India v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chennai

Confident batsman, cautious captain

The first ODI against Pakistan epitomised how much Dhoni's safety-first approach has benefited him as a batsman, while shackling him as a leader

Nitin Sundar in Chennai

December 30, 2012

Comments: 164 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni bashes one down the ground, India v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chennai, December 30, 2012
As captain and as batsman, safety-first has been MS Dhoni's mantra for a while now © BCCI
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Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of India
Teams: India | Pakistan

It was the end of the 40th over of Pakistan's chase. India had jousted their way back into the contest through a frugal Powerplay, which cost just 13 runs and accounted for Misbah-ul-Haq's wicket. Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin had bottled up the new batsman, Shoaib Malik, who remained run-less after eight balls. The equation narrowed down to 55 off 60. For the first time in two hours, the near-full stadium was buzzing. The contest assumed a whole new complexion, even as Chepauk's canopied stands glistened under a gorgeous sunset.

India could have nosed ahead with another wicket at that stage. MS Dhoni had nine overs to come from his main bowlers, who had all bowled impressively. Yet, he turned to Virat Kohli. At the game's most pivotal moment, with a contest waiting to be taken control of, Dhoni thought it wiser to get the one pending over from his fifth bowler out of the way.

Kohli trotted in, allowing seven runs off the next five balls. Just like that, there was release - Shoaib Malik began to get the ball off the square, and Pakistan were flowing again. By the end of the next over, the fight was collectively knocked out of India when Ashwin dismissed Malik off a no-ball.

As captain and as batsman, safety-first has been Dhoni's mantra for a while now. This game epitomised how much that approach has benefited him as a batsman, while shackling him as a leader.

India's disastrous run in Test cricket, and their indifferent ODI form since the World Cup, have led to all sorts of questions being raised about Dhoni's role in the set-up. The Test argument is for another day. As far as ODIs go, Dhoni is now the best batsman in India, and arguably the best middle-overs man in the world. Today he marched past 7000 ODI runs, while averaging 52.00 per innings. That's seven runs clear of Sachin Tendulkar's average when he got there, and a whole 10 runs more than Ricky Ponting's. And despite restraining himself in the middle overs in recent years, Dhoni has got those runs at a strike-rate of 88.45. Those are the stats of a master.

When Dhoni took guard today at 29 for 5, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan were getting the ball to dance devilishly off the seam. Each of India's top four had lost his stumps, undone by nip and zip, but Dhoni thrived by falling back on first principles. In Tests, Dhoni is prone to the odd waft outside the off stump, but he's so much surer of himself while starting an ODI innings. Overnight rain, spicy pitch, extra bounce, crisis situation - no problem. Dhoni stayed on the crease, covering the line and playing with a straight bat, nudging and gliding singles, and running like the wind. His first boundary came only after 78 balls, which had yielded a mere 34 runs, but he changed the rhythm with seamless ease in the end overs.

Unlike his younger colleagues, Dhoni likes to tuck into the short stuff, climbing over the bounce and pulling powerfully whenever the chance comes. With dehydration sapping him of his speed, Dhoni opened up emphatically in the second half of his innings. The inside-out six off Irfan that brought up his hundred captured the essence of Dhoni's batting - it was brutality at its most beautiful.

As a batsman, Dhoni always backs himself to take the game deep and turn the tables in the end game. It's a marked difference from how he played when he first emerged at the highest level; with seniors such as Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and, now, Sachin Tendulkar, exiting the scene, Dhoni has assumed more responsibilities as a batsman.

As a captain, however, the story is vastly different . Several India captains of the past - be it Mohammad Azharuddin (in Perth and Kolkata), Sourav Ganguly (in Ahmedabad) or Sachin Tendulkar (in Mohali) - have shown the imagination to attack with their best bowlers when the game is in the balance, even if that meant holding a weak over for the end. With Dhoni, especially in the last couple of years, you'd be hard-pressed to single out one such instance.

It's not just the handling of the fifth bowler. Nasir Jamshed betrayed a diffident approach to the short ball early in his innings. Dhoni responded by pressing backward square leg into service, and getting his seamers to bounce Jamshed. They had him hopping for a while, but eventually Jamshed began to settle down. By the end of the chase, he was displaying as much assurance against the short ball as Dhoni had shown earlier in the day. That, however, didn't stop Ashok Dinda and Ishant Sharma from trying to bounce him out, seemingly at the cost of trying something else.

Through turbulent times, to his credit, Dhoni hasn't shunned his responsibility as the face of the team. As much as he receded into the background when his team was winning, he is now in the forefront taking the blame for the team's reversals. "I feel good that I'm the punching bag because there's less pressure on the team," Dhoni said after this defeat. "You need to have a few punching bags in the side. Sachin has been there for quite some time now, he takes away all the tension. I don't think everybody gets chance to be the punching bag, so I am happy that I can take a bit of tension for my team."

Tendulkar is gone, and with him India's last link to a different time in the ODI game. Dhoni the batsman facilitated a transition by reinventing himself. Will the captain follow suit?

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Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 18:01 GMT)

The innings he played vs Pak in the 1st ODI was long overdue, and it was awesome to watch. I feel he needs to be relieved of the Test captaincy after the Australia series, way too much burden. Captain in all three formats, wicket-keeper in all three formats, and the same in IPL. What's more, he's under pressure to contribute as well, we need to give him a badly needed break!

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 12:27 GMT)

what about the drop catch at 16?

Posted by Desihungama on (January 1, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

The Kohli gamble would have worked if it was a high profile tournament. We all know how Pak performs when it comes to games that actually matter. Sigh!. These bilateral series only boost one's record against each other. This game was never India's to win. You should be glad you found Bhuv (Contest between him and Azhar was mouth watering) and appreciating Dhoni heroics for making a game out of what was heading to be 20 over ODI. And the ball was mostly seaming not swinging, when Junaid bowled. Devastating! And by the way Azhar Ali was telling Indians what they did wrong earlier in their innings, see off the new ball. Play back foot, not forward.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

Time to introduce fresh blood such as Unmukt Chand(19) and Smit Pate(19). If you get them into the scene early enough they will become great batsmen, for eg. Pakistan got Ahmed Shehzad to debut when he was 17. India should get Wasim Jaffer(35) and Cheteshwar Pujara(24) for stability in the line up. Pakistan should drop Younis Khan and give a chance to Imran Farhat as he's some serious talent. The proposed India Line-up: 1.Wasim Jaffer, 2.Unmukt Chand, 3.Virat Kohli(captain), 4.Cheteshwar Pujara, 5.Manoj Tiwary, 6.Suresh Raina, 7.MS Dhoni(wk), 8.Irfan Pathan, 9.R Ashwin, 10.Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, 11. Ashoke Dinda

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

This is classical "if has done that" situation. Dhoni is down on his luck. If his gamble with kohli had worked, this would have been brilliant decision making but since he lost, it sucked. but let me ask this to the "geniuses", would you give one of last couple of overs to kohli?

if he had done that and kohli gave away like 15 scores, then it would have been his fault of "why he didnt save enough regular bowlers overs".

So my friends, if you have lost the match, then no matter however much wiser decision you have made, you should have done something else. And I can relate to it pretty good. I am pakistani. We kicked out our 50+ batting average and one of the most successful captain because rest of the team didnt do well and he was to blame (Im talking about inzi's retirement after WC)

Posted by PkRules on (January 1, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

This is coming from a Pakistani. I am big fan of MS Dhoni and I believe that the criticism on him being a cautious captain is not correct. A captain has to make tough calls and there are times when these calls do not go in your favor. So I believe that the criticism is not justified for being cautious. What MS, the Indian team, and BCCI should be criticized for is the mindset of not taking ownership of the failures and making efforts to overcome them. It seems like that it runs in BCCI culture to always put forward excuses when you loose. It is either the pitches, the umpires, the weather, the toss, the poor decisions, the dew, or something else that caused India to loose. Nobody is man enough to take the responsibility of the failure. It is this attitude that lost them the series against Australia and England. After all, Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

1 thing i dont understand how a captain is to be blamed when in an inning his 5 out of 6 batsman and 3 out of 4 bowlers couldnt perform. Same thing was happening in test cricket, if you dont score more runs in matches how would you chase or defend a total. How a captain can use his expert advice to tell batsman to play right shots. he can yell on them or let them know to improve their game, which it seems he does while talking to press. One thing we have to give credit to Dhoni is that being a captain he still performing very well which is rare for indian captain. We agree that india doesnt have talented bowlers and when ever our batting collapsed we hardly win a game. We should concentrate on constant performance of the players rather than blaming captain on every loss. A captain can win matches when he changes his bowlers effectively to defend a score while for india i believe we dont have a fine international bowler and all are 2nd rate bowler.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

Maybe its time to try Yusuf Pathan again. He just might regain form. His replacements have benn dismal failures mostly.

Posted by cric_aus on (January 1, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

I agree that its time dhoni should be relieved of his duties as One day captain. He has too much responsibility. It has worked for other international teams in the past. Dhoni is not the problem. The problem is consistency from Gambhir. Its just same old story with him where he never fires. Its time to look at a new opening partnership. Sehwag time is up also. The first people who should be sacked is the selectors. Its long overdue.

Posted by RajiRG on (January 1, 2013, 0:41 GMT)

I think this article forgets to mention the weakness of the Indian bowling attack. "Confident batsman, cautious captain " it says but why is he making those decisions. If you have a good look at the Indian bowling stocks for the last two years you may find that apart from Umesh Yadav who is an extraordinary talent there is not much we have seen. It is pretty harsh to blame Dhoni for choosing Virat Kholi for the particular over since he had to have Bhuvi and Ishant to finish off the innings. Anybody that has been following the cricket would say Ashok Dinda is anything but international ready. Yes, Dhoni may have lost his flamboyance to a certain extent but to me he is still India's go to man. Virat will get better as time goes by, however its Dhoni who is the current "Wall".

Posted by ejsiddiqui on (December 31, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

India need a proper bowling All rounder like Irfan Pathan in place of Rohit Sharma. Thats simple equation.

