Trophy. All as captain. He has done all of that in a shorter period of time than Graeme Smith, who didn't win a World cup or World T20. And without Kallis and Steyn.

All that is left for him is to be his nation's Clive Lloyd or Allan Border. The man who sets up a team that can win for a generation. Dhoni wants to do that, and then walk into the sunset and ride his motorbikes and help India's armed forces. At this rate, that ride is postponed, indefinitely.

****

Dhoni is a great limited-overs captain. He probably would be even if his trophy cabinet wasn't full. But it's the results which have allowed him to have the career he has had. They allow him to select the team, the coach and dodge bullets when it comes to his time to be fired.

There is no doubt he has a proper connection with the limited-overs game. He has a way of getting the most out of players. And he has MS Dhoni in his team. Unless you get him out, they win. It's a pretty good combination. It is how captaincy should be.

Rarely is he attacking in the field, but he finds interesting and novel ways to contain, frustrate and disrupt opposition players. You can see how instinctive he is. You can see how the analysis and preparation often drifts away. Dhoni reads the game so well, it's like he wrote its code. At times it is as if he is working on another level to all the other players.

In Test cricket much of that seems to go away. There are no real timings. It just goes. A decision in a limited-overs match can often be seen immediately as a mistake or success. In Test cricket it might take hours, sessions or days to work out if what you did was right. The instant feedback disappears. Dhoni can't make his instant adrenalin calls the same way.

Tests are not like that. You might make the exact right decision, but you need to stick with it for hours, sessions or days to get the result. You don't chase targets, you just bat. You bowl your bowlers until they're tired, broken or dead, not until their quota is done. You don't need a mathematic brain, you need a brain that understands the past, present and future and can plan endlessly. There is no definitive right or wrongs.

But it's not just that Test Cricket isn't a programme, there is also a simple truth. Dhoni has a great ODI team. Dhoni does not have a great Test team.

****

India lost within three days despite rain at Old Trafford. There is a hurricane coming, and there is already a monsoon of disappointment from the media and fans. Dhoni sits at the press conference desk and flicks the microphone and laughs.

It could be seen as an uncaring captain. One who cares more for the yellow or blue clothes he performs so well in. But really it's just how Dhoni is. He won't be as upset as you want him to be. He will react to the loss his way. He expects better from his team, he wants better from his team. But a tragic loss won't affect him how it will affect most of the fans back home.

That is how you become Dhoni. For better and worse.

By the end of the Oval Test, Dhoni had fronted up for 100 days more cricket than any other international captain. He will have played in 285 days of Test Cricket, 159 ODIs, 48 T20s. Plus 122 IPL matches. He's also played some Champions League and a few tour matches.

In public press conferences on this tour alone Dhoni has uttered approximately 9156 words on this tour. And that is before what will surely be an epic last press conference that may never end.

While he shows little patience with the bat, Dhoni is nothing but patient with the press. Throw him a furious tiger snake, and he'll talk it down with talk of processes, positivity and not getting caught up in the result. The snake would end up nodding hypnotically back at Dhoni as his answer went beyond mere words and forms a stream-of-unconscious self-help mumblecore poem. The snake is always defeated. But the snake never goes away.

****

Dhoni faced five balls in the second innings at The Oval. The fifth one was edged on to his hip, short leg took the catch.

Dhoni looked up quickly, then hurriedly left the ground. There was no applause for the man who had surprisingly won at Lord's, who had made a great knock in the first innings and who had, despite a batting style that shouldn't work in England, made four fifties. Instead it was a quick walk. A typically emotionless response. And a few quick practices of his clip off the hip that went wrong.

Dhoni was already back in the now. That wicket was the past. There would be more balls on the hip to play in the future. This was all a process. The result didn't matter. It never did.

Unless you win.

****

A Test series is not over after a day, it takes months. Every single choice, lifestyle, selection and on-the-field action is dissected by people. People who are under less pressure than you. People who don't know how hard you work. How hard you try. How much it means to you. People who have never played. People who have never been as scrutinised as you. It doesn't end. It keeps going. And you either win, or it breaks you.

If it doesn't break you now, the next one will. Or the next one.

Do you know what old champagne smells like? It doesn't smell like victory. And what is worse is when you can't even remember what the smell of champagne is like.

Dhoni can control his gaming. Dhoni can control his limited-overs cricket. Dhoni can't control Test cricket.

It's not a game.

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY dovo on | August 19, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    M.S.DHONI IS A MAGICAL,MYTHICAL FIGURE.THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIAN CAPTAIN OF ALL TIME! He can still play test cricket as a keeper/batsman or purely as a batsman,he may find it difficult to play when he is not captain. There are times in test cricket when you need to be orthodox,to be traditional,to stay with a tested formula.He can pass on his cricket knowledge to a younger captain while still in the team. He also has the option of not playing test cricket at all,although I feel he may want to leave test cricket on a positive note.The tour to Australia can give him that chance. In test cricket,as part of captain's flexibility,his versatility,there are times when you need to be steady,to be patient,to stick with the orthodox! As CAPTAIN , no matter how positive you are,no matter how instinctive you are,you need to find a way to inspire each player.A simple thing like going up to a bowler in his run up,putting your hand on his shoulder and saying something,anything can be amazing!JAIHIND

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth - Well said.. @Cpt.Meanster - Can you please illustrate how is ODI more 'sensible' than tests? Is it only some section of crowd not liking Cricket skills simply endorsing limited overs Cricket? Since, I asked you the question, its becomes necessary for me to answer why I think tests are more sensible:- 1. It is where a bowler can plan a batsman's dismissal better as he has the time and resources to do so 2. It is also where a batsman has the time to counter a bowler bowling very well and still do well 3. To do both of the above, it is not enough to just hit, miss and giggle, need real skill - both technical, physical and MENTAL. 3. Plans that do not work out can be corrected 4. A player gets another chance after failure to resurrect himself and his team 5. True test of character happens due to endurance that is required to play a test If we draw philosophical parallels, this is what we exactly seek in life too..!!So, it represents life more than a limited overs game

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | August 20, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster...what is there to be so insecure about? Not sure if you are old enough to remember the frenzy caused by India's 83 world cup win and how the momentum then shifted to short (50 Overs) form of cricket. There were even plans of kicking off something akin to today's IPL (if my memory serves, something like corporate championships, where 10 teams were supposed to play a ODI league). And all that hubris (even then) about end of test cricket etc. has fizzled out. Test cricket will stay. Trust me, an Ashes series generates more revenue than a T20 world cup. No way test cricket is going to die. That has been discussed over so many generations and here we are still.

