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New captain not feasible before World Cup - Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 6, 2014

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Passed the point of no return - Dhoni

MS Dhoni has indicated he is not averse to continuing as India captain in all formats, saying it would be unfair to burden a new player with the mantle of captaincy with just a year left for the 2015 World Cup.

"It's a point of no return with the World Cup literally one year away from now," Dhoni said at a promotional event in Delhi, according to PTI. "It won't give a new guy the ideal time to play at least 70-80-90 games [before] the World Cup. That's what we would like to have him play before the World Cup.

"I understand the pressure… you get the kind of things which give you more experience than the others. So, we have to go through it."

Dhoni was responding to a question on giving up captaincy in one format to prolong his career. In 2012, Dhoni had said he might have to give up a format to lead India's title defence in 2015, but would take a call only at the end of 2013.


MS Dhoni with the World Cup trophy on the morning after the final, Mumbai, April 3, 2011
MS Dhoni feels there is insufficient time for a successor to gain enough experience to lead India's World Cup defence © AFP
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There have always been concerns over how much workload Dhoni can take across his multiple roles but he said his body was holding up fine at the moment. "I am really fortunate to see where I am right now with the amount of cricket that we are playing these days. As of now, it's looking good. The body is closely knit together. How it will be [in future], I don't know but so far so good."

India lost their recent two-Test series 0-1 in South Africa but Dhoni said India's performance on the tour showed they had promising players, who would only get better with the exposure on upcoming trips. "Yes, we had some tough times. We had a bad session [in Durban]. We had one really bad session because of which we were on the losing side.

"I think the process is more important. It can go worse than that [the performance in South Africa], but the good thing is that at least we know the players are there. We had a lot of good sessions in South Africa.

"It's a process where we have to improve. Also the fact [is] that now we will be continuously playing out of India, so it will give more exposure to the players. Most of the players who are part of the side, barring a few, they have not played maybe more than five Test matches outside India. I know they will take some time, but the overall performance was good."

India's bowlers were unable to bowl South Africa out in the second innings of the first Test despite having 457 runs to defend, and Dhoni acknowledged they required progress on that front. "We have bowlers who can take 20 wickets but still this is one area where we need to improve. I think on the wickets that are helpful we have done well. Outside India, at times, you get wickets where we have to hit the deck hard and that goes [against] what our bowlers actually bowl.

"I am talking about the majority of bowlers, that's one area where we have to still learn. We have seen in the past also, if there's help, then we will get 20 wickets. That's one area where we have to improve a bit. But looking at the of bowlers we have got, definitely it seems they have the potential to take 20 wickets in Test matches."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 10, 2014, 8:17 GMT)

There are wicketkeepers in India ( Gautham, Sampson, DK, Saha) They just need to be sent on overseas A-trips - this will distinguish who is the best.

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 10, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

Yes slots in the team are limited. When we have Dhoni and the tail not able to contribute to the score with even a good 20/30 odd it makes the team weak in TESTS. To the opposition its like playing against half a team. All the good work by our top order goes to waste. Most teams have wicketkeepers who can bat - not India in tests. Dhoni is a shrewd captain in ODI as he thinks ahead of the opposition. He needs to lead from the front in tests. Unless he changes his batting in tests - well we will not improve. The SA tests are glaring example for all to see.

Posted by Nampally on (January 9, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

Despite many fans opposed to Dhoni continuing as Captain of the Indian Test team, the Selectors will continue with him. Dhoni has the president of the BCCI in his pocket & he controls the Selectors. In India it is always "who you Know" counts more than what your abilities are. If you have a powerful God Father, you always win. In the bargain INDIA loses! Whilst every Nation has different Captains for each format, India is burying its head in the sand as though no one but Dhoni can captain India. Pujara, Kohli, Rohit Sharma are all knowledgeable about Cricket & have captaincy experience - albeit not at the Test level. But then even Dhoni had Zero experience when he first captained India. Pujara has captained India A Team creditably at home & abroad for the past 18 months. Kohli has captained RCB in IPL & India ODI team In Zimbabwe- damn site better than MSD. Rohit captains Mumbai. Let these 3 be the captains of Test, ODI & T20 format. Time for de-monopolising & Change for the better-Eh!

