June 9, 2008

A bold withdrawal

Dhoni pulling out of the Sri Lanka Test series is significant for a number of reasons
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I'll sit this one out: Dhoni has been honest about wanting a break, aware of the risks his decision entails © AFP

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to volunteer out of India's Test series against Sri Lanka - it is understood that he will be back to lead India in the one-dayers that follow - will raise an obvious question. Why the Test series? Could he have not skipped the Asia Cup and the tri-series in Bangladesh instead? Is this a sign of the times?

Seen in another light, it's a decision that can be hailed as pragmatic and brave. As the captain of a young team, Dhoni is the most important member of the one-day side. He is more dispensable in India's Test team, which has the world's most experienced batting line-up.

Having said that, he needed the rest. He has been running on empty for a few months, though he's shown little sign of it, and it's a wonder he has carried on for as long as he has without buckling. It's been a 18-month streak that's included 14 Tests, 56 ODIs, eight Twenty20 internationals, and a high-voltage IPL.

Everyone acknowledges the threat posed by player burnout but solutions are rarely offered. Players complain of too much cricket, administrators cram the schedules with cricket, players push their bodies to the limit, administrators cram schedules, players break down, and administrators continue to cram schedules. "The only time we get rest is when we get injured," chuckled an Indian fast bowler recently.

In the last 15 years, opting out of a series has been the sole preserve of only one Indian cricketer. And he always had the comfort of knowing he could walk back into the side at any point. If Sachin Tendulkar says he's fit - irrespective of what the physio thinks - he plays. Dhoni's Test future isn't set in stone, not by a long way. He is yet to play a match-winning knock and he has thus far been more a sidekick backing up the superheroes ahead of him. As a wicketkeeper he's probably just a shade better than the competition. His Test form has been scratchy recently, and it can be argued that he is taking a risk by allowing another wicketkeeper the chance to show his wares.

And yet, at a time when cricketers dread being away from the limelight, in a country where public memory is terribly short, Dhoni is sitting out. Instead of flogging his body and risking a major injury, he's chosen to stop and recharge. Most importantly, he has been honest. He wasn't going to play the IPL and discover an injury immediately after; he wasn't going to suddenly develop a "personal problem"; he wasn't going to be part of the side and allow his fatigue to hamper his performance. In withdrawing, he has made a loud statement.

It's not been a bolt from the blue. In mid-March, a week before the home series against South Africa, Dhoni was genuinely contemplating sitting out. His back had taken a serious beating during the CB Series in Australia and his fingers were visibly bruised. It was also pretty apparent that the administrators weren't entirely convinced about his fitness - he was not in the initial list of players summoned to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore but was asked to undertake a fitness test in the last minute.

 
 
Is Dhoni's decision an indicator of players' new priorities? Is there too much of a disparity between the rewards on offer for Twenty20 and Test cricket? Do cricketers need to start choosing which of the three formats they want to concentrate on?
 

Once he chose to play all three Tests, including the final one where he captained India to a series-levelling win, there was no way out. There was simply too much at stake in the IPL (especially after he was valued at US$1.5 million), and the selectors didn't see the need to name a replacement wicketkeeper for the two one-day series that followed. He could have probably chosen to sit out of one of them (if not both) but the challenge of captaincy may have prompted him to play on. Yet, throughout this period he, as well as Gary Kirsten, have talked about the demands on his body. He hasn't shirked the question in press conferences and even clearly hinted that he might pull out after the Asia Cup.

While there's a hope that other players will pick up the baton, and take time off judiciously in future, it is quite likely that this will be a one-off. Cricketers not possessed of Dhoni's stature can't quite risk taking such daring decisions. His future in the shorter formats is secure and so colossal is his brand that he can afford to stay away for a while. Had he not been one-day captain, it's tough to imagine him taking such a step. One only hopes the board and the selectors get the message and adopt a rotation policy in the future.

Apart from reaffirming the dangers of burnout, Dhoni's decision raises several questions. Is it an indicator of players' new priorities? Is there too much of a disparity between the rewards on offer for Twenty20 and Test cricket? Do cricketers need to start choosing which of the three formats they want to concentrate on? Shouldn't a Test series get precedence over a Future Cup in Madagascar? Dhoni might have opened a Pandora's box but he will be relieved that, for a few weeks at least, he won't need to live out of suitcases.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY sachin09 on | July 11, 2008, 19:24 GMT

    Only reason why Dhoni decided to opt out was because of his ego. After being the captain of the ODI team, it's really difficult for him to play under any other captain. Although he's a very talented player, he has no respect for the senior players, and he was the one who insisted in removing them from the ODI team.

  • POSTED BY abhishekthakur on | July 11, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    Dhoni, like so times before, took a common sense driven and pragmatic decision. As SV points out, taking a break in ODIs would have meant withdrawing as a captain. Taking a break from the 15 days of test cricket makes more sense than ODIs/T-20s where one is the captain.

    And I'm particularly surprised at the criticism India's ODI/T-20 captain is receiving for- did I hear it right- his batting? He might not be the most elegant batsman around but he certainly is the most determined and pragmatic one-one who always puts a price to his wicket and plays as per the team's needs. His test average of about 34 is still the best for ANY Indian wicketkeeper and of course, his ODI average of 48 at a strike rate of 92, having played more than 100 matches, is nothing if not phenomenal.

  • POSTED BY followmetonirvana on | July 11, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    Why did he not take rest during the IPL??? show me the money honey!!! he's a star now, wants to pick and choose his games, how i wish Parthiv or Dinesh hit 3 centuries and i will love to see the selectors go blue....one century in 31 tests anyway doesn't speak of his skills in the most testing form of cricket. I frankly think Dinesh Karthick is much better player of Test cricket than him and he should cash in on this golden opportunity. Sri Lanka is a very strong team in their backyard or the subcontinent pitches and my take on the series is highly in favour of them. I dare Dhoni pulling out of club cricket (IPL) in October or April next year, which has more hectic schedule than the international cricket. And BCCI, what to talk of them... Bunch of jokers... each one having an ulterior and selfish motive to be where they are. I would really like ECB or CA to start a parallel league of their own with just not money at stake but the PRIDE... and that'll be the true test of CHARACTERS.

  • POSTED BY Krishna2007 on | July 11, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    Methinks too much is being made of MSD's decision. Dhoni is a shrewd and smooth operator. His first two targets from the ODI team have lost their places. Right now he is winning the war of ads and it is only a matter of time before he gets SRT out of ODIs. This provides him the confidence and the backing to sit out of what he considers unimportant.

    This is also a very poor time for him to be playing with senior players who have or will lose their places in the ODI team due to him. Hence he has opted out after making suitable noises about too much cricket and the like. While the seniors and some juniors are sweating it out under the Lankan sun, Dhoni can sit in comfort in India resting or earning through ads.

    This is one cricketer whom one dislikes for his singular lack of talent and an excess of political skills. But ten years from now he will be forgotten whereas SRT, SG and RD as also Anil Kumble will be remembered and revered.

