India in England 2014 August 18, 2014

Time to liberate MS Dhoni

After 8-0, MS Dhoni could look forward to building a team from scratch; now, there is nothing left for him to contribute. Free him from the Test captaincy and he could yet give back in other ways
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Things are not looking up for MS Dhoni as Test captain © Getty Images

MS Dhoni has a phlegmatic, unruffled air about him. That he is rarely given to another disposition suggests it is how the man is constructed. There is no mask, no pretense at being "cool". In the delirium that followed India's World Cup victory in 2011, he said it was "good to win". No grandiose romanticism about how a boy from Ranchi could never have imagined holding up cricket's most treasured prize, no claims of this being a "gift to the nation".

So, in defeat too, Dhoni doesn't do manufactured gloom. "Will you resign as Test captain now?" he was asked after India plummeted to their fifth-straight overseas-series defeat. "Didn't you ask me the same question in 2011?" he retorted with a smile.

Leading cricket teams wears the best of them down. Graeme Smith recently walked away from the game, knowing well that at 33 he was possibly forsaking a few years of heavy run scoring. In 2007 Rahul Dravid led India to a first series win in England in 21 years and called time on his captaincy, saying he simply had stopped "enjoying" the task. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara grew weary of the politics of their board and so chose to hand hold a younger man rather than continue in the job themselves.

When India suffered embarrassing whitewashes in 2011 in England and then Australia, Dhoni had faced calls for his head. He dug his heels in at the time, and perhaps rightly so. At 30, Dhoni was aware that once India's aging batting giants made way, he would be allowed to put together a team of his choice. As India began a sequence of three series on the road earlier this season, the signs were positive. In South Africa and New Zealand, they were beaten but not disgraced. The formula Dhoni invested in was reaping reward and on an incredible afternoon at Lord's, it delivered a magic moment.

The three staggering defeats that have followed have not just punctured the afterglow of that success but give Dhoni little reason to stay invested in the job. The young batsmen he hoped would form the engine room of a brave new outfit have floundered and offered clues to future foes on how to neutralise them. Returning to solid performers from the past has ended in spectacular failure.

Worse still, there isn't a stream of young batsmen in the country demanding to be promoted to national duty. What does Dhoni attempt to rebuild now? Who does he build with?

The consistently comical slip catching and large tracts of impotent bowling mean India have inadequate tools to mount a credible challenge on tours.

Dhoni avoids hyperbole, terming overseas success "important", and isn't given to concerns about legacy, but surely the will to soldier on is dwindling? Yes, he could add to his impressive captaincy record by beating West Indies at home later in the year, but it would be little more than a statistical milestone.

In the brutal treadmill that is the modern game, it is a minor miracle that Dhoni's reign has lasted this long. But being captain first and all else later has impeded his progress as a Test cricketer.

An old cliché suggests cricket teams must be made up of the best playing eleven possible and the captain must be found from within that group. However, no wicketkeeper in the country, no matter how assured his glove-work or how sound his batting, has even an outside chance of challenging for Dhoni's spot.

In the absence of the competition from rivals that often forces sportsmen to strive to improve, Dhoni's wicketkeeping has visibly declined. He displayed remarkable gumption with the bat in making four half-centuries in the England series but his overall record outside the subcontinent remains pedestrian. He is perhaps still India's No. 1 wicketkeeper batsman in Test cricket, but worthy young men such as Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha are emerging as strong challengers.

At 33, there can yet be a memorable home stretch to this outstanding international career. What he needs, in Test cricket, is to be liberated. From tosses and press conferences, from team building and man-management. He has his beloved one-day team to lead into a World Cup defense in less than a year but his time is up as Test captain. There is nothing left to accomplish, nothing left to contribute. Free him so he can focus on his battles as a player, free him so his wisdom is available to a successor. Then, it could yet be a happy ending for Dhoni.

Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo. @gauravkalra75

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • karnamgiridhar on August 24, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    The chain is as strong as its weakest link. Why axe Dhoni, if unfit for the job, Dhoni would have been the first to opt out of the role, knowing the personality he is. Imagine England test series without Dhoni. Indians would have created a new world record for lowest total at last 2 venues

  • on August 22, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    Saha and Ojha are not young. And for Team India's sake, Dinesh Kaarthick is the best available option as back-up keeper. Any thoughts on this man. Experienced, wily and shrewd cricketer. Busybee. Can bat, keep and field.

  • on August 21, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    dont give up ........alllllll the experts were once a begineeer

  • FAB_ALI on August 21, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Dhoni should remain as a no. 6 batsman and surely as a captain. He needs to give up the keeping in Tests just as Sangakkara did. Time to bring in and prepare Naman Ojha or Saha as Test keeper. That would mean one of the top 5 batsmen have to make way and I think that should be Dhawan. Pujara and Vijay can open with Kohli at 3, Rahane at 4 and Keeper at 5. If they opt to play only 4 bowlers, an extra batsman can be accommodated in the middle order.

  • jay57870 on August 21, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    Kalra - Good idea! Dhoni is liberated: Coach Fletcher is virtually gone! Dhoni's adverse situation is like what it was for Cook after the 0-5 Ashes drubbing in Oz & Clarke after the "homework-gate" 0-4 collapse in India. Who got liberated? Cook & Clarke as Coach Flower quit & Arthur got axed. So let's look at Dhoni. He can't carry the team alone. As Gavaskar says: "He has led from the front. He has batted at difficult positions. He has set an example. If his example has not been followed by the rest of the team, I don't think you can blame the captain. I don't think there is any alternative to MS Dhoni in the foreseeable future and I would back him to carry on"! Agreed! Yes, even at age 33, he's "still India's No.1 wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket". No, Kalra's "worthy young men" Saha (~30) & N Ojha (31) are not young anymore. Instead, let's groom promising youngster Sanju Samson (19) who's been called up for the Eng ODI tour. It's about the future, not a "happy ending" for MSD!

  • ramli on August 20, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Comparing Sourav and MSD is like comparing apples with oranges ... Sourav was blessed with senior players but MSD was burdened with them ... players like Ashwin, Kohli, Raina, Rohit, Dhawan were nurtured by MSD ... they don't have an enviable record outside India but then so were others groomed by Sourav ... all of these do not miss the main point of liberating MSD from test cricket captaincy ... yes, the time has come ... Sachin/Dravid had MSD in mind for the top job ... when MSD took over from Kumble/Dravid we did not know about him ... similarly, anybody taking over from MSD might emerge well ... let us see if MSD has anybody in mind for this job

  • mehulmatrix on August 20, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    I think a objective analysis is very important. Foremost: MS has been average as batsman in Tests, apart from this series & also keeping below par. His captaincy seems defensive & doesn't seem to 'really' back or motivate when needed unlike Dada as mentioned by abhi_crictwit,which is very vital for team & each player.Reminds of S. Waugh being dropped from ODIs, but continued in Tests. Also there are other keepers to replace him.The dismal performance further blurs captain selection for Tests, but i think Pujara might be a good bet.It would motivate him to learn more, hopefully w/o undue pressure. BCCI would do well to consider batsmen like Tiwary,Badrinath, Jijanjot,etc & also push players for county experience outside Asia. Winning WC/T20 is definitely good,but such successive lows in Tests leaves a big hole for a genuine game lover.

  • on August 20, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    It's high time Dhoni not only resigns from the Test captaincy, but also from Test cricket as well as it's obvious that his playing and captaincy style as well as his temperament are not suited for the longest format. In fact, Dhoni once said that he may retire from one of the formats by 2013, wonder why he still hasn't done so. He can still play and continue as the skipper in the limited-overs formats, where he has an enviable record.

    The Indian Test team needs an aggressive captain who leads from the front and is willing to take risks just like Dada did and IMO the only obvious choice at the moment is Virat Kohli. Also, players like Jadeja, Binny and Rohit, who are good limited-overs players but seem to be complete misfits in Tests, should be kept away from the Test team. Following is my preferred Indian team for Tests:

    1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. Kohli (c) 5. Naman Ojha/Sanju Samson (wk) 6. Rahane 7. Ashwin 8. Bhuvi 9. Ishant 10. Pragyan Ojha/Bhajji 11. Shami/Aaron/Zaheer

  • cric_surgeon on August 20, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    This article does not have any merit at all. Send off MSD. Okay. Who takes the whip? All captain materials in our team are so pathetic if not sorry figures. The bowling unit except one or two is utterly faltering. Everyone cried for Aaron. His net run rate is head spinning. Pankaj Singh gave away as many runs as he wished to gift away. Binny the selector's boy wonder is beyond comparison. MSD is being aimed because of a bunch of batters without imagination, plan, gut, and spine and mass run donators. Is this really fair? Okay. Take out MSD and find a better captain and win all the matches. People like will be watching closely.