Posted by ramli on (January 9, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

So, MSD is responsible for the seniors' exit ... despite their horrible form, fitness and what nots!! But, MSD is not responsible for any of the Indian glories over the years! What uncharitable comments!! Indians first should learn to appreciate and be realistic too! If MSD is replaced, will all woes in overseas tour get solved? I don't think there is any WK-batsman who is setting the national scene by fire! Just allow this man to continue till WC-2015, he will automatically give up test cricket to VK, who by then would have commanded every respect due from all players

Posted by   on (January 9, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

Dhoni is a master class in one dayers but has to prove his skills abroad. If we leave out the 2007 T20 world cup, there are no major overseas ODI victories. Even the 2013 Champions trophy victory was a fluke. Dhoni has not established himself as a test batsman and his wicket keeping skills cannot be compared to a Boucher or a AB DeVilliers or a Gilchrist. It is evident that Dhoni is extremely influential as he has the backing of Srini whose franchise he also captains. Dhoni has ensured the exit of all seniors such as Laxman , Dravid and Sachin and also sidelined his competitors such as Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj and Harbhajan. Dhoni has ensured that there is no player in the present lineup who can challenge his authority. Virat Kohli will take time to mature for captaincy. Rohit Sharma is on and off. Dhawan, Jadeja, Raina are all pretenders. Suddenly there is an absence of seniors who would be the ideal think tank in a crisis. Dhoni should give up Test Captaincy without any doubt...

Posted by Hiba.R on (January 9, 2014, 8:06 GMT)

Well there is no reason why we shouldn't have separate Captains for all 3 formats of the game, other countries do have so why not India. But one may say other countries are more professional, so the question is are we not, and the obvious answer is NO. Why can't you find 2 more men to lead the other formats and when there are players of that caliber are on the team. But we believe in one size fits all, which is where we have gone wrong.

Its not too late to have a new young dynamic player with a new approach to lead the team at world cup 2015 if India is to win. The same old unorthodox and unilateral decision making is not going to work, well we can only pray that it works, but not always that the prayers are answered especially when there are other teams that not just pray but also play well. Steve Waugh was replaced with Ponting 12 months before the World Cup so why not Dhoni, and when we have replacement available at hand.

Posted by McGorium on (January 9, 2014, 0:34 GMT)

stormy16: The discussion is a necessary one for the test side. I'm sure Dhoni has no problems captaining. The problem is that he's not a good test keeper: He routinely fails to go for catches that fly between slips and the keeper. He rarely dives, meaning that unless the ball is in his "sphere of influence", it goes past him quite easily. He often fumbles the ball while collecting. See his keeping against fast bowling during the England tour(the 4-0 one). Further, his keeping on an up-down pitch to spinners is mediocre at best (compare Mongia to Kumble). So: mediocre test keeper, poor batsman outside the subcontinent. A test keeper has to be a good keeper first, and batting is a bonus. ODI keepers can be mediocre, as the pitches are typically true. Which basically means Dhoni would not be an automatic pick as a test keeper had he also not been captain (and a star player, and therefore immune to the criteria applied to lesser players). He's also an unimaginative test captain.

Posted by sanjeevbiswal1984 on (January 8, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

Good article........,,............

Posted by stormy16 on (January 8, 2014, 17:40 GMT)

I dont see why this discussion needs to be even had. Surely Dhoni is one of a kind who looks totally comfortable in his role as captain in all formats. If the issue is to prolong his career the only option I see is it to rest him from T20's after the WC in March but not to play Dhoni in T20 is like saying lets rest Chris Gayle from T20! One consideration could be after the 2015 WC in Aus to rest Dhoni from 50 over cricket. There will never be another Dhoni but there are plenty of wicket keeper batters in India.

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