Sharda Ugra
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Senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Can India afford a captain who isn't committed to Test cricket?

Dhoni's leadership in the format has been overly defensive, and he hasn't shown he particularly cares much about the five-day game either

Sharda Ugra

January 17, 2013

Comments: 277 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni at the presentation ceremony after the Perth Test, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, January 15, 2012
Whatever reasons have been given for India's overseas losses, it has never been leadership © Getty Images
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The reasons passionately cited for retaining Mahendra Singh Dhoni as India captain in all formats are several.

This is not, we are reminded sternly, the time for emotional sackings. Dhoni the captain has given much to Indian cricket - two world titles, remember. He is a pillar of calmness in Indian cricket's noisy chaos. His confident strut and dark glasses never reveal whether India are winning or losing. Did we not hanker for such body language? It is under this equanimity that India rose to become the world's No. 1 Test team. (Actually, India became Test No. 1 because of its results from August 2006 to December 2009, so credit also to Dhoni's predecessors. Besides, captains are only as good as their teams.) And finally, hold the hissy fits, there is no alternative.

Rahul Dravid has made a strong argument for Dhoni as captain. If Dhoni changes his approach, stands down from his T20 captaincy duties, and does the job for another 15 Tests, Dravid says his legacy will be enriched. This period will also help his currently floundering successors find their feet. For Gautam Gambhir, that translates to consistent Test form, for Virat Kohli, a valuable batting apprenticeship in South Africa, New Zealand and England.

What has not been addressed is a central question: Does Test cricket matter to Dhoni? Not his own Test career, but Test cricket as a whole and where it stands, with reference to India?

We don't know, because he has given no proof that the format matters more than others to him. In Australia in 2012, Dhoni did say, "Test cricket is the real cricket... Every form of cricket has its own challenges. You have the Test format, the longer version. You have ODI cricket, where you can see glimpses of Test cricket, and T20s."

Dravid's is a valuable view from (till recently) inside the dressing room. On the outside, all we have are awful Test results and a string of curious statements from Dhoni about Test cricket.

Starting with England 2011, Dhoni has lost nine of 16 Tests. The five wins include two each against West Indies and New Zealand at home. During those many defeats, his much-hyped "cool" repeatedly overtook clear-eyed decision-making at key points of games. More than one of Dhoni's instinctive decisions in Tests has been a wild gamble with fortune rather than a daring piece of cricketing logic.

For instance, opening the post-lunch session bowling on day four at Lord's with Suresh Raina (yes, Zaheer Khan was injured, but still) after Ishant Sharma had shaken England to 62 for 5. Reducing England to 124 for 8 in Nottingham and then retreating when Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann held India off. When under attack in Test cricket, Dhoni is quick to send fieldsmen to deep point and deep square leg. Opening with spinners has worked against weaker batting line-ups at home but against quality batsmen, Dhoni finds it hard to give extended spells to spinners. When wickets don't fall, like against England, the spinners are scrambled around.

Dhoni is an over-defensive captain, particularly away: in Colombo in 2010, and in Durban the year after. In Dominica with 86 to get, 15 overs left and seven wickets in hand, India pulled out of the chase and the Test. His batsmen have since denied that the pitch was far from impossible to chase on. Dominica's first Test, a full house, and India walked away.

In Nagpur against England there came more evidence that Dhoni's Test captaincy had run out of gas. At the start of day four, India trailed England by 33 on a slow wicket and needed to force play. Instead, only 29 runs were scored in 62 minutes, India folded their tents, and England batted out the game.

After the 1-2 series defeat to England, Dhoni said it had been tough "but there are not many things that will come close to when we lost the 2007 50-over World Cup. This is not even close to that".

 
 
The talk about "too early" for Virat Kohli or "too late" for Virender Sehwag is mere dithering. We won't know about either option until we try him. Sehwag has always said he thinks of himself as a middle-order option, so give him that, appoint him captain against Australia and see how it goes
 

Two bad days at a World Cup were compared to dozens of days of shabby Test cricket against England and Australia. The rattling awfulness of a Test series loss at home was, in Dhoni's eyes, less than that of defeat in the 2007 World Cup. In which he wasn't even captain.

There's more. When India went down 0-3 in Edgbaston, Dhoni talked about the three straight Test losses thus: "Maybe 80% we will play in India, maybe 70%. The away series are there to improve you as a cricketer. So it is very important to not get very critical about the technical aspect, [but] to go out there and enjoy cricket."

Improved performances overseas since 2000 have been India's biggest stride in Test cricket. They have won a grand total of 37 away Tests in their history, the same number of away Tests Ricky Ponting won in his career. Of India's 37 wins, there were 13 in the 25 years between 1968 and 1993, 19 from 2000 to 2009, and five from the start of 2010 till the last overseas win, in Jamaica.

Dhoni's remarks following the defeats in Edgbaston and Kolkata relegated with insouciant indifference India's biggest achievements in Test cricket. Which are far greater than the No. 1 Test ranking that is often hailed with repeated fanfare as a Dhoni achievement.

Early in his career Dhoni sat out a three-match Test series against Sri Lanka in July-August 2008. At the time, he led the ODI team; Anil Kumble was Test captain. Following a successful CB Series victory early in the year, Dhoni had led India in two ODI tournaments, the Asia Cup in Pakistan and the Kitply Cup, before pulling out of the Sri Lanka Tests. The reason cited was "fatigue". Between November 2007 and April 13, 2008, Dhoni had played 25 matches for India. From April 18 to June 1, he played 16 matches in the inaugural IPL. At the end of the IPL, he decided to exercise his choice.

To give the Kitply Cup (which ran from June 8 to 14) a miss, take a two-week break, play the Asia Cup and the Tests versus Sri Lanka. Or to captain the team in the three Kitply ODIs, the Asia Cup and skip the Tests. He chose the latter. An email was sent to his manager and him asking about the withdrawal from the Tests. Was it merely timing - a sudden flare-up of an injury - or was it preference? There was no answer.

What bets he's going to give up the T20 or IPL captaincy, as Dravid advises, then? When Dhoni was emerging through domestic and A-team cricket in the first half of the 2000s, he told more than one peer about how "boring" he found "days cricket". The phrase "days cricket" is used in India to refer to long-form cricket lasting three days or more. Dhoni said he loved the shorter formats, they suited his temperament, he found them exciting. This is not a grievous character flaw, merely an instinctive leaning. As a young, carefree, hard-hitting fellow with orange hair, Dhoni was happy to talk about it.

But at the end of ten defeats in 12 Tests against England and Australia, for India's Test captain to say that losing at home is not as bad as losing in the 2007 World Cup, is another matter. It marks a not-so-subtle shift in the significance accorded the game's formats by the man who captains India in all three. What must his younger team-mates think? That a series defeat at home is not a big deal?

Along with the depletion of the core strength of his Test team, Dhoni's importance in it has also eroded. Less than a year ago, when the Australia Test series ended 0-4, Dhoni defined captaincy as "just a position I hold… It's not something I want to hold on to or stick on to. If there's a better replacement, it's a very open thing."

At this stage any replacement will do, because he couldn't possibly produce results worse than those in Dhoni's last 18 months in charge of the Test team. The job of captaining India is a stressful one, but its handover need not involve nail-biting perplexity. India's cricket captain does not hold the country's nuclear secrets, nor is he the man in charge of handling the millions who visit Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela over the next two months.

The talk, then, about "too early" for Virat Kohli or "too late" for Virender Sehwag is mere dithering. We won't know about either option until we try him. Graeme Smith played eight Tests before he was made captain, Kohli has played 15. South Africa is not India, but cricket is cricket. For those sweating at the idea of the tattooed, smouldering Kohli as India captain, think lateral. Sehwag has always said he thinks of himself as a middle-order option, so give him that, appoint him captain against Australia and see how it goes. Even an ostrich will know that coming up for air sometimes is better than forever swallowing sand.

When India went 1-2 in Kolkata against England, Dhoni wouldn't resign the captaincy because it would amount to running away from responsibility. "Leading a side is all about when the team is not doing well. To try to gel the team together. To back the youngsters, back the seniors. Try to move in the right direction."

Whatever that direction may be, Dhoni has failed to give any sign that he is the man to pilot India's Test team. Instead, he says repeated Test defeats under his captaincy do not hurt him as much as a World Cup defeat does. India has shifted blame for its results from unconquerable overseas wickets, a rash of injuries and bad luck, to batty groundsmen and sloppy umpires. Everything but leadership.

In Australia last January, as India trailed 0-2 and got ready for the third Test, Dhoni said that if he was to play in the 2015 World Cup, he would have to give up one format. A day before the Perth Test, Dhoni talked of the 2015 World Cup. His deadline for quitting a format, he said, was the end of 2013. What's wrong with now?

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Harmony111 on (January 20, 2013, 23:38 GMT)

@Nampally: And I really really hope you turn out to be correct and Pujara smashes all records and if someone is better than Kohli at the moment then he must be super special. I do hope Pujara turns out to be just how you wish him to be, but I really feel he is not made for ODIs, he lacks the power and looks a bit tentative & weak when he plays the horizontal shot. I don't think his shoulders are that strong for the pull or cut. He needs strength there to become a more solid batsman.

I have my doubts & would hold my opinion about Pujara for a while but as they say in Hindi, let there be Ghee & Sugar in your mouth for Pujara.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 20, 2013, 22:46 GMT)

@Nampally: Well, I don't want to pick anything on you here but if you can call domestic exp as being the same as ODI exp then what can I say? For me it is as simple as saying that Pujara has got no ODI exp cos he is yet to make his ODI debut. Your problem is that you make the same point all over the place instead of getting over it. Your obsession with Pujara is indeed excessive. Your comments suggest as if Pujara will come in and solve all the problems India is facing currently.

You say I don't read your comments? Heck I even remember you had said Pujara cud've played in these ODIs and scored a 100 to solves India's batting woes IIRC. Frankly, while I love Pujara and hope he does well in future, he looks a bit underdone even in Tests to me. Let him find his feet there 1st.

Ofc Pujara can come in ODI team - but for whom? I ask you again. For VK or for YS or for SR or for MS? Or for GG or AR? Is CP an opener that he can play for GG? You never answered this obvious ques, did you?

Posted by Nampally on (January 20, 2013, 21:41 GMT)

@Harmony111: I answered your question at least twice, if at all you bother to read responses instead of blinding others with your own comments. Don't ever say Pujara has no ODI experience- OK?. He has played 62 List A matches (ODI's for India A, vs. Visitors, Domestic, zonals, etc) & averages 57. He played 9 Tests @ 58 average incl. an average of 87 Vs. England in 4 Tests with Better bowlers than in ODI. Pujara is like a run scoring machine who is not easy to get out against seamers or spinners. Present Indian Team under Dhoni does not have a single batsman of Pujara's calibre or class - otherwise they would not have collapsed to 29 for 5 vs. Pakistan!. India failed to total >175 in 2 ODI's vs. Pakistan!. Are you telling me Pujara cannot find a place in this batting line up? He can replace any of the present Indian batsmen at any position #'s 1 to 7. 3 most talented batsmen who will carry Indian future middle order batting are: Pujara, Kohli, Tiwary. Pujara is the best of these 3!

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 20, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

@Nampally: It is amazing that you still continue to insist that Pujara be given a place but when one asks you in whose place - your answer is absent. It is amazing that on one hand you accuse Dhoni of being tunnel visioned and want him to be flexible & to give chance to fresh talent yet you fail to see that we already have 3 new players in the playing 11. Just how many fresh talents do you want? Are you asking for new players for the sake of it? As of now the only player I think should be dropped is Ishant & may be Dinda. But while Ishant shows he is hardly improving, from Dhoni's PoV he represents a significant investment and one just can't jettison him like that.

As for Pujara, it beats me how can you pin so much hope on him when he is yet to play a single ODI. I do not have high hopes from him in ODIs and I would rather have him cement his place in Tests. Don't forget Pujara had a knee injury and maybe like VVS in ODIs. You again want slow coaches in ODIs?

Posted by Nampally on (January 20, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

@Jay57670: Why Rush,You ask? Because India is down with a humiliating record of 11-1 in 3 Test series. The Indian Team in Australia was badly split with Sehwag & Dhoni camps. Also Dhoni's captaincy on field & XI selection was bizarre- widely criticized. He did not show himself as a good captain on or Off- field. Under Dhoni, most of the youngsters are benched when they are in form & producing.The latest example is that of Pujara who cannot find a spot in XI Vs. England after averaging 87 Vs. the same England, in 4 Tests! India needs new talent to replace aging Legends.Indian captain has to be flexible, accomodating & visionary. Dhoni is Rigid, tunnel-visioned, not open to any suggestions & uncompromising.This is exactly opposite to what India needs in developing phase.There are at least dozen youngsters who cannot break into squad & those who get lucky are benched by MSD, instead of being in XI. India needs visionary Selectors, Captain & Coach to be amongst leading Cricket Nations.

Posted by potter22in on (January 20, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

THe article may sound harsh on Dhoni. But it is a valid question which Dhoni has to honestly answer. Part answer was given by Harsha on Dhoni's ODI attitude.But as far as test cricket goes, Dhoni has to clear the questions hanging. Look the way Clarke reponds to a defeat and also his attitude towards each format. He has retired from T20, wants to better the ODI performances from ( Aus) and ultimate goal for Test cricket. There is nothing wrong if Dhoni says he is comfortable for ODI and T20 and as far as Test crcket is concerned, he only wants a wicket keeping role or even retire from the same ( Test format) . But the answer in saying '8 test defeats overseas and a home series loss is not a big one' is not the right attitude.

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 20, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

Excellant sharda, Atleast someone do not worry about what others say and tell the truth like it is. We need more people with honesty and truth tellers than ex cricketers who thinks who is their next money bag. For me dhoni performance as captain is directly related to how much he contribute as team player. He contribute less and less as Test player and he has no influence on othe rbig players because they do not think of him anything. It is that simple. If dhoni comes out with big hundred at pressure situation all these so called seniors sehwag will come down from their perch. It is just that dhoni as test player utter useless like west indies darren sammy. Until people start to tell the truth , nothing gona change. I do not like dravid as analyst , he is committing crime by supporting useless Test player dhoni. Hahaha. There is no growth unless u see things as it is . Too much sugar coating and political correctness going on. Atleast we have sharad ugra to say more honest than others

Posted by jay57870 on (January 20, 2013, 3:04 GMT)

If winter's here, can spring be far behind? Fletcher is expected to depart soon. Yes, "cricket is cricket". But England is not India. The next coach will be vital to setting the team's future direction. How he meshes with Dhoni is critical. As Rahul prescribes, it's crucial to strategise & plan, to communicate with team, to guide the youngsters. The team's revitalisation starts in the dressing room. That's why coach-captain rapport matters. Not public statements or anecdotal inferences that Ugra provides as "proof" of Dhoni's lack of commitment. Remember Ugra criticised Dhoni - "Is there madness in Dhoni's method?" - even during WC 2011? She was wrong then, she's wrong now! Who better to coach than Ganguly himself? He's been there. And with Sachin still there, it's an ideal time to use 2013 to build for the future with the sweat equity of these veterans. By end of 2013, the Test picture should be clear: the players, team & captain. Till then, let Dhoni do his job as captain, Sharda!