Posted by theRule19 on (December 31, 2012, 21:44 GMT)

What the Indian team requires is two genuine quick bowlers who can bowl simultaneously complementing each other with good variety of variations including in-swinging yorkers at will and their problem is solved. Ofcourse the batting needs to do its bit.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

I disagree with most people here. Seems like everyone is talking about sacking the Indian captain. I think we are forgetting what role he has played. Thanks to our media that we get so much attention that we can this upon our captain. I agree with a couple of people regarding leaving out Rohit Sharma out of the side to add a bowler like Irfan Pathan but i disagree with a simple fact of removing Dhoni from the captaincy of one or all formats. If we look back, there was a time when captains were different for all formats and we saw the result then. Ever since Dhoni has taken the captaincy we have actually won a t20 world cup, and an ODI WORLD CUP after 28 YEARS!!!! Name the last captain who did it. He is definitely going through a rough patch where he is unable to put things into order also thanks to BCCI. I think a new bowler needs to be molded and put into the side, Sehwag needs to be left out as his performance has been below par. Irfan needs to come back in the side.

Posted by cricket2Monkey on (December 31, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

The elusive player no.7/allrounder. We have had this problem for a few years now and we forget it easily when we win the following game. Irfan Pathan gave us balance in recent years and his injury has cost us once again. Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan never filled the void and maybe its time to groom couple of more allrounders to see how it works out. Clearly we need the allrounder to be a bowler who can bat a bit. R.Ashwin now sadly because of his bowling and gladly because of his batting prowess can fit the bill. In that case we woud just need one more spinner hopefully Mishra if he can make it count this time. Chappell used to say if 3 pacers cant do the job then 4 pacers cant do it either. I think it holds the same for batsmen. if 6 batsmen cant do the job 7 cant either. What is the point of having Dhoni at no.7 when we r grooming our team for next worldcup. Ashwin and Bhuvaneshwar kumar can hold the tail.

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 31, 2012, 20:34 GMT)

As Ganguly said if Dhoni is not relieved of captaincy at least in one format,preferably tests,we might lose him as a player too which could be disastrous for a young team defending WC title in 2015.Also he is clueless,gutless and comes across utterly uninterested when captaining in tests.As Nitin aptly brings out,his captaincy in ODIs has been shambolic since WC where defensiveness paid somehow due to slow pitches.But ever since,most ODIs have been played overseas and he's been thoroughly exposed.Whats more we are losing at home too which is alarming.All the talk of Kohli beingl raw for the job etc is ridiculous.He has been an U-19 captain and can handle a similarly young team very well.In any case,I don't see Sehwag as part of 2015 WC.So barring Gambhir & Dhoni,most players will be his age so no scope for ego issues either.As for tests time to drop Sachin,Sehwag& Dhoni and bring in Rahane,Rohit&Saha with Gambhir as the captain initially.

Posted by dailycric on (December 31, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

dhoni is india's best ODI batsman? better than kohli, who has made more than 2000 ODI runs in the last 2 yrs and has provided the foundation upon which those such as dhoni can play their games? seriously??? when kohli scores, india always wins. that's not the case with dhoni, in spite of his role as finisher. and since the world cup, kohli has been scoring far more, and far more often, than dhoni, even in ODIs. yes, dhoni deserves his spot in the ODI team (which is more than can be said for tests or T20s). but best batsman??? gimme a break.

Posted by Desihungama on (December 31, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

@Harshad K Trivedi - lol, You are realizing this today? This has been true for over last 300 years. Why do you think today is December 31st, 2012? West has always imposed their versions onto us.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (December 31, 2012, 17:47 GMT)

From Dec 2009 to Dec 2012 ODI results of India at home vs SL (4-0), SA (2-1), Aus (1-0), NZ (5-0), Eng (5-0), WI(4-1) and in World Cup (6-1-1) only matches Played in India. So total Matches:33 Win: 28 Loss: 3 Tie 1 and away , Asia cup (3-1), Tri series in Sri lanka (3-2), SA, (2-3), One match vs Bangladesh in World cup, WI(3-2), Eng (0-1-3), Aus triseries (Aus 1-3 and Sl 2-1-1), Asia cup (2-1) and SL (4-1). Matches: 39, Win: 21, Loss 17, Tie 2. So overall record is Matches: 72, Win: 49 tie 3 loss 20 and i think this is good record overall in last three season, so dont blame ODI team as they have been good, but we are hoping too much from them and want to win every match, we are performing bad but its in Test cricket as we need to change lot of personel including our opening pair and captain.

Posted by venkatesh.raghunathan on (December 31, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

Totally Agree with the writer. Defensive approach in captaincy is costing India dearly. Admire his batting skills but it clearly shouldn't be used to oversee the captaincy blunders. Should Realize fielding is important to win matches. In hindsight the misses by B kumar(run out), Yuvi and Sehwag blunders in catching, numerous misfields by Rohit & Kohli in addition to blunders by umpires(unless someone declared LBW isn't out in this match) cost the match. But whatever said, being 5/29 in 10 overs isn't acceptable.Wake up,clearly Rohit\Jadeja aren't going to win you matches and if you insist batting is ur strength you shouldnt need your # 7 and # 8 to bail you out. Nonsense! So logical choice would be to go for an additional bowler based on conditions and pick players who play with guts and give their best in the field. MSD (not sure what Mr Fletecher is doing) has to start playing like old dhoni and take risks. doesn't matter if we lose, but lets give our best shot

Posted by Nish_US on (December 31, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Problem with Indian spinners... The not so good enough batsmen, tend to learn the spin craft a little bit to get into the side and then try to compensate their lack of spin prowess with their batting skills

Posted by Nish_US on (December 31, 2012, 17:16 GMT)

Problem with Indian pacers...

Those who got raw pace and a little way ward.....are guided to improve line and lenght & control.. and soon they lost all their pace.

Those who has swing and control but no pace.. are guided to improve pace.. and soon they lost their swing

Posted by Nampally on (December 31, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

@Khan0342:India depends on the opening batsmen to give it a good start for its batting to click. Sehwag & Gambhir have done it so consistently that it has become a habit to see such a start.But during the past year or so, they have failed & Indian batting has failed too. So it is bigger issue of finding a new pair to click. Missed catch by Misbah off Dhoni should be countered by 3 lives which Jamshed got. If Jamshed was out at 7,Pakistan would have been in a deep hole too. Ashwin is an excellent batsmen & bats too late @#8. Raina & Ashwin could have led the rear guard effort too. So you never know what the Indian total would have been or what Pakistan would have done if Jamshed was out @ 7! Irrespective of the dropped catch, Dhoni played a magnificient knock with a S/R of 98 to raise India from 29 for 5 to 227.It was a glorius Century against all odds.The issue here is absence of 5th bowler- India gave 77 runs away in 9 overs via part time bowlers.Why not include a bowler like Nadeem?

Posted by khan0342 on (December 31, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

Well it was not good to see Indians blaming the loss on Sehwag and Gautam and wanting them to be replaced by new guys just on that one match result. If Sehwag was not that good he should not have been selected at first place.Now if he was he will definitely play.Had Misbah caught that catch and Indian team bundled out for under 100 then who would have been held responsible.All saying Dhoni played responsible innings was that shot by any means a responsible shot?My point is that its the team that wins and lose. What we are seeing now is that if Dhoni has won and his team has lost.The reality here is that Dhoni has lost it too.He did not came at a time when Sehwag,Gautam,Kohli,Yuvi and Rohit had to play. Thankfully now they won't blame it on foreign conditions and Tendulkar,Dravid or Laxman.Hopefully Anwar Ali replaces Umar Gul.If Irfan is not 100% fit let's play Wahab.Azhar Ali should be there having 50 average shows he has the ability,strike rate will improve.Can't replace him with Umar Akmal who looks like another Afridi.Will love to see if Azhar starts playing through the covers(not against kumar though)that would be crazy.Proud Pakistani

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

@ steve several 1s and 9s : one of the team is current world cup champion and the other is the semi finalist.... which match are u talking about? LOL

Posted by Razay on (December 31, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

And I thought that Indians had cricketing brains...... come off it guys....India will never win all the matches they play..U win some ..u loose some. so whats the big deal. U were beaten by a better team on that day despite the heroics of Dhoni and thats it. Another day, another match and result can be different. Dhoni is a great player and good captain. He has won India many matches and tournaments. Its just that the moment Indians loose any match all hell is broken. And this is bcoz Indians think that their team is unbeatable like that of W. Indies our Australia during their hay days. wake up guys. Nowdays no body is unbeatable among the top 7 teams. Obviously Aus and SA r a bit more professional but r also beatable. Pak team is as good or as bad as Indian team is. but so far they have demonstrated a more professional approach. They have some very good bowlers and their batting , which is talented is doing the job. Indians lack quality bowlers less Kumar and batting did'nt deliver.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

@steve19191, It has started from Serfraz Ahmad, then Imran era till now, Pakistan is the only team that had destroyed opponents batting orders(including all opponents teams like Australia, England, Sri Lanka, India and SA) several occasions. And still they have much skills to do it on continuous occasions. and Pakistan have produced world class batsmen nearly in every age. So don't joke here because I am sure that even kids from Pakistan streets can destroy any batting order of the world..... Just wait for now another weapon Anwar Ali....

Posted by Aussasinator on (December 31, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Dhoni has been God's gift to Indian cricket. His finishing abilities plugged a huge vaccum in the batting line up and India started winning matches it would have easily lost earlier. Point is his captaincy is defensive. Many players and teams of other games play defensive and win, like in football, table tennis and tennis. It happens in cricket in ODIs also, when you choke the batting team through slow deceptive bowling if you dont have the pacersand genuine spinners to do so .His bowling tactics have stemmed from the kind of resources he has at his disposal. He doesnt have a Mitchell Starc or a Malinga at his disposal to be attacking. Let India produce genuine bowlers and you'll see this master of adaptability marshall them better than anyone in the world.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

am from pakistan and i tell you this india gives away dhoni to any country at this time they will happily take him... he can walk in any team as wicket keeper batsman... and as far as his captaincy is concerned... well if your top five aint getting runs you cant say he is wrong by playing an extra (make that two considering ashwin current form) ... india lose cause they dont make enough runs the only match (2nd t20) they made enough runs they won.