  • POSTED BY nisheethprakash on | July 11, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    Dhoni won't be missed in the Test series. His credentials as a Test player are quite poor. One century in 31 tests is not good enough. It's also an opportunity for another wicketkeeper to establish himself and provide India with another option. As a one day cricketer Dhoni has a long way to go before he is bracketed with players like Gilchrist and Hayden. He is no doubt an overrated player and he got the India captaincy even before he had proved himself fully as a player, largely because Dravid relinquished the captaincy abruptly and, to Dhoni's good luck, Sehwag who would have made an excellent captain was temporarily out of form.

  • POSTED BY Rajesh. on | July 11, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    Having played non-stop cricket for 18 months anyone needs and deserves a break but Dhoni could have thought better and given preference to a Test Series and opted out of the meaningless Bangladesh tri-series and the Asia Cup.

    Was it because he wanted to lead by example in the one-dayers being the Captain or because he didn't want to lose his ODI captaincy ?

    Would he have opted out of the SL Tests if he were the test captain too ?

    Is this a selfless, brave, bold and commendable decision to opt out knowing someone might snatch his Test place or was this a selfish decision by an over-rated cricketer ?

    Well.......... we would never know. Only Dhoni knows.....

  • POSTED BY Rajavina on | July 11, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    Is Dhoni trying to do "Gavaskar/Tendulker". He is a over rated player as for as test matches are concerned. There is nothing wrong with that but all powerful board should be having a guidelines to handle such situations.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | July 11, 2008, 4:56 GMT

    International cricket today is very professional, like a full time job. So why not treat it like a job?

    Each employee is employed for 52 weeks of the year but is allowed 4 weeks of holiday per year. If they want to take their leave they need approval from their boss (the selectors), and if other vital employees are on leave at the same time then they are knocked back. If it is an essential time of the year when they are urgently needed, they might also be knocked back. Special circumstances, such as injury, illness or special personal reasons such as the birth of a child or a sick relative may also be taken into consideration.

    Why not do much the same thing for cricketers? Why not allow them proportionally 4 weeks holiday per year, the same as everyone else? It would be better for the sport to have the team play all year round but individually some people miss ever so often.

    The concept is embraced to some extent by Australian cricket, so why not India and the rest?

  • POSTED BY aadirag on | July 11, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    To all die hard Dhoni fans who got infuriated at the very thought of his comparison to other keepers-In my last post I simply stated that DK,if he gets runs in Lanka(which he is very capable of) could put a bit of pressure on dhoni.Now,don't get me wrong, Dhoni is Dhoni & I'm a fan.I'm not saying chuck him out.He's mentally stronger than most international cricketers & the future Indian captain,but what I meant to say was that knowing our media,there would be questions asked in press conferences which he won't be able to avoid if the other keepers make runs.Those questions are bound to irritate & pressurize individuals.I'd pick him in my team,if I were test skipper,over the other guys.I also credited him & called this decision brave.I was pointing out the ramifications of such a move rather than compare him with other guys.Criticism of posts is alright as long as you read it first,OK??The BCCI doesn't forget easily,they might get back at him sometime.Again ,2 thumbs up for MS.

  • POSTED BY aditya.chv on | July 10, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    I am unable to comprehend why Dhoni is being bashed by so people.....consider the example of sachin he opted out of the test matches against south africa as he was suffering from an injury..agreed but when he was not completely fit enough to play he played in the IPL (that was evident from the fact he didn't bowl and the uneasiness which was showing in some matches) then again he aggravates the injury due to which isnt able to play in the odi tournaments but he plays for lashings (of all clubs...i can understand that he is playing there for 'practice' but still he could do that in India as well)..and how he is busy going to various events (F1 races.Wimbledon) etc is it not putting something else before the country??It's quite natural for people to run after money and afterall cricketers are also human and they also do the same,but i feel dhoni had some injuries which would turn into serious ones(fingers,back,etc) hence its better he has taken a break and hpfly will come back stronger

  • POSTED BY sachin09 on | July 11, 2008, 19:24 GMT

    Only reason why Dhoni decided to opt out was because of his ego. After being the captain of the ODI team, it's really difficult for him to play under any other captain. Although he's a very talented player, he has no respect for the senior players, and he was the one who insisted in removing them from the ODI team.

  • POSTED BY abhishekthakur on | July 11, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    Dhoni, like so times before, took a common sense driven and pragmatic decision. As SV points out, taking a break in ODIs would have meant withdrawing as a captain. Taking a break from the 15 days of test cricket makes more sense than ODIs/T-20s where one is the captain.

    And I'm particularly surprised at the criticism India's ODI/T-20 captain is receiving for- did I hear it right- his batting? He might not be the most elegant batsman around but he certainly is the most determined and pragmatic one-one who always puts a price to his wicket and plays as per the team's needs. His test average of about 34 is still the best for ANY Indian wicketkeeper and of course, his ODI average of 48 at a strike rate of 92, having played more than 100 matches, is nothing if not phenomenal.

  • POSTED BY followmetonirvana on | July 11, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    Why did he not take rest during the IPL??? show me the money honey!!! he's a star now, wants to pick and choose his games, how i wish Parthiv or Dinesh hit 3 centuries and i will love to see the selectors go blue....one century in 31 tests anyway doesn't speak of his skills in the most testing form of cricket. I frankly think Dinesh Karthick is much better player of Test cricket than him and he should cash in on this golden opportunity. Sri Lanka is a very strong team in their backyard or the subcontinent pitches and my take on the series is highly in favour of them. I dare Dhoni pulling out of club cricket (IPL) in October or April next year, which has more hectic schedule than the international cricket. And BCCI, what to talk of them... Bunch of jokers... each one having an ulterior and selfish motive to be where they are. I would really like ECB or CA to start a parallel league of their own with just not money at stake but the PRIDE... and that'll be the true test of CHARACTERS.

  • POSTED BY Krishna2007 on | July 11, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    Methinks too much is being made of MSD's decision. Dhoni is a shrewd and smooth operator. His first two targets from the ODI team have lost their places. Right now he is winning the war of ads and it is only a matter of time before he gets SRT out of ODIs. This provides him the confidence and the backing to sit out of what he considers unimportant.

    This is also a very poor time for him to be playing with senior players who have or will lose their places in the ODI team due to him. Hence he has opted out after making suitable noises about too much cricket and the like. While the seniors and some juniors are sweating it out under the Lankan sun, Dhoni can sit in comfort in India resting or earning through ads.

    This is one cricketer whom one dislikes for his singular lack of talent and an excess of political skills. But ten years from now he will be forgotten whereas SRT, SG and RD as also Anil Kumble will be remembered and revered.

  • POSTED BY nisheethprakash on | July 11, 2008, 8:51 GMT

    Dhoni won't be missed in the Test series. His credentials as a Test player are quite poor. One century in 31 tests is not good enough. It's also an opportunity for another wicketkeeper to establish himself and provide India with another option. As a one day cricketer Dhoni has a long way to go before he is bracketed with players like Gilchrist and Hayden. He is no doubt an overrated player and he got the India captaincy even before he had proved himself fully as a player, largely because Dravid relinquished the captaincy abruptly and, to Dhoni's good luck, Sehwag who would have made an excellent captain was temporarily out of form.

  • POSTED BY Rajesh. on | July 11, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    Having played non-stop cricket for 18 months anyone needs and deserves a break but Dhoni could have thought better and given preference to a Test Series and opted out of the meaningless Bangladesh tri-series and the Asia Cup.