Posted by jay57870 on (January 20, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

Sharda - Why the rush? Dravid is right: There are "no alternatives to Dhoni at this stage"! Ganguly is right: A captain is only as good as his team! India is in a critical transitional phase. Such transitions take time & effort. Cases in point: The leadership of Ganguly & John Wright in building Team India - after the match-fixing scandal - in the 2000-05 period. Same with Dhoni & Gary Kirsten (also Kumble) in re-building the team - after Greg Chappell's disastrous tenure (yes, WC 2007 was the worst!) - in the 2007-11 period. Still, there was a foundation then to build on: A core-group of solid Test players like Sourav, Sachin, Rahul, Anil, VVS, Viru, Zaheer, Bhajji & Co. Now that core-group is almost gone. Bowling remains the Achilles' Heel. Batting is unstable. The youngsters are on training wheels. Coach Fletcher is non-existent. The one constant: Dhoni as captain. No, he's not the main problem. The reality: It's been a collective failure! As Raul advises: Dhoni need help, quickly!

Posted by jitesharya on (January 20, 2013, 1:18 GMT)

Bang on!

Ah finally, some truth, a compilation of facts. Thanks.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

I feel with the reasons given by you, Dhoni's commitment to tests cant be questioned because 1.Acc to fitness report sent by Kirsten after CB series, Dhoni had minor injuries. So he opted out of 3 tests.He has also opted out of ODIs(5 ODIs vs NZ in 2010)if he felt he needed rest. If that doesn't mean he is not committed to ODIs, opting out of 3 tests shouldn't mean he is not committed to tests 2.Dhoni has experienced both 4-0 losses and WC exit first hand and it was just his opinion. One can measure the magnitude of the WC loss with the kind of reaction from "fans" who even demolished his under construction house.Yes, maybe he said it at the wrong time. But that doesn't mean he is not committed to tests 3.Yes,he said he might quit one format.He said it could even be ODI.That doesnt make him less committed to tests, does it? 4.If ever he told "days cricket" was boring it would have been way back when he was still a ticket collector and not a trophy collector. So, thats not serious stuff

Posted by Nampally on (January 19, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

Sharda, A Captain cannot do everything on his own but he can get his team to perform as a single unit all pulling in the same direction.Dhoni failed to get this done when individuals like SRT, Dravid, Sehwag & Gambhir failed in batting & ZAK & Harbhajan failed in bowling.India, first of all, needs a Captain who can build a Team around him to be on the same page. Sehwag, Gambhir are on the way out. If Yuvraj is fit & healthy, go with him or go to one of the younger members with no experience but ability to form a team. What are the choices? Alternatives to Yuvraj are Ashwin, Kohli & Pujara. Kohli has been pushed as potential Leader because of his aggressive qualities. But he is so immature, Short tempered & abusive that India will be worse off with him. This leaves just Ashwin & Pujara (both even tempered) in the contention for the Leadership if Yuvraj cannot play 5 day match. So India should just go with these 2 as captain & vice captain & see who is the better after a few tests.

Posted by VivSingh on (January 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

Regardless of your opinions of MSD as a Test match captain, your suggestion that Sehwag is a viable alternative isn't credible. The cricketing world has left India behind when it comes to fitness and energy on the field. Gone are the days when Indian batsmen could thrive on talent alone. Fitness training and fielding work are as important as batting and bowling. Watching India in the field in the recent matches without Sehwag is like watching a new team. They look sharp and fit. We will all have to accept that India is going to go through a painful time of transition with (probably) many heavy defeats in the near future. Accept this, have patience and move on.

Posted by jasonpete on (January 19, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

@nyc_missile, first of all I am not an Indian and I don't support Indian team as well and if someone write in one player defence doesnt mean he/ she is a fan but you sure do look like a blind anti dhoni.In my knowledge atleast I know dhoni is not worst as you claimed to be here..captain is good only when team performs together,which was happening under Gary..But then now every 11 members want to be an Indian captain especially sehwag and Gambhir who just looking out of sort apart from IPL heroics.What amazies me is you credit win for team and blame everything on captain for loses.Its time you read some harsha bhogle or dravid article to get the valuable inputs instead put blame on one person for entire team failures.I don't need to hide but then I don't need to response to some silly post as well.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 19, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18 2013, 17:31 PM GMT), I guess it's time for you to read unbiased harsha,dravid and ganguly article and take a place in hiding for good,which Ofcourse I am happy to agree with great players like dravid and well presented commentator like harsha instead some ridiculous bashing with zero knowledge of cricket coming from you.so take a chill and there is no reason for me to hide when I read some silly post from you and the one you agreed .ROFL.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 19, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18 2013, 17:31 PM GMT), hey it seems you spend the entire day in and out in dhoni bashing..LOL.By the way I am sachin fan and I can see that you are worrying a lot by thinking dhoni will overtake ganguly winning percentage.?.Even ganguly suport dhoni in this transition time..dont worry,he will indeed over take in few more matches.You continue your wisdoms of anti dhoni post.Good luck.But keep your ignorance intact for further dhoni related articles.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

The headline of this article is terrible. Dhoni losing doesn't mean Dhoni dislikes Tests.

Our problem is that we want Dhoni to become a world conqueror. We want him to be Alexander+Genghis Khan & want him to establish an new Mauryan Empire but we forget that Dhoni just doesn't have the tools to do that. What could the best strategy of Alexander have won if his soldiers were not even capable of using the sword? We've bowlers like Ishant who after 5 yrs of cricket are still learning and don't know how to bowl a full length bowl (forget a yorker). We have a spinner like Ashwin who doesn't spin the ball. We have batsmen like Viru who refuse to play as per the situation and just want to play their strokes, we have batsmen like RD/SRT/VVS who chose to fail together and we have curators like PM of Kolkata who suddenly become overcome with ethics, impartiality & start advising their national captain about what wins matches.

Was Strauss not committed to Tests? He retired just after his loss.

Posted by seeknshare on (January 19, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

There is no doubt that Dhoni is ONLY made for ODIs and T20s. Was it ever that he showed brilliance in TESTS...in India or overseas? Probably, time for the Tendulkar to become captain of Test team, talk with selectors and BCCI for the "path forward" in terms of PROCESS of cultivating next generation of TEST cricketers and regaining #1 test ranking. Please write a piece about rebuilding Team India for TEST, with Tendulkar's leadership till the time he navigates team through troubled waters and beyond. Awaiting for your article!

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

Maybe another year of poor performance and continued focus on IPL, we could expect BCCI to pull out of test cricket!

Posted by darsh127 on (January 19, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

India has lost 10 of their last 16 tests. The 4th test in Adelaide i believe was not included.

Posted by vladtepes on (January 18, 2013, 21:36 GMT)

remember what happened to west indies cricket when then-captain chris gayle stated he didn't care about test cricket: showing up 2 days before a test match, no team harmony, etc. i like dhoni. he's not a divisive person like gayle. i'd like dhoni to stick with test cricket and leave that 20-20 nonsense to schoolboys and those others who don't know how to play cricket.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

Except for a couple of ignorant cricket fans here who also aptly happen to be Dhoni supporters,everybody seems to agree with this view that MSD isn't made for test cricket.Even Dravid and Harsha are probably trying the reverse psychology to get Srini to replace Dhoni as test captain.

May be that is why they're calling for MSD to step down as T20&CSK captain.Deep down they too must know,it isn't too much of a burden to play a few hit-miss T20s a year.The real pressure is in tests where he's to keep,bat & captain the side.Let us see if it works out.DHONI SUCKS AS TEST CAPTAIN

Posted by SunilSrr on (January 18, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Let's not forget the statistics of Indian Test Cricket team over the years, where we have been playing 464 tests, drawing 202, losing 147 and winning just 114. This clearly indicates that we have never been a good test team. Further, the problem with captaincy is multi-folded in which most of the seniors have tried to disown this burden due to personal loss of performance. Coming to the defensive nature of captaincy, it is the captain who knows best abt team's weakness as well as strength. We drew the Nagpur test, which we could have even lost.. bcoz at one stage when Captain & virat put up a fight then only we were able to draw that test. so at certain points with all the weakness staring as a reality, defense may be needed to save further slides. Let's not forget that if we can win one test without losing more than that Dhoni will become as great as Sourav Ganguly in Test records.. Further, with one more ODI win hopefully today at Ranchi, he equals ODI captaincy record again of Dada.

Posted by YoBro on (January 18, 2013, 18:37 GMT)

All this talk about Kohli being too young for captaincy is utter tripe. I mean, for crying out loud, MAK Pataudi (Nawab of Pataudi, Jr.) was made captain in his early 20s with hardly any Tests under his belt and he took to it like a fish to water! I think Kohli is made up of just the kind of material that a captain should have. Just give it to him already. I bet he'll make bold decisions as captain and surely he will be much more attacking with his bowling and fielding options than Dhoni. I absolutely admire Dhoni as a player, but I don't think he's enjoying the Test captaincy anymore and he isn't getting any younger. Kohli is India's future. Pujara can me made his deputy...a calm head to cool Kohli down when required.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

Would like to salute Sharda Ugra again particularly because these days most of commentators and 'experts' make their living out of praising,protecting & 'awarding' MoM to boost morale of Dhoni.So it takes incredible courage and professionalism to write such hard-hitting articles. *Respect* .Keep 'em coming,lady..

Posted by NITISH03 on (January 18, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

u can write anything about his approach towards test cricket but the truth is dat dhoni is a kind of person who takes pride in representing the country be it in any format. if he was not serious about test cricket he would have left it long before. nobody complained when india won in NZ after 31 years, when aus lost two series in india, when ind drew the series with SA both at home & away and all dis happened under dhoni's leadership. people can bark but fact will remain dat he is a 'special player'

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 17:00 GMT)

@Chandra Rajaraman excellent point.. Dhoni fanboys like jasonpete,mathewjohn and himohan have no place to hide now.

Posted by aahahaa on (January 18, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Well written Behan. the crowd doesn't care about test cricket nor does the administrators and sponsors.. the ones who do are very few and very old. we have been barred from competing in Olympic sports but there is hockey league on which is actively promoted with scantly clad girls dancing and a golf league is not very far away. Simple fact is lack of pride. Money rules and when it does everything worth livin for goes down the drain. I only hope that Football suddenly or by some accident doesn't catch up in this country, if it does then we would see the Messis and Ronaldos and Rooneys paraded like donkeys. GOD forbid.

Posted by thinkgood on (January 18, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

I dont think anyone in BCCI or Indian team or team coach or team selectors read ESPN Cricinfo. So no point in ranting , raving , crying and cribbing. Dhoni is here to stay.

Posted by huntingmay on (January 18, 2013, 15:47 GMT)

Two things:

1. Its not that he is not dedicated, he is just not up to par.

2. There is no reason why you can not have different captains for different versions of the game. Let me take it further, why not a third captain for T20.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 18, 2013, 14:16 GMT)

Here is the test match comparison between Gambhir and Dhoni. It should be remembered thatg Gambhir has only one job in the team to score runs where as Dhoni has three job, Wicket keeping, Captaincy and then the batting. Lets compare Gambhirs first job with Dhoni's third. GG Tests 54 96 5 4021 206 44.18 MSD Tests 73 115 13 3883 148 38.06

Look at the averages. With a career average of just 44 why Gambhir is considered India's best opener and Dhoni with average of 38 (at number 7) is considered not fit for tests? Never m ind his wicket keeping and captaining burdens.

Here is comparison of Gambhir with Dhoni in ODIs: Gambhir 144 140 11 5171 150* 40.08 6033 85.71 Dhoni: 216 193 55 7215 183* 52.28 8172 88.28

Look at the average of both players in ODIs. Gambhir has an average of 40.08 and Dhoni 52.28. Why Gambhir is still considered to be fit to be in the team when is only job in the team is to score runs and he is scoring at the average of 40. Is it some sort of Hypocrisy?

Posted by eZoha on (January 18, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

Some are saying this is sensationalism by Sharda. Mmm, possibly. But a good read. Some articles should be like this, where emotions overtake. And yes, Dhoni should not be in the test team.

Posted by thinkgood on (January 18, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

This article sounds emotional and I believe the author is venting out her disappointment with the team - on the captain. Captain - as she herself says it in the article - is only as good as the team. The reason he was defensive in recent times in test matches - I think - is because of the unfamiliar territory he was walking - batting collapses .Two major batsmen - Dravid and VVS - retired under his captaincy due to their own cognizance that they are not up to the changing times of bounce, seam and variations in bowling. One batsman clings to the title of being a legend and would not retire from cricket despite being in the twilight of his career. Add to all this - poor opening partnerships between the once reliable Ganbhir and Sehwag. What do you expect?

Posted by brusselslion on (January 18, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

An excellent article although the title is unfair. I'm sure that, as a professional cricketer, Dohni is committed to winning international matches whatever the format.

However, as a Test captain he is terrible. It's not that he doesn't make anything happen; he does but it usually turns out for the worse. The Sharma/ Raina change referred to in the article is a case in point. In the context of a ODI, maybe you would take Sharma off to save a few overs, and keep him fresh, for later. I was at the Lords match and found the decision to replace Sharma incredulous. He was bowling well, his confidence was up and England - probably for the only time in the series - were on the rack. OK, Sharma was tiring but he had 40 minutes over lunch to recover. When he didn't re-appear after lunch, we all assumed (wrongly) that he was injured.

Dohni is a great ODI player (one of the best ever) but he is also one of the worst Test captains of the last 30 years.

Posted by tickcric on (January 18, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

"Two bad days at a World Cup were compared to dozens of days of shabby Test cricket against England and Australia".- Got to say as a fan I thought exactly the same. World Cup 07 was a heart break but that is just incomparable with the plunge in performance we have seen over the last 18 months or so.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (January 18, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

This article sounds like a witch-hunt against Dhoni. He may over defensive but how can he be an attacking test captain when he has no bowlers and no batsmen. In the last 2 years Zaheer has not been the bowler he was for the 3-4 years before that whilst there have been only fleeting appearances from Yadav and Aaron. In any case it'll be a few years before these two reach that level. Who's been scoring the runs? Sehwag is no longer even a 1 in 10 flat track bully, Gambhir doesn't have the technique, commitment or temperament against fast bowling, Tendulkar is a single digit score batsmen, and most importantly there's no Dravid or Laxman. Please Sharda could you explain how Dhoni can be an attacking captain? You've written about what Dhoni didn't do, and other than resign or be sacked, what should he do to be more attacking? Or better still what would you do if you were India's captain?