Posted by steve19191 on (December 31, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Does anyone really care about these 5th rate teams ? Both teams have severe weakness against quality pace bowling and the batting is beyond a joke.

Posted by Pakistanvictorious on (December 31, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

I can't understand why are some people calling for Dhoni's head, as a neutral fan I think Dhoni along with Ganguly has revolutionized the Indian cricket. Why people forget that India is at an advantage to have Dhoni as 7th specialist batsman where other team have weak wicket keeper batsmen. India need to find a good all rounder otherwise they should go with 5 bowlers. India has a lot of talent but the new comers have a psychological problem like fear of being dropped, BCCI should stick with a young team for a longer team to get the desired results.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

In my view Indian team should stop playing the extra batsman and go with full five regular bowlers.Thats the best way to attack.Playing the extra batsman is resulting in more defeats as in the last game non regulars went for nearly 80 in 10 overs.

Posted by RoshanDgreat on (December 31, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

One should not blame Dhone for giving 41st over to Kohli. If Kohli could have done with 3-4 runs no one would have noticed it. The bigger picture is the usability and ability of our 7th batsman (which is ofcourse Rohit Sharma as all other are permanent occupy). This guy is not performing well in either ODI or T20. Why can't Rahane play instead of him. It's all right that he is an opening batsman but a good player can play at any position, it just about trusting your good players. Where is Irfan pathan. I don't mind giving Jadeja the 7th spot either because he can atleast bat a bit and give a bowling option too. This has also highlighted the problem of geniune allrounder in India. Another option may be to put Ashwin at number 7 and accomodate one more bowler instead. It's time to think for Dhoni and company.

Posted by Sunil2381 on (December 31, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

Recently, Dhoni, specially when playing for India, has lost more matches with his batting than he has won them, a run a ball innings, killing the momentum, he was fearless when he appeared first(the 183 against SL, the bizarre helicopter shots which are now a property of the IPL/CSK), now he is just a shadow of his own self in the last 3-4 years(except the 91 in the WC final)... no one to replace him? ofcourse.. so hypothetically if India were to replace Dhoni with Kohli, India would have lost the Aus and Eng tour by 5-0(in a 4 match series)?... sack him as captain, even though you hit a new low for sometime, but this way ull never rise...keep him in the team as keeper batsman, let him bludgeon bowlers like he did in 05/06..

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (December 31, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

@Kirti Singh,dhoni isn't coward he bats lower down the order because players like kohli,yuvraj,rohit can't be good finishers like dhoni and they r not flexible like dhoni.so dhoni allows those players to bat up the order.@suvash1,u r completely wrong whenever dhoni bats up the order he scores more runs than anyone else.and u need special abilities to finish the game,tell me how many finishers averaged more than 50 in odi cricket,dhoni is around for more than 7years and to maitain that average u need to be incredible.dhoni is by far the greatest odi finisher(miles better than likes of bevan,hussey) and one of the best odi player in the world.

Posted by gujratwalla on (December 31, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

I will like to give the fans of both Pakistan and India a suggestion! forget about who is playing and not playing...your words will fall on deaf ears.Concentrate on enjoying the games.We have just seen 3 exciting and spendid contests and just hope the next 2 matches are even better.For me there is nothing to beat the thrills and suspense of an Pak.VS India contest.Just wish they play more often.Thanks to both teams for the entertaintment.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Surprised to see in all the 4 matches mentioned Sachin has bowled the final overs :) and 2 wins, one tie and one a last ball finish(3 needed of the final over) Goto man for the india captians in the field as they say :).

Posted by Happy_AusBang on (December 31, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

I think there is too much being analyzed about the Indian team. Let us for a moment reflect on the lapses in the PAK team despite them being able to get over the line courtesy of my MoM Junaid Khan's terrific bowling which was the difference between the two teams eventually. Pakistan death bowling used to be one of their strengths but lately it is failing consistently. Look at the runs conceded in the last 10 overs in this match and the previous T20 and the ones prior to this. They were dishing out ball after ball to Dhoni in the areas he liked. Even to Ashwin they forgot to ball yorkers and slower balls. They seemed clueless waiting for the batsmen to make mistake but by then Dhoni was seeing the ball like a football. Misbah even forgot to the MoM's 10th over as Junaid ended with 9 overs.

Posted by rkannancrown on (December 31, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

The real issue is not that the fifth bowler went for 77 but that the additional batsman continues to fail. Dhoni has enormous faith in Rohit Sharma but he has consistently failed while others- like Manoj Tiwary- have delivered in their limited chances. If you go in with 7 batsman ( Dhoni qualifies more as a batsman than as a keeper), you need atleast 300 in Indian conditions to make a game of it. The failiure of the top 5 is the real problem - not who bowled the 41st over. When will the selectors dump Rohit Sharma who is easily the most talented failiure in Indian cricketing history ? India's best cricketeers have often been short on talent but long on fighting spirit - Madanlal, Binny, Kumble,Robin Singh are some examples of this ilk.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

India shud have 5th bowler they cannot go on and play with such inexperienced 4 bowlers.

Posted by ganesh_indian on (December 31, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

why not play rahane?? he cud jus b wasted like badrinath...gambir is seen jumpin in his crease over d past few matches jus drop him for one match and play rahane..and rohit is wastin all his opportunities..its high time we give some other guy like pujara a chance in odis

Posted by khurramsch on (December 31, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

well dhoni kept 5th bowlers over in 1st T20 till end ? and got criticism. so all this assumption that it was kohli's over which toke game away from them? it was only 7 runs scored from tht over. after that main 3 bowlers could have done better.but they all gave 6-8 runs rest of the overs. Dhoni is subject to criticism no matter what he does.if there were 10-12 runs in last over you would be saying why he is bowling it with 5th bowler?

Posted by crindex on (December 31, 2012, 9:44 GMT)

Dhoni is a good captain and a great leader. India is witnessing a new leader on the rise. Win or lose, Dhoni's is still the best. There is no one anywhere near to replace him as captain of the Indian team. That's undeniable fact.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

Rather bizarre that the disasterous 5th bowler gets to bowl a full quota and the best bowler on the day only bowls 9

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

whoeva says..he is coward....he is dah support for his team...he is a finisher...he has a responsibilty...this is dah reason he bats at no.7....its nt fr fun....he knws tailenders need support so he s dere...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

The author needs to follow some cricket before writing such analysis. What he's asking actually happened just two games back in the first T20! The only thing we learn from this article is that when you do micro analysis at such a level, you need to back it up with sufficient data rather than stating opinion as a matter of fact.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

Well i dont think playing 5 geniune bowlers will help India. At the moment they just dont have bowlers to trouble opposition. Kumar is great when ball is swinging, will go for runs if comes on flat track (Remember 2nd T20). Ishant and Dinda are either ordinary or in ordinary form. Just the Ashwin who really bowling good and Pakistan played him with lot of respect as well. On the other hand Pakistan have Irfan and Junaid who both bowls 140Kph++ and Wahab and Anwar on bench who can also bowl 140Kph++ and Ajmal, Haffez on Top 10 ODI bowlers list. India must play batting heavy. Its just that their batsmen need to fire. When you play batting heavy team you dont want a below par score to defend and thats exactly what is happening with India.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

The article is spot in. The issue in this match was not Just whether Dhoni plays the fifth specialist bowler or not - it was the pathetic captaincy in intriducing the part timers at the wrong moments and letting Pakistan off the hook. Given Junaids performance and Younis and Jamsheds resolve, it probably would not have mattered in the end but it was pathetic captaincy nonetheless

Posted by nyc_missile on (December 31, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Spot on,very appropriate article.. Dhoni as a player in ODIs must be separated from Dhoni the captain..he is a terrific finisher but an awful spotter of talent and even worse innovator..just same old ideas,waiting for the mistakes from oppn,'hoping' to win and NOT wanting to win..this holds the same for tests too ,only his batting is also pathetic in that format..so he must be relieved as captain from ALL formats,KEPT as a player in all formats for now but if he fails in Tests as batsman too often,Saha is the best bet.Make Gambhir captain in the interim with Kohli as VC and 6 months/1 yr down the line give full reins to Kohli who will definitely be more hungry,more passionate and surely a bit more innovative than Dhoni! This team is now a old daddy's club,each one trying to save one another.Kick Sehwag out of ODIs,keep him for tests in middle order,bring in Rohit&Rahane for tests.This team will be a winner!

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 8:54 GMT)

inda....1.gambhir 2. pujara 3. kohli 4. youvraj 5. dhoni 6. raina 7. Irfan 8. ashwin 9. b kumar 10. ishant shrma 11. u yadav/dhinda

this should be the indian 11 on little bit seeming tracks

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

bit still he is a coward batsman. he comes so os os so l;ate down the order. he should be a leader leading from the front. he should come up the order permanently at 4 or 5.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (December 31, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

@ matbhuvi, Actually, BCCI should rotate every current players in the team. Nobody's place shouldn't be secure in the team. Every one's including Dhoni's place must be secure by their performances.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

As Pakistan is struggling to find a decent bowling all-rounder after Abdul Razzaq and Afridi, India has one in Irfan Pathan. Why on earth they don't play him in place of the likes of Sharma and Jadeja?

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

dhoni and misbah both are really boring captains they both play very defensively. Mohd. hafeez should become Pak captain very soon and dhoni should give up captaincy to Yuvraj. And dhoni also needs to play 5 bowlers since their strength is batting India do not need to have too many batsmen if 6 can't do it than 7 wouldnt either. Pak should win the series easily on current form but u never knw with India/Pakistan games.

Posted by pratit on (December 31, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Well, this problem of the 5 th bowler could be solved once Irfan is fit. In the 2015 world cup, pace bowlers are going to be handy. India could go in with 3 allrounders- Ashwin, Irfan(proven), Bhuvnesh(potential) and 2 genuine fast bowlers. India could also use this combination in overseas tests.