    Was it because he wanted to lead by example in the one-dayers being the Captain or because he didn't want to lose his ODI captaincy ?

    Would he have opted out of the SL Tests if he were the test captain too ?

    Is this a selfless, brave, bold and commendable decision to opt out knowing someone might snatch his Test place or was this a selfish decision by an over-rated cricketer ?

    Well.......... we would never know. Only Dhoni knows.....

  • POSTED BY Rajavina on | July 11, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    Is Dhoni trying to do "Gavaskar/Tendulker". He is a over rated player as for as test matches are concerned. There is nothing wrong with that but all powerful board should be having a guidelines to handle such situations.

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | July 11, 2008, 4:56 GMT

    International cricket today is very professional, like a full time job. So why not treat it like a job?

    Each employee is employed for 52 weeks of the year but is allowed 4 weeks of holiday per year. If they want to take their leave they need approval from their boss (the selectors), and if other vital employees are on leave at the same time then they are knocked back. If it is an essential time of the year when they are urgently needed, they might also be knocked back. Special circumstances, such as injury, illness or special personal reasons such as the birth of a child or a sick relative may also be taken into consideration.

    Why not do much the same thing for cricketers? Why not allow them proportionally 4 weeks holiday per year, the same as everyone else? It would be better for the sport to have the team play all year round but individually some people miss ever so often.

    The concept is embraced to some extent by Australian cricket, so why not India and the rest?

  • POSTED BY aadirag on | July 11, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    To all die hard Dhoni fans who got infuriated at the very thought of his comparison to other keepers-In my last post I simply stated that DK,if he gets runs in Lanka(which he is very capable of) could put a bit of pressure on dhoni.Now,don't get me wrong, Dhoni is Dhoni & I'm a fan.I'm not saying chuck him out.He's mentally stronger than most international cricketers & the future Indian captain,but what I meant to say was that knowing our media,there would be questions asked in press conferences which he won't be able to avoid if the other keepers make runs.Those questions are bound to irritate & pressurize individuals.I'd pick him in my team,if I were test skipper,over the other guys.I also credited him & called this decision brave.I was pointing out the ramifications of such a move rather than compare him with other guys.Criticism of posts is alright as long as you read it first,OK??The BCCI doesn't forget easily,they might get back at him sometime.Again ,2 thumbs up for MS.

  • POSTED BY aditya.chv on | July 10, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    I am unable to comprehend why Dhoni is being bashed by so people.....consider the example of sachin he opted out of the test matches against south africa as he was suffering from an injury..agreed but when he was not completely fit enough to play he played in the IPL (that was evident from the fact he didn't bowl and the uneasiness which was showing in some matches) then again he aggravates the injury due to which isnt able to play in the odi tournaments but he plays for lashings (of all clubs...i can understand that he is playing there for 'practice' but still he could do that in India as well)..and how he is busy going to various events (F1 races.Wimbledon) etc is it not putting something else before the country??It's quite natural for people to run after money and afterall cricketers are also human and they also do the same,but i feel dhoni had some injuries which would turn into serious ones(fingers,back,etc) hence its better he has taken a break and hpfly will come back stronger

  • POSTED BY kingofspain on | July 10, 2008, 18:09 GMT

    One test hundred. What an overrated cricketer. It takes far less skill to bash it around in a one day or 20/20 that no one will remember the result of five minutes later.

  • POSTED BY dhar116 on | July 10, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    Dhoni's move cannot be identified as brave. He is a sensible cricketer, he knows the hype and his role. He knows he can be back into the team easily. Saying that we should not compare him to the likes of Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid. What Dhoni is he is a sensible cricketer. He plays according to the needs of the game, we have very very few in Indian team like that and he is the best in that area. I also think we cannot blame BCCI for the cricket. They play so many games because we watch it. We take time out of our schdules to watch each and every game. Where there is business, business man makes money. we do not have any other popular sport in our country. Until then we have to live with BCCI craziness. Finally I hope India has a decent Wicket keeper in tests, a missed chance a good batsman will make full use

  • POSTED BY riteshlamsal on | July 10, 2008, 14:08 GMT

    I can't help being in accord with Shiw's thoughts & disagreeing with him at the same time. The BCCI is a real power-hungry & money-hungry goblin. It's indeed frightening to see their unrelenting pursuit of money, whatever the cost.If someone told them that they would earn billions by sending the Indian team to play a full-series in Antarctica, I bet they wouldn't turn down the offer - who cares about the cold!! I also agree that Dhoni is carrying big load on his young shoulders - to carry the Indian mantle is never easy. But having said that, i think he is one of the most overrated Indian players in history. He's a shave ahead of his Indian wicket-keeping contemporaries, & not too far ahead in batting either. (I'd say: slightly superior in T20's & ODIs, slightly inferior in tests!) And despite all that, the media persistently projects him as an "indispensable" (as if he were in the same league as Dravids & Tendulkars & Kumbles -which is ridiculously ridiculous!) Dhoni - enjoy you break!

  • POSTED BY ChetanMantri on | July 10, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    Dhoni is surely one of the most most overrated player that i have ever seen. We don't play international cricket to win against Bangladesh and other meaningless matches. But to win some important tournaments. Only one Australian tournament (all thanks to the excellency of Sachin)doesn't make him a good ODI player or captain. He is vastly short of capability which was exposed in Australia. On Indian pitches in meaningless matches and weaker opposition he will survive and accumulate runs but is that enough. We also watch cricket for grace, skill. If he thinks he is good enough to take breaks he has shown a big negative mental block of his getting exposed in test cricket. Or he just wants to play as a captain and not under anyone. Everything said or done, he has been unjust and has been an opportunist and time will show that he will not be spared from getting axed. Captaincy! Not safe in Dhoni's hands

  • POSTED BY Shiw on | July 10, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    BCCI is run by the egocentric money hungry goblins whose only religion is money and nothing else. If the money is stake then they are ready to martyr any players they can lay their hands on. So this step is a slap in the face of BCCI and I am more than happy about it. For me Dhoni earns more respect than ever. My only fear is let him not be another Kapil Dev for his actions. And to those who doubt his playing abilities, let me tell you if you put yourself in his shoes, I bet you won't last a second so I simply believe that you have no right to talk like that.

  • POSTED BY Saranadhi on | July 10, 2008, 10:20 GMT

    Let us be fair to Dhoni when he says players need rest, let us stop heaping insinuations on this young cricketer. BCCI wanted to kill ICL and also make money through IPL. If Dhoni was put on auction and got the highest bid then he deserves what he got, why crib about it? You and I would do the same when we have a choice, we will choose the one which gets us more money. Let us appreciate Dhoni for taking a bold decision by sacrificing his place in the Indian team, even though for a short while. Please understand it was the BCCI under Dalmiya brought in Asian countries in the big time cricket. It was done for making more money for the BCCI. So, BCCI packs the calendar with more competitions just to make money. Now, BCCI should choose four full fledged national teams and rotate these teams to play Tests & other tournaments around the globe. These teams should get to play equal matches - and should be treated equal.You have enough cricketers in India to take this challenge.