Posted by crindex on (January 18, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

Dhoni is now the best captain to lead India in all formats of the game given the richness of experience he has. He has single handedly won many matches for us in all three formats. We have forgotten them . Captain's job is a thankless and a very difficult job. One one has to bear the cross on his shoulders and Dhoni alone is qualified and willing to carry it . Ganbhi, Sehwag will ask for a tailor made winning team for them and... Kohli ... would be unwilling to lead this particular team and with his batting form... winning matches are not handed in a platter. One has to work hard for it with a team such as this - with dysfunctional batting and toothless bowling. Dhoni is the only man in sight for this job - and - that too if he is willing to do this dirty and thankless job.

Posted by FarSight on (January 18, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

Sharda Ugra has fine cricketing mind and excellent writing skill. Dhoni is probably the greatest one day (or night as he might prefer it himself) player of his generation. He is never a captaincy material- if captaincy is defined as strategic thinking and leadership. He is of course extremely good at Indian cricket politics. Dhoni is not a test class batsman and his wicket-keeping is atrocious. In short, he should not be in the test team at all. He should play one day cricket and T20 circus as a batsman who occasionally bowls and without being captain in either format. A captain does not have be in the losing eleven. One can bring in someone from the Ranji circuit, like Badrinath for example. Sehwag does not have the physical fitness to play any sport- he is simply fat. So is Gambhir. Kohli is an emotionally mal-adjusted brat. He has not yet scored runs in tests with any consistency. His behavior disqualifies him as leader of men.

Posted by shivcdot on (January 18, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

Congrats Ms Ugra for the perspective! You have hit the nail on the head! India needs a dynamically thinking captain who has enough patience, to lead in tests. You cannot imgine spinners being given spells of 4-5 overs in test cricket! We have seen Captains like Pataudi, Wadekar,et al. who would give stints of 14-16 overs to spinners, who would think the batsmen out! You don't want to see a sweeper cover, extra cover, mid off, a wide slip, no gully on the off side for a spinner coming on in the 4th over of the inniings!

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Remove MSD as captain..or make him less influential in selection. He has single-handedly hurt the budding careers of Manoj Tiwary, Pujara, Dhawan, Rahane and many others. Look how long it took to let Rahane play..Now MSD is delaying Pujara in ODI..Maybe he feels insecure that if Pujara succeeds, MSD will be booted out from Test team..I feel especially bad for Manoj who did well every chance he got..he even bowled in one match and took 4 wickets..He has done well in India A team against top sides.. I cannot stand the jokers like Ashwin and Jadeja from CSK..they do not belong in international teams any more.....Jadeja is a once in 10 matches type player....No consistency...he is neither a dependable batsman nor a dependable bowler..he is a bits and pieces player...very over-rated.. I also feel Dinesh Kartik or Saha belong in Test team..I have watched Saha put a price on his wicket and fight it out time and time again under difficult conditions.

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

Ok before i go sleep , People there is no perfect captain or better replacement. There is no perfect DRS either. We have to go with what we got. My assessment is simple. Dhoni "safe risk free do nothing pray all different god" works only if indian batsman put up mammoth score. That is not happening any more. India got beat spinning indian wickets. Enough said. If you can not learn from all the 10-0 losses you should n't comment here. I am no fan of ganguly but he did believe in something and made decision and brought people and gave them self belief. I think want "term" captaincy. Ganguly over stayed because he felt he did great for india and india owed him longer captaincy. NOT. its a job , you did well. Thats it. Dhoni time is up. I want him removed from all captaincy and i want him in ODI team if he still wants to play. I will make kohli captain of test.odi,t20. People think giving captaincy to kohli is too early but i think he will do great with added responsibility.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 18, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

@nyc_missile:My previous response wast published. Anyway Do u still think Dhoni holding the record for most dismissal of WK in India is not worst performance. He avg 38 playing with tail enders not that bad as ur Gambir The Blabber(of late of course)

Posted by Jaymalhotra on (January 18, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

Dhoni got a very formidable side when he started his captain stint barring T20 which is no cricket. the team he got was build and groomed by ganguly , kumble , dravid . ganguly was the main architect of that team. It was ganguly's genius that picked dhoni'talent. he promoted dhoni in batting order during his captaincy. he had real eye for talent. sehwag,yuvraj, harbhajan,zaheer and even dhoni were groomed and backed by ganguly.he is the best Indian captain ever. Dhoni backs player like jadeja, ashwin. lets see what they do for Indian cricket

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Ok lets disect this issue more. We have gambhir , kohli and dhoni. We all know what we get from dhoni , same of the same dispirited loss after loss. Nothing change if dhoni is captain because as a captain he does nothing. May be that is a good thing and even great thing if you have senior players who does bulk of the work. When there is young team and no one to do the work dhoni is not the right man to lead. I am not sure dravid think that deep to analyse people skills. Gambhir is best choice but his batting form is not good. I would like to split sehwag/Gambhir opening. Move sehwag down to middle order. If people do not think gambhir fit , I think kohli will do great job. I know he is angry young man but he has supreme confidence. All he need is few lieutinent to take some load off. We want people with solution , for me dhoni is a problem man he has to be removed of test team. He is great ODI player so so t20 player (poor strike rate). I feel kohli is young and can fight unlike dhoni

Posted by himohan007 on (January 18, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

@nyc_missile: Yuvi & Zak debuted at 2000 3yr before 2003 WC, Harbi 5y before it, Shewag & Nehra 4yr before 2003 WC. Check some stats buddy before posting biased views.Why can't Gangluy win any WC. Mathewjohn2176 was asking u valid qustion dude.....

To others I am not for against Ganguly but had to defend my national team Captain who worked so hard to us 1 billliion people felling proud...

Posted by jasonpete on (January 18, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18 2013, 06:05 AM GMT),Your arguments are delusional.If you don't perform in final,whatever you do to reach final and losing from there is of no use,just like the 2003 World Cup where sachin was the highest run score and everyone fumbled in final against Australia.You don't give credit to dhoni captaincy for World Cup win but then you are happy to blame him alone for all the test losses when seniors are under performing and many great players retired.Seriously ridiculous argument.Now go home and don't reply me with your insane post.

Posted by Jaymalhotra on (January 18, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

Sharda ugra is absolutely right when she questions dhoni's commitment to test cricket as skipper. she hits the nail on its head with her each comment to prove that dhoni should seriously think about quitting test captaincy. there is no doubt that he is no. 1 both as player and captain when it comes to shorter format of the game. He should definitely step down as test captain and focus on his batting and wicket keeping in test and give some other player chance to lead in test be it gambhir/kohli/shewag in that order .

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 18, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18 2013, 06:05 AM GMT), you don't attribute World Cup win to dhoni, then why will you attribute the test losses to dhoni Captaincy alone? Hypocrisy.Dravid,laxman and sachin were still in the team and there is no place for youngsters when these greats were playing till last year.Kohli groomed under dhoni and he took ganguly place at the moment.Once dravid retired pujara came in.Sachin still playing and no one can't tell him when to retire.Finally zaheer got removed and bhuvi got replaced in place of zaheer.Sehwag got dropped and Rahane came in.So you need to wait for the great players to retire to carve in youngsters.Whatever team was given in platter,dhoni produced results as a captain and made 94 in World Cup final along with Gambhir which failed successfully in 2003 World Cup under ganguly due to pressure.Now go home and don't come up with your pathetic excuses or else my response will be ROFL.

Posted by surz on (January 18, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

I see a lot of people talking about captain and his contribution to the team reaching the no.1 position. I would like to point out that the coach also has a considerable part to play in taking a team to the top spot. In that context Gary Kirsten played a huge role. Now see the S.A team, it is the No.1 in the world and who is the coach Gary Kirsten. Though it is the captain and the team that play on the field, still the coach is a very important part of the unit.

Our current coach Duncan Fletcher has not done anything commendable. When players are not in form it is the coach who has to approach them and advice them to play second fiddle to the man in form i.e take singles and build partnership. If he cannot do this to a 15 or 16 member team then he is not capable. I personally feel India should look for a new coach who can gel with the team and develop youngsters.

Posted by srinideva on (January 18, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

@nyc_missile, your comment on world cup win, if india wins because of gam, yuv, sachin, and kohli. If lost because of dhoni...well written comment....have a seat in your home.

Posted by srinideva on (January 18, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

He is a rare indian who played for india not for his personal milestones. he always put team first, that's why he kicked out non performed ganguly from indian team in 2008. The same happened to vvs and sehwag. No other indian player in the world has the guts to force the retirement of sachin in limited overs cricket. I salute this man...you are class man. Other countries would love to have a man like him in the team for their nation.

Posted by Babu22 on (January 18, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Please take this team for tests and in two years time, we will have something to compete: Sehwag, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Md. Kaif (c), M Tiwary, Saha or P Patel or Dinesh Karthik, two or three of U Yadav/I Sharma/B Kumar/P Kumar/A Dinda/S Ahmed and one or two of Ojha/M Karthik. Plus ban them from playing IPL and give them good sporting pitches (it's possible). I am 100% sure that this team will not do worse than MSD's team. As everyone would be willing to cement their spots in the team, everyone play well. Positive is that Kaif actually is good at spotting talent and nurturing it and is a test cricketer.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

@ jasonpete Mr ignoramus winning a WC eh? MSD has the least amount of role in it.Gambhir,Yuvraj & Sachin were the biggest contributors to it.So there goes that argument.

Just as I do not believe Dhoni was the only reason we won the WC(both T20&ODI) I don't attribute lack of WC win to Ganguly either.Teams win matches&titles not captains.Captains make teams..Dhoni did not make one but had one given on a platter by Ganguly,Dravid & Kumble..Now go home!

Posted by srinideva on (January 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

@to all who criticizing dhoni and his field placing, cricket not played in AC room with cushion chair, it is the captains call in the field, he knows better than all of us about cricket and his players capacity. We don't have players like steyn,morkel and the same class of players who can perform in all conditions...

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

@mathewjohn2176 Sehwag,Zaheer,Yuvraj,Bhajji,Nehra,Kaif when they debuted within 1 year.. were they battle hardened veterans?? ha ha ha ha ha ha..what now! Yes,Sachin,Dravid were there but most of the core team were youngsters who were groomed & made a bunch of fighting characters by Ganguly.

I am neither a fan nor a hater of Ganguly..I admire his captaincy skills but criticize his batting failures leading up-to and a while before Greg Chappell's tenure.How many 'young' /new players has Dhoni groomed answer me if you can..surely I am not expecting Jadeja,Raina etc my response then will be ROFL ..

Posted by himohan007 on (January 18, 2013, 5:57 GMT)

@Alexk400: LOL nothing new form the DD fan here. Supporting Kholi is right but in wrong intention because u want Kholi as captain from Delhi. 1.Shewag 2.Gambir 3.Now Kholi next what Ishat Sharma???? ROFL.

If u supported initially i would have no probs. Ya I know u were angry on him for not being a part DD. Now u have no options

But I like Kholi to take responsibility to reduce Dhoni's burden in Test .

Posted by srinideva on (January 18, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

I request mr. Dhoni to not select the both openers in the upcoming test series agt aus. They don't deserve to be in the team and their attitude in the field is awful...select the youngster like kumar not zak..

Posted by jasonpete on (January 18, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17 2013, 06:15 AM GMT), ganguly was leading the best team and still couldn't win World Cup .Wth the same team without great spinner Kumble,india won the World Cup.India won two World Cup and reached no.1 in test under dhoni and zero under ganguly.Thats the fact.It seems you look like a ganguly fan and no wonder your bind hatred towards dhoni eventhough he plays consistently good better than your preferred sehwag and Gambhir.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 18, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

@Full-Blooded-Wallop Thanks buddy. It is so pleasing to hear from an Eng fan...

Posted by Natx on (January 18, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

There are only 3 captain types. Ruthless & aggressive - this is typical Aussie style as mostly are blessed with skilled cricketers and the captain has the cushion to attack. Imran & Lloyd were able to do that as they either had a good bowling or decent batting units. Ganguly & pataudi were somewhat similar due to either good batting or spin attacks. The second type is captains that build a team with single vision though they are quite ordinary. Brearly, Sammy are examples. The third type takes over an already successful team and runs it for a while but takes all the credit without doing much. Dhoni falls in this category! His contribution to the test team is zero as it's ganguly/dravid/kumble's team.

Posted by srinideva on (January 18, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

what is the motive of this article? Author forgot to mention the some of biggest names in this article. start with our openers who is looking for captain position than their batting position in the team. And fame batting middle order start with sac, dra, vvs... Thanks to dhoni for showing the doors for gang otherwise we have to mention his name as well. Dhoni is the best thing happen to indian cricket. Option - sehwag ROFL...i thought his cricket career is over..

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 18, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17 2013, 16:47 PM GMT), ganguly won with rookies? Hahahaha who are those rookies? Sachin,dravid,laxman and Kumble.What a pathetic excuse.I guess your only agenda here is to bash dhoni for whatever reason .Wake up.Ganguly was leading the best team with all top players were young and in form.Dhoni leading the team with young bowlers and inexperienced middle order without dravid,laxman and ganguly.So instead blind hating ,write some constructive criticism.

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (January 18, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

I like crindo77's comment. I must clarify that we are two different people. I have the same opinion as him, and am disgusted with Indian cricket for some time. We must sack Dhoni. He brought shame on the country with 8-0 last year. Kapil Dev's bus was stoned after he lost to Lloyd's team in Calcutta, and Lloyd's team was the best in history. We are too gentle these days.

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (January 18, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

@alexk400: You are grossly mistaken. Dhoni always takes the blame on himself. And I have never ever seen him taking the credit for win, he always say whole team played well. He doesn't blame bowlers/pitch etc it is just his assessment of the match and what should have happened and what shouldn't. Please come out of this blind criticism.If there is one selfless player on this earth it has to be MSD!

Posted by rajattiwaari on (January 18, 2013, 4:30 GMT)

Although I agree with some points made by Sharda,I feel she is being a tad unfair on MSD.She raised the point of MSD talking about his test retirement at the time when test series was going on. But, what actually happened was CNN-IBN aired a dhoni interview,which was recorded before IND left to AUS,during the test series. In that interview MSD talked about his retirement plans . And during a press conference in AUS jouranlists aasked him this question,he just answered it.I think that dhoni is a defensive test captain,an average test batsman and a safe wicket keeper!!

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 4:24 GMT)

As many have said india do not have good bowlers in current ranji setup. ( there are 1000s of bowlers out of 1 billion available but they are ignored for something or other ). It is simple. No one going to find train young kid to be bowlers unless there is something in it for trainer/coach/scout. A country like india there has to be scouting system to skip all these extra filters especially for finding bowlers. We can live with midget batsman but can not live with vegetarian midget bowlers who gets after 4 overs. Dhoni is still good captain if he has all the tools available. At present india donot have those resources. I rather lose with younger person so he gain experience than old guy who feels he been there and done that and not interested in getting dirty. Dhoni should be removed from captaincy from test , actually i want him out of all captaincy and make kohli captain. Kohli is type of guy who excel when he given responsibility.

