October 28, 2008

Easy lies the head

Dhoni is different from other India captains, principally in the poise and calm he brings to the role
  shares 65



Dhoni may not be as talented as the likes of Yuvraj and Irfan Pathan, but he has made more of his abilities © AFP

There's something special about Dhoni.

It can't just be that he's a provincial from Jharkhand who's made it to the top. There's been a cohort of "provincial" players who have represented India in recent years: Mohammad Kaif, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, the brothers Pathan, come to mind. It can't even be that he's the outstanding player among them, because he's not. Sehwag is the greatest natural talent Indian batting has seen since Sachin Tendulkar's debut.

Dhoni, judged purely as a batsman or a wicketkeeper, is a limited player who has made the most of his abilities. He was a middling-to-poor keeper when he was first selected to play limited-overs cricket for India in 2004, and it wasn't till India's tour of the West Indies in 2006 that his work behind the stumps became reliable. He was a better batsman than he was a keeper when he began his international career. It's worth remembering that he was lucky to play for India at all. Had Parthiv Patel or Dinesh Karthik made the most of their international opportunities, Dhoni might have laboured in the salt mines of domestic cricket for the whole of his career. Patel and Karthik are both several years younger than him and they made their ODI and Test debuts before he did.

In fact, the first thing that distinguishes Dhoni from the generation of players that debuted for India in the 21st century is that unlike Irfan Pathan or Patel or Sreesanth, he was not a prodigy. He wasn't a teen sensation plucked out of obscurity and planted on the world stage. He ground his way through all the tiers of competitive cricket: the Under-19 teams battling for the Cooch Behar trophy, the obscure matches played for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy, the India A sides, and then, eventually, when younger, more touted players failed, he was picked to play for India. He was 23 years old when he played his first one-day international and 24 when he made his Test debut.

His first claim to the world's attention was the savage 148 he struck against Pakistan in the ODI in Vizag in April 2005. This was exactly twice the number of runs Sehwag made in the same game, and Dhoni's century helped India win the match. He followed this up with an even more remarkable 148 against the same team, this time in a Test match in Faisalabad; the hundred took him all of 93 balls. But while Dhoni has consolidated his claim to being one of the most effective one-day batsmen in the world, his Test form has remained modest. He hasn't scored another century; unlike his great contemporaries, Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakkara, he has been a battling batsman rather than a dominant one, and sometimes not even that. On the tour of Australia earlier this year, Dhoni played all four Tests without scoring a fifty. He averaged under 18 and looked out of his depth against first-rate fast bowling on brisk pitches. Harbhajan Singh made more runs in fewer matches at a higher average and a superior run-rate.

So why is Dhoni special? It is because he is the first Indian cricketer whose persona is more important and more valuable to his team than his cricketing abilities. And what does that mean? It means several things, so it's best to itemise them.

Dhoni's most striking characteristic is his poise. As a batsman and wicketkeeper he leaves no one in any doubt about his competitiveness, but he doesn't sledge, he doesn't curse, he doesn't make like a drama queen when he's given a dodgy decision, and if he has to play through injury (as he did in the CB Series in Australia) he gets on with it.

 
 
Dhoni's most striking characteristic is his poise. As a batsman and wicketkeeper he leaves no one in any doubt about his competitiveness, but he doesn't sledge, he doesn't curse, he doesn't make like a drama queen when he's given a dodgy decision
 

He is the only Indian cricketer in the last 40 years (apart from Sehwag) who actually does what Kipling prescribed in that corny but resounding poem, "If": he meets with Triumph and Disaster and treats those two imposters just the same. Think of the great players who play alongside Dhoni: Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. They're all more gifted cricketers than Dhoni will ever be, and they've all captained India with varying degrees of success, but not one of them conveyed the sense of reassurance and calm that Dhoni brings to both his demeanour as a player and as a captain. Of all of them, Dhoni is the least likely to suggest by his manner that winning and losing are matters of life or death. Despite the enormous rewards that come with playing for India today, his body language, his lack of visible agitation, make it clear that he knows that in the end it isn't war, it's only a game. After winning the World Twenty20, as his team-mates leapt about, Dhoni was caught by the camera walking up to the stumps, close to expressionless. His matter-of-fact acceptance of defeat in the final of the IPL, which was won by the Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, was the obverse of his calm at moments of triumph. And Indian selectors and spectators and sportswriters, traumatised by decades of knotted tension, respond to that sane maturity. It calms us.

He's the only Indian captain in recent times who doesn't stamp his feet and scowl when a fielder lets him down on the field. Kumble, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar were all masters of visible reproach when they were leading the team. Dhoni will occasionally ask a player to get his act together, but it's done without knitted brows and theatrical questioning; it's cricket minus Kathakali. His take on controversies involving his team-mates is relaxed and dispassionate. When Sreesanth became known as a serial offender for his antics, Dhoni was content to observe that players learn to rein themselves in once they're disciplined and suspended.

He is also undeferential. Nothing in his early career suggested that he considered himself a "junior" member of the team, and nothing in his present manner suggests that he takes himself seriously as a "senior" member, despite being captain of the ODI side and heir-apparent to Kumble in Tests. He doesn't refer to the team as "my boys" nor does he hesitate to press for youth in the limited-overs squad, despite the risk of alienating "senior" players. It isn't an accident that Dhoni became captain of the ODI team inside three years of making his debut: from the start he carried himself as a mature adult who could deal with responsibility without being weighed down by it. The contrast with Yuvraj Singh, who made his ODI debut four years before Dhoni, couldn't be more striking. Yuvraj would have been India's ODI captain had he lived up to his early promise: he chose, instead, to live a prolonged adolescence.

None of this is to suggest that Dhoni doesn't deserve our attention for his cricketing ability. He bats like a self-taught caveman, and when his homemade brutality comes off, it's thrilling. The two-handed top-spin forehands he uses to counter yorkers; that hernia-inducing mid-air shot, legs scissoring violently to make momentum; those ball-flattening lofted smashes that leave the bowler wondering if he needs a helmet, enliven the game. And should he manage to translate his new-found ability to accumulate runs briskly without risk in ODIs to Test cricket, he may yet rival Sangakkara as a wicketkeeper-batsman. But even if he doesn't, he will live in the history of Indian cricket as the country's first adult captain since MAK Pataudi.