  • POSTED BY Mike_Tyson on | August 20, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    @ Temuzin - Lol!! Prasad was an average bowler at best, he would have fit very nicey into this side! Kumble and Srinath were well past their best and Bhajji was only an unplayable bowler for a few series.

    You mention Ganguly's record in the IPL and there is the problem, you compare IPL achievements with Test cricket, while Dhoni may go down in history as a geat T20/ODI player, he will never even get mentioned as a test player. Dhoni is not half the player or captain that Ganguly was, his test results in the last 4 years show that.

  • POSTED BY sachink.khanna on | August 20, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Nice article !! India's struggle in overseas conditions seems confounding, the entire team seems struggling, can't score, bowl, and even catch well. It is as if team hasn't played any way cricket, players are changing but overall performance isn't. Dhoni however can still raise his hand up and say he is doing good, batting and keeping well but ultimately India is still struggling n struggling.

  • POSTED BY on | August 19, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Very nicely written article bringing out all facets of Dhoni's history as Captain of Indian Cricket team.

    Every captain gets a turning point if they are worth their salt. The team has gone through a complete transformation since 2011 post world cup. The team does not have fast bowlers who can run through the opposition. Those currently there showed brilliance in the initial matches but soon showing weariness to the demands of high class international cricket. The young lot lack stamina to sustain in test matches. They may be brilliant in ODIs or in T20 games, but mental & physical strength requirements of Test cricket expose them very badly.

    In batting , you do not have the quality openers like Sachin or Saurav or Sehwag who were excellent in every form of the game and shook the opponents with their class approaches. In the middle order, Dravid and Laxman were the feared lot by the top most bowlers in the world. In test cricket, one needs to reinvent constantly to be at top.

  • POSTED BY wide_gully on | August 19, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Could not agree more with anything you have said in this article, Jarrod. I only wish our selectors could be as perceptive, incisive and analytical as the writers at Cricinfo!!!

  • POSTED BY rising_phoenix on | August 19, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    You're a pretty good writer....i liked this part -"There is no doubt he has a proper connection with the limited-overs game. He has a way of getting the most out of players. And he has MS Dhoni in his team. Unless you get him out, they win. It's a pretty good combination."

    also the part about Gambhir

  • POSTED BY on | August 19, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Excellent well-researched article.

    Dhoni is Dhoni, less effective as captain - much less effective, one might say - in Tests than otherwise. But in the 'otherwise' he is so immensely far ahead of anyone else - is there anything he hasn't won ? - for India he really and truly is THE CAPTAIN !

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 19, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth: Why are test lovers so insecure when posed with smart, intelligent questions and comments from the lovers of 'sensible' cricket a.k.a limited overs cricket ?!

  • POSTED BY dovo on | August 19, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    M.S.DHONI IS A MAGICAL,MYTHICAL FIGURE.THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIAN CAPTAIN OF ALL TIME! He can still play test cricket as a keeper/batsman or purely as a batsman,he may find it difficult to play when he is not captain. There are times in test cricket when you need to be orthodox,to be traditional,to stay with a tested formula.He can pass on his cricket knowledge to a younger captain while still in the team. He also has the option of not playing test cricket at all,although I feel he may want to leave test cricket on a positive note.The tour to Australia can give him that chance. In test cricket,as part of captain's flexibility,his versatility,there are times when you need to be steady,to be patient,to stick with the orthodox! As CAPTAIN , no matter how positive you are,no matter how instinctive you are,you need to find a way to inspire each player.A simple thing like going up to a bowler in his run up,putting your hand on his shoulder and saying something,anything can be amazing!JAIHIND

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth - Well said.. @Cpt.Meanster - Can you please illustrate how is ODI more 'sensible' than tests? Is it only some section of crowd not liking Cricket skills simply endorsing limited overs Cricket? Since, I asked you the question, its becomes necessary for me to answer why I think tests are more sensible:- 1. It is where a bowler can plan a batsman's dismissal better as he has the time and resources to do so 2. It is also where a batsman has the time to counter a bowler bowling very well and still do well 3. To do both of the above, it is not enough to just hit, miss and giggle, need real skill - both technical, physical and MENTAL. 3. Plans that do not work out can be corrected 4. A player gets another chance after failure to resurrect himself and his team 5. True test of character happens due to endurance that is required to play a test If we draw philosophical parallels, this is what we exactly seek in life too..!!So, it represents life more than a limited overs game

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | August 20, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster...what is there to be so insecure about? Not sure if you are old enough to remember the frenzy caused by India's 83 world cup win and how the momentum then shifted to short (50 Overs) form of cricket. There were even plans of kicking off something akin to today's IPL (if my memory serves, something like corporate championships, where 10 teams were supposed to play a ODI league). And all that hubris (even then) about end of test cricket etc. has fizzled out. Test cricket will stay. Trust me, an Ashes series generates more revenue than a T20 world cup. No way test cricket is going to die. That has been discussed over so many generations and here we are still.

  • POSTED BY Mike_Tyson on | August 20, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    @ Temuzin - Lol!! Prasad was an average bowler at best, he would have fit very nicey into this side! Kumble and Srinath were well past their best and Bhajji was only an unplayable bowler for a few series.

    You mention Ganguly's record in the IPL and there is the problem, you compare IPL achievements with Test cricket, while Dhoni may go down in history as a geat T20/ODI player, he will never even get mentioned as a test player. Dhoni is not half the player or captain that Ganguly was, his test results in the last 4 years show that.

  • POSTED BY sachink.khanna on | August 20, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Nice article !! India's struggle in overseas conditions seems confounding, the entire team seems struggling, can't score, bowl, and even catch well. It is as if team hasn't played any way cricket, players are changing but overall performance isn't. Dhoni however can still raise his hand up and say he is doing good, batting and keeping well but ultimately India is still struggling n struggling.

  • POSTED BY on | August 19, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    Very nicely written article bringing out all facets of Dhoni's history as Captain of Indian Cricket team.