Posted by kh1902 on (January 18, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

India can't afford to keep Dhoni or half the team for that matter. The BCCI needs to be sacked but the government is too mired in corruption and cronyism to manage the country let alone worry about cricket.

Posted by kh1902 on (January 18, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

LilianThomson always writes authoritatively about the game under the delusion that she is a fountain of knowledge. She has the lowest opinion of a batsman who is one of only a handful of Indian players to care deeply about test cricket. Yet she shows a complete disregard for test cricket by belittling him in these forums.

Test cricket is a shambles in India because of one-day cricket as much as the IPL. Countries like Australia, England and SA were lucky enough to have the resources to plough into Test cricket long before the shorter forms came and corrupted the game. Unfortunately for India the resources came only with the advent of ODIs which have destroyed Test cricket in India. People like LilianThomson who have no understanding of India only look to demean the country because it's too big a challenge to understand a country of that complexity.

Posted by here2rock on (January 18, 2013, 3:32 GMT)

I think you have already answered the question in you article. However, you can not just blame Dhoni for finding Test Match Cricket boring. Not many care about Test Match Cricket in India. T20 format of the game is the new King. I know they are still people in India who love Test Match Cricket but that is a minority. Why should BCCI cater for the minority when T20 format brings mega bucks to all stakeholders? Test Match Cricket is only a side kick to the much bigger show in India. Let's just accept that reality. Test Cricket will die in India within next 5 years.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

As someone has pointed out rightly here,Dhoni's defensive fields not just allows the game to drift,opposition to take control but dents bowlers' confidence big time too.

Maninder Singh has been saying this since Eng,2011.He quoted an instance about how Ashwin a wicket taking bowler even in T20s has become a clueless bowler lately in tests...primarily due to lack of close-in fielders and meaningless fields set by Dhoni.So Dhoni's utter defensiveness has far deeper impact on the thought process of bowlers, not just the results of a match.

Posted by blitzNM on (January 18, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

my XI wud be....... Gambhir-Rahane-Pujara-Tendulkar-Sehwag-Kohli-dhoni....and the bowlers although m bullish about tedulkar..... m a fan...and will remain...but its time to hang up the boots

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

Assuming Sehwag indeed is made the captain,play him in middle order.Unofficially keep him on probation for one final series as he's had enough chances to mend his woeful batting form over last 3 years both home and abroad.But 2 of Rahane,Rohit & Tiwary must find their places sooner than later before they lose their focus & hunger..

For that,Sachin has to be dropped.If Sehwag can rebuild the side and give it new direction,he can be persisted with for a while before Gambhir or Kohli takes over.Also if in form,Sehwag can be a dangerous middle order batsman especially since he relishes that spot.New test team should look like this :

Rahane|Gambhir|Pujara|Kohli|Sehwag(C)|Rohit/Tiwary|Saha|Ashwin|Bhuvanesh| Umesh/Aaron|Ojha

Posted by Sri-cric on (January 18, 2013, 1:42 GMT)

Seriously , whats the criteria to become senior editor in cricinfo. I'm not sure what's the basis of this editor to be so negative against dhoni and does not provide any alternatives. The only silver lining in the current Indian team is dhoni's presence. The team has lost Dravid/lakshman and Kumble in the recent times. Sachin is in the middle of his worst loss of form. Bhajji cannot even be considered as a lead bowler in his gully . Gambhir and sehwag are content with playing IPL and giving statements . It s tough to have this group and go against England and Australia. We need to show some patience and show our support to dhoni . He has proved enough to show that he is not only the best option but the only option to lead India out of this mess.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 18, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

Cont.. Kohli for me is yet to prove his mettle in Test Cricket.He is finding out how it feels when everything you touch doesnt go to a boundary.Let him sort out his own mind before giving him the responsibility of leading a team.He kept getting out playing loose shots against England without showing any signs of tightening his game.I really hope he gets better. Pujara got out while staying back when he should have been forward and in the next innings you could see him being conscious of not making the same mistake again.But maybe too early for him? That should'nt be an excuse for persisting with Dhoni.Defensive fields effect both bowlers and batsmen.Batsman who has just come in and finds his team in trouble would get immense confidence if he sees that all he have to do is take risk and hit couple of boundaries and the opposition will take a step back.Bowlers will loose confidence in their ability and start bowling wayward lines if they feel their captain doesnt have confidence in them

Posted by Manush on (January 18, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

She is spot on. Neither Kholi nor Gambhir qualify for this post and Dhoni should have been sacked as the captain. long time back !!! Many a times Dhoni very clearly showed his preference to shorter versions and had been dispirited and casual in Test matches. Sehwag fretted away twice his chance but he is the only senior left who can lead India with much more seriousness.There had been silent war between these two and Dhoni is using his clout successfully. Viru deserved to be given a better send off in the shorter versions and must lead the Test team for a minimum 2 series to know what he is capable of.Indian team has nothing to lose in the current form !!!

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

We need to diversify. Even if N srinivasan wants dhoni to be captain , there needs to be plan of succession. You have to give motivation to people to grow. if there is no rewards people will tend to play politics for the survival. Dhoni is like teflon , what ever people throw at him , he has a shield in N srinivasan. For me i don't care dhoni captain or some one captain as long as indian team fight and lose i am fine. But dhoni team quits all the time. He can blame bowlers , pitch , ball or what ever , for me if you are captain you should be win and loss. Dhoni is only there take credit if india win. If india lose then its someone else problem. I think something wrong with BCCI chief poking selection matters.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 18, 2013, 0:48 GMT)

On reflection, Cpt.Meanster's comments and India's precipitous decline might mean that the Indian people and BCCI have misinterpreted India's 2011 World Cup victory as being meaningful.

I have watched cricket since the first World Cup in 1975, living in England, New Zealand and Australia and spending a lot of time in South Africa and the West Indies.

And the perception in all those countries is the same: one World Cup victory in a format like ODIs or T20 is little more than random chance, and the only two ODI sides which are viewed as "champions" are the West Indians who reached the 75, 79 and 83 World Cup Finals and the Australians who won the 99, 03 and 07 editions.

Nobody who isn't Indian considers India's 2011 victory to mean any more than when Australia's lousy team won in 1987 or mediocre teams won for India in 83, Pakistan in 92 or Sri Lanka in 96.

But it seems that Indian fans attach real value and importance to the 2011 World Cup win, which is simply bizarre.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 18, 2013, 0:38 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster If you think that Test cricket is "boring", "dead" and "silly" then why are you posting on a thread about the Test captaincy?

The rest of the cricket world judges teams and players by their achievements in the toughest form of the game - Test cricket. Here in Australia, on a work day people tune in on the radio or look for score updates on their phone for Tests, but would never be interested enough to do so for ODI or T20 matches.

I think India needs to accept that the current Test team is a lost cause apart from Pujara, Kohli and Yadav. The time has come to skip a generation and blood players like Umukt Chand and Harmeet Singh so that they learn their cricket at the highest level.

Make Pujara the captain for a couple of years, by which time if he fails then you will have a 21 year old captain in Chand.

But you must get rid of all the players who don't respect Test cricket. You need a complete clear-out of the stables.

Posted by cr1ck3t4u on (January 18, 2013, 0:37 GMT)

Question is not if Dhoni is committed to test Cricket. It should be is BCCI committed to Test cricket. Unlike T20 what opportunity does BCCI provide for test cricket in India. Its inevitable that captain gets the blame when team doesn't perform but in saying that it's not upto the captain to manage workload of the players. The same 15 players get rotated in all 3 formats until they become victims of injuries, fatigue or overkill and then finally discarded. Praveen Kumar is an example of this. Then again we start fresh. Bowling unit was India's worry in the past but batting has added to it and will be for a while now until new players are given more exposure to test cricket. Dhoni never had the luxury of leading a strong/consistent bowling and batting line up like England or South Africa. A captain is bound to be defensive when he is fielding an inconsistent and incomplete team. Changing captain is not a solution, rotation of players is key in all 3 formats if India are to progress.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 18, 2013, 0:13 GMT)

As a captain,you are supposed to know what bowlers are going to try,give inputs and that is what should decide tactics.I will concede to some extent that Dhoni has been a good man-manager but with all the stories about rifts among players,might not be true.Tactically though,he is poor,to put it mildly.And I would have had no problems had I seen some improvement or willingness to learn from past mistakes.A person who goes on record saying that 8 straight test losses and a home series defeat is nothing compared to World Cup exit surely doesn't value test cricket enough.As Dravid said,we need a guy who has a plan to build a team,identify guys who can play in away conditions and is fully committed to test cricket.I would add cricketing brains and willingness to learn about tactics to the list as well.Gambhir was like that when he came in but his insistence onplaying those dabs for singles early in the innings,even after being out so many times,doesnt inspire much confidence.

Posted by g2311 on (January 17, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

What a waste of logic from an esteemed writer. Though she does point to flaws in Dhoni's captaincy she doesn't have solution herself. Ha. Talking about "give anybody captaincy and see how it goes" Are we playing hit and trial or what.

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 17, 2013, 23:50 GMT)

@nyc_missile: I agree with you regarding how less Dhoni has been criticized for his test record.I have followed test cricket for a long long time and I have never seen anyone get away with so many tactical blunders without invoking any criticism.When India was winning,seniors were able to carry the burden of Dhoni's poor tactics but with a new team,you need a guy who is willing to learn from his past mistakes,not someone who keeps doing the same thing,hoping opposition will get bored and throw the match.I dont know how this has happened,maybe media is responsible as well for overplaying the 'Mr Cool' image but speaking against Dhoni,the test captain is like blasphemy these days.People forget that even when India was winning,reports came in that Dhoni doesn't go to bowlers' meetings and Zaheer takes care of it.Sachin was the batting captain.Dhoni has his own plans which he keeps to himself.This was interpreted as "Mr cool keeps it simple lets everyone do their thing" in media. Cont..

Posted by Temuzin on (January 17, 2013, 23:44 GMT)

You know what, reading all chorus from experts/ fans (deeming to be experts) to oust Dhoni as if India will start winning again. I think anti-Dhoni experts should be registered and identified, then Dhoni should be replaced and if team India loses next 10 tests, then these experts should be publicly flogged for misleading public and cricket fans. In that eventuality Dhoni should be reinstated during flogging.

Posted by Angry_Bowler on (January 17, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

Expert_predator, I fully agree with you. And Nampally, you are not joking about the Pujara/Tiwari test captain and Kohli for T20. Any reasonable splitting of captaincy should be: Kholi test, Dhoni ODI and Raina T20 under current form of the players, though I want Dhoni to retire from Test and lead both ODI and T20.

Posted by eng_mdkhan on (January 17, 2013, 22:52 GMT)

Sharda has rightly stated that it is not his flaw that he is not inclined towards test cricket, think of it this way.......why lose sleep over 5 days when you can get the same or even greater returns doing it over 1 day or half, it actually makes sense.

Posted by eng_mdkhan on (January 17, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

I have often stated in my comments that Dhoni is an inspiring leader in ODIs and T20s but is not suited for the longer format. The very fact that he found test cricket boring and was vocal about it in the domestic circuit is proof enough. Although the present situation does demand that Dhoni continue but its like asking him to do something he really does not care about much. I am sure though the bad press he gets does affect him eventually but he keeps redeeming himself though his beloved ODIs and T20s. Perhaps till the time we can find a suitable captain who does not leave the game drift into oblivion for the test team Dhoni might as well continue.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 22:25 GMT)

People complaining about wrong selections-are you saying that Dhoni,with the most powerful man in cricket as his guardian cannot get the squad he wanted?? When he can steamroll Jadeja into a 'test' squad & DROP(rightfully) Yuvraj,Bhajji,Zaheer & now Sehwag from ODIs, it couldn't be that hard to get the 'right' players for ALL formats.So stop giving the lame excuse that he had a bad team.He just didn't choose to exercise his power when&where it mattered.

This is where I agree 100% with Nampally on both instinct and method for a captain and Dhoni doesn't have it.He landed the job by default..simple.So he has no clue when legends disappeared suddenly and a new team is in his face.

Posted by Cricizen on (January 17, 2013, 22:13 GMT)

Who do I believe - Rahul Dravid or Sharda Ugra who for some reason has made it her personal goal to come after Dhoni ..I don't deny his shortcomings in Tests but the tone of her repeated articles is in bad taste !

Posted by usernames on (January 17, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

Right -- give a man a shoddy team and expect him to work miracles. He sets a leg side field and his bowlers get cover driven for four. What do you really expect out of the man when the team he is leading is really shoddy? If anything, our selectors need to grow up and choose the right players, those who are in form. I don't see why the likes of Badrinath, Tiwary, Rohit, Dhawan, Mukund et al. who are performing on the domestic circuit don't get a chance at the top at all! Our batting has been miserable and it starts with the openers. Get better ones and you solve a major chunk of our batting woes. Bowling hasn't been our strong suit ever but that's no excuse -- there *are* good bowlers in India if you want to play them. Go and do that and you will see the team progress.

Posted by maddy20 on (January 17, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

Would you care to name a replacement Ugra? It is very easy to criticize someone sitting in your arm-chair. He has to putup with the retirements of several greats in both the bowling and batting departments. There is no Zaheer, no kumble, No Harbhajan. Barring the out of form Ishant, no one else have played more than 20 tests. As for batting, Sehwag, Gambhir are in poor form and the inexperienced /unsettled middle order adds tremendous pressure on Dhoni. What can a captain do under the circumstances? Instead of bashing him, we should support him until we can find a suitable replacement. Our team is in transition and we have to put up with a few losses before we start winning again. Night is darkest before the dawn and our dawn will come soon!

Posted by Nampally on (January 17, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

India put all their eggs in one basket by making Dhoni a Captain for all 3 Formats. Dhoni had zero experience of Captaincy & learnt to use his limited skills along with "on the job" training. Only thing going for him - he is an excellent aggressive batsman. Now that India is in development phase, they should have 3 captains for 3 formats & let the guys learn on the job just like Dhoni did. One thing came out of Dhoni experiment is one needs to have good knowledge of Cricket & rules for each format. It is always preferred to have Captain who can think & Plan his strategy ahead of the game. This should start with : Ability to pick a balanced XI with each person excelling at his position whether batting, bowling or fielding. This is crucial for success. Captain must be flexible to adapt & understand what clicks with each of his players & exploit those strengths.All 3 Captains will be young guys for a developing Phase. My Choice: Pujara/Tiwary (Tests), Dhoni- ODI & Kohli -T20.