Posted by rangan12 on (December 31, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

Dhoni is cool and good captain !! most of his moves are instict.. But the issue with the Indian team is bowling.. India must play with 5 bowlers, no matter lose or win...Results will not be positive in short time... it will help in 2015 world (Long run)

Posted by suvash1 on (December 31, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Comparing Dhoni with the likes of Sachin and Ponting statwise seems to be relevant. However, on closer introspection you would know that Dhoni doesn't belong to the same class as do Sachin and Ponting. Dhoni's average (52) is highly escalated due to the large no. of not outs ( 54) which can be attributed to his batting position. Otherwise he scores only 37 per innings he bats whereas Sachin scores 40.8 and Ponting 37.5 every innings, resp. Further, the great bowlers that Dhoni faced can be counted on fingers. Even though he faced Murali ( not in his prime) and Steyns on occasions, he mostly faced ordinary bowlers throughout his career in almost entirely batting friendly conditions with few exceptions. On the other hand, Sachin had to face the likes of Akram, Waqar, Warne, McGraeth, Lee, Gillespie, Walsh, Ambrose,Imran, Pollock,Flintoff, Caddick, Bond, Murali etc. to name a few, on numerous occasions. Further, at no 7 you don't have to face moving balls. So there can be no comparisons.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 31, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

He is great ODI batsman. He is a horrible captain. Great politician. He can be next prime minister. He says always what people want to hear. Excuses. hahaha. He knows the minute he blame himself , he will driven out of indian team. So he always find even a sand particle he walked on for loss. His captaincy is stagnant. Even though i agree sehwag need rest and fix his fat belly but sehwag on his day he can wrak havoc but those are like once in a blue moon now. Dhoni needs to be dropped from Test and T20. In ODI he is best ODI batsman in Indian team. I want kohli or stop gap gambhir as captain. Sehwag needs to be dropped from ODI also. we need sehwag for TEST (may be in middle order). We need X factor players. Dhoni is in ODI. Sehwag is in Test. Sehwag can play ODI but it seems like he is waiting for dhoni to be removed. Not happening as long as N srinivasan his godfather as chief of bcci.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (December 31, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

Our team selection is wrong.. sehwag has to go out as he is a walking wicket on any pitch with a hint of movement (or turn) , bring in irfan pathan and lets play 5 bowlers , also replace rohit sharma with manoj tiwary in ODI , Rohit sharma is a fantastic talent no doubt , but in my opinion he should be playing in tests , not in limited overs.(his first class avg is 61 while list A avg is only in 30s)

Posted by Engr.TahirShah on (December 31, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

India's problem is not Dhoni's captaincy, it's just the fact that they are loosing quite often now. Dhoni's tactics as captain have been the same over the years and he has been quite successful prior to this. The main problem is that Indian selectors are not taking the bold decision of dropping players like Sehwag, Gambhir, R Sharma from the team who are just shadows of their past. They need to induct new blood and good performers at the domestic level into this team. This will have a long term advangate for the Indian team. Zaheer's (absence/being out of form) is a big problem for India as well. There is no replacement of Dhoni as a player or captain in India at the moment. So totally useless to criticise him for team's dismal performance. Just need to examine other aspects as well. A Pakistani fan has the neutral comments for you. Pakistan will In Sha Allah win the series. Thanks and Regards.

Posted by matbhuvi on (December 31, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

Dhoni needs to rotate between Jadeja and Irfan. Neither of them deserve a permanent place. But, based on the pitch condition, one of them will be handy. If it is a totally flat surface, go for additional batsman. If it is a dry wicket, go for Jadeja. If it is a seaming wicket, go for Pathan. We don't have the luxury with resources. We just need to make sure that we make the best use of them.

Posted by annys on (December 31, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

The God of Indian Cricket has retired and one the reasons he cited was that he wants India to start preparing for Aus-NZ 2015. India has some major issues facing them 1. Batting against good swing bowling 2. lack of good bowlers 3. all rounders who can bowl medium pace 4. captaincy 5. fielding :))) well i think tats enough as a starter. Indian cricket needs an overhaul and unless we address the above issues we will travelling back home very early in 2015.

Posted by trust_27 on (December 31, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

One thing we must not forget is that we do not have allrounders. Not understanding why Dhoni is not utilizing Ashwin as an allrounder as he is showing good ability with the bat, also Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has the ability to bat. India should go in with 5 bowlers by making Ashwin and kumar bat at 7 & 8 with Dhoni coming in at 6 after Raina...Indian team should be Rahane, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin, kumar, Ojha, Ishant and Dinda. When Umesh Yadav is fit he should come in place of either Ishant or Dinda. I believe India should drop Rohit and Sehwag from their one day squad and use Yuvraj just as a batsman in ODI and let him take the role of allrounder in t20 as it seems he is still not the same yuvraj after fighting the cancer, great courageous cricketer.

Posted by balajit on (December 31, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

Cant totally agree with the article. Give dhoni his due! he played brilliantly. Anyways what can one do with this bowling lot. Apart from bhuneshwar kumar everyone else were ineffective.

Maybe one thing dhoni could have done was played this like 40 overs match & try & win in 40 overs with main bowlers bowling.

Also one more factor was again poor umpiring from s.Ravi. He continues to make howlers in each match he umpires. shows again poor quality of Indian umpires

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

Dhoni has the fetish for going with an extra batsmen who never seem to deliver. India's weakness is its bowling and it defies my understanding as to how we could go into ODI's with 4 bowlers. Invariably 1 of them has a bad match and reality is that we are generally two bowlers short. Dhoni must play 5 bowlers. Unfortunately, our cup board appears so bare that we don't seem to have enough bowlers are batsmen.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

As a captain Dhoni has prooved himself and the T20 WC in 2007 and WC 2011 are a proof of his capable leadership. I am a pakistani and die hard paki fan and i will love to have a player and captain like dhoni in our team . He handles the pressure very well and at the same time if you see the history of indian cricket he is the best capting in the last two decades at least. I guess the only need of the hour is that india needs a specialist all rounder in there team which they have been lacking and which pakistan has in abundance i.e. Hafeez, Malik , Afridi, Razzaq etc ..... (although all of these are above 31's and the PCB should start grooming a new all rounder may be Hammad Azam ).

I beleive currently the answer india has for a specialist allrounder is either Irfan or Jadega (allthough they are not world class allrounders) but they can be utility players just like malik and hafeez has been thorught these years.

Posted by Rajeshj on (December 31, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

I think Dhoni has silenced all his critics by this knock.. he is a true leader and one cannot help but think that he is pulled back by the commentators and media more than anything else.. The media make a mountain out of a mole hill in the form of hyping guys like Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Rohit etc. though it is very obvious that they have suspect techniques to survive in good bowling conditions.. these guys are essentially flat track bullies.. If he has the luxury to drop Gambhir, Rohit, Yuvraj and bring in more talented Pujara, Rahane, Tiwary, Badri etc. than the team will flourish.. let us stop playing names and allow the captain to select his team on merit.. if he drops any of the above, then there will be big and silly columns crucifying Dhoni immediately.. Look at Clarke and he has all the liberty to pick team on merit.. If Dhoni has that luxury I am sure he would take Indian cricket to its best days.. he is a true king and conqueror.. salute you man...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Enough of this Dhoni bashing! Just because the author does not agree with one bowling change, he has proclaimed tendulkar and azharuddin as better captains. Dhoni is one of the best captains and leaders we have ever had, probably only challenged by Ganguly and Pataudi. His ODI and T20 tactics are second to none.

As for tests, if he can keep his place in the team, he should be captain. Gambhir, Sehwag and Kohli who people are pushing need to first contribute with the bat.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

Why Dhoni's average is so high is because he has remained not out in over 25% of innings. This is very similar with someone like Michael Bevan from Australia who also played in lower middle order with average of 54.0 and remained Not Out in over 25% of his innings...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

I am not sure why they are neglecting. May he is unfit, otherwise he is an automatic choice with his greatly improved batting.He should be replaced with VASTLY overrated Rohit Sharma.

Posted by statsindia on (December 31, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

We need to understand only reason why India are losing more is because of our openers. Both Sehwag and Gambhir have became burden now for selectors and i do not see them being removed.We all get satisfied with their previous performance. In 2012 Sehwag averages 21 from 10 Matches and Gambhir is not in form and he wants only captaincy. Please stop blaming Dhoni here and he will be a different captain if these 2 players are removed. Why not give Rahane and any other player who had done well in Ranji Trophy as opener.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 4:47 GMT)

Dhoni is a wicket keeper batsman, he can score runs that are useful and do some wicket keeping, he cant bowl 50 overs or bat 50 overs.. India must get rid of Sehwag and Gambhir, Rohit for good, all three were good, Gambhir especially is no more the opener he was.. when we criticize Dhoni we must understand that he is in the top 3 scorers in any series .. for some one who comes no 6 or 7 this is really good... Jayawardena , clark and smith have good batsman and bowlers and their tactics show.. see what happened to Ponting when he lost his bowlers...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

In the first T20, Dhoni was criticized for leaving the additional bowler (R Jadeja) to bowl the last over. Now he is criticized for using the additional bowlers before the last ten overs initiate. That's absurd.

I think Dhoni followed Misbah's strategy who used Hafeez and Shoaib when India were vulnerable and got few hours at an economical rate.

The first ODI was a close contest and people shall not criticize Dhoni for the sake of criticism.

Posted by love_cricket4ever on (December 31, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

Rohit sharma and Gautham Gambhir should be dropped. Rahane should be selected, whenever Rahane gets a chance, he has played well and showed his talent. India is seriously in need of a good fast bowler. Talents like Bhuvaneshwar kumar should be discovered soon....

Posted by da_man_ on (December 31, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Ok, first off, I don't think this loss can be attributed to Dhoni, it was just one over. Suggesting that bowling a regular bowler would yield a wicket is speculation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but BCCI are the Richie Rich of world cricket right? If they enhance grass root quality, revamp the first class structure, make lots of pitches of different natures (don't use the bouncy ones for internationals if you don't want to), incentivise young players, improve lower level coaching quality, they will invariably be the best team in the world in ten years, and stay there.