    Every captain gets a turning point if they are worth their salt. The team has gone through a complete transformation since 2011 post world cup. The team does not have fast bowlers who can run through the opposition. Those currently there showed brilliance in the initial matches but soon showing weariness to the demands of high class international cricket. The young lot lack stamina to sustain in test matches. They may be brilliant in ODIs or in T20 games, but mental & physical strength requirements of Test cricket expose them very badly.

    In batting , you do not have the quality openers like Sachin or Saurav or Sehwag who were excellent in every form of the game and shook the opponents with their class approaches. In the middle order, Dravid and Laxman were the feared lot by the top most bowlers in the world. In test cricket, one needs to reinvent constantly to be at top.

  • POSTED BY wide_gully on | August 19, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Could not agree more with anything you have said in this article, Jarrod. I only wish our selectors could be as perceptive, incisive and analytical as the writers at Cricinfo!!!

  • POSTED BY rising_phoenix on | August 19, 2014, 10:44 GMT

    You're a pretty good writer....i liked this part -"There is no doubt he has a proper connection with the limited-overs game. He has a way of getting the most out of players. And he has MS Dhoni in his team. Unless you get him out, they win. It's a pretty good combination."

    also the part about Gambhir

  • POSTED BY on | August 19, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Excellent well-researched article.

    Dhoni is Dhoni, less effective as captain - much less effective, one might say - in Tests than otherwise. But in the 'otherwise' he is so immensely far ahead of anyone else - is there anything he hasn't won ? - for India he really and truly is THE CAPTAIN !

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | August 19, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth: Why are test lovers so insecure when posed with smart, intelligent questions and comments from the lovers of 'sensible' cricket a.k.a limited overs cricket ?!

  • POSTED BY GVKM on | August 18, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    very nice article Kimber. I didnt see fighting spirit in Indian team,everyone knows they will loose but they didnt fight it out. Like England calling up Gooch for batting practice in the nets for Bell. i didnt see the same thing from India. Its the process they didnt concentrate i guess.

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | August 18, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    @Dhruv_RS...you don't seem to like test cricket. So, why comment so many times and vent your rubbish all over this article, that is clearly about test cricket? Chill. your slam-bang circus will start in September. Then you can comment all you want with your so called wisdom of this sport.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | August 18, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    @Mike Tyson: you must be kidding. gangully had best bowlers India has ever produced. He had Kumble (India's highest wicket taker), He had Harbhaja (second highest wicket taker), He had srinath, Prasad and others all in their primes. So just stop hyping Gangully. I know he failed miserably in 2 IPLs inspite of selecting his teams. He was fired to get KKR on track.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 18, 2014, 16:43 GMT

    Excellent...Tremendous piece of novelic writing on cricketing stuff ...While reading I hoped that this article should never end ...Thoughtful insight of Dhoni..I love him for the story the drama this character brings to cricket ...Btw Splendid article.

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 14:58 GMT

    (contd) Its not connected to how the world works anymore, sooner or later the viewer's sensibilities are going to show it.

    MSD is already there - the whole setup needs to move too, and has to move.

    It has no choice eventually. It neednt be another extreme towards 20/20 or flipping a coin, but there'd be a middle ground it would need to come to. and the first thing, is this purist talk about tests needs to get real.

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    @Roshan_P Most cricketers are already tired by the 3rd 4th innings. Every second inning (>95%) is sub par in performance, everyone dips towards ordinary, and for those 5% of matches - well you cant make ppl suffer 95% of the time.

    Even the viewer.

    Maybe rename test to Limitest, or semi-test or something like that - play one inning full day, each side, and go home.

    You want to come back at each other - prove something else, go do it in the second game of the series. Giving another chance in the same game - at the expense of DAYS is a legacy of last century, and is just a nuisance - change it and move on.. this has to happen sooner or later.

    Now the main thing, Jarrod Kimber was smarting around "Test" format and how MSD couldnt touch or control it - so well its the test format thats flawed - there's no logic or rational behind this purist talk about tests. They dont belong in 2014, and the nuisance has to change. Its not connected to the world anymore - n the gap keeps on widening

  • POSTED BY Mike_Tyson on | August 18, 2014, 14:38 GMT

    @Adnan A. Khan - Lol! MS is nowhere near the greatest cricketer produced in Indai!

    Gavaskar, Tendulkar and a few others would lay claim to that title. This man has led India to 5 overseas losses in a row, granted it is not all his fault, but is it not the captains job to motivate his players and get them to show a bit of fight? If he didn't have the team, then hy did he not pick others when selecting the squad before the tour? He has complete say in who is chosen in the squad. As for him winning matches, yes I will give you that BUT only onedayers, he has been hopeless in tests. Please don't compare him to Sachin as he won matches for India tests and onedayers, home and away unlike MS.

    For anyone saying MS doesnot have the bowlers, he does, he just doesn't know how to use them. Ganguly who is indias greatet ever cptain never had a great bowling attack but he still won series abroad. It's all about getting the best out of what you have. Cricinfo, this time please publish

  • POSTED BY Raki99 on | August 18, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    what can a captain do when your top 5 batsman can't score a fifty in this series , after the first 2 test when Vijay and rahane played well the last three test were just horrible every batsman failed to score the runs and stay on the wicket. Dhavan, ghambhir, Pujara, Kohli , rahane they all failed in the last 5 innings. The leader is only good as good is his team. Even the Bowlers started giving up in the last two test. can't blame them when your batsman can't put runs on the board. Sure he is not the greatest test captain but if not him and than Who? Ghambhir career is pretty much over. whom can you make captain. This Eng. team is not that great and they are gone lose the ashes next year for sure. I think in my mind that Dhoni should just take some rest from Test team and gather his thoughts. Criticizing Dhoni alone is not right for this debacle coach and other management is equally responsible for this.

  • POSTED BY whirlaway on | August 18, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    It is not just Dhoni's captaincy, it is the entire Indian Test team that is lacking. They have just proved that they can't bat, bowl, catch, field or even run! Is there any aspect of the game that they didn't cover? ;-)

    The effects of IPL/T20 on the Indian team is obvious. Their batsmen can't stay for long. They can't even play spinners properly any more because the T20 formula is to take 15-20 runs off an over, whereas in Tests, all you need to do is to not lose your wicket and score whenever there is a bad ball. Their bowlers get tired as a Test progresses as they are asked to bowl 3rd, 4th, 5th spells. Their fielders can't take any catches in close-in positions (there are hardly any slips in the T20 games, much less short leg or silly point).