  • on August 20, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Give the captaincy to Ashwin.. test captain should be Ashwin. Dhoni can captain in the shorter formats.

  • karnamgiridhar on August 24, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    The chain is as strong as its weakest link. Why axe Dhoni, if unfit for the job, Dhoni would have been the first to opt out of the role, knowing the personality he is. Imagine England test series without Dhoni. Indians would have created a new world record for lowest total at last 2 venues

  • on August 22, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    Saha and Ojha are not young. And for Team India's sake, Dinesh Kaarthick is the best available option as back-up keeper. Any thoughts on this man. Experienced, wily and shrewd cricketer. Busybee. Can bat, keep and field.

  • on August 21, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    dont give up ........alllllll the experts were once a begineeer

  • FAB_ALI on August 21, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Dhoni should remain as a no. 6 batsman and surely as a captain. He needs to give up the keeping in Tests just as Sangakkara did. Time to bring in and prepare Naman Ojha or Saha as Test keeper. That would mean one of the top 5 batsmen have to make way and I think that should be Dhawan. Pujara and Vijay can open with Kohli at 3, Rahane at 4 and Keeper at 5. If they opt to play only 4 bowlers, an extra batsman can be accommodated in the middle order.

  • jay57870 on August 21, 2014, 1:32 GMT

    Kalra - Good idea! Dhoni is liberated: Coach Fletcher is virtually gone! Dhoni's adverse situation is like what it was for Cook after the 0-5 Ashes drubbing in Oz & Clarke after the "homework-gate" 0-4 collapse in India. Who got liberated? Cook & Clarke as Coach Flower quit & Arthur got axed. So let's look at Dhoni. He can't carry the team alone. As Gavaskar says: "He has led from the front. He has batted at difficult positions. He has set an example. If his example has not been followed by the rest of the team, I don't think you can blame the captain. I don't think there is any alternative to MS Dhoni in the foreseeable future and I would back him to carry on"! Agreed! Yes, even at age 33, he's "still India's No.1 wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket". No, Kalra's "worthy young men" Saha (~30) & N Ojha (31) are not young anymore. Instead, let's groom promising youngster Sanju Samson (19) who's been called up for the Eng ODI tour. It's about the future, not a "happy ending" for MSD!

  • ramli on August 20, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Comparing Sourav and MSD is like comparing apples with oranges ... Sourav was blessed with senior players but MSD was burdened with them ... players like Ashwin, Kohli, Raina, Rohit, Dhawan were nurtured by MSD ... they don't have an enviable record outside India but then so were others groomed by Sourav ... all of these do not miss the main point of liberating MSD from test cricket captaincy ... yes, the time has come ... Sachin/Dravid had MSD in mind for the top job ... when MSD took over from Kumble/Dravid we did not know about him ... similarly, anybody taking over from MSD might emerge well ... let us see if MSD has anybody in mind for this job

  • mehulmatrix on August 20, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    I think a objective analysis is very important. Foremost: MS has been average as batsman in Tests, apart from this series & also keeping below par. His captaincy seems defensive & doesn't seem to 'really' back or motivate when needed unlike Dada as mentioned by abhi_crictwit,which is very vital for team & each player.Reminds of S. Waugh being dropped from ODIs, but continued in Tests. Also there are other keepers to replace him.The dismal performance further blurs captain selection for Tests, but i think Pujara might be a good bet.It would motivate him to learn more, hopefully w/o undue pressure. BCCI would do well to consider batsmen like Tiwary,Badrinath, Jijanjot,etc & also push players for county experience outside Asia. Winning WC/T20 is definitely good,but such successive lows in Tests leaves a big hole for a genuine game lover.

  • on August 20, 2014, 7:09 GMT

    It's high time Dhoni not only resigns from the Test captaincy, but also from Test cricket as well as it's obvious that his playing and captaincy style as well as his temperament are not suited for the longest format. In fact, Dhoni once said that he may retire from one of the formats by 2013, wonder why he still hasn't done so. He can still play and continue as the skipper in the limited-overs formats, where he has an enviable record.

    The Indian Test team needs an aggressive captain who leads from the front and is willing to take risks just like Dada did and IMO the only obvious choice at the moment is Virat Kohli. Also, players like Jadeja, Binny and Rohit, who are good limited-overs players but seem to be complete misfits in Tests, should be kept away from the Test team. Following is my preferred Indian team for Tests:

    1. Vijay 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. Kohli (c) 5. Naman Ojha/Sanju Samson (wk) 6. Rahane 7. Ashwin 8. Bhuvi 9. Ishant 10. Pragyan Ojha/Bhajji 11. Shami/Aaron/Zaheer

  • cric_surgeon on August 20, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    This article does not have any merit at all. Send off MSD. Okay. Who takes the whip? All captain materials in our team are so pathetic if not sorry figures. The bowling unit except one or two is utterly faltering. Everyone cried for Aaron. His net run rate is head spinning. Pankaj Singh gave away as many runs as he wished to gift away. Binny the selector's boy wonder is beyond comparison. MSD is being aimed because of a bunch of batters without imagination, plan, gut, and spine and mass run donators. Is this really fair? Okay. Take out MSD and find a better captain and win all the matches. People like will be watching closely.

  • on August 20, 2014, 0:31 GMT

    Give the captaincy to Ashwin.. test captain should be Ashwin. Dhoni can captain in the shorter formats.

  • B.R.K.R on August 19, 2014, 23:37 GMT

    ravi ashwin can be a candidate for a good captain, he seems to have a level head on his shoulders and doesnt get too high and too low, but he needs to do more to cement his place in the indian test side, virat kohli is too hot headed in my opinion and others are still trying to find their feet here

  • here2rock on August 19, 2014, 21:55 GMT

    One thing which strikes me more than anything else is that he does not have the confidence in the team. It is very hard to win a test match let alone a test matcif you don't have the confidence in your own team. A captain's job is to bring the best out of his players, He sends negatives vibes about his own crew before a series start, worse still he said 2011 whitewash was more hurtful than this defeat, suggesting it is ok to be outplayed as we are not good enoughHe does not know how to play mind games. He kept on losing the tosses yet he allowed Cook to flick the coin every time. You would think he will try to do something different. He just let things drift

  • NCP1 on August 19, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    People are giving too much credit to Captain and too much blaming as well. Would you say Cook is responsible for these huge defeats in the last 3 tests or Jimmy and Broad and Moeen Ali ? T20 WC performers were Gambhir, Bhaji, Irfan Yuvi etc but MSD got all the Credits as a chosen captain. 2011 WC performers were Sachin, Gambhir, Yuvi, Baji, Virat, Sehwag and few others not necessarily Dhoni. Our test performance overseas is dismal with or without Dhoni. Choose anybody as captain, winning second WC would be miracle, not impossible because AUS did it several times with a great team effort. It is a team sport and the whole team should be given credit and blame.

  • abhi_crictwit on August 19, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    Dhoni should resign from test captaincy as most of above checkboxes are not ticked for Dhoni. If you see the players flourished under his captaincy, only Kohli who is quite obvious self-made cricketer. We have seen what's going on to players he backs too much like Jadeja, Raina,his talent hunting skills are not at par with Dada. He is too stubborn to experiments in test cricket, doesn't simply in love with format and hasn't come through the grinds of test cricket like Ganguly, Dravid and others to value it. Dhoni in test cricket as captain is like Rahul Gandhi in politics, reluctant, forced leader. Excuse of no replacement available to him won't help, it's already a low phase can't get worse than that. We should not encourage 'chalta hai' attitude for test records. Loss is loss and such shameful losses one after another do not justify the efforts by Ganguly, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Kumble over the last two decades to change the reputation of India

  • abhi_crictwit on August 19, 2014, 20:49 GMT

    Ganguly as captain :- Ganguly's captaincy was key to India's improvment overall specially oversees. Backing Sehwag, let him play his natural game, keeping faith in Aakash Chopra,others, inspire Nehra/Pathan. Get the 300-400+ on board almost every time, give enough runs to Kumble and co. to bowl teams out. Give tit for tat to typical foreign media attack. That's what good captain do , supposed to do , sometimes go against own personality , make team proud of contest they are playing, courage to face best of the team in conditions suited to them, fire the team up , sometimes show the emotions. That's what players especially young players look for. They can get consumed by international cricket's pressure, sometimes they need a way out, otherwise it can make permanent damage to their psyche especially when they are in foreign conditions, not at ease, that's when you need a captain, like Dada. Even senior players felt secure under his captaincy and played best of their cricket.