Mukul Kesavan is a novelist, essayist and historian based in New Delhi. This article was first published in India Today magazine

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prats6 on October 30, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    There will always be doubters, first these people who said "Why Dhoni as a T20 skipper?" , then asked questions when he was appointed the ODI captain and even when India has won 2 tests out of the 2 he has captained , people will ask "Why ?" My answer is simple, you either are a good captain or you are not, and all the evidence that is out there is that he is a GREAT captain. His demeanour how he handles his team is exceptional.He consistently performs and no one can say he ever gives anything than his 100% . Still if someone criticises MS Dhoni, then he is just watching a wrong game.

  • Prats6 on October 30, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    The poise and demeanour of MS Dhoni, as a captain has been so heart warming and fresh that you sometimes are compelled to think why was he chosen so late for India ? But whatever the reasons its been a wait worth the performances. He does not get flustered by failure or go bonkers when he wins. His performances speak more than he does, which is a welcome break from the overly self praising cricketers of India. Mukul does a great job of summing up his career and it has been a pleasure to follow MS Dhoni and we hope he brings more laurels for India.

  • CSKfan on October 30, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Fantastic Mukul. Dhoni is calm head on strong shoulders. Most people are pretty certain that in years to come he would emerge as most successful captain in Indian cricket.

  • jayantsengupta on October 29, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Simply I dont agree to his comments. He has not been tested yet. The real test of a captain depends on how he performs in Tests and he has not been tested yet in this fornt. he has been lucky, he seems to be cool but in pressure he would crumble. More over the Australian team is not at its peak and with out some key players who had performed well. T 20 is not a bench mark to judge him. let him do well in test match cricket then we may consider. jayanta

  • karan_singh on October 29, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Mukul,

    I would be very worried if Dhoni was treating Indian cricket as "just a game". When these guys are getting paid substantial sums for their cricket, and reaping rewards through advertisements and movies and punditry, why should they treat it as just a game - the Aussies certainly don't! Just look at how seriously they took their "game" after their loss in the ashes.

    At the end of the day, the rest of us have jobs - we don't see them as "games", if we make mistakes, we can't laugh and say "it's just a game", so why should the cricketers. On the contrary, they should be like the corporations and companies that people work for - losing money is not an option, so losing a game shouldn't be either. After all, if your going to get paid for using a stick to hit a ball, you better do it well!

  • karan_singh on October 29, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Mukul,

    As a seasoned indian cricket commentator and viewer, you should know better than to glorify a captain before he has achieved results consistently.

    We as Indians, maybe due to some insecurity of somesort, relating to national pride, really feel the need to prove ourselves internationally. Maybe it is because we feel that intellectually, culturally and socially, we equal the west, but are still linked in to the degeneracy of the "third world". That is why we proclaim to the high heavens that Laxmi Mittal is the richest man in the world, Tata have just bought Jaguar..etc

    Therefore, whenever we see our team win a match against the Aussies, we, subconsciously, link the victory to our supremacy, rather than the opposition's failures. Let us be objective here - We have won ONE test match, we could dreadfully lose Captain Dhoni's next test- Hayden or Lee could hit form and we could be Toast. And then we'll see how "cool" Dhoni is; the team makes the captain, not the opposite.

  • mmm.ggg on October 29, 2008, 2:56 GMT

    Agree plus the most important fact is - He plays when India needs him most. He takes the load on himself. Doesn't matter whether Sachin makes maximum test runs, there are only few people who plays when team needs them and Dhoni is one of very few in Indian cricket team.

  • Dilly81 on October 28, 2008, 21:41 GMT

    Totally agree with What Mukal had to say.Dhoni brings lots of assurance with him.As Mukul pointed out the reactions or the lack of it that Dhoni possesses during defeat and triumph is the best character of a captain who knows what is he doing.Keep going Dhoni.With him at the helm i can see a World Cup triumph much sooner than latter.Indians would be thrilled if that happens in 2011 with the greatest batsman of our times providing the impetus for the one last time.

  • OFiroz on October 28, 2008, 19:54 GMT

    Mr.Mukul Kesavan has put forward his points rather emotionally than statistically. No doubt MS Dhoni is a prolific batsman, and became a good wicket keeper over a period of time. But still one can't judge his test captain capabilities from as little as 2 test matches. I never watched MAK Pataudi captaining India, I must be not even born or very small to watch cricket at that time, so I can't say how good or bad Mr.Pataudi was, but I can definitely stress on the fact that Mohd.Azharuddin was as cool as Dhoni, or even freezing coolest! He never shouted at his team mates, never animated angrily at fieldsmen. If that is the criteria Mr.Mukul Kesavan is giving, then I am sure Azhar will be on top as complete adult captain India had ever seen!

  • Nampally on October 28, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    A fine portrayal of Dhoni, Mukul. Yes Dhoni has the poise,maturity and dynamism to be one of the greatest captains of India of all times. Both Karthik and Patel had their chances when Dhoni did not play in Sri Lanka. Their keeping & batting was poor by comparison to Dhoni's. Hence contrary to your opinion, Dhoni has fully earned his place in the team on the strength of his W/Keeping and batting. In fact he is easily the best WK/batsmen in the world today after the retirement of Gilchrist. You say his batting is ordinary. Yet he batted so well in the second test at Mohali contributing over 160 runs in the match at a strike rate of over 80. This was also a major factor in India's victory. Dhoni also saved India in Lords test in England contributing around 90 runs when the "Fab 4" failed. So Dhoni leads by example and personal contributions. He has excellent knowledge of the game and is as unruffled as former Indian Test Captains V.S.Hazare or Pataudi. He fully deserves to lead India NOW.

  • Prats6 on October 30, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    There will always be doubters, first these people who said "Why Dhoni as a T20 skipper?" , then asked questions when he was appointed the ODI captain and even when India has won 2 tests out of the 2 he has captained , people will ask "Why ?" My answer is simple, you either are a good captain or you are not, and all the evidence that is out there is that he is a GREAT captain. His demeanour how he handles his team is exceptional.He consistently performs and no one can say he ever gives anything than his 100% . Still if someone criticises MS Dhoni, then he is just watching a wrong game.

  • Prats6 on October 30, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    The poise and demeanour of MS Dhoni, as a captain has been so heart warming and fresh that you sometimes are compelled to think why was he chosen so late for India ? But whatever the reasons its been a wait worth the performances. He does not get flustered by failure or go bonkers when he wins. His performances speak more than he does, which is a welcome break from the overly self praising cricketers of India. Mukul does a great job of summing up his career and it has been a pleasure to follow MS Dhoni and we hope he brings more laurels for India.