  • POSTED BY khmayecha on | July 10, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    Let's not try to postmortem this move. Whether it is brave, opportunist or whatever, it is his personal decision. There's is nothing negative about it - least of all his ability. If ability was the issue, he wouldn't be in the position where he is right now. I can only see good for him and the team. Rejuvenation is a must - especially in high voltage sports. Whenever there is an icon like tendulkar, dravid, dhoni, it is impossible for other deserving players to show case their talents and allow them an opportunity to cement their place as well. I think the selectors should compulsorily rest one player from the best eleven on a rotation basis to give other younger/lower ranked players an equal opportunity. The best ten players plus one good enough (who is desperate to perform) is as good as the best eleven. Whatever the reason Dhoni's rested himself, he should be saluted !!!!!

  • POSTED BY Sehwagfan on | July 10, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    You are all must know one thing. Dhoni doesn't have a ability to play good cricket.He don't even have a style.He know only straight shot and play like tortoise. Let Dhoni play in the opening slot then everybody will know his ability. I can tell him he is not a professional player. He is playing on his luck so far. He is a big head weight man. I can assure one day Dhoni will be axed from Indian cricket board. Very soon. with in a year. . Dont compare Dhoni with Sachin and Sehawag. He is nothing to compare with others. If he is really a player let him play on the opening batsman in test match against Australia. If he plays against Australia in the opening slot, thats his last series for him..that will come true.

  • POSTED BY concerned_cricketer on | July 10, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    Folks, please relax. He is the captain in the shorter versions of the game. He has been playing cricket non-stop for a while now. The best results are produced when the players and rested and healthy. So he is taking off in a form of the game where there will be least impact to the team. For the moment we have Anil Kumble to captain the side. After him, it will be Dhoni. It has to be Dhoni. There are no other viable options. So let him rest now and be re-charged before the Aussies reach here in Oct. As for the money, yes they all get a lot of money. And they should. Do you want the same money - play cricket and get into the Indian team.

  • POSTED BY eswarji on | July 10, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    i am really sad to see that criticism here is based on what someone has achieved or not ... just think of this, if he breaks down now, who the hell do you think is gonna be the last man standing in the shorter formats ... also, if you feel that you need the support of a player (who is burning his muscles like anything) to sustain a game-format, and that his game is no more interesting on its own merit, why the hell would anyone care?????? btw, dhoni is a professional, not some martyr ... also, it is really sad that the coach gets to decide very little

  • POSTED BY Ramski1 on | July 10, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    This is a prime example of the failings of the Indian Cricket Board. The BCCIs main remit is to generate as much money as possible, it should be to see India top of the Test + ODI rankings.

    The IPL is and will continue to be a financial success, Indian cricketers coming through the ranks will clearly prioritize 20/20, to the detriment of Test Cricket.

    It is the responsibility of the cricket board to protect its best players, how can you possibly justify playing against Hong Kong + Bangladesh if you are in need of a rest. Clearly Dhoni should have been told to sit out as many games as needed during this recent series and then go away for 3 weeks for complete rest prior to an important test series against Sri Lanka.

    I feel a little sorry for Dhoni, as captain of the ODI team he feels he needs to give that his all, but surely the BCCI need to look at the bigger picture.

    Mark my words, India will never be Test champions, the powers that be don't really care enough!

  • POSTED BY SrinivasBharath on | July 10, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    Well I see this as an excellent opportunity for Dinesh Karthik especially when he is a better wicket keeper when it comes to test matches. Hope Dinesh Karthik reads this and comes up with a very good performance to Dethrone Dhoni as the first choice wicket keeper for test matches. He was short changed in being dropped for test matches. It is time for him to win his rightful place

  • POSTED BY Abhimanyu on | July 10, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    ahh ... Guys I think we are missing a point here : there is more than 20 days break between the past Asia Cup and the coming Sri Lanka Test series. So don't you guys think that 20 days rest is enough ? As far as it looks like , MSD is still not good enough and has to prove his place in Test cricket. Also since he is the captain of the other two formats, he now must be held responsible to show that Test cricket is bigger than 20/20 and ODIs. Opting out of any Test series after playing meaningless cricket against weaker sides like Hong Kong and Bangladesh is by no means of respecting the job of captaincy and promoting Test cricket when it is heading to an extinction. MSD has set an very negative example to the youngsters and to the future of Test cricket. It is very clear that MSD thinks that Test Cricket is now for the senior players who are almost at the point of retirement and not for the elite cricketers. And please do not compare Sachin with MSD, at least he did not opt of the Tests.

  • POSTED BY sashwin on | July 10, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    Dhoni is greedy, no two ways about it. Isn't it surprising that he didn't let out so much as a whimper while playing in the IPL, but is reluctant to represent his country?

    IPL promises untold riches, while playing for the country only brings glory. Dhoni has proven that he's a person who only cares for money and not for the country.

  • POSTED BY Calavai on | July 10, 2008, 2:36 GMT

    Well, let us compare this to a movie actor. If an actor has a huge blockbuster hit it is natural for people to approach him for many more movies to bank on the actor's recent success. And it is natural for the actor to sign on many movies to maximize profits leveraging his recent success too. If the actor then complains of too much work, whose problem is it? Will people stop making movies to give the actor a break? Or is it the actor's problem of choosing between too many movies crammed together leveraging his success or manage his schedule hoping for a long successful career?

    I think it is the same with cricketers. It is a choice they have to make. And this choice exists in every profession (except Government of India jobs, I should add)

  • POSTED BY tanveers on | July 9, 2008, 19:19 GMT

    Well, let's first accept this that Cricket (and Sports in general) is now being played for money rather than for the country.

    Now going back to Mr. archyraj comments. Mr. archyraj is comparing professional cricketers to normal people like us working in different fields. Well, that's a wrong comparison. Cricketers represent their country, therefore, they must give priority to playing for the country first than anything else. We on the other hand are just working for ourselves and our family, so it does not matter where we work or which company we work for.

    Bottom line: For national cricketers, playing for the country should come first. Period!

  • POSTED BY ajayarora on | July 9, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    I think Dhoni decision is a precursor of time ahead. With the kind of money flowing in IPL and T20 there is no reason for an individual to strain his body for 5 days in humid conditions. Having said that, we are complaining of Indian cricket schedule but let us not forget that apart from three players Sehwag, Tendulkar and Dhoni the team for one day and test is totally different. Fast blowers take their rest by injuring themselves and Sehwag was not a regular member of ODI not very long ago. Tendulkar has his share of injuries(and associated rest) One can argue why not ODI and T20, let us get pratical. For two reasons, one he is captain and will not like to risk that position given the stature a captain of indian cricket team has in india and secondly he is more needed in ODI/T20 than in Test, infact Dinesh Karthik who has been in team as an opener provides a better balance to the test team(6 batsmen + 5 bowlers)

  • POSTED BY Raman01 on | July 9, 2008, 16:40 GMT

    Dhoni's commitment against Aus in Test series was seemingly questionable. I was wondering why he wasn't dropped for few tests in Aus itself and he is just reiterating his commitment (or the lack of) to test cricket. Its high time that he is dropped for Test series (which I guess he will take it anyway), rather than making him drop/select by himself. However, he can be given this strategy for T20/ODI's. All in all, he seems to lack commitment required for test cricket.

  • POSTED BY SibaMohanty on | July 9, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    MS Dhoni has a sharp brain. He knows exactly what he is doing. He is very assured of his gigantic brand value. So he can afford to sulk and rest.