  • on August 19, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    England fans can gloat all they want but the fact is that the umpiring decisions and cascading pressure thereof swung it their way although this Indian team is mediocre. Marginal and incorrect decisions went against Indian batsmen whereas plumb LBW of Cook and Bell were denied.

  • chatas on August 19, 2014, 20:20 GMT

    I nominate Harbhajan SIngh for captain of India ! Dhoni out of the team. New wicket-keeper batsman.

  • FishTail on August 19, 2014, 19:23 GMT

    I dont understand when poeple say Virat is future Captain. If you telling me that he is future captain of T20 and ODI; I am fine withat because you dont have to be a leader to lead ODI T20 side, even Dhawan can do it. Kohli is immensely talented but his temperamnet is thin. I have not seen any leadership from him to call him future Captian- only thing that he has doen is captained under 19 captain- Please check records, how many of the under 19 captains have done well as Captain in any senior level (state,county). At U19 level it is just a title given to some guy by some guy but now coz they see leadership in the guy.

    Pure waste of talent in test cricket. If he was born 50 years ago none would know about Kohli coz he has failed miserably in test; its the short ODI and T20 innings that gives him life line. I am critic of Kohli because I like him so much; it hurts seeing him waste his talent in Test. I find him to be in R Ponting mould.

    Bottom line Ravi Aswin for Test Captain.

  • Sandt on August 19, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    It is time to move away from dhoni in tests. Then the whole team should be restructured. Do not make kohli captain for the sake of indian cricket. No need a superstar captain. We need a thinking captain. Dhoni has destroyed lot of good players in his time. Example. Sehwag,irfan, mishra, ojha etc.and supported some club level players like jadeja,I shanty sharma etc.how can we call Ishanth a match winner. After getting such extended chance he still don't have the confidence to bowl as per situation. In lords he needed the captains support to bowl bouncers. The only time dhoni done something sensibly.india should finish with him for the sake of the game

  • NCP1 on August 19, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    Dhoni is a good player but not a good test captain. Of course there are young wicket keepers who will do well, just give them a chance. In one day and t20, captaincy is over rated, few good knocks from team mates will win you a game. Chasing a score and winning requires no captaincy just batting to get the runs. I agree that he should have changed batting order etc to change momentum but India would have lost anyway. Dhoni's problem is he probably hates 5 days game himself so it is hard to form a strategy, amazing the BCCI doesn't see through all this and change a captain who believes in a test match format.

  • bolthaa on August 19, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    @Balagopal….. I am sorry.. but we do have good wicket keepers at test level… we need to give them chances… DK was ruined by Dhoni… WSaha is being torchured.. If this continues.. SanjuSamson will not be able to play for India. For GOD's sake, please kick Dhoni out of Test team…. I agree with you for ODI and T20, T10, gully, 10 balls, 2 balls cricket….

  • on August 19, 2014, 16:25 GMT

    I disagree with the writer that no wicketkeeper in the country is in a position to challenge Dhoni's spot. That is like saying that Dhoni can never retire even if he is 40, because he doesn't have a valuable replacement. When Dhoni came into the Indian side, he was an unknown entity. So was Gilchrist, when he made his debut for Australia. You can only create a team out of the resources you have. Dhoni isn't an effective test captain anymore. Neither is Kohli an effective replacement at this stage. The board will have to sit down and put their heads together to find a worthy replacement. They shouldn't worry about wildcards, as Dhoni was one, when he was handed the reins of the national team. But they should definitely stay away from Kohli and Sharma, as they are, despite being amazingly talented, faces of the IPL, and play cricket for the IPL.

  • on August 19, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    In India's defence they were stitched up by the pitches in the last 2 tests, which were tailor made for Anderson & Broad. They also had the worst of the conditions batting first. As England found out in the winter, with so many closely packed test matches, once you get into a downward spiral its hard to get out of one. But that's where the defence ends - there is no defence for repeating the same mistakes over & over again, for showing no pride or fight. All the batsmen were found wanting but Virat Kohli in particular should be ashamed of himself - that he has allowed his career average to drop from an imposing 46.00 to below 40 shows a disgraceful lack of personal pride. On the other side, Joe Root's average has jumped up from low 40s to over 50. Both are young players who in all probability will end up captaining their countries, but the comparison at present makes for ugly reading from Kohli's viewpoint.

  • Johnny_129 on August 19, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    India need a BOWLER CAPTAIN for Tests - Please NOT ISHANT!!!

  • naren1983 on August 19, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Yes, Dhoni should be given permanent rest from Test Captain as well as a Player. Since he is a master in ODI & T20, still why depend him for Tests. Tried more than enough now, its time to replace Kohli as Test Captain and play some aggressive Cricket to earn some respect.

  • desiboy454 on August 19, 2014, 13:27 GMT

    @arnab @RaviNarla.. I was telling my father the same thing. Virat is definitely the future captain, but right now is not the time. After such a shambolic series, he will be hurting and its his first time failing. He is a run machine and for the first time he has failed. So it will take him another series to build up. Dhoni is no doubt the ODI captain as he excels the most in that, I would give virat the t20 to give him experience. Ashwin is the perfect man right now, Calm but energetic, and exciting like Kumble, but he is not as good as bowler as kumble, but Ashwin can hold his own as an all rounder at #7. Captaincy will give him the added responsibility to do well as a bowler and batsmen. This allows playing another spinner (Ojha) rather than Jadeja, and option for 4 seamers in away conditions. That would keep our youngsters fresh as well! 1. Vijay 2.?? 3. Pujara 4. Virat 5. Rahane 6. Samson 7. Ashwin 8. Bhuvi 9. Aaron 10. Ishant 11. Ojha or seamer. BE BOLD INDIA!

  • on August 19, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    Losing to England on their doctored hometown pitches is no disgrace, most fans can accept defeat. What they cant accept is a total lack of fight and application. One can accept defeat if you have given it your all, give it your best shot but the way India capitulated after lords was utterly gutless & pathetic. Errors & techniques were not being addressed behind the scenes & begs the question, what were the coach & his staff doing? Where was the motivation the pride? This was a golden chance to win England - I still dont think they are THAT good a side - but India fluffed it big time, it was more a case of how bad India were than how good were England. Dhoni may well fall on his test match sword but lack of alternative is a big worry. Who do you give it to?

  • mysecretme on August 19, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    For all those who are beating around the lack of resources drum. The same resources won you the first match since 2011 overseas. It's not the resources, it is their utilization that is going wrong. Why did Bhuvi get over worked? Why was Ishant injured? Why was the slip catching so abysmal? Why were Pankaj and Shami not spoken to when they were bowling boundary balls? Why was Bunny under utilized? Why did the batting position not get changed even once? All these point to leadership issues, not resource sparsity.

  • RogerC on August 19, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Dhoni is the most over-worked cricketer in the history of the game. Australians never burdened Gilchrist with captaincy though he was absolutely capable of doing it. Being a keeper and key batsman are already greatly challenging. Dhoni was doing captaincy plus those two daunting tasks for 7 years in 3 international formats plus the IPL. The board needs to free him from some of his burdens though it may not improve the situation with his replacement.

  • on August 19, 2014, 12:40 GMT

    why all are asking for dhoni's head /// what brought about the defeats. it was because of the poor batting from all seniors who were supposed to perform and ease the pressure of the captain. just changing the captain is not going to solve the problem of Indian cricket. If you think so all players who did not perform recently should be sent home. the selectors also should be blamed, leave alone the coach. persons like gambhir in the first instance shlould nothave been there. if perhaps wanted his test place, he should have played in engalnd in the minor leagues along with shewag and co. even without any allowances (for most Indian Cricketers have good money). this would have helped them a lot in regaining their form and be a deserving contender for the tour of england and would have proved that they are not a spent force. Most people who are writing must not forget that India had experienced worst defeats like 5 nil in the past, and must of the fans would not have even born.

  • nobrainer01 on August 19, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Possibilities of MSD resigning as test caption was more,if India could have drawn or won this series. Since he is more aware of upcoming ODI world cup in 2015 and would concentrate more on it. But no player/captain want to leave on losing note. Hence,he would like to take his chances on upcoming Aus tour to see if he can do any good to his already questionable test career as caption/batsmen/wicket keeper.Having said this the future of Indian cricket team looks lil concerned.MSD is a born leader and if he can't do any good to test cricket,than they are very few players who can do it.