  • CSKfan on October 30, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Fantastic Mukul. Dhoni is calm head on strong shoulders. Most people are pretty certain that in years to come he would emerge as most successful captain in Indian cricket.

  • jayantsengupta on October 29, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Simply I dont agree to his comments. He has not been tested yet. The real test of a captain depends on how he performs in Tests and he has not been tested yet in this fornt. he has been lucky, he seems to be cool but in pressure he would crumble. More over the Australian team is not at its peak and with out some key players who had performed well. T 20 is not a bench mark to judge him. let him do well in test match cricket then we may consider. jayanta

  • karan_singh on October 29, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    Mukul,

    I would be very worried if Dhoni was treating Indian cricket as "just a game". When these guys are getting paid substantial sums for their cricket, and reaping rewards through advertisements and movies and punditry, why should they treat it as just a game - the Aussies certainly don't! Just look at how seriously they took their "game" after their loss in the ashes.

    At the end of the day, the rest of us have jobs - we don't see them as "games", if we make mistakes, we can't laugh and say "it's just a game", so why should the cricketers. On the contrary, they should be like the corporations and companies that people work for - losing money is not an option, so losing a game shouldn't be either. After all, if your going to get paid for using a stick to hit a ball, you better do it well!

  • karan_singh on October 29, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Mukul,

    As a seasoned indian cricket commentator and viewer, you should know better than to glorify a captain before he has achieved results consistently.

    We as Indians, maybe due to some insecurity of somesort, relating to national pride, really feel the need to prove ourselves internationally. Maybe it is because we feel that intellectually, culturally and socially, we equal the west, but are still linked in to the degeneracy of the "third world". That is why we proclaim to the high heavens that Laxmi Mittal is the richest man in the world, Tata have just bought Jaguar..etc

    Therefore, whenever we see our team win a match against the Aussies, we, subconsciously, link the victory to our supremacy, rather than the opposition's failures. Let us be objective here - We have won ONE test match, we could dreadfully lose Captain Dhoni's next test- Hayden or Lee could hit form and we could be Toast. And then we'll see how "cool" Dhoni is; the team makes the captain, not the opposite.

  • mmm.ggg on October 29, 2008, 2:56 GMT

    Agree plus the most important fact is - He plays when India needs him most. He takes the load on himself. Doesn't matter whether Sachin makes maximum test runs, there are only few people who plays when team needs them and Dhoni is one of very few in Indian cricket team.

  • Dilly81 on October 28, 2008, 21:41 GMT

    Totally agree with What Mukal had to say.Dhoni brings lots of assurance with him.As Mukul pointed out the reactions or the lack of it that Dhoni possesses during defeat and triumph is the best character of a captain who knows what is he doing.Keep going Dhoni.With him at the helm i can see a World Cup triumph much sooner than latter.Indians would be thrilled if that happens in 2011 with the greatest batsman of our times providing the impetus for the one last time.

  • OFiroz on October 28, 2008, 19:54 GMT

    Mr.Mukul Kesavan has put forward his points rather emotionally than statistically. No doubt MS Dhoni is a prolific batsman, and became a good wicket keeper over a period of time. But still one can't judge his test captain capabilities from as little as 2 test matches. I never watched MAK Pataudi captaining India, I must be not even born or very small to watch cricket at that time, so I can't say how good or bad Mr.Pataudi was, but I can definitely stress on the fact that Mohd.Azharuddin was as cool as Dhoni, or even freezing coolest! He never shouted at his team mates, never animated angrily at fieldsmen. If that is the criteria Mr.Mukul Kesavan is giving, then I am sure Azhar will be on top as complete adult captain India had ever seen!

  • Nampally on October 28, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    A fine portrayal of Dhoni, Mukul. Yes Dhoni has the poise,maturity and dynamism to be one of the greatest captains of India of all times. Both Karthik and Patel had their chances when Dhoni did not play in Sri Lanka. Their keeping & batting was poor by comparison to Dhoni's. Hence contrary to your opinion, Dhoni has fully earned his place in the team on the strength of his W/Keeping and batting. In fact he is easily the best WK/batsmen in the world today after the retirement of Gilchrist. You say his batting is ordinary. Yet he batted so well in the second test at Mohali contributing over 160 runs in the match at a strike rate of over 80. This was also a major factor in India's victory. Dhoni also saved India in Lords test in England contributing around 90 runs when the "Fab 4" failed. So Dhoni leads by example and personal contributions. He has excellent knowledge of the game and is as unruffled as former Indian Test Captains V.S.Hazare or Pataudi. He fully deserves to lead India NOW.

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on October 28, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    Well by and large the article suggests that equilibrium mindset and remaining poise under pressure makes Dhoni the best captain. Well if thats the yardstick then Azhar should have been the best captain. I never saw him agitated or shouting at any fielder or performing kathakali after victory. That he knew the result of the match even before it was played and the match was a mere script for him is a different thing.

  • AndyBowls on October 28, 2008, 17:43 GMT

    In 2000,when Ranji Trophy was still played on a zonal basis, Bihar travelled to Calcutta to play zonal heavy-weights West Bengal in the first round league match.Lakshmi Ratan Shukla who was kind of a superstar in those days for Bengal ran in to bowl from Club House end and was smacked for some consecutive fours by a little known player. Shukla was enraged and walked up and gave a mouthful to that keeper and then went back to start his run-up.The result was another set of fours.Shukla was livid by now and the captain (Devang Gandhi) had to intervene. He sent him to 3rd man and kept him out of the attack for some time.When I read this incident next morning in The Telegraph while sipping my morning coffee, it struck me. After all, Indians didn't hit fours when sledged in those days. And secondly,since when did cricketers from Bihar started coming into news? I just skimmed back to read the name of that batsman, some M.S. Dhoni it was.

    It has been a pleasure following his career ever since : )

  • Dine on October 28, 2008, 17:13 GMT

    Hello Mr.Mukul, "Country's first adult captain since MAK Pataudi" - what ever other people say, these quoted words convey everything about Dhoni. This is what is required to lead,any major team sport. He is got the quality that no other contempary leader has got. He is born to be a leader.