Posted by mayakee on (January 17, 2013, 20:05 GMT)

Dhoni is undoubtedly the best captain we can have at the moment. People keep blaming the bowling but the reason for failure in the 10 tests recently is poor batting and repeated failures from the big guns. Rohit should be given an extended run in tests but he is always being tried in the ODI format. Badrinath has everything in him to make a decent test batsman but the poor guy never gets a chance. Sehwag was never tried in the middle order where perhaps he may be more useful and he himself has expressed a desire to play in the middle order. In spite of repeated failures of the famed batting line up, Rahane was not given a chance in test matches. Instead they keep trying him in ODIs which is not the place where a batsman's technique and temperament can be tested. Yuvi and Raina don't have the test calibre but were given chances ahead of Rohit and Rahane. There is no point blaming Dhoni for everything - team selection needs to be done with some responsibility and vision for the future

Posted by killbillgbu on (January 17, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

Everyone has a right to their thoughts and opinions. However some people time it perfectly to cause disruption. If I were in Ms Ugra's shoes, in the interest of morale in the team and in the interest of India's cricketing future, I would not have made these comments at this time. There is no better captain option for India in Tests or One day matches. Regardless of what the Great Gavaskar says(regarding Kohli). Dhoni has been the greatest ambassador of Indian cricket for several years now. He has saved Indian batting's face several times in the past and still continues to do so.When he was young, he might have said that he prefers the shorter formats, but does he think that now? I doubt it. Why do we want to demotivate Indian cricket's greatest ambassador and also create internal turmoil by instigating other far lesser players? Instead, let's write articles about arming Dhoni with the best players to win matches for India. I'm very pained at the state of cricket journalism timed poorly

Posted by iHitWicket on (January 17, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

That's brave of you Sharda. I like MS a lot. Hope Dravid's advice is heeded by MS and he develops as a captain. Play attacking cricket MS, not just with bat .. attack when you should like a brave captain. Mahela is awesome as a captain. Study him. You might not have Mahela's bowling resources. But again like 15 months back, you don't have No.1 position to save. Your back is to the wall, be it in India or outside come out all guns blazing and give that strategy a try. Sometimes a bowler will flourish when you talk with him about his plans and not just throw them in the deep end. They are a young lot, talk with them Jigar wala bano bhai.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 19:24 GMT)

@S_Pras makes a very good point..Dhoni has his favorites but within that bunch also,he just sticks to certain players even if they fail consistently.He has no flexibility at all..one must back the players but should not be stubborn as well.Jadeja after playing so many matches finally scores a quick 50 and he becomes an 'all-rounder'.The problem is since he's too caught up on T20&ODIs, picks test players also based on performances in those formats.

Rohit,Rahane,Tiwary,Mukund & Badrinath are proper test players and guess what 3 of them have not even debuted yet!! Instead he picked T20 specialists Vijay & Raina who have not been part of test side after a string of failures.That tells us something about Dhoni's priorities and this is where Sharda's point about his core interest not being tests- has touched a nerve among some Dhoni fan-boys.

Posted by expert_predator on (January 17, 2013, 19:21 GMT)

(2/2) on the other hand lack of resources in India made it difficult for Dhoni to replace lousy players from the team . For example Rahane is the only alternative for the opening problem. Other than him, the entire Ranji circle is a joke. So no one can make excuse that he doesn't make changes. Face it players are much more responsible for team's loss or win. Like in a office we have a manager who mages resources. He can marshal the troops but cannot enhance the competency. Similar is with Dhoni. FACE IT, ACCEPT IT, make a tablet of it and swallow it with water ' Dhoni is the best captain of all generations, given a team filled with worthy players, he will definitely rule.

Posted by expert_predator on (January 17, 2013, 19:14 GMT)

people start hooting for retirement when players don't perform or for the current matter removal of test captaincy. Similarly is the case for this article, after which the writer should retire. Gambhir not playing a single worthy innings for more than 2 yrs. Sehwag remained the same pain for the team, legendary middle order first gone out of form and then they retired, bowling became worst from bad and its Captain's fault that the team is not doing well. Dhoni's average too is not good but as a number 7 batsman, he is doing fine. Sehwag being the captain of the team is the funniest joke one can ever crack as he is the best who doesn't bother about building innings. Gambhir is no match to Dhoni, look at his confidence. A slumboy facing camera for the first time will show more confidence than him. And for god sake give Virat some space. Sometimes its better for the team if you allow player to remain in their comfort zone. Why burden him with captaincy. (1/2)

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Article contains too many street-level generalizations not expected from an expert. For instance, what does "A captain is only as good as his team" mean? When a team wins you give credit to the team and when it loses, you penalize the captain? It is captains job to translate Team's potential into results and it is under Dhoni's captaincy that the team's potential has been translated into maximum results. Another poor generalization-" talk about "too early" for Virat Kohli or "too late" for Virender Sehwag is mere dithering. We won't know about either option until we try him." Are players given trial runs for captaincy role? Not at all. Most often, a player gets only one stretch as a captain failing which he never gets the role again. And there are opportunities to judge leadership potential without trial-and-error in live games!! Dhoni does have improvement areas, as pointed out by Dravid, but this article doesn't make such quality observation and author seems to be out of mind.

Posted by S_Pras on (January 17, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

I dont buy the argument from Dravid that Dhoni is the best man to lead India in tests(if he can find his mojo back). He is currently not even the best wicket keeper in the country and given his recent performances in tests, I dont think he deserves a place in the side even. Dhoni has had enough opportunities in the recent past to dig up whatever enthusiasm he had test cricket. But nothing worthwhile has come up from his captaincy.Dhoni built his reputation initially on a fantastic middle order he had and some bowlers at their peak(Zaheer for example). But he has neither shown he can lead competently without those stalwarts nor has he placed enough faith in the newcomers. He seems to be someone who is just happy to stick with a picked set of players that he is comfortable with rather than try something new. His defensive fields in the series against England(home & away) did not provide any confidence to his bowlers. I strongly believe he needs to give up captaincy in tests right now.

Posted by Dagur on (January 17, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

An article with a lot of insight. It was evident from the very beginning that Dhoni did not have the mindset for the longer version of the game. His game and mindset is most suitable for the 50 over game and it is here that he is most successful both as a captain as well as a player. His T-20 success in the inaugural world T-20 was more of a fluke and the success of CSK in IPL is also more due to the kind of players CSK hired (sometimes due to the clout of BCCI & CSK chief) and also partly due to the support staff. Dhoni has utterly failed to earn the faith and respect of the seniors in the team. Though, the new comers will do whatever it takes to keep their place in the team, whoever is the captain, it is the overall spirit in the team which makes it a combination what it is. Looking to the status, seniority and the natural leadership qualities, Virender Sehwag is best suited for the job in the Test arena and the T-20 captaincy should go to Raina.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (January 17, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

One of the rarer pieces of writing from Sharda that I actually liked! Well researched and very well articulated. The anger tempered with objectivity came out very well. It is a very fair suggestion to say Dhoni should think of giving up Test captaincy, especially if he doesn't even enjoy the format as a player. It's another matter that he wouldn't deserve a spot in the Test team as a player. We are better off with a fresh Dhoni in the shorter formats. There's no denying that he is one of the most destructive batsmen in the shorter formats today. And captaining the shorter formats is all about instinctive reactions to the situation than careful thought, strategy, execution and marshaling of resources. Try Kohli - who knows...may be a Grame Smith in the waiting

Posted by cricktexpert on (January 17, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

dhoni should only play T20's........cuz he is not a complete batsman....he is not even a good wicket keeper.....please spare us the agony of his batting and keeping in tests and odi's.....

Posted by UglyIndian on (January 17, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

@Cpt. Meanster - I don't think anyone has elected you as the voice of 'Asian people/fan'. I doubt if you're even qualified to represent the opinions of your own home unaninously, leave alone those of an entire continent. Henceforth, please represent your opinions and wishes as your own. Don't insult other people's intelligence please.

Ohh, and if you don't want a colonial game, why exactly do you watch it (I doubt if you're any good at playing it)? I have to say, your comments are a bit like stereotypical bollywood films...poor content, poor editing and make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Posted by yoogi on (January 17, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

Dhonis workload must be managed. He is unlikely to miss captaining chennai.Best thing will be to rest him for T20s and odd ODI seires. But his preference is always to rest for Test matches. So it is better we shift the TEST captaincy to someone. It is as simple as that, it doesnt mean Dhoni has become incompetent, If Bailey can come into a side as captain, why not Pujara? Also I dont see any problem with kholi leading the side as well. Though his place will be questioned soon if his form doesnt change for good.

Posted by LovedFansofIndianCricket on (January 17, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Yes, In test Cricket he should step down or he should take break minimum one year. There are so much load on him. Make Gambir as test captain. Some people argue that his is not in the form. But he is such a good captain and he also needs break and try others like Shikar Davan in T20. Make Raina to captain for T20 as well as Dhoni's CSK. But please do not captain Virat Kohli. He is good batman and make him Vice Captain for three format. He is like Sachin and Dravid. They are good vice Captains and Batsmans but not became good captains. Try bowler like Binny, Sidarth Trivedi in T20. We shold make team for next world cup.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

I have been a big admirer of Sharda till date. But I disagree with her today. I have been following cricket since 1969 and am disappointed to read Sharada's comments in her latest article. She seems to have ignored or forgotten to ignore that India is now sans its "fab four" and test cricket is a new phenomenon to the younger generation of today.

Don't crucify Dhoni so freely. He has to deal with a Gambhir who is in miserable form, Sehwag who has been dropped, no Laxman, no Tendulkar, no Dravid! An ageing Zaheer!

Come on Sharada!

Posted by vibh007 on (January 17, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

The same logic can be applied to others - Ganguly offered easy singles to Katich in Sydney 2004, Sachin played IPL and "rested" during West Indies tour, Sehwag was no different. It all comes up in bad times. The logic in the article is badly crafted. What can I say about the article which is not even edited properly - it refers Durban to 2010-11 whereas it means Cape Town. Sorry, it was a bad one.

Posted by Nampally on (January 17, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

@cricketsunami: "Captain is only as good as his team" means that the Captain cannot win if he picks or is given a weak XI. Dhoni had the choice to pick the best in his poorly chosen squad. But why did he drop the best batsman Pujara from XI? "Accomodate" the guy who at his best form right now. That is one example. Secondly why pick Ishant who is so expensive. Even Raina + Yuvraj together can bowl 10 overs more economically than Ishant. So obvious thing is to replace Ishant with Pujara - A Win/Win situation. Why didn't the Captain Dhoni make this common sense change? @AMAZINGFAN: I am not the Selector of the Indian team. My choice candidate is C.Pujara, even if with limited experience - Dhoni had NONE. CP is young & the best batsman in India NOW. His entry into Indian team was long overdue but he came in with vengeance with an awesome average of 87 in 4 Tests vs. England. He captained India A in recent times & India U-19 & showed his batting will not be affected by Captaincy duties.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

@TequillaGuy Couldnt have put it better buddy! Absolutely right about defensive tactics.Even when winning,he got away with awful tactics.He single-handedly cost us the first series win in SA by adopting atrocious fields in 3rd test when we were on top.Sid Monga wrote an excellent piece too.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 17, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

Cpt.Meanster: here we are again;-) I always find your comments entertaining & often resembling a wavy line. There are days (as in Days' Cricket) when you show a real passion for the old, worn-out-damned-imperial business of TC. Occasionally, there are flashes of insight & thoughtful comments - all of which lead me to believe that you do actually have a sneaking regard for the authentic game from which the adolescent children have sprung. Now, tell me pls, as I know little of India but am always anxious to learn, are parents & g'parents generally respected as being souces of wisdom & experience? Should that be the case, then their passing should be mourned. Would you, money no object, pay for them to live on happily? See TC as the father & mother of all that you enjoy, treat them with reverence & learn from them. India needs TC more than you know because TC gives sober guidance & a sense of history, without which we are all lost. There can be no good t20 without TC; one feeds the other.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

@himohan your argument is idiotic because I talked about test matches..so your ODI figures are a time waste.Also Dhoni had match winners too and that's precisely why he won in the first place.Ganguly fyi won with rookies and start ups by drive & passion,NOT with established stars like MSD had..So don't give me this pathetic argument..

Posted by dailycric on (January 17, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sharda! Finally, someone in the mainstream media who is willing to tell it like it is. @Raj Sundararaman: mediocre bowling resources are all very well - but there is no rule in cricket that you can't have 5 bowlers. Our formulaic adherence to four is a reflective of Dhoni's uber-defensive mentality, and his knowledge that he will be exposed as a Test batsman at 6. The only team in the past decade that has consistently done well with 4 bowlers over a period of time is Australia - and that was when 3 of them were McGrath, Warne and Lee, and the fourth, often, Gillespie. Even SA's stellar attack requires Kallis as a fifth-bowler to back it up. Yuvraj could have been used as a fifth bowler in the recent series - he got 5 in the warm-up game - but was given 11 overs in 3 Tests, even when Cook was piling on the runs, and KP, Yuvi's bunny, was going on rampage in Mumbai. Enough is enough. Make Kohli captain, Pujara the deputy - at least there will be freshness

Posted by bilalshak on (January 17, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

If you remember, Virendra Sehwag captained the team in the 4th test against Australia.But the result was the same. So, it is not Dhoni's fault, we don't have the quality players to win us the test match on a regular basis. The selectors are also not doing well, they are giving opportunity to one-day palyers in test, and vice-versa. If you see, Rohit's and Rahane's List A average is mid 30 and yet they are getting opportunity in ODIs not the test and Raina and Yuvraj, who are ODI Player are getting chances in test cricket.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 17, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

@Hammond: Partner, I ain't sure whether you are an Aussie or an English or a Saffer BUT for once I agree with your comment whole heartedly. We Asian fans DO NOT need a boring and lousy colonial sport. This is the 21st century and Indians need a quick and breezy sport with immediate results and entertainment. ONLY ODIs and T20s provide that. Test cricket, though oldest in its inception is one for the British and their "loyal" subjects in Australia and SA. India doesn't need it. So you are right, Asian teams don't need test cricket. On the same note, leave limited overs cricket to Asian teams. Cause we play it better than your teams. England has never won a single world cup, SA chokes in ALL world cups, the present Aussie team doesn't have the quality or vigour of the earlier teams. Compare that to the records of Asian teams, 4 winners have come from Asian teams, many semi finalists etc. So let's stick to our preferred formats and the cricket world will be better off.