  • badboyblue on August 19, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    Dhoni needs to stick to ODI and T20s - he is a master in these formats. Tests simply don't suit him as a captain and player despite the fact that he has done a few useful knocks especially the double hundred against the Aussies

  • RaviNarla on August 19, 2014, 11:52 GMT

    For once there is someone thinking on the same lines. @Arnab - I do have the same opinion. Ashwin's the most character in the team and has a good head on his shoulders. He will make a good captain.

  • Naresh28 on August 19, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    Test captaincy - there is not much choice. We need a leader, a planner,a schemer, someone who can handle media and other such qualities. India has depended on Dhoni for too long and he is the ideal ODI/T20 player/captain. Kumble/Ganguly were ideal in this regard in the past. Wicketkeeping in tests should go to Saha with Samson also in the team. My choice would be RAINA - a good fielder, he can bowl and his batting in the shorter formats has been good. Ashwin is the other option but - he has not done well in overseas conditions as a bowler. Dhoni's biggest issue is that he does not have the good bowling resources that other TEST TEAMS have.

  • on August 19, 2014, 10:56 GMT

    The only contender to the Indian captain's spot seem to be Virat Kohli. However, we seemed to have become fixated with Kohli. Why not someone with a wise and mature head- someone who is not flashy but diligent and serious like Anil Kumble(Kumble was one of the finest captains India ever had, whatever the stats say). Why not someone like Ashwin- I know it sounds outrageous, but Ashwin is well suited to the job. he is a smart cricketer, carries himself with dignity and is a good bowler and useful batsman. Plus Ashwin the captain will be a lot more positive and attacking than Dhoni or even Kohli. Also, it is poor from the selectors that they nominate Raina for Captain in ODI series that Dhoni does not play. Instead someone who is a regular in the test team should do it- like Virat or Ashwin.

  • on August 19, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    For all his shortcomings, Dhoni is our best bet to lead in tests. Deep down , everyone, even those are criticizing him here, know that!!! One also needs to be less harsh with this batting line up. Remember in 2011 a line up with the likes of Sachin, VVS, Viru Sehwag, Gambhir and Rahul Dravid (the only performer) lost 4-0. At least this rookie line up has been able to draw one and win one test.

  • kasilingam on August 19, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    can anyone explain how many test wins does any previous Indian captains had in test and odis?lack of spirit from dhoni? hell no..he dont have fast bowlers who can run through a side..we needed bowlers like wasim akram or mcgrath if not atleast like srinath..this kids struggled....but will learn..pujara was surprise loser in this series,,,started well in his first 4-5 innings but didnt made big...and again on dhoni...he will stay for ever ....he is for the one many fans are watching cricket..kohli talked too much before series...

  • getgopi on August 19, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    I just can't see MS Dhoni as a player under another Captain...like Ponting under Clarke or Dravid under MS Dhoni. I mean MSD under Gambhir, who will come alive once he is handed the Test Captaincy or Kohli? I simply just can't see it.

  • Vishal63 on August 19, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    What's the point? Who will replace him?

  • on August 19, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    If their respective places in the playing XI had been certainties, I would have debated about a choice between Rohit & Ashwin, for captaincy. Of course, Rohit have some experience, though his success was in T-20 (where Dhoni is still the best)

    I have some concerns about Kohli; the same ones which I had when Gautam's name was floated around a few years back. Both have excessively abrasive personality, which can any day disrupt the team unity. Let alone relations with other national teams.

    If and when Dhoni leaves test cricket (hope, he doesn't do that with the short formats), I would like to groom Sanju Samson as the future wicket-keeper batsman. Like many others of his type, his success in batting should not motivate him to push the wicket-keeping part to the back-burner. In fact, he should be polishing up his keeping skills a bit more. I hope, he tries to get advice / guidance from Kirmani, when he spends time at NCA, periodically as part of some national level team or the other.

  • sreehk on August 19, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    In a nutshell, drop Dhoni quite simply on prolonged lack of performance and improvement in test cricket. Why is this so complicated!

  • arunsmail4u on August 19, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    I dont understand why people always reach Dhoni finding solutions. For Gods sake there is nothing to do with Dhoni here. In away tests, he never got good consistent bowling performers. We had the great Srinath and Zak. He never got the great batsmen at their peak. We had the great Sachin Dravid Ganguly Laxman. All he got is a bunch of talented young boys, they are in the right track, they have performed well in New zealand and South Africa against the likes of Steyn, Morkel etc. Persist, learn and succeed. And in this series particularly, Anderson and Broad were too good for our out of form/lack of technique top order.. Captains cannot win you matches. They can only guide and the players should fight and perform. If you dont know whats fight, thats what Dhoni did in this series..

  • arunsmail4u on August 19, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    I dont understand why people always reach Dhoni finding solutions. For Gods sake there is nothing to do with Dhoni here. In away tests, he never got good consistent bowling performers. We had the great Srinath and Zak. He never got the great batsmen at their peak. We had the great Sachin Dravid Ganguly Laxman. All he got is a bunch of talented young boys, they are in the right track, they have performed well in New zealand and South Africa against the likes of Steyn, Morkel etc. Persist, learn and succeed. And in this series particularly, Anderson and Broad were too good for our out of form/lack of technique top order.. Captains cannot win you matches. They can only guide and the players should fight and perform. If you dont know whats fight, thats what Dhoni did in this series..

  • y4yoga on August 19, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    People can say anything but Reality would be That MSD would continue for a couple of years in Test cricket. Groom a quality Test Team and he'll retire as a Test Captain. In Indian Cricket, after Sachin, MSD has earned the place of making his own Decisions and cannot be dropped either as a captain or a player.

  • y4yoga on August 19, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    @sai harish unmuk chand apart from U 19 T20 has done nothing, Playing for National side isn't joke, Please don't compare countries tactics, and don't put the names of your renowned liked players

  • ravi_hari on August 19, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    The decline of Dhoni as test captain was evident in 2011 itself. At that time there were enough options for team India to pick a captain. Gambhir, laxman, Sehwag, etc. However, Dhoni and their form ensured that none of them survived and today there is practically no contender for the position. However, in the best interest of the team Dhoni should go. Let me justify why? Dhoni the captain always picked the wrong XI in this series. Picking Binny in the first 2 tests was a blunder. Replacing Ishant with Pankaj. Picking extra batsman and then dumping immediately. Sticking with the same batting order. Not using Binny as a bowler, etc. There are many. Especially, when Pujara and Kohli were struggling and Rahane was cruising, Dhoni could have just moved Rahane up to No. 3 and given Pujara and Kohli little more time. It could have worked like Laxman's promotion did in Kolkatta. I think Dhoni has lost it in the mind and it is time to go. I pick Ashwin to replace him. He has a wise brain.

  • on August 19, 2014, 7:08 GMT

    This is the key para in the whole write-up:

    "...Worse still, there isn't a stream of young batsmen in the country demanding to be promoted to national duty. What does Dhoni attempt to rebuild now? Who does he build with?..."

    What does that mean? Even if you replace Dhoni, nothing is going to change? We need more structural solutions at a national level. And that can take a few years to bear fruits. Frustrating, to say the least.

  • on August 19, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    He should either leave Test Captaincy or Wicket-keeping in tests, at-least! India doesn't seem to have another choice, even!

  • starincricket on August 19, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    There is no better replacement for dhoni in Test cricket is surely there. Thats a major issue. But dhoni lacks much experiment and bold act in Field and selection in Test. Apart from that his batsman let down him who r stars already in d squad like pujara,kohli,vijay and rahane. all were got out in similar fashion in all 3 tests. Not able to learn and adjust their techniques to the conditions

  • Arrow011 on August 19, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    What is Gaurav Kalra mentioning? There were signs of positive in SA & NZ tours? You do not give near 500 runs in 4th innings & escape with a draw? You do not give Brendon Mccullam to turn the match in its head to score a double hundred & lose so badly. India was pasted in both tours, just a few glimpses of good is not a positive signs for a team.

    Time to make Ashwin the captain as Gambhir the best man for the job is woefully out of form. Now it is time for Dhoni to contribute as player, he has been doing well, not test captaincy as he is not a good test captain. Bring V. Sehwag back, India misses those positive starts, Shikar & Gambhir combined cannot be Veeru.