  • POSTED BY wapuser on | August 18, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Oh c'mon guys! U cannot blame dhoni for the disatrous debacle. He was and always will be the greatest cricketer and the greatest captain india has ever produced. So stop dissecting every move that he has made in a match and just enjoy the man play the game in his own style! Cheers dhoni! Always your fan.

  • POSTED BY Roshan_P on | August 18, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    @Dhruv_RS - I suggest you stick to limited overs, mate, if you can't see why Test is best. In answer to your question of "Why 2 innings each?", well it is the 3rd ad 4th innings that the players get tested the most. It is then that the most interesting cricket and the most drama occurs. The first two innings are the base leading up to the finale. I know Test cricket will be much less interesting if just the first two innings are played. Why not more than 2 innings each? Well then players will get too tired, making the cricket poor and I'm sure spectators will get fed up of following one match for more than 5 days.

    @Jarrod - Another brilliant article! It has got me thinking, maybe Dhoni overthinks things in Test cricket? Or maybe he just does not have the same awareness in Test cricket? Either way another captain should probably be found soon.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | August 18, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    MSD is the greatest cricketer India has ever produced. He is a great captain but unfortunately he never had a steyn or Akaram in his team. You cant win with below average bowlers and now batting is collapsing. I know fans will blame Dhoni for the losses but they should ask questions about Pujara, Kohli, Gambhir and Rahane. Are they as good as we thought they were? If that is their batting talent then Indian cricket is in doldrums with or without Dhoni. BCCI and selectors should think of the real problems plaguing Indian cricket. Its batting and bowling and certainly not captaincy, no matter what fans and some experts prefer to think.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    When CSK lost IPL the last time around, Dhoni was unusually furious at the press conference. He even made a point about 'experienced foreign players' not playing well enough for the victory. For once, he showed his emotions in a press conference.

    After India's drubbing, he seemed to be calm and talked of process.

    Sure he doesn't get his own in Tests, but this makes you feel he doesn't care that much about this format. And that is a bigger tragedy.

  • POSTED BY ColourPenguin on | August 18, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    When Alistair Cook was being criticized for his captaincy, he was in poor form and his captaincy clearly lacked imagination. His captaincy was blamed for losses because atleast a few of his teammates were putting in good performances and ithe blame of not utilizing those efforts fell on captain Cook. This is not the case with Dhoni. He tried ideas (some good, some questionable), he put in captain's knocks within the range of his talent, and he tried to select players whom he thought could beat England. But if your top-rated players keep making the same mistakes, the bowlers suddenly start bowling odd lines, your lower 5 seem to be better batsmen than top 5, slip fielders drop straightforward chances, your own limitations become too magnified. You can't plan for those, you don't plan for those. It's a team game, where a captain is as important as the strike bowler or the number 3 batsmen. Dhoni, like any other captain, should be viewed with his team in context.

  • POSTED BY aus10 on | August 18, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    While I do not entirely agree with the author's assessment I find it amazing to see the kind of support for Dhoni. Losing is not a shame but to give up without a fight is shameful. For those who would argue that the team and not just the captain is to blame, is it not the captain's job to inspire his team to at least put up fight? Instead what we saw was baffling field selections and field placings and worse he let the game just drift. Dhoni is a good ODI/T20 captain but in Tests he simply falls short.

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | August 18, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Dhoni is a poor wicket keeper and his batting in Tests is not good enough to have him in the team. He needs to quit tests.

  • POSTED BY ThinkingCricket on | August 18, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    @Jeremy Stone-

    By your reasoning, the game should go on for 40 days (or longer). Comparing limited overs formats to a 'bowl-out' is absurd, since bowl-outs don't test all the skills involved in limited overs cricket. 50 overs cricket DOES test most of the skills involved in Tests, in addition to plenty of skills not needed in Tests (bowling economically, scoring fast, making strategic compromises between hitting and playing safe).

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 10:53 GMT

    In a world that saw the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Gambhir and Dravid; and following the times of Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni is without a shred of a doubt the greatest cricketer produced by India in more than a generation. The guy came in to define Indian excellence when no one else contributed. For nearly a decade MSD was the Indian XI, batting when all else failed (including the much trumpeted and very entertaining but not very match winning/ saving Tendulkar), sometimes winning and saving matches by the sheer force of his will. To me the Indian teams of the past decade should have been called the Dhonis. And that is coming from a Pakistani who would have wanted to see Pakistan beat India each and every time.

  • POSTED BY archnat1112 on | August 18, 2014, 10:51 GMT

    MS Dhoni is a wonderful captain, the stuff legends are made of. Getting into his head and analysing him is tough. He lets things slide off his shoulders - be they positive or negative - victories that make people jealous of him, and burdens that have made stronger people fold. I have absolute admiration for his captaincy, his leadership on and off the field, his ability to stand up for what he believes is right, and his thought processes. He is a cricketing legend - love him or hate him, you cannot deny that fact. He had what was considered the best possible team filled with youngsters who were touted as the "next Tendulkar, next Dravid" etc. who let him down miserably. There is literally no one to take over from Dhoni - and it is not in his character to walk away when the chips are down. He will remain, fight it out, accept the brickbats, and walk away when the future seems brighter. That is a real leader, that is a true legend for you.

  • POSTED BY eZoha on | August 18, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    This was all a process. The result didn't matter. It never did. Unless you win ...

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    @Jarrod "Dhoni can control his gaming. Dhoni can control his limited-overs cricket. Dhoni can't control Test cricket.

    It's not a game."

    Give him the great windies or the Australians to captain - and he will CONTROL your test match format too.

    Stop your ridiculous dissection and assumptions based on your love for a game you couldn't master. And grow up. Respect MSD as one of the greatest characters ever to have graced the cricket field. Ever.

    Only not so much a "cricketer" and therein lies your gripe against the man that underpins the whole article. And this pathetic dissection.

  • POSTED BY joojanta on | August 18, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    @ DHRUV_RS

    Cricket= Test cricket, and I'm not being a sentimental fool trapped in the 80's when I say this.

    This is how the game was invented. Every side gets two innings and whoever scores the most wins. The details of the format are there to maintain BALANCE,increase uncertainty and hence making it more exciting.