Posted by shrinivasparab on (January 17, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

To sack him,he's not a good leader,bad decision maker,not having a good test batting record is your opinion and i am fine with it. Everyone has a right to have an opinion but what i am not fine with is "Please do not question his integrity." If the man was so uninterested ( as you have inferred from his various statements though i really doubt the authenticity of the remark he made to his domestic & A-team peers) why he would still continue to play test format? As you have said in the beginning of your article "The reasons passionately cited for retaining MSD as India captain in all formats are several" i would say this several reasons are enough for him to leave test captaincy(if he's so unintrested) on a HIGH note.When India went 1-2 in Kolkata against England he gave 2 reasons on y he thinks he shouldn't resign, you have told us 1 f the resaon the other reason he said was that "at this tym to leave captaincy is the easiest way out" from this i infer his honesty towards tests!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 17, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

Some English and Pakistani fans here DO NOT know ANYTHING about the intricacies of Indian cricket. YET, they hop into an Indian article and vehemently talk rubbish about the Indian game. You see, India is NOT England or Pakistan. India is UNIQUE. Indians are generally an emotional people and they take emotional decisions. It's not the perfect way to handle situations in life but sometimes it ain't the worst either. Dhoni indeed is a WORLD CUP winning captain. He's a HERO to billions of people across India. So there is some affection attached to his case. I can only think that as a reason for retaining him in test cricket as captain. Speaking of test cricket, not many people in India care about the format. Test cricket is long, boring and plainly SILLY. It's a dead format according to many Indians and doesn't really incite any interest. My suggestion to India is to come clear with regards to test cricket. If they respect the format, they need to play more of it. Otherwise, play NONE.

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (January 17, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

@Nampally,so can u pls suggest the player who can captain indian test team at the moment....is it kohli(ove-rated) or is it gambhir(out of form for years) or is it sehwag(who is in the team because of his past laurels)....if ind became no.1 in test ranking because of good team then why u put blame only on dhoni when the same team lose....dhoni persisted with yuvraj ahead of wc eventhough most of them criticized his decision but what happened next,yuvraj was man of series and media went ga ga over him....u r like just another indian fan who put blame on single person when whole team isn't performing.....cricinfo pls publish.........

Posted by PPD123 on (January 17, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

How things change - April 2011, he was the toast of the nation- all and sundry were hailing him as the best captain India ever had. 18 months later, things have come to this. India's biggest problem in tests is lack of wkt taking bowlers. No captain will be able to manage consistently good results with this stock of bowlers. I completely agree with Dravid that Dhoni should continue through this stage of transition in Indian cricket. If Kohli is the future, let him develop under Dhoni for the time being. I also disagree a bit with Sharda, when she says that India anyways cant product any worst result than what they have been doing recently, so why not hand over the captaincy to Kohli, well I dont think Kohli has the mentality/maturity to handle this level of failure as a captain, can you imagine the scars that he will have to deal with if he looses 10 of 12 tests as captain, it will greatly impact him as a player & we may lose his batting as well. Maintain status quo for the time being.

Posted by NairUSA on (January 17, 2013, 15:47 GMT)

A good assessment by Sharda on Dhoni's preference based on his past quotes and opinions. What somebody says aloud over a period of time is definitely reflective of their true intent. From that perspective, Dhoni does not come out as a passionate advocate of test cricket. There could be several reasons for Dhoni to prefer the shorter format. His temperament could be one of them. However, it also need to be noted that T20s and ODIs offer the greatest financial rewards to its practictioners. We should not be surprised if Dhoni believes that he has already established his legacy in Indian cricket and is in the process of rounding up his post-career interests. The time is ripe for a new Captain to take reins even if an obvious choice does not exist. Indian team need to go forward, not stay nonplussed at the crossroads.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 17, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

@ Nampally, :if" captain is as good as the team" and you cant give credit to Dhoni for team's successes then why it is not true in case of teams losses? Why Dhoni is to be blamed when team is not doing good? Blame the team. Talking of hypocrisy at its best.

Posted by Nampally on (January 17, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

contd: India has a lot of talented Cricketers.What India needs during this developing phase is a Captain who is open minded & is willing to accomodate talented player based on his Form, Fitness & current performance. This Captain must have good understanding of Cricket & of the "Human" aspects, e.g., benching a young guy 10 times in a row destroys his Mojo!.When a player is in top form he needs to be in XI before any other guy because he has confidence to succeed.One example, Dhoni dropped Pujara (from ODI XI) who is at his best form of his life & better batsman than any in the Indian batting line up. He could have easily "accomodated" him by dropping one seamer like Ishant & making Raina + Yuvraj, the 5th bowler.This is flexibility & empathy. As for the future captains, Kohli is too immature & short tempered despite Gavaskar & Dravid's backing.He is also not 100% sure of his spot in XI, yet.I see in Pujara & Tiwary, the best Test Captaincy candidates -benched by MSD from Test/ODI XI!

Posted by VickGower on (January 17, 2013, 15:41 GMT)

So I just checked the batting performances in Test cricket of some Indian players. As I see it (feel free to correct me if I got this wrong) in 2012, these were the averages:

Sehwag: 31.56; Gambhir: 31.60; Tendulkar: 23.80; Dhoni: 40.63.

And on top of this while the first three were lumbering around the field at 1mph letting the opposition batsmen convert 2s into 3s and 3s into 4s, aside from being a better batsman, Dhoni was keeping superbly. Hardly missing any run outs, stumpings, catches.

Does it make any sense to gut the one good thing going for India? I mean I read these articles and shake my head at the self-destructive tendencies of the Indian press corps.

Posted by ProdigyA on (January 17, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

Its funny that people keep talking about Dhoni taking India to No 1 in Tests, WC etc etc.. But when it comes to loses, people say what can a captain do if the players are not good enough to score 500+ or take 20 wickets. In both the cases Dhoni as captain needs be given credit and also be blamed. Finally guys, after so much humiliation what else can go wrong, whats the worst that could happen. At least we'd be happy that we tried something different. Expecting a different result with the same idea over and over again inspite of repeated failures, its plain stupid. I agree with Sharda that if Sehwag finds a place in the XI then just make him the captain.

Posted by backwardpoint on (January 17, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

The sad truth in India currently is that BCCI refuses to have tests as a priority. the test team doesnt have the skills to play the long format and most are in the team because there is no other go or reasons not to include people [manoj tiwary, subramaniam badrinath, w saha and a lot more] Even Pujara was drafted as an after-thought. Raina and Yuvraj are given more importance and higher priority than Ajinkya. Heck, even R Jadeja gets his place ahead of Ajinkya. And the biggest failure of all - the audience and the spectators atleast in India [the ones I speak to] currently are either too tired or too young to really appreciate test cricket and prefer something which is not so boring and thereby and therefore follow the hit and giggle format more closely. this is not to blame anyone - but personally, I would say the sooner they send Dhoni out of the test team, we can get to have a better team. We have only 11 people that can play - and he doesnt deserve to play tests. I rest my case.

Posted by Nampally on (January 17, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

Sharda, The Heading of this article says it all. You rightly mention that the Captain is only as good as the Team. So Dhoni did not raise India to World #1 Test status + Winning the World Cup in ODI, by his captaincy. But the team was so good that despite Dhoni's lack lustre coolness, India won it all. On the other hand Kirsten did far more than any other guy in keeping this team united & playing with intensity. The minute Mr. Kirten left the wheels fell apart - team broken into 2 camps & totally lacking in intensity. This is reflected by washouts in 2 test series abroad & getting beaten at home by England, 3-1. India lost all ODI series to England, Australia abroad & Pakistan at home. The sad part about this is Dhoni kept young talent developing into "Stars"-Rahane, Tiwary & now Pujara have been benched consistently unjustifiably. Kohli & Yadev are the only new guys, albeit far from being stars.Dhoni is like a "Banyan tree under which Nothing Grows".Does India need such a skipper?

Posted by VickGower on (January 17, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

The article makes no sense. For a person playing as long and as much as Dhoni has, you could pick 3/4 statements, 3/4 events, and make ANY sort of case for/against him. It's not high intellect to do that, it's a low blow, and pointless. Rather you have to look at the larger picture. This is a captain who does not have ONE functioning unit. NOT ONE. Aside from Pujara, every single top/middle order batsman failed. There isn't a SINGLE Indian bowler who was given to Dhoni who would make it to the first 11 of any team (maybe you could pay Bangladesh/SL to take one or two). So you got gutter batting, gutter bowling, gutter fielding with slow mules all over the place. And you want Dhoni's head for that?? The only thing world class in this team of late 2011/2012 was the wicketkeeping, that's it. Instead of berating Gambhir/Sehwag/Sachin for not doing the ONLY thing they do in this team, we are going after Dhoni who at least performs his primary function superbly. How sensible is that?

Posted by ProdigyA on (January 17, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

A timely article and very valid points made there. If people have noticed, Dhoni likes to win or lose within 4 days. There are many occasions under his captaincy that not only we lost but we lost BIG. Just goes to show he is NOT interested in Test cricket. We have had enough humiliation under him. Im not expecting miracles the minute we change him. But at least we tried. Its high time to drop him all together from Tests (not just as a captain).

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 15:14 GMT)

Sharda Ugra, Can I be blunt? Who are you to judge whether Dhoni cares for test cricket or not? You can question many of his captaincy decisions in test cricket. You can, if you want to be harsh, even say that he goofed on many an occasion.

His early successes were in the short format/s. It is obvious (if you remove your colored glasses) that Dhoni extrapolated his learnings from the short formats to test cricket. In many cases, it just didn't work. Every one learns from one's experiences. Now, give him a good team, he will show results.

The only major fault, which he still carries is his sticking to his prior notions about specific players, despite changes in their skills and/or form. Otherwise, he is the best person to handle the tough transition to a new Indian test team for the future.

Captaincy capabilities of none of the other candidtes comes anywhere close to Dhoni's. So, please stop this Dhoni baiting. P.S. Yes, Dhoni has to find ways to drastically reduce his workload

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

The only way for Indian team to improve in Test cricket is to have Sehwag made captain. He should play @number 4.

Rahane to open with Sachin@ number 6 to counter the second new ball.

Get rid of Ishant "iron leg" Sharma and develop Umesh bring back Sreesanth with a last warning.

Irfan Pathan to be managed well.

With Kohli @5 Pujara @3 and Kohli to be groomed a captain, none can stop India again. Will become competent overseas and invincible again @home. For Two years, this must be the mantra.

Dhoni should retire from tests and should be kept odi captain

PS: if anyone have doubts regarding Sehwag's form, feel free to have him non playing captain and India is red card and playing with only 10 men. But he is the only rescue in this hour

Posted by Last_ride on (January 17, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

Completely agree with Hammond. Theres only one problem with that.Because even then it would be one-sided as Sa will Demolish Both England and Australia.

Posted by crindex on (January 17, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

Test matches ? in a few years it will be history. New crop of players are not made for that kind of rigor. Only Aussies, English are favoring that format to highlight their old glory. Its the BCCI which decides the future of Cricket with its money and hence political power and it the BCCI which wants Dhoni as the captain of the dying test match format. No one in their right mind would touch it with a 20 feet pole. Not Sehwag and certainly not Kohli. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Posted by xrocks on (January 17, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

Change in test captaincy is the need of the hour after such a poor last 2 years.A change in wk too is needed.We can argue that we don't have a replacement etc. but who thought Dhoni would captain India even after the end of WC 2007.He never showed any leadership qualities before being appointed as captain. I don't even remember him speaking with the bowlers or giving any ideas.So we will never know about someone's leadership unless given a chance.Even Nz have gone for a leadership change even though they are very poor in test cricket for more than 5 years.So Dhoni should be sacked but none of the selectors would like themselves to be in Jimmy's position.

Posted by moscowman on (January 17, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

In this lot of players,pray,who is better equipped to lead India at this juncture? No one has performed well,except Dhoni. Pujara is yet to prove that he is a regular forxce to reckon with. He is no Wal l or the Rock,as he is touted as. Ajinkya has flattered to decive. Gambir is himself to prove his place. Kohli is too young for this post. So, it is better to continue with the present captain. SAnd, for heaven's sake,don't lift any flash in the pan performers sky high only to fall back with thud. Let new guys prove by consistent performances. I still feel dropp[ing Sehwag was wrong and the move was more political thanneeded. a

Posted by Naikan on (January 17, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Thankyou for bringing this issue to the fore. While Dhoni deserves credit for the successes in the shorter formats, he was getting undue credit for the status of test number 1 team which like test cricket is a long drawn process that started well before his time. (I wish you had elaborated more on that). The longer formats need a logical / analytical approach which Dhoni himself has indicated as not his forte. With logic, one could find a way to get past even Bradman's team like Jardine did in the "bodyline" series. So I do not agree that India does not possess the players to shine in test cricket. Given the right Captain we can do much better. My preference is for Sehwag or Gambhir. It is time the BCCI president stops feeling obligated for Dhoni's IPL, one day & T20 performances and coaxes a change in the test team. It is important for Cricket that India does well in Test cricket to win back waning public support, else few years down the line Cricket would go the way of Hockey

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (January 17, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

I think the article is heavily short-sighted and very opportunistic, to say the least. MSD was never handed test captaincy because he was a great leader and 'strategical mastermind' in the longer format. His captaincy had the exact same flaws even when India ascended to the top test spot. If his 'lack of interest' (be it a private sentiment of his) and inability to be an excellent test match captain are the reasons for his sacking, then he should never have been captain in the first place. Defensive is the way he always went about. This is in no way a defense of MSD, but a tribute to the gone 'golden generation' of Indian cricket that helped us win tests abroad despite passable bowling attacks and poor captaincy. It is hard to expect any captain, to produce results way above the caliber of his side. Maybe a better captain (whom we do not have currently) might reduce the margins of defeat, but cannot take 20 wickets and score 500 all by himself. Let's be balanced plz!!!!

Posted by jwayong on (January 17, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

It will be interesting if India win the home series against Australia in Feb. What are you going to write? this article has a lot of gamble! makes you look so wrong if India win!

I don't think the biggest ego in the team is Dhoni. India's most senior player should retire (you know who) and give someone else a chance to try and shine and also drop the openers, try someone new! At least Dhoni has the guts to promote himself to 6 and score 99 on the last test. A lot of good young batsman's career is ruined by some top order egos! Rahane, M Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, these players deserve a chance to have a test debut!

Dhoni shouldn't resign before the senior players step down or dropped!

Posted by concerned_cricketer on (January 17, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

I don't see any of the current Indian players other than Tendulkar and Sehwag as Test material. How can you say Kohli is test material. He has not shown enough to justify such a tag. Sehwag has shown that he can win us tests but I can visualise what part of his personality might be suited for captaincy of any sort. Gambhir has the mind of a captain but is out form that he cannot be considered as test material.

Considering all this India should forget about tests for a while in the sense that we must stop expecting to win or draw tests. Let's concentrate on building our future team and give them time to mature into test material and then start expecting to win. Why the big hurry? Let our new finds in bowling Bhuvaeshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed develop into test bowlers by playing ranji trophy and ODI cricket. Let's wait for yadav to get fit. Let's give Sreesanth a re-look and allow Ishanth to also get back into peak form.