  • Maliktabrez on August 19, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    good article by kalra.. i m a big fan of MSD...now dhoni has nothing to give test cricket.. and should step down as s test player..give chance to other..and concentrates on ODI WC..where he is an outstanding player to watch make Kohli as a captain and give a chance to N ojha pick zaheer umesh ishant only for test and also look for irfan as a test allrounder if he fit and plz kick out duncan and make dravid A. flower as a head and batting coach and akram as a bowling coach

  • Abaa on August 19, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Poor Dhoni ... I feel for this chap

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 19, 2014, 6:05 GMT

    Time for Dhoni to go. The team needs a new captain with a fresh approach and, most importantly, one who prioritises test cricket.

  • yogesh.gg on August 19, 2014, 5:45 GMT

    I would like to see Rohit made as Test captain. He is lazy i know but he has handled MI pretty well and he is usually calm unlike Kohli. After being made captain , his personal performances also improved a lot.

  • on August 19, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    Everywhere all the people says there is no option available for test cricket. what ? are you kidding, 3 test match ago when butler made eng WK , people were saying he has to work hard, he does not have test skills etc. and may be before series start eng does not want to drop prior because they were also thinking same thing, if he drops then who ? but the moment they give chance to butler you can see the result. angelo from SL performing better after becoming full time captain. so why not give captainship to either kohil or pujara ? they will learn something instead of continuing with dhoni, who want learn anything and same story agian and again. so its better dhoni should drop , new young team need young captain.

  • Devadatta_Rajadhyaksha on August 19, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    If Dhoni goes, who? Let's look at contenders. Kohli - awful form and abrasive personality. Rohit - not a certainty in starting XI. Raina is a limited overs specialist. Ishant isn't captaincy material. So the only options one could think of are a fit Zak or an in-form Sehwag. A left-field option could be Wasim Jaffer - loads of captaincy experience and he failed only in Australia (scored well in England, WI and elsewhere).

  • Cric__Dude on August 19, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    I don't understand why many Dhoni fans back him so much. I am a very big fan of him but I feel that he should quit Tests altogether. He is playing non-stop cricket for years. He definitely has few more years in ODI and T20I. His batting, wicket-keeping, captaincy everything is pathetic in Test cricket. Dhoni, please quit tests. Even if the youngster replacing you fails few times, it will do good for future. I would like to see Dhoni manage limited overs for few more years without losing his body.

  • on August 19, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    dhoni is one of the best finisher in the cricket history .team does not depend on one player a team wins only when all players support the team bt in the presnt test match no one is contributing runs except no. 7,8,9,batsmen.and people claim dhoni to lose the series this is no fair .almost in all matches in his series dhoni has scores well by bat .

  • himanshu.team on August 19, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    I wrote this on this very website after the 4-0 drubbing. I say it again. First get rid of Fletcher. then see if Dhoni can turn things around in next two series, and then decide on his fate. Ever since Fletcher has come on board, we have been going downhill. If he continues till the next WC (which he will) we may follow a world cup win with one of the most disappointing World Cup performances ever. Don't forget event the great Gangully could not contribute when we have Greg Chapel as the coach. However hard we may deny it, but coaches do play a critical part in success or failure and they should be the first ones to get the boot

  • CherryWood_Champion on August 19, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Test team needs an overhaul. Bye Bye Dhoni / Kohli / Jaddu / No-hit / Dhawan / Gambhir (For Test only) .... Kohli/ No-hit need a wake up call... what better way than chopping them off from the test team. Pujara deserves another chance for Tests and so does Virendra Sehwag. Coach Fletcher must be dropped. Should bring back Jimmy Amarnath or Saurav Ganguly as head coach. Romp in Rahul Dravid / VVS Laxman as batting coach.

    Here is my team for the next Test series in Australia.

    1)Vijay 2)Ajinkya Rahane 3) Pujara 4)Manoj Tiwari (Capt) 5) Ambati Rayudu 6) Naman Ohja(WK) 7)R.Ashwin 8)Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 9) Umesh Yadav 10) Ishant Sharma 11) Varun Aaron 12) Amit Sharma 13) Pragyan Ohja 14) Ishwar Pandey 15)Baba Aparajith 16) V Sehwag

    One day team: 1)Dhawan 2)Rohit Sharma 3)Kohli 4) Suresh Raina 5) MSDhoni (Capt & WK) 6) Ambati Rayudu 7)Ravindra Jadeja 8)Karan Sharma 9) AR Patel 10) B Kumar 11) J Bumrah 12) Robin Uthappa 13) Ishwar Pandey 14) V Aaron 15)Sanju Samson 16) V Sehwag

  • Sexysteven on August 19, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Dhoni has to go as captain and as keeper both those skills he's shocking at he can focus on batting at six cos his captaincy and keeping are almost costing India from being competitive his batting appears to be strong enough to overcome his lack of technique so he can still do ajob with the bat kohli to captain and Samson to keep I think kohli would be brave enough to be a positive captain cos that's what India need to do against Aussie

  • siddhartha87 on August 19, 2014, 4:00 GMT

    A defensive captain like Dhoni can never win you matches in challenging conditions. Let him play cute little IPL and leave the test cricket to some steely player who can play the most challenging format of the game.

  • aman15 on August 19, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 I am aware of the enormity of the effort to be put in by Dhoni and co. if India is to retain the title next year down under. Just mentioning the possibility, however remote it may be.

  • mysecretme on August 19, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    @RRoyacricketfan: No actually. When it comes to test cricket, all worldcups don't matter one bit. No one is asking Dhoni to give up one day and t20 captaincy. People are asking him to leave test captaincy because he has shown over time that he is not suited to it. The strain becomes too much and effects his form in other formats also. Last time, after test defeats, India lost all one day matches too, despite being world champions.

  • mysecretme on August 19, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    I have a left of field suggestion. Why not appoint Ravichandran Ashwin as captain for test squad? Of the current lot, he appears to be best suited to fill the all-rounder role, is the best spinner by far and temperament wise, he seems to be the most even minded in the group. Crucially, he might actually have the respect of the team mates too. No danger of him becoming injured and he is a safe slip fielder.

    The worst part of the story is, Dhoni seemed to be learning in the first two matches as a leader, and by the time last test went, as a batsman, he exceeded expectations. Sadly, he regressed tactically and the top order got figured out. In hind sight, they should've dropped Kohli/Pujara for last test and retained Rohit.

    Indian fielding as of now is at a historical low. Never did we drop so many catches. The ground fielding is also abysmal, with under arm flicks disappearing from the close in fielders.

    The bowling seems to be fine and in that dept. problem seems to be bad selection.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 19, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    @aman15-Though Dhoni has W something in odi and t20 with a couple of trophies and series W,to say he has any chance of matching Ponting's ODI captaincy recd. is a stretch.Not with the current team anyway.Remember WC will be played in fast,seaming Aus,NZ.

  • on August 19, 2014, 3:20 GMT

    Agree Dhoni has outlived his captaincy role for Tests but the question is who will replace him? I will laugh my guts outs if Kohli's name pops up and same is the case with others.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 19, 2014, 3:17 GMT

    @LakshmiRajLoganathan-Do you mean Dhoni has beaten Waugh,Punters captaincy recds.?Really?I'd think whole cricket world knows these 2 Aussie legends are most successful in history,their W records unlikely to be matched let alone beaten.Or did you mean t20?

  • aman15 on August 19, 2014, 2:54 GMT

    @LakshmiRal Loganathan How exactly has dhoni bested ponting's record as captain?? Forget Tests, even in ODIs ponting is ahead of dhoni as far as achievements as captins go. Comapred to Dhoni's one world cup triumph ponting led australia to two successive world cups victories and that too unbeaten( he was also man of the match in first final of those two victories).Again compared to dhoni's one Champions trophy victory ponting led australia to two back to back champions trophy victories and he was man of the series in their second triumph in 2009 to the boot. Dhoni can certainly equal or even better ponting's record as captain but as of now he hasn't.

  • on August 19, 2014, 2:49 GMT

    i absolutely agree with the author. dhoni is one of the best finisher in odi and at best number 7 batsman in test matches. choosing captain is made so difficult by lot of people, it is not because team india has nothing to loose from here. choose a guy who can inspire others with his good fielding batting thats it. There are lots of batsman in indian team who can field well. Rohit sharma , suresh raina, virat kohli, shikhar dhawan, out of these four we can choose any one. my favorite is rohit sharma. against west indies when india were 85/5 rohit hit 177 to win match for india , i became rohit sharma fan since then. anybody who loves game and is very talented and who inspire other to give their best can become captain. When cook was not doing well england team was low in confidence and players like ian bell, root, were not performing but when cook start playing well even moen ali got 21 wickets in a series so thats says it all.