    If a result is all u care about, t20s can well be t10s and soccer need not have an offside rule.Why do you think the tennis grand slams have 5 sets and other ATP events 3?

    Your dislike cannot justify Dhoni's inability to captain or play a tougher grade of cricket.

    And yes it's a big deal not just for spectators but also for all kids who dream to be the next Sachin or Dravid. Because this is what is taught to them, before any of the 50 /20 over stuff. Why? because that is Cricket, 'pure' cricket for you.

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    @JeremyStone totally. You want to spend 2 innings ..why not 3? What's pure about 2? Why can't you have two games instead of one inning each in 2-3 days?

    Its full of its flaws. A 50 over match is good enough for the batting and bowling skills - if not to the "true" pseudo unlimited nature of test cricket.

    Its 2014 - get rid of this lunatic purity about 5 day cricket and sort this game on. Its needs to be overhauled

    At the end of the day 5 days too turn to be limited. There are constraints in this version .. Its jus about quantity not the quality of format. So this needs to die. Its natural death.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    @Druv_RS Your argument that Test cricket is a flawed format, and 50 overs is long enough to test depth in batting has a logical conclusion in the sudden-death bowl-out that, I believe, is used to assure a result in some one day cricket when it rains. By your logic we shouldn't really bother playing cricket at all, as flipping coins would be just as good. What Test cricket tells us about the skills and character of the players (and their captains) is not learnable from the shorter formats, or coin-flipping. The result is only meaningful if you have the process.

  • POSTED BY prakash_ajp on | August 18, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    Let me start by stating that I didn't expect India to win the series. Certainly not with the bowlers England had in Anderson and Broad. On paper, in English conditions, India would loose. But the manner in which they lost the last two tests is a different matter altogether. Talking about Dhoni, I am not convinced that Dhoni should be in the test team. May be he batted batter than most, but he doesn't deserve a place in the team for his wicket keeping - the man stood there watching the ball go between him and the first slip more than once. How many balls did he miss down the leg side? I compare him with Joss Butler and say, "Gosh, India have a terrible keeper" ? As for his captaincy, his only strength is his calmness. He is not the best out there when it comes to strategies. Too bad India don't have someone who can the captaincy from Dhoni. I have a feeling India will fare better in Australia, just the way they did in SA. But the players need to fix their broken hearts first.

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | August 18, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    This over-the-top praising of a very ordinary Test player has to stop. Dhoni is careless and clueless. Period. This has been a humilitation the likes of which even Zimbabwe will not tolerate and will demand accountability. None of that exists in Indian cricket. This is the result. No magic. A mess, more like it.

  • POSTED BY Ramsan51 on | August 18, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    A very good analysis of Dhoni as a captain and as a man. Surely Dhoni as a man comes out in flying colours, particularly when responding to criticisms. Yes, if failures are the only way to judge him as Test Captain, he has fallen in the eyes of his detractors as well as fans. But let us not dump him for an Ashwin or Kohli or whoever as they have all achieved just minuscule of what Dhoni had achieved when he was made captain. If you think you have a proper replacement, well, go ahead.But the basic fact remains that we do not have a good test team capable of fighting it out over long periods of play.We can only hope that our assumption or claim that we have a good ODI or T20 is not blown away in the next few weeks.

  • POSTED BY Vignesh1123 on | August 18, 2014, 8:16 GMT

    (Contd). Now tell me a keeper/batsmen whom india has produced better than him. Test cricket needs a team to win, he doesnt have a team who can last for a session so how do he enforce a result in favour. I would have agreed this article if dhoni didnt show any character with bat,thats not the case obviously.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    Very few people will watch Test Cricket in India in the future. Indians like the happy go lucky style of the IPL. Test cricket is too serious for them !.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    Extraordinary article, on an extraordinary sportsman.

  • POSTED BY gmsjgmsj on | August 18, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    There are various truths that can be taken from this article. 1. The win at Lords was a fluke. It was an ODI game (with a draw option) with wickets to be taken or runs to be scored in compressed time frame. Dhoni knew that he had to take wickets to atleast hang to a draw until the point where victory would be possible due to England's recklessness.

    2. Dhoni would be lying if he said he didnt have the team do win abroad. He did have the best 15 from which he didnt pick the best 11 nor did he show confidence in the 11 that played. No amount of county cricket will improve Kohli or Pujara until they are clear about their roles in the team. Kohli is no shepherd like Kallis or a blaster like Richards (Viv could afford it given that he still had Lloyd and Gomes to follow him) nor does Pujara have tactical nous of Dravid.

    3. This team does not have the requisite top 5 that can bat out a session. The first two tests were pleasant aberrations created by lower order batting persistence.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    I, as an Indian fan is more disappointed with Indian unit as a whole, especially the batsmen rather than Dhoni the captain. If your batsmen take you to 8/4 or say 40/5 then what can Dhoni or Cook do? Now please don't say that it is due to Cook that Buttler is scoring runs while Prior couldn't.Yes cricket is a team game and a captain is responsible for a whole lot of things but least of all about how your batsmen play. I would have supported this criticism if Dhoni too would have performed miserably with the bat but he led from the front in some situations but got no support at all. Read articles about Cook after the Lords test and Oval...you will know the difference. Regarding the formats I don't understand why people favour any one. All are equally important that's why these exist. If there is beauty in surviving in Tests, there is beauty in instant decisions that shorter formats need. Thats what cricket is. Else eliminate the 50 over world cup!!

  • POSTED BY dkray on | August 18, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Captaincy alone can win you an ODI or T2O but cant win you a test match. You require more from your players which has been missing on foreign tours. Dhoni was best batsman for india in the last two tests. Sometimes Luck plays a part too, Ishant got injured at the wrong time and i think it killed the momentum.I bet England cant win a match if Anderson gets injured.

  • POSTED BY VinodGupte on | August 18, 2014, 6:43 GMT

    Dhoni has ensured that he will remain the captain for as long as he wants to. After all, that is why we don't see Sehwag, Harbhanaj Singh, Zaheer Khan or Yuvraj Singh as regulars. With absolutely no threat to his position, he will continue. WI will be beaten and beaten badly thanks to ashwin, ojha and mishra and everything will be forgotten.