Posted by Detectiveagent on (January 17, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

Is there not the potential to take the responsibility of the gloves away from him in the Test arena freeing him from that burden so that he can be free to play as a Batsman higher up the order and continue as Captain if there is not alternative cadidate. Dhoni has shown his ability as a Test batsmen by digging in and batting time, in the recent ODI's he has started with a slow strike rate showing the correct mindset for a top order Test batsmen and then progressing somewhat devastatingly. One shame is he bats too low in the order, taking responsibility possibly protecting the tail possibly, however, I am not sure we are seeing his full potential down the order, I would like to see him take the attack to Australia batting in the top 5 of the order having handed the responsibility of the gloves to a specialist keeper.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

@Hammond That is also harsh stmt dude. Being Eng fan how did u forgot UAE. Also once politics problem is solved in India due to ego created by IPL. India will be back to wining in Test also. What did Eng amazingly to make Test cricket No 1 sport in Eng. It is always only 2 to EPL. That also shows there are no genuine Eng XI in Test team. You always imported from SA.

Imagine if ICC bans SA due to politics that happed before then only Aus will be left for u to import. That importing form ur only enemy team. How embarrassing it would be. Think before u wish.

Posted by RaghuSharmaYammanur on (January 17, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

Dhoni had lost the 'edge' in captaincy some time ago - I was in the Cape Town Test Match in 2010 December when India had South Africa at 125 for 6 in their second innings with an injured Jaques Kallis at bat. Harbhajan was doing well until then, and Kallis was reverse sweeping to show aggression and get harbhajan to bowl flat and he obliged!! Dhoni should have attacked more then, but he did not he went defensive, Harbhajan had no guts to flight the ball and lure Kallis into aking a mistake, and that defensive approach has continued as Sharda Ugra cites. Dhoni has also lost his objectivity - everybody knows Harbhajan is his best friend, and just to bring Harbhajan back into the team Dhoni asked for 'rank turners' in the home series against England and lost that gamble heavily. Further he went on to argue with the selectors and kept Harbhajan for the third test also, and again lost. All signs of captain whose use by date is in the past.

Posted by ut4me87 on (January 17, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

Dhoni is now in a situation that whenever he is captaining India is losing. What we need to stop the rot is a change of captaincy which is obvious. In tests, drop Dhoni and replace him with Saha. Make Sehwag the captain. May be a good idea to drop Kohli who is a bit out of form for couple of matches and ask Rahane to open the innings thus allowing Sehwag to bat in the middle order. India also needs a hands on captain like Ganguly - not a cool guy, who is helped on the field by a good vice-captain like Dravid.

Posted by RupangMistry on (January 17, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

i would just think, do we have any one better than dhoni at all as far as captaincy is concern!!!!

Posted by Ajeetdarda on (January 17, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

Completely agree with the article, in fact dhoni should be removed from captaincy from all the 3 formats and as a player he should be sacked from at least Test and T -20. T 20 and ODI captaincy cane be given immediately to kohli and for Test series against Australia Harbhajan can come in place of Ashwin and can captain the isde as well. If this doesn't work out then the captaincy could be given to Kohli or in fact to a debutant like Ashok Menaria. If this works out and harbhajan performs as a bowler as well then he can lead for next 1 yr or so and then somebody else including Kohli can take the responsibility. By that time kohli's captaincy will also be tested and we can find a long term captain. Any one who remember any significant inning of dhoni in T 20 or test deserves a gift. In ODI it is difficult to argue against his stats but still he is not a great ODI batsmen as the media and expert say. Last yr CB series match against Aus and SL r prime eg & he snatched tie frm win agst SL.

Posted by kafkafka on (January 17, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

IThe problem is not Dhoni's Test captaincy, it's his contribution as a player in Tests. His so called negative tactics are the ones that have worked for him in the past.

Whenever an opposition has taken the attack to us, he is quick to defend because he realizes that we have a tendency to leak too many runs when that happens. He goes on the defensive, gives one bowler the task of blocking one end instead of attacking (Ishant/Harbhajan/Ojha), and the moment he senses desperation, he brings his best bowler on (the old Zaheer) to take a wicket and it always worked.

However, Dhoni, the Test player, used to apply himself but not anymore (His fighting 90 against SA almost saved the 1st Test against SA in 2010). His figures post WC speak for themselves.

We managed the No. 1 Test ranking and the World Cup with ONE strike bowler in the team, that's how well Dhoni managed our bowling attack. My verdict: Drop Dhoni from the Test team altogether, but if he's there then he must be Captain.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

@doors666: I always felt the other way Indian fans doest deserve Dhoni's Captaincy that yield 2 WC,CB Cup,Asia Cup,Test No.1,No.2 in all formats. That to of late only esp due to north indian fans. You pointed Dhoni is performing good but in hatred manner not as giving due credit. That shows ur arrogance. Pujara is not in the team because Gambir is irreplaceable n Rahane is Mumbai replacement of Rohit Sharma.

Posted by T-800 on (January 17, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Test Cricket is on its death bed, despite the fact that it pleases the purists. So if Dhoni is to replaced for ignoring test cricket, what must be considered is that future Indian captains too are unlikely to be radically different. IPL today is commercially speaking the single most important component for the BCCI. Like it or not, T20 is soon going to be the predominant form of cricket. Performance of teams like Bangladesh and Ireland show that more and more international teams are going to be joining the T20 form of cricket. Future captains whoever they might be must have the ability to lead strongly in T20s. Everything else, cricketing wise is optional

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

Al those doubt 1. Kholi's temperament in Test 2.Dhoni's commitment in Test (esp field placing) 3.Indian Test Pitches.

Have not watch single live ball being bowled either in TV or in Stadium.They either watch highlights or just read cricinfo report or article. Pls be honest because for the reason

1.Kholi is passionate what ever form he plays because only on live match u see his regret after being out in all formats n situations.

2. a)Dhoni doest place close fielders in Test because which one was ready to pad forward shortleg and cillypoint( don't know exact position name that is near to bastman when spinners are on) among Shewag,Gambir,Sachin,Dravid,Lakshman. So he had no one to support Dhoni. Because in a recent test series agst Eng forward short leg was immediately removed when Puraja got hurt. That means no one wanted to risk it or support Dhoni.

3.Almost all recent match yield result. Also Dhoni voiced for Sporting pitch to curators(Also it was claimed as sin acc to fans)

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

@crindex: Certainly u are wrong dude. If u say giving Captaincy to Kholi while in poor form may yield to loose Kholi as Batsman. Because when Clarke was made as captain when OZ was in trouble the OZ fans said it was a joke decision by ACB. But what happend after that was history. Not only he made team to win but also his batting improved amazingly.He took inspiration of responsibility. Might aslo work with Kholi.

Posted by bobmartin on (January 17, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

A few more thjings regarding Dhoni... Firstly, the buck always stops with the captain. He's the boss and if his workers are not doing their job properly, then they need chivvying up or replacing. Either way, it's his responsibility. Secondly, on the field great captains make things happen. Poor captains wait for them to happen. That's why Dhoni will never be regarded as a great captain, except by those who think he can do no wrong. There are also those who confuse his prowess in the limited over game with that in test matches. Yes, admittedly he is a top notch limited over player, period. I've already mentioned his test captaincy, but as a batsman/wicketkeeper he is no better than average and would certainly not rate a place in either an England, Sth African, or Australian test side.

Posted by Hammond on (January 17, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

Test cricket doesn't need any sub-continental teams. Let Australia, England & South Africa play regularly, they are the only ones good enough to make the proper game a spectacle for the fans anyway. The rest can be exotic day trippers. Let's take it back to where it all began.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (January 17, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

There is one aspect of Test captaincy where Dhoni stands head and shoulders above anyone else: facilitating an opposition declaration.

Posted by doors666 on (January 17, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Dhoni needs to go. His captaincy is stinking in all the formats of the game. I dont care how many runs he scores or how well he keeps, he needs to go as a captain. He is making atrocious decisions. He's also playing favourites in team selection also. After the england series, why ojha is not being picked up instead of ashwin, because ashwin is not a part of csk. Ashwin is bowling badly, he never gets axed, other bowlers get shuffled around ishant/dinda/shami etc. He wont select pujara also.

If we can handover the test captaincy to sehwag, we can also give the ODI captaincy to kohli and T20 to yuvraj/raina.

We dont owe anything to dhoni. He might have won world cups, other series but we dont owe him anything. It should be clear to him that if he stops performing, he has to go. Just like any other player, like sehwag was dropped, even dhoni can be dropped from captaincy as he's stopped performing as a captain.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 17, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

@StaalBurgher: India leveled the test series 1-1 in South Africa in Dec 2010 to maintain it's No. 1 test ranking.If SA had defeated India in that series they would have become the no. 1 side at that time.And mind you India played exceptionally well to level that series against a full fledged SA side. India's reason for continuous loss are - transition period/poor batting form/and poor head coach.

Posted by crindex on (January 17, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Indian pitches are moving away from test match quality pitches. India's future cricket players are prepared and physically fit for shorter formats and since longer formats requires maturity and endurance there are not many out there in the new crop of cricketers in India who are willing to endure that punishment ( Exeption : Pujara ) . There are not many in the shorter format at present in Indian team who are willing to do the transition (example: Yuvraj Singh). Kohli's game is already deteriorated - perhaps due to the expectation of being a captain - imagine what will happen when he does really becomes a captain. He will be a total flop as a batsman and hence as a captain. Now what India needs is not a change in captaincy , but good batsmen who can stabilize the batting order at the top and good wicket taking bowlers. Sans these two , looking at captaincy change is like going left field.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

@CanTHeeRava You have analyzed and pointed the reason for recent victories against such a high odds that created by other players in team. True. Thaks buddy.

Posted by gargipati on (January 17, 2013, 11:20 GMT)

thoughtful article....i have always found this writer to be very knowledgeable about the game and knows her job very well. I tend to agree with the writer here, Dhoni will be the first person i would pick for an ODI, but for tests, i am not sure. Indian cricket would be served better if we replace Dhoni, it is already late.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

Ha ha I see many Dhoni bashers here. They wanted Dhoni to be saked against in Pak series itself for the loss without accounting his commitment to win each n every game he captained. In Eng ODI series also he is doing well and some one pointed his avg 83+ after WC. Now they are afraid that Dhoni might shift its momentum to win the Test series against Aus

Don't worry folks ur beloved Mum-Del players(Sachin,Shewag,Gambir,Ishant Shrma,Zak,Harbi,,Rohit Shrma(if any one injured might be selected)) wont make that happen. Ya I know their commitment as well DOUBLE SURE....lol

Posted by Arpra on (January 17, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

Any captain can only do so much with a mediocre team. When we had a decent team we were winning test matches under Dhoni's captaincy. When the experienced ones retired we started losing. Same goes for Ponting. Michael Clarke who is an obviously imaginitive captain is not able to get the results because he inherited a team which was developing. The same Dhoni when he captains Chennai Cheerleaders wins everything in sight.

Isn't this simple truth appealing to anyone anymore?

I have been hearing so much tripe about aggressive captaincy lately. You simply cannot be an aggressive captain when you have Ashwin/Ishant/Dinda bowling some horse manure every spell. Or Zaheer bowling quickish left arm spin.

Posted by magic_torch_jamie on (January 17, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

This completely misses the point. The BCCI wants to run down Test cricket as it is not as lucrative as T20 nor ODI cricket so this is not deficiency, it is policy. It is important for Test cricket that India be good at it, so if they can manage to be only about a certain standard, it can be bad enough for Test cricket without anyone being able to point a finger. Seems like some contributors to the thread have some idea though.

Posted by StaalBurgher on (January 17, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Actually India became no.1 in Tests because they did not play outside the subcontinent for over two years.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 17, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

I agree with the writer partially....actually Dhoni is not a "Test Captain Material" but having said that,nobody should question his commitments on when appearing for a national duty.He is too laid back and wait for things to happen which normally doesn't harm much in ODIs/T20 but it seriously influences the outcome of test matches. At the same time we really don't have any replacements for him in test matches as all the contenders(Read Sehwag/Gambhir) are himself not sure of their place in the team.I still believe Dhoni is the best Wicket keeper batsman India presently have in all the formats and we can't afford to lose him. The main problem for me is India's head Coach Mr. Fletcher who appears to be more technical rather than practical.I bet once replace him with Ganguly, you can see India improving considerably even under Dhoni.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

Actually a lot that is wrong with India has to do with "Captain Cool"

1stly no matter how weak the bowling, you need to keep making changes - In the field, in the bowling. No matter how bad your bowlers are, constantly being alert to Game will force lapses in concentration eventually(sourav ganguly days)

2nd you dont mess with the long term Balance of cricket team forged over 10 years!! Playing 4 spinners, and opening with them in a test match! What was captain COOL thinking???

Posted by pradip1127 on (January 17, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

Its not Dhoni's fault. BCCI not taking TEST cricket seriously. Dhoni should learn from Mr. Ganguly How to build the team. Dhoni himself is not test material. I think time has come to look who is TEST temperament and who has ODI and T20 skill. My future players who can play TEST cricket.

Kohali , Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Gambhir, A. Mukund, Baba Aparajith, Mandeep Singh, U. Chand, Jiwnjot Singh A. Nayar, Naman Oja, D. Karthik, P.Patel.A. Tare. C.Gautam,

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 17, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

Rubbish. Dhoni is accountable. period. but did you also notice what RSD said, he does not have personnel with skills to play Test cricket. YES Dhoni can pick and choose players and need to that, but wiht our selection policies, where are the next set of TEST bowlers going to come from. Spinners have dried up, fast bolwers (or so called fast) dont last long. Where is our own Dale Steyn, Jimmy or Swann? Let alone that, since Dada quit no one has staked claim for that position, Where is our own All rounder, the last one was a certain Kapil Dev. So yes Dhoni is accountable, but first lets give him personnel with skills.

Posted by jaitalreja27 on (January 17, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

I agree with the writer because captaincy should always go to a person who respects the format and has hunger for success. Dhoni is hungry only for IPL success. Post losing to England, he was commenting as to how many England players will get opportunity in this year's IPL. I think the selectors should ask Dhoni whether he wants to play test cricket or not. Regarding captaincy, throwing it to Kohli or Pujara could be considrerd

Posted by S-i-l-l-y-Point on (January 17, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

Loved the article. Whatever combination you try with playing XI...it may not work! Why? Because the man who leads the side is not sure about 'Why Test Cricket'? And Dhoni's comment on replacing senior players..."It should be a process than an event"... should be deeply investigated...why and what were his intentions... If he wants youth...We want a younger captain.