  • on August 19, 2014, 2:09 GMT

    Agree with most of what is written. But who do you replace him with? And how will it help India perform better overseas? Those questions still remain unanswered.

  • sray23 on August 19, 2014, 1:50 GMT

    I think the problem runs deeper than Dhoni. Wwhat Indian fans like me should be most shocked with is the total lack of fight in the team. For people like me growing up watching Sourav Ganguly-led teams, I have never ever seen the fight disappear from a team by the first innings of the 3rd Test...and this after they won the 2nd Test!! Indian teams led by Ganguly & Dravid kept their cool and kept on fighting and never gave up till they had actually lost. But here, after they lost the 3rd Test it somehow seemed the Indian batsmen had already had enough & wanted the tour to stop. This should worry all of us. Is it the money from IPL reducing their stomach for a struggle? Are these guys already millionaires "too cool" to fight an ugly battle in a Test match? These are the factors that everyone should carefully look into...

  • on August 19, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    7 years after debut, Rohit is still a talented youngster.. and Jadeja is an alrounder.. I love these two myths

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 19, 2014, 1:39 GMT

    MS Dhoni, you are champion ! But sadly when it comes to old school tests, you are found lacking. It's not your fault by any means. You are aggressive and tactically astute in the limited formats but 'grandpa cricket' needs someone who can act like a grandpa and sadly you ain't that. Goodbye Mahi, it was an honour to have you as India's test captain donning the Navy Blue. But it's time for another leader to take the Blues forward.

  • tpjpower on August 19, 2014, 1:30 GMT

    India has the raw talent to develop a decent pace attack, capable of taking 20 wickets in overseas conditions. Umesh Yadav, Varon Aaron, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami should be capable of taking wickets in Australian or South African conditions. Bhuvi Kumar becomes a good addition in England or NZ, where his lack of pace shouldn't be too much of a hindrance. Yet for some reason, India's seamers consistently fail to deliver on their promise. Ishant's struggles are well-documented. Irfan Pathan lost his pace and swing. RP Singh disappeared. Sreesanth was consumed by corruption. Munaf Patel became a trundling medium-pacer.

    Now Shami has lost his run-up. Yadav and Aaron - two bowlers who could form a potent new-ball partnership if managed properly - have suffered serious injury setbacks already in their careers. The cycle looks set to continue. Without a stable, threatening attack for overseas conditions, can Dhoni really be expected to revive India's Test fortunes?

  • RRoyacricketfan on August 19, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    The worst knee jerk reaction anyone can do is to let Dhoni go, even in tests. Dhoni is a strategic thinker, is brave , always willing to try out new tactics, and has the nerve to be cool during times of stress. He has won us and continues to win us tournaments that have mattered most to us - world cup, t20 world cup, champions trophy. Havent these mattered more us than this test series. Yes , like any leader, captain , some day he has to go , hopefully on his own terms given how much he has given to Indian cricket. he has built a newer braver India ( Ganguly started it). I assure you he hurts the most when we lose like this , and he is probably the most talented to bring India out of this. Besides the options given by some of the above authors are not just practical. It will probably be Kohli and probably be 2 years from now.

  • Natx on August 19, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Amazing it took 3-4 years for the whole country to realize he is an unfit to lead the test team. It won't happen anywhere else in the world. Zero accountability. The answer lies in Indian priorities, in terms of money and players interest. Unfortunately both seems to point to IPL and to an extent ODI's. That means zero progress one could expect in terms of test cricket from India. One can see odd centuries from players like Pujara, Kohli (both flopped this time) and Rahane but that's pretty much it. This "team" as a whole cannot be expected to win more than 1 test match elsewhere outside subcontinent so forget series wins unless they are 2-3 test series with one test gets rained out or ends in a dull draw. Unless there is another Kapil Dev or Ganguly comes back, it's hard to see how this team can fight

  • on August 19, 2014, 0:21 GMT

    Hope Those Who Know Cricket will for sure Know that Dhoni is the Greatest Captain of All.

    *Steve Waugh / Rick Having Such a Great team can Easily Be a Captain ,Still Dhoni Has beaten their Records.

    * When Dravid Thought that His career may be lost due to Captaincy ,he had thrown it .Sachin also Denied it for his own cause and Recommended Dhoni.Dhoni Grasped the Responsibility and Molded his Batting to accommodate Responsibility and now has become the worlds best Finisher.

    From Then, India Did the Following :

    1) Tri Series Won @ Australia 2) T20 World Cup ( Winners 2007 & Runners 2013) 3) ODI Number 1 Ranking for almost 7 Months & ODI Champs 2011 & Mini World Cup 2012. 4) Test Ranking No:1

    All of u comment on Dhoni,But Did any of those Legends Like Dravid,Sachin,Kumble are they ready to Coach Indian Team on Free Lancer Manner,But They are Happy with Providing Comments from BOX.Do you think they are much Commited for Indian Cricket.

  • doubtingthomas on August 19, 2014, 0:04 GMT

    As impressive as MSD's resume is, he has not been effective overseas at all - as a batsman, or a captain. Wicketkeeping is better not talked about, he just seems to be filling in. Indian team's spirited performances in the past have been under spirited captains - Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble. Dispassionate guys like Azharuddin, or MSD cannot inspire young players. It's good to keep your cool, be level headed, but not to the point of being irrational. MSD needs to make way for fresh blood, he's the deadweight now.

  • on August 18, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Everyone is so hyperbolic. Poor performance so you obliterate the test team? How can you BUILD a team if people call for the axe to be dropped on players after a bad run. Kohli scored thousands of runs in all forms of the game for the last 3 years, and now he's run into a bad run of form, as all players surely will, and suddenly you need to drop him? Ridiculous thinking.

  • on August 18, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    Make Ashwin the captain...Anyway, Dhoni sends him to the press conference whenever the performs very badly ..

  • wibblewibble on August 18, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    From the outside, I think he should give up the Test captaincy and keeping, and just play as a batsman. As much as Dhoni has achieved, it looks like India need to let someone who has the fire have a go at running things again.

  • on August 18, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    MS Dhoni has done a lot of great things for india, but now he is exhausted. players like Kholi, Rohit sharma are just playing for money and to show style. a few success in one day games made Kholi proud and arrogant. he creates bad culture and indifference in the team. how can a no.3 batsman of a national team fail miserabily in 10 innings continuosly. that is BCCI, IRRESPONSIBLE AND WORTHLESS UNPROFESSIONAL again they will pick him and say he is marvellous. these people killed indian cricket they keep picking kholies, sharmas, and shamelessly defend them.

  • on August 18, 2014, 21:54 GMT

    Agree that Dhoni's indifference to tests should be rewarded with "liberation" from captaincy. But I don't think that will do anything to change our impressive record overseas...our performance in tests has really very little to do with the captaincy, it boils down to lack of incentive. If BCCI in its wisdom ups the ante for test cricket, it might attract some Test specialists...a nice chunk of change for winning abroad, for example, might be a good start. Given India's talent pool, it might be possible to put together a Test team that is substantially different from the teams in the shorter formats. These folks could specialize. Choosing T20 stalwarts for tests really is not the way to go. It has not worked.Time to try an experiment...make Pujara the captain!

  • here2rock on August 18, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    I could not agree with the writer more, Dhoni is still a great player when he is free, great fighting spirit, let him loose. He can still contribute a great deal in test cricket as a player. He has carried the burden of the nation for too long and it is showing. He has been a super player both on and off the field. It is time for him to enjoy the game a bit more, he deserves his dues.

  • CricketLifer on August 18, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    I liked the suggestion to bring Sehwag back and let him captain this team. We have all been furious at him for throwing his wicket away many times but hey current crop of openers don't really seem to do much anyway. He will also hope slip cordon a bit. Most importantly because he will shield the current struggling players who are fighting for their place and form and shouldn't be burdened with captaincy at this time. Kohli has more maturing to do and Ashwin has some sharpening of bowling to focus on. Pujara, Dhawan and Rohit need to regain form and correct technical flows that cause them to lose their wickets and in case of Rohit shot selection needs to be learnt as well. Sehwag can help for 1 or 2 years while a candidate from this crown emerges and gets prepared.

