SA in India 2015-16 October 9, 2015

Agarkar questions Dhoni's place in the team

Raunak Kapoor

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Agarkar: Dhoni shouldn't become a liability

Former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar has called for the selectors to scrutinise MS Dhoni's role in the Indian team, and not merely as captain. Agarkar felt the selectors should look at Virat Kohli's performance as the Test captain by comparison, and make a call on Dhoni's role in the limited-overs format after the ongoing South Africa series.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo ahead of India's ODI series against South Africa, Agarkar said "the selectors need to have a closer look at what MS Dhoni is doing, not just as captain, but as a player as well".

Agarkar was especially concerned by Dhoni's declining individual form. "He has been a great player for India, but you don't want him to become a liability for the team. And he needs to perform a lot better than he has [been]. Just because he has done it over the years, doesn't mean it's okay for him to fail."

Agarkar was also highly critical of Dhoni's decision to bat at No.4 in the one-day format, insisting that such a move would be "unfair" on somebody like Ajinkya Rahane and "would not work for the team."

'I'm not convinced he should bat at four," Agarkar said. "Just after a World Cup, you're now trying to develop your team for the next World Cup. Four years is a long time, but for Dhoni, towards the end of his career, to put himself up, I'm not sure about it. You can understand if there are batsmen who can't bat 3 and 4. But there is Ajinkya Rahane, who has been one of your best players in Test cricket and I don't think he can bat lower than four in ODIs yet, unless he changes his game over his career.

"Dhoni seems to have lost that ability of going out there and smashing it from ball one. He obviously takes his time. But he batted up the order in Bangladesh, and India still lost the series. All his career when people wanted him to bat up because he is so good and has that destructive ability, he has always maintained that he wants and needs to bat at No.6, where he can handle the pressure.

"It's a hard job batting at 5, 6 and 7. I've seen Yuvraj and MS himself do it for so long, but that doesn't mean that it changes at this stage in his career. You've got to have guys who are good at certain numbers. And at the moment MS by promoting himself, is getting a Rahane or anyone else who bats there, into trouble. I would still have Raina and Dhoni at 5 and 6, so contrary to what a lot of people have said, I don't think Dhoni should be batting at four at this stage in his career."

Agarkar believed the selectors might have some big decisions to take at the end of the ODI series against South Africa, on the future of the Indian team in ODIs and T20Is.

"Looking at the results, India have generally been good in ODIs, but you've lost the World Cup semi-final, then you've lost in Bangladesh where Dhoni was captain twice, and you've now lost a T20 series. Yes, the T20s can go either way very quickly so you don't want to judge someone, but for Dhoni this is a big series," he said.

"The selectors maybe need to look at where the Indian team is heading because Virat Kohli has done well as captain in Test cricket so maybe the selectors need to make that call after this series.'

Raunak Kapoor is a presenter at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at RaunakRK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Cricinfouser on October 16, 2015, 8:25 GMT

    Hope Agarkar and other Dhoni critics got the answer now ;)

  • rama on October 14, 2015, 20:23 GMT

    I see people saying Kohli should be the captain of Indian ODI team , some say Rohit should be the captain , some say Rahane should be the captain and some say Ashwin should take the mantle .. So We can have it like this ... whoever hits highest score in one match should be the captain in the next match .. And whoever hits highest score in that match should be the captain in the next match and so on .. This way the captain-ship issue will be permanently solved .. :-) :-) :-)

  •   Shilpa Sharma on October 14, 2015, 16:22 GMT

    And Today? Do we still need to scrutinize Dhoni?

  • anu on October 14, 2015, 16:03 GMT

    I think Agarkar has to watch today's match; Before writing the cola um questioning the MSD s place in team he should have checked Dhonis average for the last 5 years. It was over 50 till 2014 and only this year it was in 30s. Who has better consistent average than him and who can bat with tail and take score 126/6 to 247/9 with the exception of Great kapil dev. Every player goes into lean patches asking his place in the team is too much.

  • Vikash on October 13, 2015, 18:16 GMT

    I think this time India needs a all-rounder, no one can like Yuvraj Singh. So Selectors can keep an eye with Yuvraj Singh.

  • Qwerty on October 13, 2015, 16:14 GMT

    Dhoni is not in his form and yet his average is 43 this year...wat about our next captain whose average is 29 this year...better we make Rohit our vice captain...

  • chamara on October 13, 2015, 9:44 GMT

    dhoni retire asap...u will be found out in australia.. the waca against a rampant australia bowling attack will finish you...

  • Navin on October 13, 2015, 1:14 GMT

    I think MSD is still a good player for ODI. He was never good for Test Matches and now with age probably not good enough for T20. For ODI he is better than most, he can still score lot of runs for India and of course Captain the team with Respect.

  • prajwal on October 12, 2015, 14:16 GMT

    the selectors need to show courage to drop dhoni from both t20s and odis. he is just a passenger in the team with his poor captaincy and batting.kohli should be appointed as new captain.

  • karthik on October 12, 2015, 12:06 GMT

    I do agree that Dhoni's recent form has not been great. Just because Rohit has played couple of good innings n two matches, we say he has to be the next captain. All this while ppl have been tolling him for not being consistent. Coming to Dhawan's form, person who recommended him as Deputy, should take take his last 15 inngs and then comment if he's really capable to take responsibility. Though I have been great admirer of Virat's batting, lately he's not living up to the expectation. Every players goes through a bad phase. While on the topic, it's too early to decide India's next capt. I personally feel youngsters like VIRAT, ROHIT & DHAWAN, need to grow up as a individual. They are yet to mature as a cricketers.