  • subhajit on October 28, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    A bit too emotion driven article. Rather than facts based on opinion. Fair enough. I wonder how old is the author and if he has seen Pataudi playing or captaining India. Desi media loves to compare people, sometime that's a bit hilarious, as most of them are probably giving opinion based on ideas and cliches and not thru self acquired knowledge. Of course the current captain has a mature head, but the media should learn to show a bit maturity as well. This guy has captained India in 2 tests and a handful of ODI and he is already the best Indian captain ever. Why? Because he is poised? I understand you want to be like Dhoni, but that doesn't make him best captain in 6 months and 2 tests. Give him some time and we'll know. I understand Dhoni makes great headlines, but, dude, cricket is not played on media terms, it's played by cricketers in the field. Seriously, don't be so judgemental so often. That's why I used to like Cricinfo, but seems they are losing it eventually as well.

  • Samgen on October 28, 2008, 16:40 GMT

    I agree with Karan. Dhoni is not weighed down by expectations like the other stars in the team. As long as he does a decent job of keeping wickets, he would be fine, runs scored would be a bonus. Also, opposition teams are much less likely to dissect his game as much as they analyse a Tendulkar or Dravid's game and target. The real test for him would be eventually when some opposition targets him as part of their 'mental disintegration' plan and his other stars let him down at the same time. It is hard for a captain to demand others to perform when he himself is not doing well. Every captain at some stage goes through it, how he handles that phase decides how long he will be around as a captain.

  • revanth035 on October 28, 2008, 16:37 GMT

    its too early to praise dhoni for his captaincy skills.he has the all the ingredients to become a really good captain but his place in the test side is not consolidated yet.from that perspective we have to look at his performances as a batsmen in the near future. a non performing captain cannot inspire his team mates to give their best on the field which is what has happened with ganguly at the fag end of his career.

  • Cricketstarusa on October 28, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    Dhoni is a great Cricketer no doubt about that. But Mukul you should have written this article atleast couple of years down the line as this very pre-mature period for dhoni as a captain,Let us wait couple more years before everyone comes to a conclusion and compare him to other Legends of the game. All he captained in is for a couple of tests and good full year or more than that as an ODI captain. i am not arguing that he is not great but your article should have not compared him to other greats.

  • karan_singh on October 28, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    hello Mukul,

    One point I think you have missed - Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar were all appointed captain when they were at the height of their powers as batsmen. As such, they were given this position of major responsibilty when they were also expected to score runs - when the confidence of the team was dependant on their successes and failures. From these heights, there is only one way - down; their inevitable demise in batting performance would have no doubt impaired the confidence as captains.

    Dhoni is now in the position to be very successful as a test captain, because his batting performances will not be scrutinised as much as that of a tendlukar, dravid or ganguly.

    Plus, as you say, he is a cool cat!

  • DeepPoint on October 28, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    Poise is Dhoni's greatest characteristic - when he was booed in Mumbai in the IPL, he just remarked that he knew he would be cheered when he played for India, whereas Yuvraj sulked like a little kid. Giving the cup to the youngest team member, seeking Saurav out and giving him a stump, dismissing Mishra's last over wicket as a 'fluke' shows that he has a good grounding in the important facets of his game. I think his batting is underestimated, the numbers will improve. He has a Miandad in him. I also predict that after the Fab 4 retire, he will move up the order and Patel or Karthik will don the gloves. One should not forget that it was Ganguly who promoted him to 3 when he made that 148. It all starts with Saurav, and Dhoni will take the team to the next level, if the retiring talent can be replaced!

  • Mina_Anand on October 28, 2008, 15:36 GMT

    It is the Ganguly-Wright combination that heralded a new-look 'aggressive-on-the field' India. Up for the fight,with strong self-belief and team-spirit, performing at home and overseas. Led by India's 'Famous Five' : Sachin, Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman - outstanding character role models. We can never have a set, in the same mould as our Fabulous Five. Dhoni - can only follow on !

  • karthi52 on October 28, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    This is one of the best article in cricinfo.Whenever i see any article about dhoni ,i will get excited.so write as many as possible article about him.Thank you mukul kesavan.This article is 100% correct.right now,There are lot of problems in india. Lot of bad news are happening.Atleast i am happy reading about dhoni and seeing him.

  • tusharkardile on October 28, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    Dhoni is good. But that does not make other captains CHILDISH! Azhar and Saurav were very good strategists and backed their instincts and have numbers to show. Dhoni backs his instincts, that is clear, but we haven't yet seen him as a strategist. He acts calm, but that does not count for a lot unless you have numbers to show for it. Mukul, you could have done better than this.

    Tushar

  • Arachnodouche on October 28, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    To all those saying that Dhoni needs to prove himself when the going is tough: he has! He's captained the ODI and T20 sides mostly and he's never had anyone other than Sachin Tendulkar from the old guard in his teams. He's always batted for the young, unproven types and stuck by them. Ganguly may have plumped for a few new faces but he also had, at his disposal, the services of a younger Kumble, Sachin, Dravid and Laxman. Try putting things into proper perspective.

  • cricketsupport on October 28, 2008, 14:27 GMT

    Well written article but I do not agree with Mukul. 'A captain is as good as the team he has', this is a well known fact. Players' execution of the commands to the letter (or otherwise) is what differentiates a sucessful captain from an ordinary one. Steve Waugh once said of his formidable Aussie team that the team was on auto-pilot, because each member was doing his task with such diligence and perfection. Now look at the same Aussie team, when Hayden, Ponting, Clarke and Lee are not living upto their reputation, hence they are trailing in the series and same happened in Australia earlier this year. This does not mean Ricky Ponting is a bad captain. If only we (India) were as consistent as the Aussies. We only seem to perform against one team otherwise even Bangladesh can challenge and threaten to beat us.

  • joshilay on October 28, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    People People!!!

    I just do not understand why people do not realise how vital this player has been for the fortunes the Indian team has known for the past 1 year. Its the sheer grit and calmness of this guy. Noone says that he has surpassed Ganguly with his achievements. I still do believe that Ganguly is the one who showed our nation this fearlessness. But the calm was what he did not have which has been rightly pointed out by the author.

    Give credit where it is due, instead of saying where silver spoons where used and saying that even Amit Mishra can lead thsi talented bunch of people. Do u really fele that Amit can lead this team that easy? Shall give you a classic example of Real Madrid 2 seasons back with all the talented stars there failed to be even 3rd in the league? So pelase do not be so naive to state such comments. It is true that a captain is as good as his team, but it takes a good captain to win with them too!

    Case rested!