    But why rest from the Test series? That's the question I want to ask him. Why did not he choose IPL which was draining? Why not the ODI series and Asia Cup? It clearly says he prefers the shorter format of the game and has little respect for Test.

    I expected MSD to give a better account of himself which he is so capable of. He could have led by example but fell short.

  • POSTED BY jam-11 on | July 9, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    i have several doubt about his decision 1 if he wants rest he could have sit outside against weaker team like Honkong and Bangladesh 2 after coming from pak he directly doing add,if add is important than India then his decision is good 3 i think playing India is more important than IPL 4 if he play along with senior he can learn something against mendis(only viru and goutham in playing 11,rohit not in 11) 5 i think he is not in right frame of mind. i think he does not want play any other captain. its shame for us.

  • POSTED BY bharathk on | July 9, 2008, 14:22 GMT

    This is a clear sign that Tests are losing out to more lucrative T20 and ODI's. Players consider this as just another test series because either they win it or not, its not going to impact anything. If it was against Pakistan or Australia, this may not happen. The idea of a test championship needs to be implemented ASAP. In that case every win against every country will be important to reach the final. Lets see how quick the ICC is going to act on the idea.

  • POSTED BY archyraj on | July 9, 2008, 13:50 GMT

    I don't understand why people are complaining about a player voluntarily taking off. I read comments from people saying that Test cricket should have been Dhoni's priority, and by sitting out he is setting wrong examples. Why didn't we have such a forum when Sachin Tendulkar decided to sit out of two tests against South Africa earlier this year because of injury. Is being injured the only way to take off? Don't all of us working in different professions go on vacation? Then why not a cricketer. Also I see people complaining about Dhoni prioritizing IPL over country, then I ask all of them - if you get a chance to earn more for any company outside the country, are you going to stay back and work for the country, or going to pack your bags and fly away? It is every individual's choice, so why to be jealous with Dhoni earning the money through IPL. And it should be left to him what to play and what not to play.

  • POSTED BY kupiis on | July 9, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Dhoni is completely justified in taking a break. He is the captain/face of the Indian side in ODIs and 2020 and had a responsibility to be there to lead. I don't think the argument that he took a break because of Yuvi is valid. Yuvi is not in any form to challenge for the captaincy in ANY FORM OF CRICKET at this moment. He isn't putting runs on the board and that's the basic requirement to even be included in the team. Also, Yuvi lacks Dhoni's level-headedness and maturity. This is what separates Dhoni from Yuvi or any of the other new guys. They all need to take a chill pill. Anger and intimidation don't put runs on the board.

    Honestly, physical fitness in lacking on the Indian side. Sanath Jayasuriya puts them all to shame. If he can run between the wickets like that at his age, none of our players should have any excuse. Sure Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid are older players, but they could certainly get into better physical form. The whole team needs more time at the gym.

  • POSTED BY kingofspain on | July 9, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    He should've missed these ODI tournaments. They're pointless and forgettable, I can't even remember what happened a week later.

  • POSTED BY Sniper on | July 9, 2008, 13:10 GMT

    When Dhoni complained about the back to back matches, one of the BCCI members told him that he can opt to sit out as there are enough replacements. Dhoni took the hint and opted out. What he does in his free time is his lookout and neither the public nor the BCCI should be concerned about it.It is better to sit out when tired than feign fitness when injured.May the others follow his example. Sniper

  • POSTED BY Nagi_von_NJ on | July 9, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    I think several important issues have surfaced in this article. Dhoni is clearly a superstar in the shorter formats of the game and his captaincy in this format has been nothing but spectacular particularly in the T20 version. He is quickly becoming astute in the one day arena and two finals' victories were missed.

    I think slowly we will and maybe should have specialists and teams geared for the Tests and the shorter versions (50 overs/40 overs/20 overs)- and in a nation like India we can develop the depth for such a situation. Australia with its well organised cricketing structure has been going in that direction for the last four or five years and thier bench depth is awesome.

    We will probably have a nucleus of 5 or 6 players playing across all versions and specialists for that version complementing this group depending on the type of game played. Needs a lot of thought and implementation here but can be done.

    Wishing Dhoni a good rest and a successful return!

  • POSTED BY Isaacking on | July 9, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    Anyone of us who praises Dhoni's decision to take a break now is just accepting the fact that IPL or any other form of Cricket is greater then Test Cricket.I feel sorry for those who believe that Dhoni is right here,far from it He is setting a precedent that will make people believe that winning Test Matches is not the most important thing.Cricket is Test of character,Talent & fitness, a player who was giving his 100% to win a ODI is not ready to Test his capabilities in a Test series say a lot about that player & his priorities.All who thing he is right please keep a watch on the future Indian test Captain who in name of rest will be shooting for Ads. No matter what was the reason if he was not injured he is suppose to play the Test as what I believe is that Anil Kumble was captain so that Dhoni can be groomed under him,rest from test will never help Kumble to groom him.Do I need to say more about future of Indian Captain in whose hand will be future of Indian Cricket & our hopes.

  • POSTED BY Bik_khakh on | July 9, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    I think it is the fault of BCCI. Why dont they understand that players are, at the end of the day, just human beings, and not machines. Why dont they have an off season?

  • POSTED BY Sony_2020 on | July 9, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    I think Mr. Doni needs some time to complete his current add assignments and look for new add contracts. Cricket tight schedule is just an excuse. Tight schedules keep the players away from modelling for adds. I honestly believe that BCCI should ban such players and give chance to those who are willing to perform.

  • POSTED BY vishnu_vardhan_s on | July 9, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    I dont think india has anyother choice other than supporting Dhoni. Forgetting nature is the best medicine given by god for human, other wise people wont stay in sunami affected place, wont support the team who is loosing again and again in finals. I feel ashame everytime seeing india loosing the final. Our player under estimated srilanka and played without responsibility.

    Its india's fate to be like this always. No point in cribbing. Lets accept the fact. When india wins be happy and while loosing be happy for other team who won the match.

    I think it is good for india to stop international appearance and do the homework for next few years. Also its time to support all other sports like cricket atleast people will be benifited.

    Let the BCCI rule as monopoly ever.......

  • POSTED BY plumbunion on | July 9, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    I wonder if this break for the test series is to avoid friction with the senior players (read Dravid, Ganguly and even Kumble?). I understand Dhoni has had a part to play in the ouster of at least one of them from the ODI team by promoting the selection of younger, fitter and more agile cricketers.

    Also, a test series in Sri Lanka will most likely see wickets that are stacked heavily in favour of the batsmen. If past history is anything to go by, the Sri Lankans will most likely post huge totals, implying a lot of stress on the fielding team, especially the wicketkeeper.

    Also, as the author mentions Dhoni is not as indispensable in the tests as he is in the shorter formats. But it still takes a lot of courage to sit out and afford someone else an opportunity.

    It does speak a lot about the self-belief of the man. This might also be the start of a dangerous and unhealthy(?) trend of cricketers preferring to sit out of the more gruelling challenges in test matches. Only time will tell.

  • POSTED BY save_indian_cricket on | July 9, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    I have a question to ask. Why can't Dhoni kept out from the IPL? Playing for the counry is what the followers expect. Of course, IPL is an entertainer. But when he is dedicated about playing all the games in IPL for his franchise, why can't he play international games also?