If you want to improve your national team, stop using cricket as a business model and earning bucks and glamour through IPL, improve conditions for the youth and reap the benefits. It's really not that difficult when you have $$$$ lol

Posted by love_cricket4ever on (December 31, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

I don't know the reason of blaming Dhoni again and again. He has done his best and what he can do if there is no support from the other players. Please remember that cricket is a team game and one person alone cannot do everything right to win the game...

Posted by jasonpete on (December 31, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 30 2012, 18:39 PM GMT), why don't you ask the best attacking batsmen sehwag to score some runs or atleast field properly? With this pathetic Indian bowling attack and non performing openers, dhoni needs to score around 200 runs all by himself to make a match out of any opposition.When are the ndian openers going get dropped or is it a rule that their place is permanent in the team for zero performances?Amazing to see the man who scored all alone getting so much flak and Indian openers always get unnoticed and will always be..And team mates are not some bunch of school kids to spoon feed and sehwag should be thrown out of Indian team for his lacklustre attitude while playing for India and replace with Rahane.

Posted by cricinfo_2010 on (December 31, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

I wish Sachin should have played until next world cup. I don't think rohith or gambhir or sehwag can do any better than him in batting or fielding.

Posted by bipulkumar on (December 31, 2012, 3:58 GMT)

Dhoni must play with 5 bowlers. Even Bhuvanesh can bat and even after flurry of wickets he didn't get to bat. There is simply no use having so many batsmen. Also, Rohit Sharma is a perpetual failure. If you give million chance to someone, he will score someday but this guy has never done it and he still get picked up. It's all rubbish.

Posted by omario on (December 31, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

Dhoni played an incredible innings, full of jest and responsibility. He is the best situational player in the game today and an adroit captain. This tendency to criticize him when the team loses and make him a god when he wins has to stop. Indian side was short of a genuine bowler and if Dhoni had won the toss the team would have won. As an Indian detractor, it is always a lot of fun when India loses.

Posted by Cricket_is_life_ on (December 31, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

ESPN Cricinfo standards are slipping... Where have you found this Nitin Sundar who thinks the captain cost the game in the 41st over with Kohlis bowling when Pakistan was cruising all along chasing a modest target... You probably will not publish my comment, but please take a not of criticism when it is due. I have been following cricinfo for 15+ years.

Posted by crick_wizard on (December 31, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

adding to my earlier post..i disagree that the 5th bowler cost india the match..we need to realise we never really played with a geniune all rounder for many years now and the 5th bowler has always been a mix of part timers..the reality is in such a cricket crazy nation we have not been able to unearth a single world class alrounder..having said that, india have been successful in one dayers with the part timers because our strength has been our batting, which failed miserably yesterday..so blaming the lack of 5th bowler is speaking in hindsight and after the event..

Posted by crick_wizard on (December 31, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

its true that dhoni's captaincy has become very defensive and uninspiring of late..but blaming it for yesterday's defeat is pushing it too far..we lost the game when we lost 5 wickets for 25 runs..simple as that..the fact that we were able to make a match out of it is something we should be happy about..the demons of the last 18 months from England and aus tours have come back to haunt the indian batsmen...they just cannot play seaming pitched up deliveries which is a cause of grave concern..especially the opening batsmen..this is a classic case where the opening batsmen need to grind it out to see off the new ball..however our openers just cannot play the seaming ball..we have now come a full cycle and back to where we were in the 90s..

Posted by drnaveed on (December 31, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

i think, he had to give the ball either to virat kohli, or yuvraj singh or suraish raina or even to rohit sharma for that tenth over of the allotted quota of the fifth bowler at some stage of the game from 40th over till the last over.as shoaib was new to the crease, struggling , so dhoni opted to hand over the ball to virat kohli to bowl than, thinking he might give few runs in the over, and after that he will have the services of all his regular bowlers .so, their is nothing wrong with that particular plan. BUT,the main problem is ,why INDIA playing with just 4 regular bowlers, having such a strong batting line up ,why they don't have faith in their top six batsmen , that they need batsmen deep down the order??????????????????????????

Posted by Sheikasif on (December 31, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Stop critisizing dhoni. If it wasnt for dhoni, India would have suffered a humilation. problem is with gambiar and shewag. India need to replace them asap to gain sucess. bring rahane and rayudu as openers..pak and india both played well..long live pak india relations

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Win / Loss are part and parcel of all sport, not different for Cricket. Dhoni did his best, the five batsmen who lost their wicket cheaply neither had the technique or application to stem the rot. Dhoni's mistake is his belief that Pakistan batsmen will play like Tier 2 ODI team then he is wrong. He has to have one genuine all rounder and four specialist bowlers. Else have five bowlers. Hope he will rectify this tactical blunder in the next match. And for god sake give Ambati Rayudu a chance when Rohit Sharma lets the country down time and again.

Posted by Smatcher on (December 31, 2012, 3:02 GMT)

@Nitin Sundar: Dhoni exactly did what you wanted him to do in the 1st T20. In the end he had no choice but to bowl R Jadeja in the last over. In such situations, people like you will criticize him for holding up the 5th bowler's over to the last. Moreover, people like you will praise him had Kohli taken the wicket of Malik/ Jamshed in that over in the last match. Remember how many times people like you praised Dhoni for his magic moves of bringing Raina at critical junctures and taking wickets? I dont think it is right to criticize Dhoni alone when there are much bigger issues in Indian team such as top order who falters against quality bowling, dependency on fast bowlers like Ishant Sharma who can't take wickets even in supporting conditions, low quality spinners who can't win matches for India. I hope you also reinvent yourself by bringing in much better and more fundamental analysis of Indian performance in the future

Posted by wakaPAK on (December 31, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

Come on Indians! In the T20 he consumed all of Kumar's overs earlier in the innings and you guys were blaming him and now he tried to save them for last, again, he is the culprit. The harsh truth is that Indians didn't make use of the new ball as good as Pakistanis did and that's where you guys lost it. India should have taken 3 wickets in the first three innings. And truth be told, Indian bowling was not making any impact with the old ball. Pakistan had Hafeez, Ajmal and Malik who kept Indian score in check. Irfan went for some runs but those were really awkward shots. On other days, he would have made catch out chances. Dhoni, I think is one of the best captains in the present era; He's pulled off some amazing wins with such a weak bowling line up.

Posted by here2rock on (December 31, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

India's selection policies do not make sense at all, they lack bowling and always a bowler or two short, they pick extra batsman who never comes off. So many losses I would have thought that they would have said let's just roll the dice and see what happens.

Posted by here2rock on (December 31, 2012, 2:46 GMT)

Same old story, same captaincy issues, same old tried hands failling like a pack of cards, including Gambhir, Shewag, Rohit Sharma and SK Raina. Some things never change and it is a pain being an Indian Cricket fan.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

I don't find fault with his tactics over there !! Yes he has been doing that quite a time but that has also won India matches as well !! I feel that the difference today was simply the change in rules, only 4 fielders outside the circle !! This new rule will be a menace if not for other teams, but definitely for India !! India has to review 4 Bowlers/7 Batsmen strategy !! We gotta have more all rounders !

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (December 31, 2012, 2:20 GMT)

I totally disagree with Nitin Sunder that through turbulent times, to his credit, Dhoni hasn't shunned his responsibility. This is actually incorrect. Dhoni has complained about Rain gods in T20 world cup. Dhoni has complained about curators even though they were Indian and it was a home series for India. Dhoni has complained publically about poor fielding of seniors ( which actually create a rift in Indian team that is obvious how Sehwag after sevring India for years is being disrespected). Dhoni has done anything and everything to shun his responsibilities. Dhoni's batting is made to look more than what it is. Dhoni has played on flat Indian tracks unlike Ponting so do not compare Ponting's batting average to Dhoni. There would have been no such mention of Dhoni's so called century if Misbah would have not dropped a sitter. Dhoni was lucky to score a very chancy and slow century that won match for Pakistan.Dhoni won this match for Pakistan even before it started by picking 3 bowlers!

Posted by Iftekhar.Hasan on (December 31, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

I just felt that dragging the Pakistan innings till the 49th over with that paltry score of 220 was itself a goo job done by Dhoni and Co. India's miserable batting, Dhoni's inexplicable slow batting in the slog overs, and BCCI's eternal love for Rohit Sharma (he is playing and Rahane is sitting out - ca you believe it?) calll for a seperate, lenghty discussion.

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 31, 2012, 2:09 GMT)

I would view the tactic by Dhoni as one which was influenced by the T20 game. there he used up his resources and then forced to leave out the last over to a part timer. May be, because of the pressure exerted during the batting power play, he would have thought - Let me squeeze out a 6 run over from Virat and then attack for the remaining overs with full time bowlers. Having a part timer left to bowl in the last 10 overs will hurt irrespective of which over he bowls. India should look in to play five bowling options by including Irfan at 7 and Ashwin at 8 who are offering more resistance with bat than pure batsman like Rohit or a all rounder like Yusuf or Jadeja. That would give the captain more options to attack. Playing 4 pacers might not be possible all the times but still, they can afford to try the part timers if the pitch turns when needed. Or even pick extra spinner replacing one of the three current fast bowlers.

Posted by Jay.Raj on (December 31, 2012, 2:04 GMT)

Even though im not a big fan of Dhoni, Gotta agree that his innings was one of the best i've seen in midst of a collapse

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

about the 41st over. It didn't make a difference who bowled it. Pakistan needed 55 of 60 balls and not 80 of 60. There was never any pressure on the boys and they were scoring without any risk (Malik's cut shot of Ashwin is one of his natural shots which is normally quite reliable) the run rate was ridiculously easy at that stage of the game. Once both balls stopped swinging around the 16th over and the game was done. A score of 260 on a damp pitch with India's bowling line up and fielding would not have been enough.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 1:28 GMT)

Look india have the weakest bowling attack of all test playing nations. In the tests v England i dont know why England were frightened by the spin of India... India's batsmen win them their games (and luck)

Posted by BRKRISHNA on (December 31, 2012, 1:22 GMT)

Why blame Dhoni for his tactics? Five Indian batsmen losing their wickets cheaply took away the game.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (December 31, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

It is an unnecessary and unwanted criticism, when the issue lies some where else. I am surprised to see even cricinfo published this article. Every writer is becoming an Indian Captain, why they do not start playing? The other day in T20, he actually did exactly the same the author was asking about, bowling the main bowlers and keeping the last over with more runs to part timer. What happened? India did not put enough runs, that is bottom line, just stop being the criticizer of Dhoni.