  • SDheeren on October 28, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    Dear Mukul, You are absolute right in saying that M S Dhoni has made most out of his limited talent but the problem with him is that whatever he is doing is not for the sack of his team.He is doing all this is to either keeping his ODI captaincy or getting test captaincy.If this not true then why he wants to get rid of greats like Sachin,Rahul or Sourav out of ODI?.He even tried to lie in Australia when he publicly said in press conference that Sehwag has been dropped from the team due to injury,but after returning to India Sehwag himself told to media that is was fit play then.look the way he played in Banglore test,he scored mere 9 runs in 52 balls he faced.This was because he wanted Anil Kumble to loss this test.And the moment he got captaincy at Mohali he tried to perform and got superb half centuries.he may be talented,he may be cool and he may be smart cricketer,but one thing is certain he is not a team man.he is indeed a selfish cricketer whose future is very bleak.

  • cricketrulesdaworld on October 28, 2008, 13:42 GMT

    I'm surprised how people take offense when Dhoni is praised. All things that Mukul says in his article are true. Yet, inevitably people start saying that Ganguly was the most successful or Kumble deserves a good farewell. Thats not the point, my friends. Applaud and commend a person for what he is. Sachin for example is renowned world over for being a gentleman. There are many other good and great players (Ponting's close to his records) but they dont get that respect, do they?

    Its about how one behaves on and off the field. If mortal souls like us cant control our feelings (as one comment says-nothing wrong in frowning and high-fiving), its our shortcoming. This article is about his calm demeanour and the poise that comes along. Remember, people that exhibit nervousness and are jittery themselves (especially when they are the leaders), tend to pass that nervousness on to the people they lead. Dhoni is an exception and we need to respect that. He is a born leader.

  • Uppi on October 28, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    Two points

    1. Dhoni was a reliable wicket-keeper since his debut. Check out his stats on missed stumpings and catches. 2. Ganguly has been the most successful captain ever. What is this "mature"? I like Dhoni. Bt his results arent close to Ganguly's yet.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on October 28, 2008, 10:44 GMT

    A perspicacious and well rounded insight into the complexity of a man within the context of his times. Interesting how Ian Chappell is saying much the same thing in another Cricinfo column ("Give it to the keeper")and getting all kinds of petty minded and chauvinistic abuse for having the impertinence to suggest as an Australian that Kumble should be replaced as captain by Dhoni.

  • Subra on October 28, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Dear Mukhul

    The trouble with Indian cricket lies with the journalists. A player does well, the journalists praise him to the skies. He does badly in two matches -they start writing his obituary.

    Take the case of Kumble and the insunuations that he was unfit - could he have bowled 40 overs if he was not fit. He probably picked up an injury or overstrained himself when he was not getting wickets and the cry goes for Kumble to be axed. Anil Kumble, the gentleman cricketer (honoured by the MCC) the man who has won more games for India is treated badly because he has performed badly in a few matches. The same was said of Ganguly - another fighter - who has replied to his critics with the bat.

    By the way showing emotion on the field is not a bad thing - we hug and do high 5s when a wicket falls, so why not a frown when a catch is dropped. Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble by their actions show that they are human beings.

    Can we expect the journalists to tread the middle path!

    Siva

  • mhuzefa on October 28, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    Mukul Kesavan seems to have forgotten that team building is a continuous process. Its not as if Indian cricket was in dire straits lacking any sense of direction and good captains when Dhoni came. Make no mistake, Dhoni can be a great captain for us, but it is Ganguly who started the process of instilling belief in our team and they are the results, too, of his work that we are seeing now.

    I don't know whether Kesavan is just paying his respects in advance to whom he sees as the future.

    Of Ganguly, it can be safely said what Dostoevsky said of Gogol - "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'."

  • cricketaholic on October 28, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    When Indian cricket was in abysmal stage, Sourav introduced some fresh air into Indian Cricket and our team became Team India. He injected the much needed attitude and killer instinct through his passionate leadership. Indian cricket came out of it's dark regional biases and players like Yuvraj,Harvajan,Sehwag,MSD and many other came in. MS has been the perfect person to carry the good work done by Sourav previously in his own way.He has eased the tensions in both on and off the field through his "COOL DUDE" attitude and matured captaincy.As rightly said in the article...His persona has been something which has done lots of good to his team mates.The process which Sourav started,now going through a phase where it can achieve it's zenith.The circle is going to be completed.

  • Samgen on October 28, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    hmm..looking at some of the comments I can't help but think of an article likely to come up in future about Dhoni : "Dhoni seemed indifferent on the field when fielding was in disarry and bowlers were getting hit. As a captain he should make things happen and be a bit more forceful. This is where Ganguly was such an exceptional captain" :>) Every captain has his own style and it works as long as his leading players play well, his own form is good. When that changes, a captain is really put to test. In my opinion, Dhoni is yet to get through that test.

  • Samgen on October 28, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    We have had reasonably good captains in Ganguly, Dravid and Kumble so far. I would rate a captain based on how he handles tough situations when the conditions are not friendly and his top players are not in good form. It is in these situations that a captains ability as a player and his ability to instill confidence in others will make a difference. If the captain comes under pressure to retain his own place in the team, it will have a telling effect on rest of the team. The selectors, media and public should be patient enough and understand 'form is temporary and class is permanent' and give a bit of breathing room to the captain. Otherwise no matter who we have as a captain, we will see the same cycle repeating (some achivements->great expectations->failures->axe the captain) pretty quickly.

  • bonaku on October 28, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    I have to say, this is one is good article.

  • Muzoo on October 28, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    Any captain can lead this team to success, even new boy Amith Mishra, because this team is a bunch of very talented and experienced cricketers in all forms (20/20, oneday & test), that doesn't anything to do with Dhoni's captaincy and cool. if the guys performing well, some of the trophies will come to India. Like Yuvraj, RP etc played outstanding cricket in 20/20 world cup and sachin & Praveen showed that in CB series.

  • SOLI on October 28, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    Precisely, we are in the inherent habit of worshipping the 'rising sun' with so many newly carved-out adjectives and pseudonyms. Dhoni is a new rising star who has fortunately seen the shiny side of the Indian Cricket like a proverbial 'silver spoon'. I am not doubting or down-playing his cricketing abilities and the commitments on captaincy. So far, he has presented himself in all these departments well beyond the expectations together with his individual performance as a player definitely earns some commendations. But again, we read too much to chrun out various stories through our innovative sense of investigations on the person who may not be even aware of his own personal traits and behaviour. So sorry to say, please give the gentleman some space and let him play his own natural game and serve for the team and the country. The prestige and a sort of material survival of the few does involve in this kind of 'pushy' exercise as they try to identify them with the 'icons' of the time.