  • POSTED BY Sameer-hbk on | August 18, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    It is not the Indian team that has changed, but the expectations around it. And the golden generation is probably the reason why we all feel so much worse now after away test defeats like these. Yes, we did go down 4-0 in 2011 in both Aus and Eng, but that was probably the only time when the waning Indian greats batted so poorly in over a decade. Growing up in the 90s, 3-0 on away tours was all too common. But you had a stunning Sachin century or two in there somewhere to lift the spirits and keep everyone happy. Then came together the best middle order with Sehwag at top and we consistently got runs to play with. With those tons of runs drying out, we see today what this team really is; a very ordinary unit. So, yes MSD is not the best test captain in the world. Yes, we need someone else at the helm, even if it is just to freshen things up. But it is best to expect similar results to follow in the next few years at the very least as we have a very ordinary team.

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    @Abaa - that's just wrong. Tests are a flawed format and did "test" the skills on a different level for all this time .. But the fact that its flawed - is just true and has always been so. What is this ridiculousness of batting twice? Do once and move on... Just explain what's the basis of "purity" that test thrives on and always has...

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 18, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    Jarrod is hurt because here's a man who doesn't love test cricket as much as he does. It IS a game. You couldn't master it. You wanted to but couldn't. M S Dhoni never wanted to and he still did better than average. Either way know that it is a ridiculous 5 day sport that doesn't have to be 5 days...

    It is about winning or losing. Why 5 days then? If it was about pure test ..it should go on endless. Why only two innings and 5 days? And if it can be 2 innings why not one inning each. Ah wait .. Maybe ODIs are born that way.

    What's the big deal about test cricket except for you people who grew up on it? Every game every sport has its nuances and its strategy.

    For people like Dhoni it is not about getting caught up in the knowledge technique and jargons and the web that surrounds the result. But it is about the result.

    It is about winning or losing. You put up a fight in ODI get a result in a day. 50 overs is sufficiently long to test some amount of depth in batting as well.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 5:37 GMT

    I won't be surprised if India go downhill from here as far as Tests are concerned. If it was a hiding here then it would be almost annihilation in Australia with Johnson and Co running riots and Aussie batsmen scoring against skillful but slow and toothless Indian bowling attack. And then when you ask about IPL and Dhoni says 'Do not be jealous of IPL. Are you kidding me ? I agree IPL is great fun and time pass but seriously look what it doing to the next generation of batsmen who should be learning about playing with techniques and temperament into robots where they are supposed to hit every ball and play ridiculous shots and our mush respected commentators are supposed to veil this disgrace with terms like innovation and improvisation. For god's sake send these players to play county cricket and conduct more India A tours to these countries. Spend money and strategize otherwise coming days will be even more darker than those of 90's when we just rolled over and surrendered meekly.

  • POSTED BY Abaa on | August 18, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    Dhruv_RS - Sour grapes much? When you were ranked no.1 thanks to a system that made no sense, the test format must have been the purest and now when your team is openly pathetic at it suddenly it is the format of the game that is a waste of time?

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    The most amazing article on Captain Dhoni, Eloquently put, I tip my hat to you sir. I hope Dhoni too reads this and realizes what idiocy he has been caught up in, trying to play bit and pieces cricketers in tests

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    MSD has been a great servant of Indian cricket. He has brought several laurels to the country. However, there is a distinct feeling that he is looking jaded and tired. May be time for him to continue for a couple of more years just as a player. Ashwin could be the test captain. Dhoni could always guide him.

  • POSTED BY ac_Indian on | August 18, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    I am amazed to see nobody openly asking questions from Fletcher. After 3 years, we still do not know what exactly has been Fletcher's contribution. If one wants to blame it all on Dhoni, I would argue that Dhoni has both highs and lows over his career. But since Fletcher has joined, it has nothing else but lows for him. Before we ask Dhoni to step down, we should ask Fletcher to step down first. This loss was due to batting, but Indian bowling is at the same place as it was when Kirsten left and Zaheer got injured in 2011, no progress. Just because Fletcher supposedly worked for England, it does not mean he works for India, and so far he hasn't. Also, I think there is something happening backstage. I don't know what it is, but it is hard to swallow this after Lord's test. There is probably something going on which drained the spirits of the players after Lord's.

  • POSTED BY SpaMaster on | August 18, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    What a laborious article! Dhoni is really good, unbelievably good. He has a great cricketing brain. The thinking, creativity and the flair does not change irrespective of the format. The only difference is he has had better ODI/T20 teams than Test teams. Don't forget that he also owned the Test mace for being the No. 1 Test team. That was when he had the golden generation of Indian batsmen with promising young bowlers. Then the Test team has gone through a cycle of senior batsmen fading and retiring and young hopefuls finding their feet. Belittle Dhoni's achievements at your own peril. He has achieved much more than any international captain in the recent times.

  • POSTED BY titus_p on | August 18, 2014, 4:20 GMT

    Heart warming piece. Though an English man, he has written an excellent piece on the Indian CAPTAIN!!!!. This was one of this worst series. Defeat we can take, if we had shown some fight. Will India ever find good test players, I don't think, due to their obsession with One-Day cricket and IPL

  • POSTED BY ListenToMe on | August 18, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    As per Dhoni, if it is more about mental strength, then the person to be blamed for this defeat is the coaches. Why no one is blaming Fletcher? He should be removed urgently. All ODI specialist bowlers and batsmen also should be removed. Jadeja, Binny, Ishant, Dhawan, Ashwin should be removed from tests. Rohit, Umesh, and some good spinner should be chosen for tests. They should be given enough chances rather than giving 100s of chances to players like jadeja, ishant and ashwin. Rohit is going through a phase like Dravid's who was not given enough chances initially and struggled hard to come back to Indian team.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 18, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    We are still have old force talking yuvi bhajji. gave rest to players like Kholi Ashwin Jaddu Rohit and rahane to learn the art of Test cricket instead of Ashwin, Jaddu bring Rasool n akshar.

  • POSTED BY FlatTrakBully on | August 18, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Team should move on. 3-1 is similar to 4-0 loss, but its better than England's record of 5-0 loss,. (Practicing county without IPL, BBL)

  • POSTED BY DipsoManiac on | August 18, 2014, 3:48 GMT

    One of the best dissections of the myth that is Dhoni. He should have never been a test captain. That mistake should have been corrected after Australia tour but With Srinivasan at the helm, nobody could touch him, even after such a pathetic away record in tests. His defensive and one day mindset has cost India dearly in the past. What records don't show is that even when India hasn't lost, they have missed so many instances of winning or seizing the moment due to his poor tactics. I hope he finally loses the job this time. England, on the other hand will have to wait for two more Ashes losses to get rid of Cook.