  • POSTED BY SayanDutta on | July 9, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    A lot of comments are being made on Dhoni's honesty and bravery. While we in no way can judge I would want to ask few questions to those who are confident that honesty has prevailed over calculated risk: A. How long does it take for a player to judge that he is getting tired and hence needs a break? Did his tiredness come after 'sudden' realization of 2 back to back matches and hence he became honest? According to few here he was carrying fatigue for a longer time, in that case he might have considered opting out of Bangladesh tour and Asia Cup(both inconsequential in long term and he lost them also)! B. What is the difference between 'I need a break' and 'players should get a break'. Appreciate his boldness, but why did he choose to be bold after the one day series? And why not after the IPL? C. Was there a slight concern that Yuvi would be the one day captain in these two series and just might win the cup in seemingly easy tournaments(which we lost)thus creating a kind of rift?

  • POSTED BY thetruelegend on | July 9, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    I think it is a very sensible decision because he knows that India is got a lot of expierence in the Test team so he can afford to miss a Test Series. It is not like he has complained before. He is the only indian who has played every series after the twenty world cup non stop. It has been long time for the T20 and it is time he needs rest and desreves rest. Who ever raise question against him need to go through waht he has gone through and then he stills feels fine then he can keep complaing.

  • POSTED BY Maniapp on | July 9, 2008, 9:40 GMT

    Dhoni might have decided after seeing Ajantha Mendis bowled at Karachi and Mendis is going to be there for sure playing for Lanka on this. So, Dhoni predicted the results and avoided blushes :)

    Mani

  • POSTED BY DAN22 on | July 9, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    Dhoni's move is pragmatic and forward looking. Its easy to say that he offered to play 2 unimportant ODI tournaments. But then he was only 1 of 3 (Sehwag and Yuvi) senior players in the team. In Tests the batting juggernaut comes out and India can afford to rest Dhoni (rather Dhoni affording to sit out). In the end one should not forget that in ODI' and T20 games Dhoni is needed more as a captain rather than as a batsman or keeper. Dhoni has impressed as a cool customer in whatever he does and even in this temp stepping down...he has done it with a cool that befits him. Funnily enough Dhoni has just overtaken Sachin in the Endorsements sweepstakes. Now he has just shown that he can match India's largest brand in terms of attitude too.

  • POSTED BY FaltutTimePass on | July 9, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    To all those think Dinesh kartik is better Test player than Dhoni. kartik (AVE=32.10,S.R=49) and DHONI (AVE=33.76,AVE=63).That too when dinesh always comes ahead(now a days as opener) of Dhoni. Dhoni comes as last recognized batsmen and still has made 9 half centuries.Kartik was chossen ahead of Dhoni in Test and one days in 2004.when he failed then only dhoni was given chance. i believe non availibilty of Dhoni is going to affect the team in Srilanka.Many times dhoni has played the macth saving innings in test.I think Dhoni has taken this desion for two reason :one that he really wanted some rest and second when that bigmouth mr. sukla said publicly that any player who feels who is playing too mush cricket can tell broad, dhoni had no option but to give him curt reply by asking for immediate rest.

  • POSTED BY snehalrao on | July 9, 2008, 8:14 GMT

    I think a lot has been commented about M.S Dhoni and the risks he has taken by opting out of the series. The BCCI has given an option to the players to freely withdraw themselves in case of any fitness issues. As a player M.S has every right to do so. So if he abides by the BCCI's option, what's the issue? We should not forget his contributions from past one year in shaping a raw team into a matured unit at a juncture when many players denied the responsibility as a captain. M.S has lead the team well inspite of the curt remarks from the cricketing arena.

    Its time he relaxes and recharges himself to bounce back positively with his unique leadership qualities. He has made a right decision by focussing on health issues which he had even in the IPL (he had been in the fielding circle rather than keeping in few matches). Let the player breathe his privacy. Mr. cool surely has a long way to go....

    Snehal Rao

  • POSTED BY shailgupt on | July 9, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    I don't think Mr. Dhoni is bold or any such thing.He made a public statement about being tired and criticized the schedule and too much of cricket.The Board lost no time in saying that those who were tired could ask for a break. After this Mr. Dhoni would have made a fool of himself if he had not asked for a break.I think he absolutely had no option left.Hopefully he would be more careful in making public statements.

  • POSTED BY wmam on | July 9, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    Dhoni has read the situation perfectly. All the attention and money has gravitated towards ODIs and 20/20s with Test cricket getting the step montherly treatment. He can therefore well afford to skip the Test series and participate only in the limited overs series.

  • POSTED BY Sekhar_S on | July 9, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    It was not an opportunistic decision.At the same time,I wouldn't call it brave either,rather sensible.No sportsperson can endure long durations of unhampered performance.It is good that he has chosen to take rest during the test series.But he could have extended it to the ODIs as well so that he would have had sufficient rest and would come out charged up for the back-to-back Champions Trophy and the Champions League.

  • POSTED BY Ajay42 on | July 9, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    It is disappointing that Dhoni thinks that the Test series doesnt count for much. Most people have already forgotten the Kitply cup and the Asia cup has little significance, it's played so infrequently. It is a sign of the times that someone who isnt yet a complete player would prefer to skip an entire Test series.Is it that the money is less than what was on offer at the IPL? And, sadly, the author tries to justify that!

  • POSTED BY shumit on | July 9, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    Although I have a high regard for MSD as a player and a leader, I'm shocked by the timing of this move! Though his stature will prompt most journos to glorify the 'honesty' and 'maturity', the good, knowledgeable cricket lover should not be swayed by this. Would MSD have backed out if Sri Lanka was hosting a quadrangular T20 series with Aus, Eng and SL??? Unlikely.

    Ricky Ponting raised a red flag on the survival of Tests - Here is the first casualty from the white flannels...

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 9, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik being a competitor to Dhoni is a joke. C'mon you cant be serious. Ask any opposing captain, whom they would rather not bowl to .. Dhoni or Karthik. Imagine what Dhoni can do on the field with his bat and to the opposition, not listen to what bean counters have to say after crunching numbers from StatsGuru. He has done the correct thing in his own personal interest and the longer interests of Indian cricket. In one dayers, his leadership is extremely vital while in test matches the Fab Four are still around for experience. Having a dig at SRT is also in bad taste. IPL is a BCCI competition, not some exhibition match. Lets enjoy Tendulkar as long as he lasts. He has done enough already to secure his legacy and doesnt need to prove anything anymore, least of all his commitment.

  • POSTED BY aadirag on | July 9, 2008, 6:44 GMT

    Vaidyanathan, there are more important issues here which you barely touch upon.Is M.S. Dhoni good enough to play tests for india??No really, is he?? As the future test captain & present ODI skipper he should play but Dinesh "DK" Kaarthick isn't that bad.Nor is Parthiv"baby-face" Patel.

    Considering all that, clearly Dhoni has made the right call by sitting out of a test series that hopefully shouldn't test india(no, I don't rate mendis,he just surprised india thats all) if everything goes to plan. Limited overs format of the game provides a different story wherein Dhoni is currently the 2nd rank batsman in the world. Stats reveal he has been by far the 'most overworked cricketer' since last June when india started their nonstop cricket journey.Things only get worse in terms of schedules as he will earn that title by mid next year. It's also brave as DK or babyface could comein, score a 100 or two & pose a question to the selectors & put slight pressure on MS. 2 thumbs up for MS.