Posted by Ravishankara on (December 31, 2012, 1:01 GMT)

India needs good bowlers. Bowlers who can deliver. Bowlers who are confident of their abilities. Look at the top teams. Most of the young bowlers they play deliver from the word go.

Posted by Natraja on (December 31, 2012, 0:55 GMT)

Dhoni was right when he said he has become a punching bag. If India lose its his fault and when they win its because team played very well and not because of Dhoni. If your top 5 batsmen make 29 run and you have bowlers who will not be selected in C team of Pakistan, what can you do? But instead of finding right players blame the captain. Jeez. Give the guy two bowlers like Junaid and see what he can do. Poor guy has lost his freedom to play with his natural instinct of bang bang cricket. Due to responsibilities he has become defensive and accumulator rather than the destroyer he was. Get off his back.

Posted by jugadu on (December 31, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

Completely disagree !! I remember that moment very well. All bowlers were proving quite ineffective at taking a wicket and at that stage, it was worth trying someone new. Also, Kohli has a 'ganguly' like pace, which makes him more of a surprise package than someone like Raina, who wasnt bowling too well anyway. I was hoping he would give the ball to Kohli at that stage. Things look very different when viewed retrospectively. The bottomline is that this top order will not succeed in 'Australia' like conditions during the world cup. It is a wake up call that I hope the team management is looking into closely. Sehwag isnt ready to play the next world cup in Aus, I think we need some more stable like Ajinkya. Gambhir isnt ready either. He turns his bat towards square leg even before the ball is bowled. His only goal during the first few overs seems to be to avoid being caught at slip.

Posted by Nampally on (December 31, 2012, 0:47 GMT)

In all fairness to Dhoni, he was short of a bowler today. Rohit Sharma should make way for an economical spinner like S.Nadeem. Nadeem can bowl his overs at <5 runs/over.The 3 part timers gave away 77 runs in 9 overs- Game,set & Match!. Dhoni kept his seamers to finish the game & he had to go with Yuvraj. I would have preferred Sehwag bowling instead of Kohli & Raina. Sehwag is a regular off spinner. Kohli is up & down rubbish at around 100 KPH! This type of irrational policies make Dhoni a very questionable captain. India needs 4 economical bowlers + 2 good part timers, to win ODI's. Nadeem & Negy were very difficult to hit in IPL. Nadeem has also been doing well in the Ranji this year.In order to go with 4 bowlers, Indian needs reliable batsmen like Pujara holding one end whilst the kings of short format Dhoni, Yuvraj, Kohli & Raina tear up the bowling. Chand & Rahane should open the batting. India should make a wholesale change to younger team -why postpose the inevitable?

Posted by rajcan on (December 31, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

There are two captains probably have same tactics and both of their team are not been successful for some time. Dhoni and Mahela Jayawardene dont go for a kill, they prepare they mind to play full allocated overs to win the game.

When opposition is loosing wickets, they dont go for a kill with their best bowlers, instead they reduce the pressure and think about the overs left and bring up part time bowlers. Mahela has done this numerous time and he lost the match. Disappointing to see Dhoni also doing the same thing, sad part is, both of these are overrated as best Captain.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

How much was the result dependent on the new rules that were introduced from today's ODI for India ? Was it at all a deterrent for Dhoni's Captaincy? If you look at it the New rule of 5 Fielders always in the 30 yd ring was aimed at Dhoni's tactics of spreading out the field to contain the opposition during his captaincy and winning World Cup with mediocre bowling resources. Every time India masters one game then England and Australia make sure that they change the Rules of the Game to suit themselves or at least do not suit the Indians...look at what they did with the Rules in Field Hockey where India were masters and the Rule changes completely screwed up their talent ! So if India produces plenty of Fast Bowlers in Future you will definitely see New rules being applied so that Indians do not succeed, so far they have not tried to do that with spinners ! You can keep this comment for another 25 years and see what I mean.

Posted by   on (December 31, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

Nonsense article! Last time they criticized him for leaving the fifth bowler till the end, and now for trying to finish em up before the finals overs. The team knew that they were one bowler short, so stop making scapegoat of Dhoni or Kohli for supposedly "breaking the shackles" with just ONE over!

Posted by stalefresh on (December 31, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

2007 to 2011 India were a very good side, while Pakistan was in shambles. The tables have clearly turned now and the bilateral series has started. Both countries play each other many times over the next 3-4 years and then another attach will put it on hold. India has a huge bowling problem.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

OH PLEASE! for those complaining about umpiring and making excuses. Why doesn't the BCCI implement the DRS then? you people have no reason to complain about umpiring..you have the option to use it but you choose not to because BCCI doesn't believe in its accuracy.. then why the hell are you watching replays to justify that it was bad umpiring? i thought you don't believe in replays..i think after this series, BCCI will start using the DRS.. plus DRS makes the umpires a lot better, that's why maybe there is no Indian in the elite panel? something to think about.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

Problem with Indian cricket is NOT Dhoni. It is the lack of quality pace bowlers and spinners who are bowling poorly. How can a captain place fieldsmen in positions and then the bowler bowls a poor ball? There is a concerted effort in Indian media to criticise Dhoni or Tendulkar in recent years. Australians get behind their team, yet the Indian media does the complete opposite. The MOM was correct, his innings was brilliant and against all the odds, clearly dominated the opposition attack. The Pakistan attack is light years ahead of the Indian attack. Perhaps a question should be directed to Duncan Fletcher and BCCI and asking them what are they doing?

Posted by yoohoo on (December 30, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

@Mehul Mandalia - Ganguly didn't win a World Cup, but Dhoni did. Argument closed.

Tactics depend on the level of talent in the team. Dhoni is doing his best with the bowling attack we have. With these kind of bowlers, if you try to attack you will get thrashed. Now the batsmen have also joined the bowlers, and so we are losing the matches. The solution is simple, just drop sehwag and gambhir, and see how suddenly the team will be transformed.

Posted by Naeem578 on (December 30, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

@Desihungama: You too are going beyond limits to praise an individual player so be calm and don't react like indian fans.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 30, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

Most of all i think Dhoni captaincy become stagnant. He is only fighter in the team of "Fake" superstars. I still do not what is going on with sehwag's mind. He needs to understand he can't throw away wicket like before when india had sachin , dravid etc. Now he needs to take responisiblity or just retire. Dhoni needs to be replaced as captain in all formats. Dhoni is best ODI player in indian team.

Posted by glen1 on (December 30, 2012, 22:57 GMT)

Wicket keeper-batsman/savior-captain; three-mind sapping and physically tiring activities on one man's shoulders. This is insanely impossible for any world class cricketer, and worse for a India Cricket Team player, where 50% of them don't turn up on any given day. It is impossible to startegize when you are that drained; no wonder, even spectators can see the faults.

Dhoni needs to be on T20, ODI and test teams but relieve him of captaincy.

Or, get a good wicket keeper batsman and put Dhoni in the field not behind the stumps.

Get rid of Gambhir and Sehwag.

Posted by Experienceisoverrated on (December 30, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

You critics act like Dhoni has Brett Lee and Dale Steyn waiting to bowl and he chooses to go with part timers. People keep asking for this mythical 5th bowler like it will change matters greatly. India literally have 0 world class bowlers in the side, regardless of what Hafeez says about Ashwin. Zero! Biggest cricketing nation in the world and no bowlers. And yet they blame the guy who has won them a World Cup, a T20 World Cup, got to the #1 test ranking and is easily the best middle order batsman in the world in limited overs cricket.

The Indian fans are really disgraceful in their criticism. Who is the replacement? All people do is name players as shots in the dark and hope something clicks. India has a severe bowling and fielding problem and the country just doesn't have the mentality to develop those areas.

Posted by amarnath79 on (December 30, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

India's most attacking limited over player, Harbhajan, is sidelined because Dhoni, Ashwin and Srinivasan of BCCI belong to Chennai superkings. No wonder India has been losing for last 2 years.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

Hats off to Mr Dhoni for playing this unbelievable gem of an inning. But still given the fact, Indian bowlers also did a some what "ok" job. Sehwag has been an unwanted liability on the team because of his weight and age perhaps. Misbah wasn't at his best today in the field but I am afraid, at his age he can't improve much. Irfan was a disaster in the end and should be replaced with Wahab. But overall after the first 10 overs of the match , India showed that Pakistan cannot affoard to relax at any stage of an IndoPak match. Raina disappointed us too. I guess Pakistan needs to bring back Afridi , Razzaq , Wahab Riaz and Umar Akmal (as a keeper), at the expense of Irfan, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Misbah . Pakistan would've been a much more competitive outfit.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

Dhoni's tactics were indeed questionable no doubt best ODI batsmen currently but he made various tactical errors. He seemed determined to have the 5th bowler bowl out his 10 overs even when Yuvraj and Co were going for over 7 an over. When you are defending 227, the game is not likely to go the distance either the opposition will overhaul the total with a couple of overs to spare or you will bowl them out with a few to spare. that is why his decision to bring Kohli in for the 41st over was strange India had taken a wicket and dried up runs have gone for the kill. As a Pakistan fan I was glad to see Kohli come on for the 41st as it ensured a few easy runs. TBH heard a lot of critcisim about the Indian quicks but they were decent in this match Sharma and Kumar were very good IMO. Sehwag needs to retire from T20 and ODI as he only comes of once in 10 games. I think Pujara should be brought into the ODI set up India need a solid batsmen with good technique to support Kohli and the like.