  • POSTED BY mayank_mickey16 on | August 18, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    Great Article Jarrod. In depth analysis of MS Dhon'si mind and thinking.

  • POSTED BY AjaySridharan on | August 18, 2014, 3:30 GMT

    Exceedingly well written...and more importantly honestly analyzed and blown the lid of the Dhoni magic. It's more appropriate to call it Dhoni's luck. There is no method to his madness. You are right...you need to be in the past, present and the future in Test cricket...at least in the present and the future, yet take it one session at a time. Dhoni fails to do that, and in the process can't lift his team. An honest analysis of the Lord's Test would have shown how England committed suicide. Thanks for a great article

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | August 18, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    The difference between MS and Clive Lloyd or Allan Border (add Taylor and Waugh) is that these men all had an intense desire to win and to beat the opposition. That ruthlessness both against the opposing team and your own team for that matter is not intrinsic in Indians. Ganguly came close but even he erred on the side of caution (world cup final for example when he didn't play Kumble and sent the Aussies in to bat first). But more than MS, why are the journalists not taking aim at Fletcher? Look at what John Wright and later Kirsten did for the team. What is Fletcher doing?

  • POSTED BY android_user on | August 18, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    This is a lesson for our captain and board. They disrespectful to our warrior who own us in 2002 2007 in England, 2003 in Australia, New Zealand. Every where around the clock. They can still Pick the right squad. bring back zaheer other bowler can learn from his experience. bring back viru as players like Dhawan can learn from him, call back VVS Still he has temperaments and patients Rahane, Pujara Rohit and Kholi can learn. I'm not questing their talent it's about their pations commitments. We cannot call back Dravid Sachin Dada they are in 40s.

  • POSTED BY sarangsrk on | August 18, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    Well Jarrod, Most of what you said is right about Dhoni with how he operates and what his style is. However, to label his tricks as just luck would be unfair. When you move away from what is obvious for that moment and it doesn't work, you get blamed for it. When it does work, you should get rewarded for it too. You talk about processes in Joginder Sharma last over in 2007. Well, do you know what he said after the match? Bhajji had an over left but he wasn't getting his yorkers right. So, he decided on Joginder who already had bowled the last over against Aus in Semis. I will bet my last penny that most captains would have asked Bhajji to bowl given the experience and all that. Dhoni didn't and that's why he is different. Coming up at 4 in WC final when Yuvraj was in form. Why? There were 2 offies bowling then. In this world cricket of predictable decisions from captains, Dhoni has been a revelation. In Test matches though, he is not in same frame of mind as he can't trust his bowlers.

  • POSTED BY glen1 on | August 18, 2014, 3:03 GMT

    Cricket would be less interesting esp. in Asia without a Dhoni. His magic is revered as there is no time to build a team incrementally like the English; plus there is the boredom that comes with their mechanical approaches. However, to persist with his magical ways in Test cricket has meant that Test cricket is lost forever to India, and with that maybe for the World too! As Jarrod observes, there is no room for gambling magic in Test cricket, but just plain hard tenacious and planned work; Dhoni hates this, so does today's Indian cricket fan.

  • POSTED BY andrew-schulz on | August 18, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    'A Test series takes months.' A pretty fair proportion only take a week and a half.

  • POSTED BY LisaDun on | August 18, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    The silicon chip inside Dhoni's switches to 'overload' after a day. He can be brilliant as a fielding captain for 50 overs. He can bat well knowing when 50th over is coming up. His RAM is not large enough to handle all the stimuli happening for 5 days and for 5 five-day matches inside 2 months. A 100-meter sprinter is generally not suited for a 10,000-meter run.

  • POSTED BY VAswinV on | August 18, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    Brilliant article! Whether true or not actually, Cricinfo writers are doing a fantastic job of putting into words the 'mythic narrative' about Dhoni. Loved this.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    Heart-warming piece. I like the hypothesis on how Dhoni's instinctive captaincy works well in Limited Overs but not in Tests where the results are not instantaneous. However, I am not sure if that correlation is necessary causal. I don't think Dhoni's Test captaincy style is any different from Limited Overs - it can broadly be described as instinctive, defensive and maximising the risk-reward trade-off.

    The reason it doesn't work as well in Tests, in my humble opinion, is because he doesn't have the right team to execute plans. You refer to the same isse when you descibe how beautifully the CSK players perform the roles they are picked for. Case in point being our bowling attack which has struggled to take 20 wkts consistently overseas.

    If you were to combine the captaincy acumens of great Test captains like Waugh/Border/Ponting/Ganguly/Smith into 1 human being, even he would not be able to make this Indian side win a series overseas!

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | August 18, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    Even this skinny kid from Karnataka is impressed with this article.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    Nice analysis of what Dhoni did, Maybe he used common sense more than many others and it rubbed off. Grit and determination are a part of his folklore, but may be the motivation is what he is lacking. If he was not the captain right now and the same debacle happens with Kohli as captain, would you imagine what it would have made to Kohli's confidence and mindset as a young captain. I think Dhoni has sacrificed more than himself for the cause of the team more than once.

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 17, 2014, 23:30 GMT

    Tests are over rated and should be shelved off and die their natural death.

    You purists should climb down that perch and realize that the format itself is flawed and has always been flawed so stop worshipping it and move along.

    Worst it should come down to 3 days. One chance of batting full side each. What is this nuisance of batting twice and only for 5 days then giving up?

    It's a flawed format and sorry you tried very hard at test cricket couldn't cut it. And M S Dhoni came on his motorbike from Jharkhand .. Nonchalant uncaring for your format and still did better than you and most other could ever dream of

    But he did not keep his slight disregard for your format hidden ...and it hurts you. It pinches you coz his behaviour mocks everything you have learnt.

    And you're just trying to get even by trying to dismantle a magician ..who has lived through those countless impossible pressure situations.. Knowing fully well the knifes edge he was on and continued.

    Learn. Don't dissect.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Jarrod Kimber- you are fantastic! This is a brilliant writeup!