  • POSTED BY karthi52 on | July 9, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    It is a brave decision from Dhoni. This will give a great chance for DK and PP. If dhoni got break due to injury,then it will make bad impression on other players. so brave decision from both Dhoni and BCCI.I have to congradulate BCCI once more for selecting good team for world T20,CB series and now this series. i am very happy that atlast yuvaraj and irfan got lost.BCCI should forget about Irfan in future.But yousuf is much needed person.selecting Gambhir instead jaffer is another good decision,and giving rohit and ojha thechance is another good decision.and BADRINATH should also be given the chance.

  • POSTED BY Pushpak on | July 9, 2008, 6:38 GMT

    Nice Analysis of the Dhoni's Decision and in a country like why at all players need to burn themselves when we have so many options. Such small tours and tournament can be boldly use to check the new players and their capability. Once they been given their share of chances then we can have list of valuable players.

  • POSTED BY Katri on | July 9, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    With the amount of cricket being played these days, despite being talented and having won matches for the team, nobody's position is secure. Irfan Pathan is a prime example. In his comeback test in Bangalore he scored a century and went onto produce a wonderful all-round display at Perth. Probably being insecure of his place in the team, he didn't inform the selectors of his injury in the first stage of the Asia cup, didn't recover fully and got creamed in all the 3 matches he played; now he is out of the Test squad. Dhoni is clearly taking a risk with his test future. Imagine a scenario where Karthick opens the batting and does well. This will open up a slot for a specialist fifth bowler, or a bowling allrounder like Irfan Pathan. That would present the other dilemma of who would be India's test captain once Kumble retires. This test series might have become just that little bit more important now for both the players and the selectors.

  • POSTED BY AdityaRavindran on | July 9, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    Its important to be honest and Dhoni has the brave heart to be so. Although his test status is not as strong as the ODI and T20, he did have the courage to opt out of the test series and thereby providing a door for other promising wicketkeepers to have a go at the Lankans. It does look like players might be tempted to choose their format of the game in order to get the adequate rest that is needed to perform consistently over a long period of time. There is nothing wrong about it and MSD has piloted the way to be honest with yourself - not to mention that SRT also usually does it when he himself adjudged not 100% fit during the first half of IPL. With the BCCI and ICC plugging in hectic schedules, people like SRT and MSD do lead the team in every sense - a good learning for the younger boys.

  • POSTED BY abhibane on | July 9, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Very sound arguments made here. Dhoni has attempted to send out a strong message to the board. I highly doubt whether the board will get it though. The only thing that matters to the BCCI top brass is the revenue that's coming in and eventually finding it's way into their pockets. Mr. Modi and Mr. Pawar are more interested in running BCCI as their personal business than anything else. The only thing they are not interested in is cricket. And while everyone else talks about how excess cricket is harming players, Mr. Modi and Mr. Pawar are more interested in fitting a Champions League in between the Champions Trophy and the Aus-Ind series. Them get a message? I think not.

  • POSTED BY Betupie on | July 9, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    I think there is plenty to read between lines. See the sequence of the situation. Dhoni in press meeting said they had to play back to back matches where as other two teams had a rest in between and so its tiring. BCCI was quick to bounce on, replied that if he needs rest, he can opt for it. And media immediately started manipulating his selection in the next series. Dhoni was still not sure what step he ll take. And finally he opted to sit out. I guess this decision was more for standing to his own statement (he is tired) rather than breaking the path. And yes this is not the first time players have opted out, but they have a standard official statement that they are recovering from the injury before the next important tour.

  • POSTED BY vamoskay on | July 9, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    very well crafted. though i don't think siddhartha has taken a dig at sachin. i think he has just stated the fact. also, let's not forget that sachin has played cricket for india for 18 years now. his on & off presence has been the case for the last few years. which means, arguably, he's played continuously for 14 - 15 years! remember, he never missed a single test till he got to his 107th (approx.).

  • POSTED BY Zahran_F on | July 9, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Oh - How you love a hero !! Come on be honest - he was greedy for the money so he played the IPL and he's the captain of the ODI team so he played the Kitply and Asia cup. But his real challenge would have been to play in the test series in Sri Lanka. He's not a good test player at least thats what his record to date shows. So by pulling out the test series all he is saying is that - let me stick to what I am good at...unless theres another 1.5 Million dollars, I'll be back when the money's right.

  • POSTED BY superchandran on | July 9, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    Sir,

    As rightly pointed out in the article, Dhoni has not established himself in the test side. Thus it is a mistake for him to take rest from the test side and expect to be picked whenever he feels he is ready to play. Dinesh Karthik is a better keeper than him and in the limited oppourtunities has also batted pretty well. If he does well in the Lanka series then the selectors must retain him against Australia and pick Sehwag back as deputy to Kumble.

  • POSTED BY Chetan_R_Kulkarni on | July 9, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    I think author should better talk on Dhoni only without giving examples of other players. Author, Mr. Siddhartha, you are not a cent percent eligible to talk on Sachin's dedication, contribution & passion for INDIA & Indian cricket. So, u should feel ashamed to write such sentence "He wasn't going to play the IPL and discover an injury immediately after; he wasn't going to suddenly develop a "personal problem" ...". Better u shut up ur mouth & use ur head more before commenting on Sachin. Dhoni is nowhere near in comparison with Sachin. Had it been Highly-Paid IPL like competition ahead, would Dhoni have withdrawn from it?

  • POSTED BY Joby_George on | July 9, 2008, 5:47 GMT

    One of the best articles seen in recent times. Mahendra Sing Dhoni is proving that he is the best captain India had produced by his improvement as a player and as a captain every game. He is bold enough to take a decision like this where many future captains made comments about the increasing number of matches during their times and they couldn't show the guts of announcing their unavailability in the side by themselves. Spots in this Indian team is unpredictable. Rahul Dravid stepped down himself only from captaincy and he is no more even in the team now and iam sure he regrets for that. Dhoni made a brave move, but this points to question that, are these players segregating themselves as cricket players of different format, test and limited overs?

  • POSTED BY psquare on | July 9, 2008, 5:19 GMT

    Without doubt it is a brave decision - Dhoni has much left to prove in Test cricket. But I guess it just goes to show how confident the man is, and how he seems like a genuine team player. He would rather rest now, than let his fatigue hamper his contributions to the team later. He has endured much with a smile on his face, and I can only admire his strength of character and his pragmatism. This is a good opportunity for Kaarthick as well, who's kind of faded into and out of the team.

    I don't think a sensible rotation policy will be worked out anytime soon, however.

  • POSTED BY VenkatAnanth on | July 9, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    You cant have the best of everything. And another bit, all this while, he was nursing a finger injury. The burnout was a massive issue before the players heard of the IPL, and upon the arrival of the IPL - we didnt hear of any complaints. Dhoni's at least come forward and made his points clear. We must appreciate his honesty and take it from there. Yes, with his form Test cricket not moving upwardly, it gives DK a great chance to resurrect his international cricket career. Wonder if Dhoni would resort to the hindsight, come the end of August !