  • wolf777 on August 18, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    I got a name for his replacement...Mithali Raj

  • yogesh.gg on August 18, 2014, 21:21 GMT

    Folks , don't be confused , this terrible form will be carried on to ODI's also. I have no doubt that we will lose ODI's also miserably , in same fashion as we lost in NZ and SA. Anyone remembers the ODI ? More than Dhoni , fletcher needs to be sacked first immediately. And players be made accountable. If they lose ODI's , heads should roll or indian fans will boycott BCCI.

  • indianzen on August 18, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    the big questions I have is, Are Kohli's and Dhawan's attitude letting them down ? Absolutely there was no contribution from them...

  • thinkgood on August 18, 2014, 20:40 GMT

    Dhoni is a brave man. He knows his limitations and that of his team . Yet he shouldered that almost impossible responsibility for his country. I salute him for that. Beyond Dhoni, the immediate captain material is only Ashwin at present to rebuild a national team for just TEST format.Virat is not going to be effective as a captain with him being exposed of technical flaws in any format. Suresh Raina is another captain material , but he is not in the test team. So my choice is Ashwin - whether we like it or not a bowler leading the national test team in the intermediate.

  • on August 18, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    I may sound weird but must call back Mohammed Kaif. Make him play county and sheffied cricket and SAFFA domestic season. Have him in team for 6 months, make him vice captain after 6 months and captain after12-18 months. All this if he shows improvement in everything he is asked to do. That guy was making 50s regularly when he was kicked out of team. That guy was captain-in-waiting...ask anyone of us from mid 2000s. Everyone knew he would be captain...don't know why selectors treated him the way they did and threw him out. He would be better captain than dhoni and much better batsman and fielder than dhoni. He was born captain.

  • tests_the_best on August 18, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Dhoni may or may not need to be sacked to change the team's fortunes, but there is certainly enough argument to let go of Duncan Fletcher and get a new coach. As the coach, he doesn't seem to have the so-called 'process' moving in any tangible direction.

    The problem with replacing Dhoni is lot of other members have not yet even cemented their places in the side. Amidst the loss, if Kohli had played quite well, he would have been a good candidate. Who else? Ashwin? His place itself is not secure on overseas tours. Ishant is senior but can have injuries. Rahane's barely played that many tests. Maybe Pujara though nothing of what has been seen of him so far suggests captaincy material. Kohli was the only possible replacement but a disastrous time with the bat means he can't be made captain either. Atleast till the end of Aus tour, Dhoni should be retained as captain.

  • glen1 on August 18, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    No matter how you reorganize Kohli, Dhawan, Sharma, Dhoni, Ashwin, and so on, you will never be able to get a winning card trick abroad. Their games have been figured out, though they are the best India has to offer. However, these same guys can do very well in One-day format. It is simply unfair to criticize them as unpatriotic and other nonsense. They have wilted in a format that they cannot excel abroad. Be smart, play less test cricket and recognize that the center for short form cricket is India. The Indian media is going on endlessly about test Cricket, the same way they go on about the glory days of Field Hockey. Go figure how a talented kid can find a field to practice? The real estate guys will value a cricket field at $1 billion!

  • TheScot on August 18, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    I think Kohli should be dropped. He has instigated a bad culture in the team with his attitude problem. What's the deal with all of them having tattoos and barbies around their arms? They are there to win matches for the cricket fans, give them joy, and in return earn some money. If the victories are missing they better go out of test team and do whatever they want but stay away from the game we love. Why do they get free lunches when there is enormous talent pool in the streets that can be developed into test players. We want players who fight, who value their place in the test team, who want to win at any cost, or at least not lose at any cost. GET RID OF THESE JOKERS who can contaminate the entire game and not just a team.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on August 18, 2014, 20:02 GMT

    One thing I want to remind everybody is, it is a joke to think that there is no better wicket keeper batsman in India than Dhoni. Sanju, Saha, Naman, DK to mention a few. And please don't cry, "Then who will be the captain"? Is Dhoni a captain at all? Somebody who doesn't see the difference between a 3 day loss and a hard fought loss?? Nuff said about this high paid disgrace! I am sure Dhoni would sack his manager if his manager were to come up with financial losses time and again. His manager would never have gotten the chance to say, "What's the difference if the loss is 5000 or 5 crores? A loss is a loss", because he would have been fired long back by Dhoni! And here we are, thinking who will replace Dhoni. That's sad! Anybody with a bit of pride can replace him. Simple as that! It won't be long before this team will not have sponsors and the fans stop following this team. The players are different but the Captain-Coach Combo is the same. Drop Dhoni from the squad. Sack the Coach!

  • BUCG on August 18, 2014, 19:48 GMT

    Sehwag is the best candidate for the Test captainship right now!

  • whirlaway on August 18, 2014, 19:47 GMT

    That there is no obvious successor for Dhoni clearly shows how the excessive importance given (by BCCI, the players, media and also the fans) to those ridiculous ball-and-stick games called the IPL/T20 has completely ruined the Indian Test team.

    I dread to think what ignominy they will heap on Indian cricket in the coming tour of Australia later this year.

  • SudeepSonawane on August 18, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    Agree with Gaurav. However, there is a problem. Selectors have no worthy candidate. Consider candidates from the squad that got blasted in England. Gambhir, Kohli, Rohit and Murali Viijay. Gambhir is the best, but he doesn't merit a place. Kohli doesn't lead Delhi because Gambhir does. So he is short of experience. With his current miserable run, he is not even among the front runners. Rohit has done a good job of leading Mumbai, but he cannot command a place in the Test team. Vijay has no experience of leading, but he is the only guy in form and merits a place. Checked Cricinfo's Ranji database for over one hour. There not a single candidate. Even if the selectors think of getting an experienced discard - Sehwag, Kaif, Jaffer, are all on the wrong side to 30s. One surprising discovery is most Ranji teams have many players around 28 to 32 age group. The talent cupboard is worryingly empty. Looks like Dhoni will stay much longer by default.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on August 18, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    Ashwin or a more left field selection of SRJ should do it. I don't care who it is, as long as Dhoni is removed from Test captaincy. With limited bowling resources, his field placements only discourage those bowlers. Time to try someone like a Pujara/Ashwin/Bhuvi/SRJ. Why not? What do India got to lose anyway?

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on August 18, 2014, 19:04 GMT

    yes few Indians should liberate from conservative thinking like winning test cricket is everything, conservative people like them are unwilling to accept change! most indians love IPL, CLT t20, odi , t20. winning test match is bonus. few don't like IPL, just leave don't even talk about that. eng or aus free to play as many as test they want atleast 20 per year and at least 10 between them.

  • on August 18, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    dhoni has created a bunch of jokers in tests, there is no aggressive bastman nor a aggressive blower who could take away a game from oppositions, same happened in t20 since 2007...........when we won in 2007 ther were match winners like the greates shewags and yuvrajzzzzzzz........... when we won in 2011 world cuo there were additional force like sachins, shewags, yuvrajs the pathans, now we have dumb players who cant bat nor bowl...........

  • on August 18, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    Why only Dhoni? Coach should also get sacked on immediate basis...bring some fresh raw talent under new coach and captain who should be having specific focus on TEST cricket!!! We are having World cup just after Australia trip so we should also make sure that another debacle doesn't affect our performance in world cup which is also look a distant dream now. No Gambhir please..may be Sehawag (but in middle order) deserve another look here for tough tour of Australia due to his experience which certainly missing at the moment.

  • Robeli on August 18, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    Finally India is seeing what the IPL has brought them. Their cricketers do not know how to play test cricket anymore. Period. The sad news, it's not going to change soon for them as there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Find someone who is yet to play for the national side, groom him and make him captain, like South Africa did with Graeme Smith

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:43 GMT

    I think the whole bunch of bunnies should be thrown out of the cricket arena if the indian cricket to improve. Its high time for change and infuse the new blood in, yes we may end of losing matches doesn't matter these new bunch will be up and ready going forward. This is the way to test the bench strength. We shouldn't over burn our best bowlers! Mohd Shami was once the best bowler and see now.. We need to start rotating the bowlers so at crucial series our best bowlers are at their peak. Also we should sack Duncan and look at Rahul and Saurav Ganguly and main coaches and Glen M for Bowling and so as other best guys for fielding.

  • British_North_America on August 18, 2014, 18:25 GMT

    Who will replace him? Kohli? lol

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:19 GMT

    Batmanian, its not the bowling, its more the batting. Look at all the india's defeat in last decade and see the team totals. be it whitewash against australia or last england and NZ tour. And then you had all the superstars in the line-up but went on to 8-0 test losses. Putting a blind eye to batting technique wont help india. The batting in flat tracks are easy even for me. Indians have major flaw in batting technique. Unless the media stops gloryfying your cricket-in wont help.