  • POSTED BY crindo77 on | August 17, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Thankfully, the demise of the print media hasnt hampered the development of poignant yet sharp prose article writers like Mr Kimber. However, he has missed probably the most important point. Modern India, like a sizeable part of the modern world, doesnt really care much about Test cricket. Esp the away tour bits. The defeats, and there WILL be more, assuredly until either India start preparing or stop touring, will be gradually seen as the customary bitter pill every few years for the dwindling Indian Test enthusiasts; I know for a fact the new generation of audiences have difficulty sustaining interest in a game for 5 days. This attitude is sacrilege to the purity of the greatest game invented (Mark Nicholas today), its disgraceful, why its even an excuse to cover up pathetic performances. However, it is true for India. Has been true since Lords 1983, getting truer since Wanderers 2007, Wankehede 2011, IPL 2008 onwards. I'm sure the upcoming ODI results will confirm this.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    wow ... this is epic ... just epic.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    You are one of my favourite writers, Jarrod Kimber. What a passionate elegy, a lament and praise in the same breath! My heart grew heavier as I read on, but glowed with pride at the battle-hardened captain of my country.

    And while a certain Walt Whitman poem comes to mind as apt for the coming times, I can never blame Dhoni for the debacle of a Test side India is. Whenever he had the resources, he delivered. Delivered with Ishant. With an Ashwin that worked in India. With Kohli and Pujara to battle fiercely the Proteas and the Kiwis. With his own flak-ridden blade when the going was toughest.

    But, alas, he could never find a Test team in synergy, and for me, one of his biggest and oldest fans, that will mar his career and memory for more fault of his than what is true. Over this dearth of ammunition, no one could have established control. I hope history grasps that and expiates my hero to some extent.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 22:17 GMT

    You are one of my favourite writers, Jarrod Kimber. What a passionate elegy, a lament and praise in the same breath! My heart grew heavier as I read on, but glowed with pride at the battle-hardened captain of my country.

    And while a certain Walt Whitman poem comes to mind as apt for the coming times, I can never blame Dhoni for the debacle of a Test side India is. Whenever he had the resources, he delivered. Delivered with Ishant. With an Ashwin that worked in India. With Kohli and Pujara to battle fiercely the Proteas and the Kiwis. With his own flak-ridden blade when the going was toughest.

    But, alas, he could never find a Test team in synergy, and for me, one of his biggest and oldest fans, that will mar his career and memory for more fault of his than what is true. Over this dearth of ammunition, no one could have established control. I hope history grasps that and expiates my hero to some extent.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    wow ... this is epic ... just epic.

  • POSTED BY crindo77 on | August 17, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    Thankfully, the demise of the print media hasnt hampered the development of poignant yet sharp prose article writers like Mr Kimber. However, he has missed probably the most important point. Modern India, like a sizeable part of the modern world, doesnt really care much about Test cricket. Esp the away tour bits. The defeats, and there WILL be more, assuredly until either India start preparing or stop touring, will be gradually seen as the customary bitter pill every few years for the dwindling Indian Test enthusiasts; I know for a fact the new generation of audiences have difficulty sustaining interest in a game for 5 days. This attitude is sacrilege to the purity of the greatest game invented (Mark Nicholas today), its disgraceful, why its even an excuse to cover up pathetic performances. However, it is true for India. Has been true since Lords 1983, getting truer since Wanderers 2007, Wankehede 2011, IPL 2008 onwards. I'm sure the upcoming ODI results will confirm this.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Jarrod Kimber- you are fantastic! This is a brilliant writeup!

  • POSTED BY Dhruv_RS on | August 17, 2014, 23:30 GMT

    Tests are over rated and should be shelved off and die their natural death.

    You purists should climb down that perch and realize that the format itself is flawed and has always been flawed so stop worshipping it and move along.

    Worst it should come down to 3 days. One chance of batting full side each. What is this nuisance of batting twice and only for 5 days then giving up?

    It's a flawed format and sorry you tried very hard at test cricket couldn't cut it. And M S Dhoni came on his motorbike from Jharkhand .. Nonchalant uncaring for your format and still did better than you and most other could ever dream of

    But he did not keep his slight disregard for your format hidden ...and it hurts you. It pinches you coz his behaviour mocks everything you have learnt.

    And you're just trying to get even by trying to dismantle a magician ..who has lived through those countless impossible pressure situations.. Knowing fully well the knifes edge he was on and continued.

    Learn. Don't dissect.

  • POSTED BY on | August 17, 2014, 23:54 GMT

    Nice analysis of what Dhoni did, Maybe he used common sense more than many others and it rubbed off. Grit and determination are a part of his folklore, but may be the motivation is what he is lacking. If he was not the captain right now and the same debacle happens with Kohli as captain, would you imagine what it would have made to Kohli's confidence and mindset as a young captain. I think Dhoni has sacrificed more than himself for the cause of the team more than once.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | August 18, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    Even this skinny kid from Karnataka is impressed with this article.

  • POSTED BY on | August 18, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    Heart-warming piece. I like the hypothesis on how Dhoni's instinctive captaincy works well in Limited Overs but not in Tests where the results are not instantaneous. However, I am not sure if that correlation is necessary causal. I don't think Dhoni's Test captaincy style is any different from Limited Overs - it can broadly be described as instinctive, defensive and maximising the risk-reward trade-off.

    The reason it doesn't work as well in Tests, in my humble opinion, is because he doesn't have the right team to execute plans. You refer to the same isse when you descibe how beautifully the CSK players perform the roles they are picked for. Case in point being our bowling attack which has struggled to take 20 wkts consistently overseas.

    If you were to combine the captaincy acumens of great Test captains like Waugh/Border/Ponting/Ganguly/Smith into 1 human being, even he would not be able to make this Indian side win a series overseas!

  • POSTED BY VAswinV on | August 18, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    Brilliant article! Whether true or not actually, Cricinfo writers are doing a fantastic job of putting into words the 'mythic narrative' about Dhoni. Loved this.

  • POSTED BY LisaDun on | August 18, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    The silicon chip inside Dhoni's switches to 'overload' after a day. He can be brilliant as a fielding captain for 50 overs. He can bat well knowing when 50th over is coming up. His RAM is not large enough to handle all the stimuli happening for 5 days and for 5 five-day matches inside 2 months. A 100-meter sprinter is generally not suited for a 10,000-meter run.