  • POSTED BY Prats6 on | July 9, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Very well written article, I think most of the players do give preference to the ODI's and T20'S as they take up less time essentially. Whenever they have to rest they will take a break from Tests, but Dhoni has clearly said that Tests are his priority, unfortunately BCCI did not help him by cramming the schedules so much that players are genuinely living out of suitcases. In the future we might see more players on the bench rather than the playing XI if this continues. I think it is a good decision as he does not add that much to the test side as much to the ODI side as well. It is a sensible move, a bit brave but surely not opportunistic.

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | July 9, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    Dhoni's withdrawal from the Test Series shows the character and confidence of the person. One must also commend the board for allowing him to take rest and recover before a hectic season ahead. As you mentioned correctly, though Dhoni is the most important clog in the Indian ODI team; in the Test Team there are other people who can take the responsibilities

  • POSTED BY Arsh on | July 9, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    I see it as a courageous move from Dhoni. As you said, he was completely honest about it to everyone. Besides opting out just shows the level of confidence this man possesses. He is not insecure about his position in the team and has chosen the best for him and the team. Many others would have played the series half-heartedly in a bid to cling on to their place. But Dhoni isn't one of those. Bravo Dhoni!

  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | July 9, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    Nice article, brave to take a stab at SRT. I think one important thing to consider regarding Dhoni's decision is, how much does his absence hurt the team? I would have to say not much. Dinesh Karthik is a competent wicket keeper who arguably has better temperament for test cricket. I think being the limited overs captain for India, Dhoni should sit out not just this but any number of tests/series he wishes to if he feels he needs a break. I believe after SRT, Dhoni is certainly the next most celebrated cricketer in India. He can do it all and do it with a smile on his face. I never met him but from the reaction in the media it seems people in general enjoy his personality while they continue to have issues with a few other individuals in the team. So, I fully agree with Dhoni's decision. I'd also like to mention is it's useless exercise to hope anyone in BCCI "get the message". They never do. Someone should spell it out to the admins as they seem to be a bit thick headed about these.

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  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | July 9, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    Nice article, brave to take a stab at SRT. I think one important thing to consider regarding Dhoni's decision is, how much does his absence hurt the team? I would have to say not much. Dinesh Karthik is a competent wicket keeper who arguably has better temperament for test cricket. I think being the limited overs captain for India, Dhoni should sit out not just this but any number of tests/series he wishes to if he feels he needs a break. I believe after SRT, Dhoni is certainly the next most celebrated cricketer in India. He can do it all and do it with a smile on his face. I never met him but from the reaction in the media it seems people in general enjoy his personality while they continue to have issues with a few other individuals in the team. So, I fully agree with Dhoni's decision. I'd also like to mention is it's useless exercise to hope anyone in BCCI "get the message". They never do. Someone should spell it out to the admins as they seem to be a bit thick headed about these.

  • POSTED BY Arsh on | July 9, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    I see it as a courageous move from Dhoni. As you said, he was completely honest about it to everyone. Besides opting out just shows the level of confidence this man possesses. He is not insecure about his position in the team and has chosen the best for him and the team. Many others would have played the series half-heartedly in a bid to cling on to their place. But Dhoni isn't one of those. Bravo Dhoni!

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | July 9, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    Dhoni's withdrawal from the Test Series shows the character and confidence of the person. One must also commend the board for allowing him to take rest and recover before a hectic season ahead. As you mentioned correctly, though Dhoni is the most important clog in the Indian ODI team; in the Test Team there are other people who can take the responsibilities

  • POSTED BY Prats6 on | July 9, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Very well written article, I think most of the players do give preference to the ODI's and T20'S as they take up less time essentially. Whenever they have to rest they will take a break from Tests, but Dhoni has clearly said that Tests are his priority, unfortunately BCCI did not help him by cramming the schedules so much that players are genuinely living out of suitcases. In the future we might see more players on the bench rather than the playing XI if this continues. I think it is a good decision as he does not add that much to the test side as much to the ODI side as well. It is a sensible move, a bit brave but surely not opportunistic.

  • POSTED BY VenkatAnanth on | July 9, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    You cant have the best of everything. And another bit, all this while, he was nursing a finger injury. The burnout was a massive issue before the players heard of the IPL, and upon the arrival of the IPL - we didnt hear of any complaints. Dhoni's at least come forward and made his points clear. We must appreciate his honesty and take it from there. Yes, with his form Test cricket not moving upwardly, it gives DK a great chance to resurrect his international cricket career. Wonder if Dhoni would resort to the hindsight, come the end of August !

  • POSTED BY psquare on | July 9, 2008, 5:19 GMT

    Without doubt it is a brave decision - Dhoni has much left to prove in Test cricket. But I guess it just goes to show how confident the man is, and how he seems like a genuine team player. He would rather rest now, than let his fatigue hamper his contributions to the team later. He has endured much with a smile on his face, and I can only admire his strength of character and his pragmatism. This is a good opportunity for Kaarthick as well, who's kind of faded into and out of the team.

    I don't think a sensible rotation policy will be worked out anytime soon, however.

  • POSTED BY Joby_George on | July 9, 2008, 5:47 GMT

    One of the best articles seen in recent times. Mahendra Sing Dhoni is proving that he is the best captain India had produced by his improvement as a player and as a captain every game. He is bold enough to take a decision like this where many future captains made comments about the increasing number of matches during their times and they couldn't show the guts of announcing their unavailability in the side by themselves. Spots in this Indian team is unpredictable. Rahul Dravid stepped down himself only from captaincy and he is no more even in the team now and iam sure he regrets for that. Dhoni made a brave move, but this points to question that, are these players segregating themselves as cricket players of different format, test and limited overs?

  • POSTED BY Chetan_R_Kulkarni on | July 9, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    I think author should better talk on Dhoni only without giving examples of other players. Author, Mr. Siddhartha, you are not a cent percent eligible to talk on Sachin's dedication, contribution & passion for INDIA & Indian cricket. So, u should feel ashamed to write such sentence "He wasn't going to play the IPL and discover an injury immediately after; he wasn't going to suddenly develop a "personal problem" ...". Better u shut up ur mouth & use ur head more before commenting on Sachin. Dhoni is nowhere near in comparison with Sachin. Had it been Highly-Paid IPL like competition ahead, would Dhoni have withdrawn from it?

  • POSTED BY superchandran on | July 9, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    Sir,

    As rightly pointed out in the article, Dhoni has not established himself in the test side. Thus it is a mistake for him to take rest from the test side and expect to be picked whenever he feels he is ready to play. Dinesh Karthik is a better keeper than him and in the limited oppourtunities has also batted pretty well. If he does well in the Lanka series then the selectors must retain him against Australia and pick Sehwag back as deputy to Kumble.

  • POSTED BY Zahran_F on | July 9, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Oh - How you love a hero !! Come on be honest - he was greedy for the money so he played the IPL and he's the captain of the ODI team so he played the Kitply and Asia cup. But his real challenge would have been to play in the test series in Sri Lanka. He's not a good test player at least thats what his record to date shows. So by pulling out the test series all he is saying is that - let me stick to what I am good at...unless theres another 1.5 Million dollars, I'll be back when the money's right.