  • ndayannanda on October 28, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    It is an insightful article, one I had been waiting for a long time- the surprise was the delay. He is a phenomenal individual and we are lucky he is on the world stage as a cricketer- for all the reasons quoted. But I still cannot imagine why he is not reckoned as a batsman- yes, his average and batting style. The latter first- Bradman used to crouch in his stance and that did not make him any worse! Why should his stance make a difference- and until Tendulkar and Gilchrist came bottom handed batting was abhored upon- so much for 'classic' styles or the journo talk of 'right batting' And now my contention of percentage- this phenomenon is very Indian. He has played more impact innings or responsible innings or innings that mattered, whatever you wish to call it- than many with high percentages. Example his Lord's innnings hinged the entire series into Indian victory. Note recent devastations in Mohali and there were 2 centurions- nobody in that class! Well.. I could go on.

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on October 28, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    Like most, I like Dhoni but giving the credit for success to an individual for the team victories defies all logic. And if we have to give credit to one individual then he has to be Sehwag. Make no mistake guys. The same Mohali team will bundle out for a total of under 250 if Sehwag doesn't succeeds. He is the most important personality in the Indian team who when performs makes the test team look great. Dhoni is a smart cricketer. He very well understands that by presenting a stump to Ganguly in front of media will led to journalists like Mukul and Chappel going ga-ga about him. However there's no denying that Dhoni is certainly the best man to lead Indian team but reading too much into his demeanor would not be the best thing to do.

  • CaptainPlanet on October 28, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    The Dignity with which Kumble handled the Sydney Fiasco could not have been replicated by any other Leader, thats his positive. Similarly all leaders have their positives and a few negatives too (just to bring to your notice, Dhoni is not immune to those negatives either. But unlike what u would have concluded that doesn't make Dhoni a lesser leader in any regard, just that that's his style.)

    Yes, Dhoni is the future and he holds the promise to take Indian Cricket to the next level, his ideas and futuristic view gives us hope of seeing India become WORLD BEATERS soon. There is no argument that today Dhoni is the perfect choice to lead India, but ur criteria to decide whether a leader is gud or bad seem to hint towards cricketing illetracy on your part.

    Get ur act right Mukul, but before that get ur mind right.

  • rahulac on October 28, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    Dhoni's persona is not important to the team, Mukul. The team was good enough to reach a world cup final even under a visibly reproaching kathakali performer captain. MSD may not call the team "my boys" but he's not shy to say "MY study of the game brought us a World Cup" in the new ad on TV. Or to claim that the CB series victory was a result of his youth-oriented approach (http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/343192.html). In that series, the man who won us both finals was the oldest horse in the race, SR Tendulkar. And hearing MSD talking about discipline is just outrageous, since he's the one who's been encouraging players to sledge(check the link given above). I like Dhoni's calmness, his persona. It gives some balance to the fanaticism of the Indian cricket fan. I would just love it if cricket writers stopped hyping it so much. Why can't u guys credit SOME of our success to GG, Praveen, Ishant etc.'s excellent recent form, instead of giving it all to MSD's aura??

  • muski on October 28, 2008, 7:13 GMT

    Its amazing to see how different people perceive Dhoni- whether its for his cricketing abilities or for his " perceived" cool head. Kesavan is right for the fact that Dhoni has no real good challengers for his wicket keeping job right now. One thing for sure- in the current competitive cricket world, we cannot see another Mike Brearley- to be in the team solely on the merit of captaincy.Why do we also forget the fact that only a performing captain earns the respect of his teammates. So it does not matter if Dhoni is cool or hot. Results matter- Ponting was a habitual offender with late nights- how did he turn around as best batsman in the world and the captain of the best team in the world.One request to the media would be to leave Dhoni alone. Do not lift him to great heights only to be dropped like a hot potato. I for one think that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna has gone to him a bit too early in his career. Leave something for the guy to get motivated and perfom better.

  • CaptainPlanet on October 28, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    Only an immature mind could call Ganguly n Dravid "Theatrical" n "Kathakali" inspite of them being 2 of the most successful captains ever to have lead India. Any mature head will know that every captain has his own distinct style & what actually should decide whether he's gud or bad is the rate of success achieved and to an equal extent the respect that he commands from the team. Both these criteria put Ganguly and Kumble up their with the best. U also seem to have been blinded at the innumerable times that Dhoni has indulged in "Visible Reproach". At the Asia Cup final where India was in a fix, Dhoni was seen "Visibly Reproaching" Yuvraj when that most brilliant of Indian fielders dropped a difficult chance. It is all too easy to keep ur cool when everything's going ur way, it is at the difficult times that the reproaches seem to increase in number, and all said and done Dhoni has only tasted success with his captaincy till now.

  • shankargg on October 28, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    mukul for president.

  • rktumuluri on October 28, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Mukul,

    As always, your articles are well written, humurous and enjoyable.

    I have also been struck by the non-elegant strokes that our hero Dhoni unleashes on the hapless bowlers and us. Your descriptions capture them well.

    In my day a tennis player by name "Bjorn Borg" was talked about in the same vein. (ice cool temparament). I recall some article about how his heartbeat was abnormally low and that it somehow contributed to his "coolness". Perhaps our Dhoni is also blessed with something similiar ?.

    Can you also comment about Dhoni's PR skills. His use of humour, his command over english and hindi languages is refreshing.

    /rk

  • DAN22 on October 28, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    Extremely well written article. And some good comments especially the ones that talk of his spending time on thinking (and yet not make thoughts thy master...Kipling again) about his game, his clarity of thought (see his press conferences...he looks so relaxed and direct while answering questions) and his calmness and maturity on and off the field.

    The only question remains whether he will be able to keep upto the strain of keeping, batting, and captaining. As Geoff Boycott says "There has been no great wk-captain and there is a reason to it". Dhoni (and maybe Sanga) might yet break the mould (though Sanga keeps no more) and it might be interesting to see how their career pan out.

  • Sureshchandra_HS on October 28, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Yes, Dhoni is a different sort of cricketer - one that we have not seen for a long time. But we need him to mature more. Let us not put undue pressure on him, so early in his career. Even the Khel Ratna conferred on him recently, could have waited for a couple of more years. Keep up the good work, Dhoni bhai

    S. Shreeram, Rahul chandra Kumarans and Fishergate.

  • Rohit-Gore on October 28, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Ganguly is India's most successful captain and he never hid his displeasure with a team-mate. I haven't seen it, but from whatever I have read, Tiger Pataudi was quite similar in his approach. If I were to choose a CEO of an organization, I would always go by the performance and track record. Leadership skills are a given. But I would not go by style of it. For every Gerstner, there is an Iacoaca. For every Gates, there is a Jobs.