  • warriors2death on August 18, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    i agree there is no viable options to lead in test cricket. But even Smith was bet. He proved if India takes that chance the most that could happen is we lose. We are anyways losing now. How much worse can it get. Kohli could get better with responsibility. Or better get Kaif or Badrinath to lead in the meanwhile not like anybody should be gauranteed of their place in the team. They have experience in domestic circuit. Incase of Kaif he has played in county and australia domestic events. he could be a filler between Dhoni and Kohli. And lets not rule out Zaheer if fit he could be what Kumble was to Dravid and Dhoni. A suggestion maybe young batsmen should be dropped to get a jolt so that they dont take their place for granted.

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    Its better to hand over the captaincy to Gambhir coz test captains need some brave and aggressive decisions which Gambhir is capable of.Dhoni is a kind of person who is happy with a 3-2 result than going for a whitewash.His selection of picking up players like rohit sharma,ashwin,jadeja really makes him an indecisive captain.Unlike Ganguly,he hasn't done much talent search.He always sticks to the same persons and always fails outside the sub continent.He should be continued as captain in the shorter formats.

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    The best choice during this difficult times would be give captancy to Bhuvi - Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He is very talented and often you see him complementing Dhoni in the field during bowling changes. The advantage is he is young and being a bowler can absorb pressure easily. Even Sachin was surprised at his knowledge of the game and his ideas in dressing room. But Im not sure the BCCI has the guts to remove Dhoni. They know the Idian pscho very well. Soon the fans will forget all these when they start winning ODIs. We can not save Indian Team!!!

  • ccrriicc on August 18, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    Don't change Dhoni at this time - there is no one around. Drop Kohli, Ghambir, Jadeja, Shami and Rohit. Infuse new blood - the people who are knocking at the door, open it be fair - and see what happens. A population of more than billion and we do not have a replacement for Dhoni! and we have to pamper Kohli!

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    taking a cue from how South Africa brought Smith during the era of Cronje, India can bring Unmukt Chand for freshness..maybe it could work...

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    before going blah blah asking dhoni to resign, point out a few or atleast one who could be handed over the captaincy,can you? i'm no dhoni fan,but quoting your point that the captainn must be selected from within the best eleven,how can you select one as a captain when nobody is performing?

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    who should be the next captain is the question ? Kohli can't seem to find his bat at the moment let alone lead in Australia. Pujara is slightly better, but in the same boat. I think the ball should be thrown to R Ashwin in the tests. Give him 1 year, and see what he does..

  • Westmorlandia on August 18, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    I agree about the captaincy in many ways. On the other hand, it's hard to see who else could be appointed immediately after a series like that - they all need to focus on their batting, don't they? And to what extent are Dohni's perceived captaincy flaws, like Cook's, really about a lack of runs scored by the team? Any captain looks good when the runs are there to play with, but that is never up to the captain alone.

    My deeper concern is that, by seeming not to care too much about Test cricket, he gives the younger players a reason to think the same way about it. If they have immense success in the simpler forms of ODIs and T20, and Test cricket comes to seem like a capricious and irrational beast that simply dishes out humiliations like this for reasons that they cannot fathom, they might decide it's too hard to spend all that effort over. You need a captain who will lead the way in Tests, and Dohni seems too happy to let fortune do its thing.

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    While time is up for Dhoni the test captain, it will be only good for Indian cricket if he is at the helm of affairs till the end of the next World Cup in all the formats, for there is no clear candidate who has emerged. India could also try out the SA model of having different captains for different formats. Ravi Ashwin could be the one for tests while MSD could continue to be a key player in the tests, while also being the captain of the ODI team. He should retire from the T20 format though and continue with the format only in IPL.

  • Batmanian on August 18, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    The current Indian team relies on a potentially vastly superior batting line up, and spin- and dobbler-friendly conditions. I've always admired Dhoni's quirkiness as a captain, since his bowlers are always going to be most potent when deployed unpredictably. You can't make Kohli captain in the form he's in, so it's hard to see what the option is. I'd stick with Dhoni - I think he's much more hurt by the Test failings than he lets on, but bowling-wise, India just isn't a team for all seasons.

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  • Batmanian on August 18, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    The current Indian team relies on a potentially vastly superior batting line up, and spin- and dobbler-friendly conditions. I've always admired Dhoni's quirkiness as a captain, since his bowlers are always going to be most potent when deployed unpredictably. You can't make Kohli captain in the form he's in, so it's hard to see what the option is. I'd stick with Dhoni - I think he's much more hurt by the Test failings than he lets on, but bowling-wise, India just isn't a team for all seasons.

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:35 GMT

    While time is up for Dhoni the test captain, it will be only good for Indian cricket if he is at the helm of affairs till the end of the next World Cup in all the formats, for there is no clear candidate who has emerged. India could also try out the SA model of having different captains for different formats. Ravi Ashwin could be the one for tests while MSD could continue to be a key player in the tests, while also being the captain of the ODI team. He should retire from the T20 format though and continue with the format only in IPL.

  • Westmorlandia on August 18, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    I agree about the captaincy in many ways. On the other hand, it's hard to see who else could be appointed immediately after a series like that - they all need to focus on their batting, don't they? And to what extent are Dohni's perceived captaincy flaws, like Cook's, really about a lack of runs scored by the team? Any captain looks good when the runs are there to play with, but that is never up to the captain alone.

    My deeper concern is that, by seeming not to care too much about Test cricket, he gives the younger players a reason to think the same way about it. If they have immense success in the simpler forms of ODIs and T20, and Test cricket comes to seem like a capricious and irrational beast that simply dishes out humiliations like this for reasons that they cannot fathom, they might decide it's too hard to spend all that effort over. You need a captain who will lead the way in Tests, and Dohni seems too happy to let fortune do its thing.

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    who should be the next captain is the question ? Kohli can't seem to find his bat at the moment let alone lead in Australia. Pujara is slightly better, but in the same boat. I think the ball should be thrown to R Ashwin in the tests. Give him 1 year, and see what he does..

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    before going blah blah asking dhoni to resign, point out a few or atleast one who could be handed over the captaincy,can you? i'm no dhoni fan,but quoting your point that the captainn must be selected from within the best eleven,how can you select one as a captain when nobody is performing?

  • on August 18, 2014, 17:56 GMT

    taking a cue from how South Africa brought Smith during the era of Cronje, India can bring Unmukt Chand for freshness..maybe it could work...

  • ccrriicc on August 18, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    Don't change Dhoni at this time - there is no one around. Drop Kohli, Ghambir, Jadeja, Shami and Rohit. Infuse new blood - the people who are knocking at the door, open it be fair - and see what happens. A population of more than billion and we do not have a replacement for Dhoni! and we have to pamper Kohli!

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    The best choice during this difficult times would be give captancy to Bhuvi - Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He is very talented and often you see him complementing Dhoni in the field during bowling changes. The advantage is he is young and being a bowler can absorb pressure easily. Even Sachin was surprised at his knowledge of the game and his ideas in dressing room. But Im not sure the BCCI has the guts to remove Dhoni. They know the Idian pscho very well. Soon the fans will forget all these when they start winning ODIs. We can not save Indian Team!!!

  • on August 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT

    Its better to hand over the captaincy to Gambhir coz test captains need some brave and aggressive decisions which Gambhir is capable of.Dhoni is a kind of person who is happy with a 3-2 result than going for a whitewash.His selection of picking up players like rohit sharma,ashwin,jadeja really makes him an indecisive captain.Unlike Ganguly,he hasn't done much talent search.He always sticks to the same persons and always fails outside the sub continent.He should be continued as captain in the shorter formats.

  • warriors2death on August 18, 2014, 18:18 GMT

    i agree there is no viable options to lead in test cricket. But even Smith was bet. He proved if India takes that chance the most that could happen is we lose. We are anyways losing now. How much worse can it get. Kohli could get better with responsibility. Or better get Kaif or Badrinath to lead in the meanwhile not like anybody should be gauranteed of their place in the team. They have experience in domestic circuit. Incase of Kaif he has played in county and australia domestic events. he could be a filler between Dhoni and Kohli. And lets not rule out Zaheer if fit he could be what Kumble was to Dravid and Dhoni. A suggestion maybe young batsmen should be dropped to get a jolt so that they dont take their place for granted.