Posted by Desihungama on (December 30, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

As a Pak supporter I am shocked and stunned at the level of criticism toward Dhoni. I mean what else you want the man to do? There is not a single class player like Dhoni in Pak's team barring Younis and we would love to have one Dhoni in exchange for several of our bowlers. Pakistan bowlers set up the game for them and that's a fact.

Posted by IAS2009 on (December 30, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

it is very rare that MOM is given to losing side player. i think Junaid should get the MOM, his spell changed the game. once dhoni decide to protect his wicket 220 was always on card. you will not give MOM to player scoring century batting 2nd when chase is actually over because team surrender to chase a big total. very poor decision on part of team selecting MOM. If India would won i would say he might be the reason, but if India would have won it would be because of some outstanding bowling from Indian bowlers.

Posted by MFNadeem on (December 30, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

The funniest thing about Pakistan India series is that, Pakistan has weak batting, and they play one or two extra bowlers; while the Indians have weak bowling, and they play one or two extra batsmen. Who makes such strategies in the dressing room?

Posted by wc1992 on (December 30, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

dohi has beed over rated as a captan i never believe he is a great leader or strong tactical leader, it just happen there was enough talent for india to win in the past and enough support from umpire i.e WC semi vs Pak ....but now you realy have to plan and he is faling .....ie a wicket just has fallen, instead of attacking he goes back to part timer for ONE cheap over instead of attacking and hoping it will come off...........india need leader and techinicion

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

What w need is a couple of genuine all rounders? It's hard to believe that in a country with a billion + population, there isn't one another Kapil Dev! Rather than blaming Dhoni, I think we need to look at the selection panel.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

As the article already illustrated Dhoni is one of the best ODI batsmen in the world. However, when compared to the captains of other top nations, he is easily among the most conservative and defensive - think Clarke or Jayawardene or even Misbah. He can still get into the ODI team on merit but a new captain definitely needs to be blooded. Someone who can take India back to the Ganguly days of aggression and passion. However impressive Dhoni's calm nature is, this is what leads to such a passive attitude when fielding and he seems to miss out on making the right decisions at the most crucial times that even the spectators recognise. Even the most rigid members of the Dhoni-fan-club cannot ignore this.

Posted by SpartaArmy on (December 30, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

@Hasan Cheema: Don't you think it is a bit too far stretched mate, India was able to revive because they had an extra batsmen which has taken genuine fifth bowler (for India it won't matter anyways) option away. So give credit where it is due, teams don't win just because the opposition team is missing one genuine bowler (FIFTH or FIRST or whatever); because then they have to cope with the other team extra batsman. Well I don't blame you, you are not an expert.

Any how, the reason why India keep losing a lot of late is they don't have enough talent now. Common, guys like Dinda, Chawla, Yuvraj and raina(in tests) won't even make A teams in top 4 international teams and if you call them genuine, Get ready to play lot of bilateral series with BD. Give Dhoni 4 reliable batsmen and 4 reliable bowlers, he can do wonders like any top class captain there ever is. Leave the poor guy alone, for god sake he won WORLD CUP twice with teams that would have satisfied by making semifinals.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:33 GMT)

Totally disagree with the first paragraph of this article. Seems like the author was watching a different game. The contest was never even after Younis played his hand. Pakistan were cruising all the way after that. The reason India lost is again due to not playing a 5th bowler and relying on the mediocre part-time bowlers.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Guys, I hear everyone is saying Jamshed drop catch by Yuvi was the turning point. Let me refresh everyone short memory. Dhoni was dropped on 19 run by Misbah. Game was over at that point. It would have been much worst if dhoni did not played jem of knock afterward. So these things happen.

Posted by pankajmce on (December 30, 2012, 21:18 GMT)

Ridiculous I would say. After watching Dhoni contributing selflessly for whole day, he definitely doesn't deserve this criticism. Conditions were different in two innings. Mr. editor, this is the same technique that has resulted success in the past. If Kohli had got a wicket in 41st over, you would have praised Dhoni's decision to hold key bowlers for end. There were so many other factors (top order failure, poor umpiring decision in 2nd ball of 2nd inning, dropped catch towards end and the no-ball by Ashwin) that India costed the match and not Dhoni's captaincy. This doesn't mean I am blaming Yuvi or Ashwin or anyone in particular. Its all part of game. I Just can't understand why everyone is behind Dhoni. Let him do his job alone and try to accept the results as it comes.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 21:14 GMT)

I have been quite confused since the first T20 as to why Dhoni had Kohli bowl when Bhuvneshwar had removed the top 3 batsman in a spectacular manner and Hafeez/Shoaib were choking. Kohli came to bowl and they both settled down and were eased into their comfort zone. It allowed Pakistan the much needed breathing space that they so desperately needed.

I strongly felt Dhoni could have gone for the kill, or at least, backed his main bowlers. As soon as Kohli came to bowl, I could not help but recollect the IPL match last season that Kohli gave away through his bowling. I wondered why no one even mentions this blunder, of Kohli bowling for India. What good has that brought about ever? Today, due to his bowling, we might have even lost Kohli the batsman to injury. I was relieved to read this article where the author has rightly identified and echoed the same concern.

Posted by AnotherCricketFan on (December 30, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

India should stop going with a batsmen packed team. With Dhoni as a batsman-wktkeeper, Ashwin as an all-rounder we should be able to drop Yuvraj/Rohit and bring in a genuine bowler. Yuvraj really looks heavy and he is not a strike bowler. And surely Kohli is NOT a bowler. They probably should consider Sehwag before Kohli. He cost us the first T20 and now this.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:58 GMT)

don't understand when India finally realized that they need to play five specialist bowler. Yuvraj did the job exceptional well during WC but he's not doing it any more, Whenever Pakistan beat India I guess its due to that FIFTH bowler

Posted by tgevans on (December 30, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

The analysis in this article is shallow and ill-informed. Captaincy didn't cost India the match, but having said that, it does take a lot of energy to make good decisions. For Dhoni, it is clearly quite exhausting to be the main batsman and the keeper, and it is surprising that they don't pack a spare keeper in the team. The team selection was quite poor. Sehwag should have been shown the door a long time ago. India can't afford passengers. Yuvraj is not yet ready for prime-time. Dhoni should go up the order. Given that Ashwin and Kumar can bat, it would have been best to go with five bowlers. Much of what plays out on the field is easily predictable based on decisions made off the field.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

Dhoni was truly inspirational today. I am bamboozled that when India came out to field, they did not seem to be playing for a win. Their body language suggested that they were disappointed of their personal failure in the match. Dhoni's unbeaten century to give India a fighting target to defend and Kumar's first ball wicket of in form batsman (Hafeez) should have boosted the morales of Indian players. But they were too relaxed once Younis Khan and Nasir Jamshed settled. It seemed they were hoping and waiting for Pakistani batsmen to give away their wickets. Pakistan learned from the Indian innings that they have to stay at the wicket and make 3 or 4 runs every over. On Dhoni's captaincy, I do not think that there is much problem. The bowling attack makes Dhoni's and India's strategy predictable for any opposing side. They have too many part-time bowlers to make up a fifth bowler. India should get Irfan Pathan. He is a bowling allrounder and better option than Rohit Sharma.

Posted by asiacricket1234 on (December 30, 2012, 20:46 GMT)

People who are complaining about Dhoni getting the MOM award probably dont understand cricket that much. May be they just turned up here because there country won this particular match. That Innings was the best innings of that match. It was 5 for 29 if it wasn't for him this match would have finished long before. Even Imran Khan said that this is one of the best innings he has seen played under pressure. Nasir played a good innings too but his innings quality was no where near Dhoni's. I found this article really harsh too. Dhoni has one of the worst bowling line up in the world and he was playing against a inform Pakistan team. India never had any chance to win this match. If Dhoni had use his main bowler pak batsman would have scored run at the end overs

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

Well said Mr Sundar. Those are the kind of poor decisions from Dhoni that have been costing India so many matches. He should be axed from captaincy and be allowed to focus more on his more than useful batting. We want to see the Dhoni of old and that could happen only if is relieved of this duty.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

Nitin is just like all other Indians we hate our heroes when they are playing and do not cherish their performances. Speaking objectively Dhoni went with his 1st line attack (seamers) in the t20's (i think it was the 1st one) and got the game till the last over and he got chastised for that because Jadeja bowled the last over and got smacked for six. This time around maybe he could have done the same thing i.e. continue with the regulars but maybe that 5th bowler over from the T20 was playing on his mind. Lets face we have a sub par bowling attack i love Dinda's effort and B Kumars swing but we need an all rounder. Maybe we should pick one between Raina and Rohit and get Dhoni at 6 and Ashwin at 7. If Irfan Pathan comes back he can replace raina/rohit or Maybe even Sehwag because he is just not coming off as often. That way bowling will look like Kumar,Dinda Ishant Sharma/Amit mishra, Pathan, Ashwin and Yuvi and others for back up.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

As a Pakistani, I am very impressed with Kumar , his swing bowling was exceptional ... I think he is a bright future of India. I have heard people talking of his batting as well so it is better to groom him as an all rounder. I still think Dhoni is great Captain, it was only his efforts that India reached that total but he should now realise that he should play for 5 bowlers. Get rid of Part-timers, all the teams in the world know the India's weakness. All indian greats should now hunt for bowling talent in India !

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

Nitin, you are being too harsh on Dhoni. When he used up the quick bowlers' quota before the last over in the first T20 at B'lore and Jadeja had to bowl the 20th over, people criticised him for not holding back a quick to bowl that crucial over. Here, he tried to keep his best bowlers back for the later overs (well, just 1 over late) and he is criticised for being defensive. It's high time we cut him some slack and not be hypocritical in our judgement of his decisions on the field. While I don't condone him giving Kohli the 41st (as opposed to Yuvi maybe), I fully understand his idea of getting the 5th bowler's quota out of the way. Let's be honest, 55 off 60 is a better situation for a part timer to bowl in than even 15/20 off last over, given what happened in the T20s. Frankly, given our low total, Yuvi should have caught Jamshed. The match was 'lost' then itself. Malik doesn't leave an opportunity to not punish us, Kamran was also left, it was always going to be a canter for Pak !