  • Rohit-Gore on October 28, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    Dhoni's got results. Against some impressive teams. So there is a strong case there. However, I have always questioned folks who kind of judge a man from a distance. Television can be a tricky medium. You only see what the player wants to show you. What he could be doing behind the closed doors of the dressing room is anybody's guess. So I would not go entirely by the evidence of television. Shane Warne expresses himself on the field. That doesn't make him a bad captain. Allan Border was expressive too. So is Ricky Ponting. Thy have won many matches with their captaincy. I hope that the selectors don't share a thought process where they deem persona higher than the calibre/skill of the player. Apart from Mike Brearly, who was in the team for his captaincy I don't recall any successful 'non-playing' captain. I don't want to suggest that Dhoni is a 'non-playing', far from it. But I think too much is being made out of his cool/unflappable demeanor. Cntd...

  • SilentEngine on October 28, 2008, 6:23 GMT

    Nice article. MSD's biggest plus is his attitude. He knows how to send across messages subtly without coming across as "in your face". For him cricket is just a game and not the only thing in life as some of the bigger stars make us believe. You just have to see the difference in approach from the rest of the team, when playing under him as compared to other captains to see what makes Dhoni special

  • BhuvanChaurasia on October 28, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Azharuddin was the greatest captain ever because when he started captaining india.. At that time none of the Fab 4 were there. He managed without them and he was such a fighter that he defended 125 against West Indies.. I still remember that match. Azhar's captaincy was simply superb!

  • vaidyar on October 28, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    As someone mentioned here...you are forgetting Azhar...was absolutely cool...you couldn't guage whether the team was winning or losing by his reactions... and Dravid too...he never used to scowl at players...and went on a vacation to Kerala after a disastrous world cup saying "Its just a game"... Not that am equating Dravid with Dhoni...am just giving examples. Kumble of course has carried the scowl for bad fielding since his bowling days...I can't remember much of Sachin's captaincy, although he once lectured Srinath in the middle of an over which read 1.1 and the next ball after the lecture went for Six. he does seem a cool chap, and does carry himself well,but the last statement about first adult captain after Pataudi is a tad over the top...you can't really categorize Dravid, Azhar, Kapil, Shastri, Kumble, Venkat, Bedi, Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and not to forget the gentleman Vishy as adolescents when leading their teams. Please take a breather before such comments.

  • aditya87 on October 28, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    I think if one thing can sum up Indian captains like Tendulkar, Azharuddin or Dravid is that they were or are great players but could not make it as captains. And given that Kumble's captaincy also has been a bit defensive he would probably fall into that category. It's like that song from the Indian film Jaane tu Ya Jaane Na...Pappu has all the attributes but Pappu can't dance!! And that pretty much sums up captaincy...it's about man-management, gut feeling, common sense, and calmness under pressure. You combine all those together, and you get a good captain like Dhoni (and to a certaine extend Ganguly before him, who was also a great captain). You don't necessarily need to be a great player. But Dhoni has great ability and has the potential to be one of the greats of Indian cricket.

  • anandkr on October 28, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Nice article with analysis from a different angle. Every time Dhoni does well as a leader we hear it to be a mere chance or luck, but definitely there has to be something for someone to so so lucky consistently. In my opinion, cricket is a mind game and that is where Dhoni is mature and strong.

  • JaySarkar on October 28, 2008, 5:36 GMT

    Wonderful psychological analysis - good work Mukul. For far too long south asian countries have taught their players that to excel in sports you have to wear your heart on your sleeve, make patriotic noises and behave as though the world depended on your exploits. The narcisissm of some of our players are so child-like so as to be laughable. Dhoni brings in that brand of detached calmness, a spiritual skill that ancient Indian scriptures taught.Reflective practice is something organisations are taught these days- its time this was addressed within cricket globally - particularly cricket for we all know that much of it is played in the mind and the mind that is cool, calm and collected, to use a cliched phrase, is one that's better suited to test cricket than one that's impulsive, excitable and melodramatic

  • vswami on October 28, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    I think you are being grossly unfair to Dhoni's abilities as a batsman and a keeper. Simply because he doesnt look like a text book batsman doesnt mean that he isnt a good one. Similarly his wicket keeping as well. I reckon he has the fastest hands in the world behind the stumps and he is very safe as well. Best of all, he is an incredibly fast learner. To compare him to Karthik and Patel is a joke. Simply poll all international teams and ask who will they rather play against purely on ability .. Patel/Karthik or Dhoni and the answer will be straightforward.

  • omarmasood40 on October 28, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    Not that I disagree with your comments, but you come as such an elitist, arm-chair hack that it kind of sickens me.

  • aniketsaggi on October 28, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    To be honest, I am bit perplexed with this post of Mr. Kesavan. Half of the time I was left wondering if Dhoni was really that bad as a 'cricketer' as this author makes him out to be? To my mind, he is not. Why sympathize with Kartik, Patel and Yuvraj if they failed to make a cut? If they had such a impervious technique as compared to Dhoni, why didnt they survived all this long? At the end of the day, I believe, how much matches you win is important irrespective of how smart you look while batting/keeping. In my mind, Dhoni, you are the man! And you are one of the most stylish and effective batsman I have seen in the recent times. Rock on!

  • HarishVS on October 28, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    This makes an excellent reading. A refreshing article which has taken a different path than many other routine ones from our renowned writers, ex-cricketers, all and sundry which compared Dhoni's captaincy with Kumble and demanded Kumble's axe from Delhi Test itself. This is the best article to date to describe Dhoni's skills, demeanour and exploits as Player and Captain. No other Indian captains after MAK Pataudi can envy on Dhoni after reading out this article. Every single fact is well gathered and rightly said. A right article in the right time on the right man and by the right man!.... Thanks

  • deathmetal124 on October 28, 2008, 4:28 GMT

    Nice insightful article.

  • Percy_Fender on October 28, 2008, 4:26 GMT

    Dhoni has indeed been a revelation as a skipper. When one considers how rapid his rise in Indian and World cricket has been one would get the impression that he has divine support in every thing he does. He carries himself with poise and dignity in every situation that comes up either on the field of play and out of it. His words to the media are well thought out even if he is inclined to be lengthy in his explanations at times. Perhaps,he will get better as he matures into the role of a Test captain. He may never be another Pataudi. But when was it that Indian cricket was so highly regarded during Pataudi's time. Dhoni has done in a short while what we have long waited for. To put India on the world map in cricket.

  • AmitMan01 on October 28, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Very well written article Mukal. Enjoyed reading this.

    Dhoni is a revelation for indian cricket. He is not just a talented player (such as yuvraj, kaid, other you've listed), but a player who uses what he has, and makes the most of more often then not.

    It has taken time, but its been worth the wait.

    Hopefully india will see a few more of these kinds of players. Ishant sharma is really the only other I can think of but he is still too young and inexpreience to make a formal judgement on.

  • Rajesh. on October 28, 2008, 3:52 GMT

    Good article Mukul...... Written without any prejudice or bias towards seniors / juniors. Yes, Dhoni has been very good and might be a natural successor to Kumble but the selectors should not rush him, or rather push Kumble out. Contrary to many suggestions and views, I feel Ani Kumble has been such a fantastic captain whose contributions shouldn't be measured only by statistics. India's tour of Australia earlier in the year is a case in point.

    But one thing I don't fully agree is that anyone who exhibits a very calm exterior aren't nervous at all. They too go through a lot inside..... Of course presenting a very calm picture outside does help for body language but that doesn't men they are immune to nerves......... Even the great Viv Richards has admitted to that. So it remains to be seen how Dhoni can fare in the long run and especially in the longest format of the game......... That will determine his legacy in Indian cricket, not those swashbuckling knocks in T20's........

  • Iindranil on October 28, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    Dhoni may have a mature head but Mukul, you do not have it. Every general has their own way running the show and there is no reason to complain as long as the results are there. Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar have all led India with different degrees of success and to term their ways as 'theatrical', 'kathakali' is absolutely unjustified. You need to display at least some of the balance in your writing as Dhoni displays on the cricket field.

  • Seattledynamos on October 28, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    I have never seen Azhar"stamp his feet and scowl when a fielder lets him down on the field". Azhar always lead the team as mature adult.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Seattledynamos on October 28, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    I have never seen Azhar"stamp his feet and scowl when a fielder lets him down on the field". Azhar always lead the team as mature adult.

  • Iindranil on October 28, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    Dhoni may have a mature head but Mukul, you do not have it. Every general has their own way running the show and there is no reason to complain as long as the results are there. Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar have all led India with different degrees of success and to term their ways as 'theatrical', 'kathakali' is absolutely unjustified. You need to display at least some of the balance in your writing as Dhoni displays on the cricket field.

  • Rajesh. on October 28, 2008, 3:52 GMT

    Good article Mukul...... Written without any prejudice or bias towards seniors / juniors. Yes, Dhoni has been very good and might be a natural successor to Kumble but the selectors should not rush him, or rather push Kumble out. Contrary to many suggestions and views, I feel Ani Kumble has been such a fantastic captain whose contributions shouldn't be measured only by statistics. India's tour of Australia earlier in the year is a case in point.

    But one thing I don't fully agree is that anyone who exhibits a very calm exterior aren't nervous at all. They too go through a lot inside..... Of course presenting a very calm picture outside does help for body language but that doesn't men they are immune to nerves......... Even the great Viv Richards has admitted to that. So it remains to be seen how Dhoni can fare in the long run and especially in the longest format of the game......... That will determine his legacy in Indian cricket, not those swashbuckling knocks in T20's........

  • AmitMan01 on October 28, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Very well written article Mukal. Enjoyed reading this.

    Dhoni is a revelation for indian cricket. He is not just a talented player (such as yuvraj, kaid, other you've listed), but a player who uses what he has, and makes the most of more often then not.

    It has taken time, but its been worth the wait.

    Hopefully india will see a few more of these kinds of players. Ishant sharma is really the only other I can think of but he is still too young and inexpreience to make a formal judgement on.

  • Percy_Fender on October 28, 2008, 4:26 GMT

    Dhoni has indeed been a revelation as a skipper. When one considers how rapid his rise in Indian and World cricket has been one would get the impression that he has divine support in every thing he does. He carries himself with poise and dignity in every situation that comes up either on the field of play and out of it. His words to the media are well thought out even if he is inclined to be lengthy in his explanations at times. Perhaps,he will get better as he matures into the role of a Test captain. He may never be another Pataudi. But when was it that Indian cricket was so highly regarded during Pataudi's time. Dhoni has done in a short while what we have long waited for. To put India on the world map in cricket.

  • deathmetal124 on October 28, 2008, 4:28 GMT

    Nice insightful article.

  • HarishVS on October 28, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    This makes an excellent reading. A refreshing article which has taken a different path than many other routine ones from our renowned writers, ex-cricketers, all and sundry which compared Dhoni's captaincy with Kumble and demanded Kumble's axe from Delhi Test itself. This is the best article to date to describe Dhoni's skills, demeanour and exploits as Player and Captain. No other Indian captains after MAK Pataudi can envy on Dhoni after reading out this article. Every single fact is well gathered and rightly said. A right article in the right time on the right man and by the right man!.... Thanks

  • aniketsaggi on October 28, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    To be honest, I am bit perplexed with this post of Mr. Kesavan. Half of the time I was left wondering if Dhoni was really that bad as a 'cricketer' as this author makes him out to be? To my mind, he is not. Why sympathize with Kartik, Patel and Yuvraj if they failed to make a cut? If they had such a impervious technique as compared to Dhoni, why didnt they survived all this long? At the end of the day, I believe, how much matches you win is important irrespective of how smart you look while batting/keeping. In my mind, Dhoni, you are the man! And you are one of the most stylish and effective batsman I have seen in the recent times. Rock on!

  • omarmasood40 on October 28, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    Not that I disagree with your comments, but you come as such an elitist, arm-chair hack that it kind of sickens me.

  • vswami on October 28, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    I think you are being grossly unfair to Dhoni's abilities as a batsman and a keeper. Simply because he doesnt look like a text book batsman doesnt mean that he isnt a good one. Similarly his wicket keeping as well. I reckon he has the fastest hands in the world behind the stumps and he is very safe as well. Best of all, he is an incredibly fast learner. To compare him to Karthik and Patel is a joke. Simply poll all international teams and ask who will they rather play against purely on ability .. Patel/Karthik or Dhoni and the answer will be straightforward.