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

Poor Dhoni, I feel captaining team India is like running a mid sized country, the man has aged so much in past few years. " imagination to attack ... you'd be hard-pressed to single out one such instance." on the contrary, I remember after the first T20 every one was blaming Dhoni for using up Kumar's when HE WAS TRYING TO ATTACK. Seriously guys leave the poor man alone! he is a brilliant keeper a gem of a batsman a competitive captain and the politest man in the team (some of the young guns of India could learn from him).

Posted by Swampy5 on (December 30, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

Quite unfair to focus on Dhoni's decision to use Kohli as if that was the key moment, and easy to criticise after the fact- if Kohli got a wicket then Dhoni would've been praised for trusting his part-timers instead. More damaging for India was Yuvraj's dropped catch after drinks and Ashwin's no-ball, not to mention the malfunctioning top order.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

Dhoni has the worst bowling attack in international cricket in all three version of the game. Till he isnt given 5 bowlers who are world class and 5 batsman with good technique there is no point judging him. Look at SA at the moment not a single player is a passenger whereas in the Indian team Shewag, Gambhir, Rohit Raina lack any kind of technique; Ashwin cant spin the ball and is supposed to be leading the attack, Irfan needs coaching and a haircut, and where did Dinda really come from. Get a proper team and then blame the Captain.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

Why's Sundar blaming DHONI for allowing Kohli to yield 7 runs in an over? Could Sundar observe as well as Dhoni how the pitch was behaving, the batsmens' body language, appreciate the psychological ploy of getting a good but cheaply dismissed batsman (Kohli) to bowl to make amends for his cheap dismissal? If games could be strategized sitting in the stands, we would all be captaining India. Yielding 7 runs in an over does not lose the game. It is incorrect to say the turning point was Kohli's 7 runs. Why did the bowlers in later overs not get dismissals? This was a 260-70 run pitch in the second innings. Taking risks was essential. The game was salvaged from 29/5 to an okay score that was still sub-par.

This team is not firing due to 1) team politics, 2)poor opening stand, 3)lack of Kirsten, 4)spoilt players, 5)lowest talent & aggression per capita of any nation. Colliseum crowds are baying for the captain's head to fall. Will realize its value only after the beheading.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

Part time bowlers cost india that match. They given away 77 runs without getting any wicket in non-powerplay middle overs when run rate is usually slow. That reduced the equation for Pakistan to only 150 runs in 40 over with all wickets in hand. With new ICC rule changes, part timers have no place in ODI. It is a very good move by ICC. I think India, bangladesh and other weaker bowling side will suffer most who go away with part timer slow bowler with 5 fielders on the boundary. It is no more an option now.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

While Dhoni could have definitely been more aggressive with his bowling changes towards the end of Pakistan's innings, he can hardly be held responsible for the defeat. I would put it down to: (a) that there weren't enough runs on the board to defend in easing batting conditions. (b) missed opportunities such as Yuvraj dropping Jamshed at a critcial moment during the chase and the Younus Khan lbw decision cost India and it was these moments where India failed to take the initiative and lost the game.

Posted by nabeel89 on (December 30, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

Just can't understand why everyone is after the poor guy. Granted the results lately haven't been so good, but it's the same tactics he used in the past that had been applauded and playing more batsmen than bowlers is the management's decision including coaches not just the captain! leave the guy alone! produced a gem of a knock today and needs some support than criticism from every corner!

Posted by ToTellUTheTruth on (December 30, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

Dhone the player defintely deserve the selection in an Indian (if not all time, but the current) ODI team. But it is about time, he moves on as Captain.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

Good thing Mr Records is not in. Otherwise century and bigger loss

Posted by FRRR on (December 30, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Dhoni did not deserve to win man of the match. Pakistan dominated in bowling and by the 40th over Pakistan had won the match because of better innings by Nasir jamshaid. I Do not know but may be he got the award for being the captain of losing indian side as a consolation price.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

Extremely biased report. Dinda definitely was having problem bowling his overs, and all Dhoni did was get rid of the fifth bowler overs lest the match goes down to the last over. In tough conditions, Dhoni first did a brilliant job by taking India to a fighting total and then keeping wickets for the rest of the innings. And instead of hailing him for this extraordinary effort,we are jumping up and criticizing him only because we lost to Pakistan. It was an easy chase given the conditions and Pak achieved it. Give the credit where its due. He is our best ODI batsman by far, and also a brilliant captain.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

To all who is questioning the MOM for Dhoni, its not the winning team always gets a MOM award. The reason is he delivered in most adverse conditions, we witnessed it after the innings every pakistan player congratulated Dhoni. Stage when India was 29/5 and ball swinging we were almost certain that we wont cross 100. So its basically the MAN who stand out in that match gets an award. Ofcourse there were contenders like in every match. And it seems like only Pak Fans are protesting so be sportive gives it was a cricket that won.

Posted by vinodzz on (December 30, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

thats a right move... question would be raised if the match moves to the last over with nly part timers available ... excuse article against dhoni... but Test cricket needs a new captain

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:32 GMT)

It was indeed Dhoni who took his team to that fighting total. For me, it was great innings. But in the end, Pak chased it down. As far his captaincy conerned, i do agree with it. Most of the time, Dhoni do experiments/inventions. Sometimes he is succeeded but it does not mean he should adopy thesec tactics in each & every game. To stick with the basic is well in most situations.

Posted by Bond2008 on (December 30, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

I was also shocked to see when dhoni gave 41st over to kohli. Not only that, he dint use Dinda well in the game .. he kept on giving overs to fifth bowler from 20-30 overs even when all were giving runs and Dinda had bowled only 3 overs !! That allowed new batsman Yunus also to settle down.. he should have given atleast couple of overs to fast bowlers to attack the batsmen !! he is just following flat rules.. if pakistans main batsmen plays 50 overs they would win this game .. this fact dhoni should have realized !!

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:29 GMT)

It is great Nitin that you are not playing cricket!!! otherwise Indian cricket would have been in hell. You top order collapses for 29 odd runs and you still find a reason to blame captain. Only solution is bring in new players like Pujara, Rahane etc. At leat they are doing efforts to make a match.

Posted by FRRR on (December 30, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

Pakistan has a very young and talented side and the future of Pakistan is bright ,,, India only has big names. The so called golden era of indian cricket is going to be over soon.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

India are lacking a genuine all-rounder. They need the likes of another Kapil Dev. Someone who can stand the test of time. India unlike other international teams depend on batting a lot more, than bowling. Their bowling side is good but 4 bowlers can only do this much damage. Kolhi is lucky to get a bowl so is Suresh. Right now India is trying something different. I don't think the team balance is good enough any more. Viru has lost his touch. and Yuvi has never been consistent. He is remarkable batsman but tends to throw it away. I think Dhoni needs to a support cast to help him. Only last year they beat West Indies at home and trashed England in ODI. Nothing was said about his captaincy, the team was pretty much similar. Only difference is the team as a unit isn't performing this year. Gavaskar and Shastri were Critical of the top 5 dismissals. What if India posted 260 and won? I don't think the bowling was great, it wasn't a Wasim or Waqar special. It was just careless batting

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

india have to find some quality bowlers, if they wanna top rankings again... dhoni cannot do anything with this pathetic attack...

Posted by IAS2009 on (December 30, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

The reason India is loosing so many ODI and T20 is playing seven batsman, one extra bowler short is costing them many games, their backup fifth bowler could be Yuvraj but other good bowlers. most of the quicks India have are slow medium pacers which are easy pickings. On flat pitches in India it will work if India have above average score on that pitch, it will hard to defend when score is low with all rules supporting batsman. One can blame Dhoni but he don't have resources in bowling to cover 10 overs part time 10 overs will always release pressure and opposition will wait for part timers. In first T20 he used his quicks and end up with jadeja in last over. If Dhoni is picking 4 bowlers it is his fault to begin with. this attitude will cost India more overseas.

Posted by Raj12345 on (December 30, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

Bring Dinesh Karthik to support Dhoni in Middle order. DK was good middle order than RG. But no one kows why DK is not in team

Posted by PCFan on (December 30, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

At least Dhoni deserves a place in any ODI team, even if he is not a captain. But, in case of Misbah besides being a poor, defensive, and very uninspirational captain, he does not deserve a place in any ODI team. He is below par batsman and due to his age he is a slow and poor fielder. He is actually a burden on the team. When our target should be to prepare the team for World Cup 2015 with young and new talent, then why we have a 38 years old guy captaining the side? Do you want a 40 years old man on a wheel chair captaining the side in world cup? This is beyond me.

Posted by sabeeh89 on (December 30, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

I thought he Kohli move was a misstep as well. He should have a least given it Yuvi instead of Kohli. One has to wonder the makeup of the Indian XI. Why is a guy averaging over 50 with the bat coming in at 7.

They should drop R Sharma and play a bowler next match

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

I just cant understand why Dhoni is man of the match? junaid dominated the match and nasir jamshed scored century too. Man of the match is mostly for a winning team's main contributor player especially if losing team had not done anything special.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

Why were Kohli and Raina even allowed a bowl? Kumar had another over to go and Yuvraj who has the ability to turn a game had five more overs. Besides Yuvi was more economical hat both Kohli and Raina. Come on Dhoni stop giving games away.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 30, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

Another excuse. He lost his mojo. his defensive leadership costing india. I still think he is best ODI batsman for india but his captaincy is dull and he do not inspire his team mates like before to rally around him. Dhoni has to be stripped of captaincy.

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Nitin SundarClose
Nitin Sundar Social media manager Nitin spent his formative years perfecting the art of landing the googly, before blossoming into a book-cricket specialist. More excellence followed in the underarm version of the game before, like the majority of India's misguided youth, he started taking studies seriously. After four forgettable years of electrical engineering, followed by a rigorous MBA and 16 months in the strategy consulting industry, he began to ponder life's more profound issues. Such as the angle made by Brian Lara's bat with the horizontal at the peak of his back-lift. A move to ESPNcricinfo followed and Nitin is now a prolific nurdler in office cricket, with a questionable technique against the short ball.
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