Posted by doddundi on (January 17, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

Dhoni has lost his ability to lead a test side. worst side of his captaincy was show in Eden gardens vs England,2012, ask for pitch, where cook(outsider) concentrating on his team, leading in front with century. dhoni never showed passion for test cricket. and selection board too has improve on test team selection. selectioning players for t20 team to test shows there interest (jadeja, y.u, dhoni, raina, gambir too lost his interest to play for test than playing t20 or ipl ) . we should have different team for test ..no t20 player will be playing test team. this condition improve test team more..if any doubt see cook (non-t20), clarke(in 2012-4'-200's)

Posted by BobCo on (January 17, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

Totally agree with the overall sentiment in this article. Dhoni has been and remains a massive positive in the ODI side for India, but his test captaincy, and to some degree his performances, have been no where near sufficient, yet alone inspiring, in the past couple of years, while his flippant remarks about away series have shown a real lack of appreciation of and respect for the great strides in Indian cricket have really been made (overseas performance) in the past 15 years. I like the idea of putting Sehwag down the order and trying him out as captain for a series; it would be interesting to see if any permanent responsibility would tone both his stomach(!!) and his bad strokeplay down. Put Kohli as VC and tell him he is on probation -- India don't need a test captain with as much anger and bitterness as he presently indulges in. I'd keep Dhoni in the test squad though. Hopefully, with slightly fewer responsibilities, he might find his drive and focus again.

Posted by CanTHeeRava on (January 17, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

Everyone knows why Dhoni has hung on to test captaincy. Everyone knows why some players in the Indian team get a longer rope than others. Ask the current president of the BCCI and former chairman of the selection committee both of whom incidentally have a strong interest in a local IPL franchise...oh. what have I done?

Posted by Sanjayc on (January 17, 2013, 10:07 GMT)

India is very very lucky to have Dhoni as a captain. Replacing Dhoni with Sehwag would be like replacing a suave army commander with a Delhi thulla (cop) to lead into battle.

Posted by Hardy1 on (January 17, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

10 defeats out of 12 against Australia & England are simply unacceptable & demonstrate a clear inability to compete, one which a captain simply cannot defend. However it would seem he's staying on but must be on short notice. A home defeat against Australia would have to be the end, & if that scenario doesn't take place then I wouldn't be surprised if SA away was his last series anyway.

Posted by Hardy1 on (January 17, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

India is currently in a huge transition with Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman & Dravid all having retired not too long ago & Tendulkar, Zaheer, Bhajji, Sehwag & Gambhir all due soon and/or out of form. Batting wise I think the likes of Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Badrinath, Sharma etc should make India strong over the next couple of years but bowling is the major issue.

Not one bowler would make the English, South African or Australian attacks (maybe Ojha/Ashwin for the latter two), the major players in Test cricket. Of course this is less of an issue in ODIs/T20s but huge Test defeats damage confidence & have clearly affected India's ODI & T20 performances of late too.

There's an argument for keeping MSD because of this transition & certainly he should keep the job in ODIs & probably T20s, but the defensiveness & excuses for huge, frequent defeats are too much. Saha, Parthiv & Karthik are all capable WK-batsmen & results can't get any worse with a fresh, new captain.

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (January 17, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

U spoke my mind Sharda. Dhoni's deadline for quitting Test, he said, was the end of 2013. What's wrong with now?!!??

Posted by amitgarg78 on (January 17, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

As some hv pointed out, losing isn't exactly dhoni's fault alone. The team is responsible as a collective unit. Stephen Fleming didn't hv the best resources but he is respected as a shrewd skipper. Just how many call ponting a great skipper once he lost warne and McGrath? So long as he is committed to the cause, I don't see much point in betting dhoni for tactical nous. He said this; he said that. We need to move beyond these arguments, even if what sharda says is true.

Posted by atrivedi101 on (January 17, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

People suggest make a newcomer like Kohli or Pujara the test captain. In India, seniority comes first. Do you think Pujara can order around old hands like Dhoni or Sachin or Sehwag to go here or there or do this or that? It may be possible in S Africa or Australia not in India. Sounds good on paper but not on the field. Be realistic.

Posted by dsirl on (January 17, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

"His batsmen have since denied that the pitch was far from impossible to chase on" I'm all for a double negative to slightly ambiguously refer to a positive, but a triple negative in the middle of a serious point is just confusing! I was very much enjoying the article until this threw me off and I had to spend a minute or two figuring out what it might mean...

Posted by kamran.afzal on (January 17, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

While I agree with most of the things mentioned by the writer (whom I respect because of her many other analyses), I think she's trying too hard here. If Dhoni doesn't like test cricket, that's his personal choice - doesn't make him a "lesser" cricketer. Dhoni is a great cricketer and a good captain. It's his attitude - not particularly about test cricket - that is at fault. Most of his statements are laughable at best and downright ridiculous at worst. He's been resorting to lame excuses for far too long. No wonder Ashwin is asked to face the press so often. That said, Dhoni still may be the best person to lead the Indian test team. The only other option is Kohli. He's proven through his batting that he performs well under pressure, so he may actually turn out to be a good captain in these testing times. Knowing Dhoni, he probably wants to stick to test cricket captaincy not because of endorsements or money, but because he wouldn't want to be seen as running away from a fight.

Posted by pull_shot on (January 17, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

i like chocolate more than vanilla doesn't mean i hate vanilla. that's what implies to dhoni here.this is harsh article on him.how he can attack as a captain when he got top order batsmen failing always (even middle order in most cases) especially in over seas and to go with medicore bowlers .criticizing is easy what did author know about how hard playing test cricket clearly can understand her mindset when recommending sehwag/kohli to get captaincy. sehwag now days playing for his place and kohli must score runs in SA and ENG before to say he is permanent member of the team.but main problem with dhoni is selection of 11. i don't understand giving to many chances to raina,yuvaraj,gambir,ishant,aswin even to sehwag some extent and not encouraging young players like manoj,rahane,dinda etc.he plays the almost same 11 that lost the previous match expecting them to come good which doent click always.only thing to be added to his captaincy is pro- activeness and trust young test players.

Posted by r.hariganesh on (January 17, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

Dhoni has lost his ability to lead a test side. His captaincy, Wicketkeeping and batting has failed in test cricket. India needs a fresh innovative captain who could motivate the whole team. It can be Kohli or Sehwag. Its correct that a captain is only as good as his team. But captain needs to take some calculative risks from the available resources. He cant wait for an oppurtunity instead should create an oppurtunity. Identifying the talents is not alone the selectors responsibility. A captain has got some role to play into it. If we think back its only because of Ganguly's personal pressure to include Sehwag, Bhajji into test team and Zaheer,yuvi into ODI team. All these talents turned out to be stars.

Posted by crindex on (January 17, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

I do not agree with the writer because he/she is taking a popular approach to the problem Indian Cricket is facing now instead of taking pains to dissect the problem thoroughly . We relied (and continue to rely) on experience of certain players on hand rather than talent, skill and youth all put together on the other. If you weigh past performance with present form or future potential , the later should weigh more in the minds of the selectors. Captain - as mentioned in this article - is only as good as the team that is dished out to him. Because of the dys-functionality of the senior players combined with the pedantic thinking of our selectors and BCCI alike we are failing as a team.

Posted by pdsina on (January 17, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

I think the article is quite biased. And I also believe MSD should give up test cricket all together. And to be honest India doesn't want test cricket, some old retired test cricketers only want India to be in the format. Assume a situation India quits test cricket and only play T20 and ODI, England Australia and SA will make so much Noise that India is not doing good for game , but as a country I feel nobody bothers as long as IPL and other shorter formats are there. All sky sports commentators (including Nasser Husain) will be bashing India that it will send bad precedent on the other low income cricket boards, let's see what happens. It is SA, England, Aussie who want test cricket as there heritage, India only wants money spinning and entertainment cricket, and BCCI is actually making this possible but not admitting.But there is nothing wrong in that BCCI is actually doing service to the country. I would say let's have a referendum in India for test cricket. PDSINA

Posted by moBlue on (January 17, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

sharda is absolutely right!!! test cricket is how many of us old-timers [i still open the batting playing straight against the swinging ball in a local league, mind you!] measure the success of a team, and IND has been abject of late, and dhoni clearly couldn't care less! i couldn't care less that IND are the reigning ODI world champs if they keep playing so abjectly in tests!!! dhoni needs to go. i would give the captaincy to kohli, and let him grow into it! the guy definitely has leadership qualities, most importantly, he is a fighter who hates to lose! dhoni might not even be good enough for the test team - as an ODI player, he is indeed the best! but we need to salvage some pride in the world of real cricket, played over 5 (and not one) days!!!

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 17, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

A very well written article. I have never been a fan of Dhoni's captaincy,even when India was winning.You have pointed out few of his bad decisions.I would like to add a few more, like the ones in 2 test match series against Australia and SA at home, especially against Aussies. Dhoni allowed game to drift in all the matches, sitting back after his bowlers provided early breakthroughs.If not for Laxman's brilliance in Mohali test, India would have lost the test match. Against SA,after having them 6 for 2 on the opening day, India lost the test match.SA almost salvaged a draw in the second test,again due to defensive fields set by Dhoni.To some extent,I attribute Bhajji's loss of confidence to Dhoni's mind boggling defensive fields.India should have won that series against SA in SA. After having SA staring defeat at 64-4, instead of going for the kill,Doni spread the field and let an injured Kallisl take SA to safety.India was winning tests inspte of Dhoni's captaincy, not because of it!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (January 17, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

Sharda, it is absolutely sure u will never become the favourite journalist/writer of BCCI. But, I eagerly read every word u write in your columns on Cricinfo. You are one of those rare writers who write with so much passion and parade the "Hidden Truths" before the true cricket enthusiast who cares about the overall well being of Indian cricket and not just the star names. As you have said, MSD is just a symbol of The Not-So-Subtle Shift of BCCI from Test matches to the shorter formats. He represents the taste of the current "Establishment". Indian Test cricket will never prosper with such a captain at the helm. And Cricinfo bring on more such articles.

Posted by pranay_bangalore on (January 17, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

After all the Dhoni ODI heroics recently and numerable articles praising him, cricinfo needed one to make anti-dhoni fans too happy. And here comes the article...... I don't see any reason all of a sudden to publish this ..

Posted by Jimcine on (January 17, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Is it just me or everybody is also avoiding the elephant in the room. Till the reign of Gary as our coach; we were ranked 1 in tests and won the world cup. Today he is breeding a fantastic set of champions in South Africa. Our downward spiral began with Fletcher and i really think he should make way for Sourav (Coach, not fitness instructor). We Indians have never been particularly attacking in any of our sports including cricket; we took a step forward in that regard with Sourav. We need to think about the now, not the future and its starts with the coach. I believe if someone talked to Dhoni; he might change his mind and give a more concerted effort to test cricket. On the other hand getting a new guy (with imagination and logical thinking) might help; but this should apply not only to the match situation; but also selection, training and planning. The game is not only played on the field

Posted by realfan on (January 17, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

Posted by CricIndia208 on (January 17 2013, 07:36 AM GMT)

""I am happy as long as we keep thrashing pakistan in the world cups! The only tournament that matters in cricket."""

excellent MAN... you are one of the kind... just loved it....likessssssssss...

Posted by PJheevan on (January 17, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

Why does the Editor say that Dhoni lost 16 tests. Wasn't it Team India which lost at stretch. Why the Captain alone is being poked at.? Yes, admitted the Dhoni sets defensive fields. But you don't know why.? On tracks that support pace bowling, its really a gamble to set attacking fields. You're taking a risk of injuring your batsman. It's not that Dhoni hasn't done anything wrong. Humans do err. Take for example the Nagpur test. When a team loses, the entire lot have to take responsibility. Batting collapse has been a frequent issue over the years. You know Dhoni hasn't got the best of techniques. Even in limited overs cricket he looks scratchy while negotiating the balls. But his big hits and helicopter are a beauty. You can't really ask for Dhoni to stand up and hit double tons all the time. The bowling has also been toothless. And you must accept the face that we can't set fields for our bowlers. They're not consistent. They breakdown very easily. So pls stop blaming Dhoni.

Posted by Amit_13 on (January 17, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

The answer lies in the fact that cricket, especially Indian cricket, is not played for cricketing reasons. The captain of Indian cricket and the biggest market for the game cannot be seen as endorsing one format and not the other.

The world no.1 ranking isn't something he earned. He was there when it was realised. His failures will have to be grave enough to offset the two world titles, which I don't see happening.

Something N Srinivasan suggested was having a big ticket event for test cricket, on the lines of the Lords test match or the Boxing Day test. That would bring the format back into the Indian audience and make it matter enough for his test captaincy to be seen for what it is - defensive and mostly boring.

Posted by crindo77 on (January 17, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

He doesn't care about Test cricket because his form of cricket isn't suited to it. Period. Why is that so difficult to believe? And BCCI are happy with it. Indian fans are now content to see Jadeja thrash Dernbach in Kochi; thats the new high point. VVS playing in Sydney or Durban was an aberration. We are a mediocre cricketing nation; always have, always will. And we will always win the IPL.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

Seeing one Aditya Tare batting today the talk about there not being an alternative to Dhoni falls flat. I would bring him in and make Pujara the captain. But it is not going to happen. Making Kohli the captain will be the worst thing to do at present as he cares for Test matches even less than Dhoni

Posted by realfan on (January 17, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

cont from previous

have a look a India in current situation 1) Main spinner who doesnt know which line to bowl in test match ( ASHWIN , keep bowlin at leg stumps in test match, and attacking field doesnt help that ) 2) leading bowler who bowls 5 over spell and get exhausted ( Zaheer ) 3) future prospect who doesnt even know if he is ther to take wickets or just control runs...

if you have watched the england series, dhoni had good field setting for OJAH just because he was the only wicket taker, agressor

instead of criticizing the captain , it would be better if you had written about the APPROACH of INDAIN BOWLERS and batsmen.. and coming to Captaincy... giving captaincy to Sehwag or Gambir .. remember they wont be their for long time in indian cricket if they dont perform in upcoming series... i still think dhoni is the best captain we hav got at PRESENT situaion.... and ya KOHLI,, comparing him to SMITH as if he can do captian his team at early age is a big mistake

cont.....

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (January 17, 2013, 8:01 GMT)

At last an article which gets to the root of the matter. It does not matter whether there is an alternative to Dhoni. What matters more is who is the best person keeping various goals in mind, to lead India in tests. Start from scratch, not from current situation.

Posted by pras65 on (January 17, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

I agree that Dhoni's No 1 test team was more or less the work of his predecessors but you cant take away the fact the team at that time and the present test team are hell lot different.they are new and vile.This article seems very much biased based on the reading FYI the figures that are mentioned does not hold good when you know the what's going on field.Please don't judge a cricketer so partially and take away all the merits. Yes, there is a downfall but as far as i see, only dhoni is the one performing, even in tests.Majority of runs should have been scored by the top3-4 batsmen, but if you would like to see the stats, you know very well what you'll find.so Dont blame it on Dhoni or his captaincy, please look at the figures and situation before you put any allegations

Posted by realfan on (January 17, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

i am regular reader of shrada's columns..... but cudn't agree with any of this article here......it just reflects the frustration of fan for their team got beaten up often....

talking about dhoni's captaincy and field settings, THAT captaincy was exactly the one which got India the No.1 spot in test rankings, 2 world cups....

the problem is not with the captaincy , its with the bowlers..... take a look a indian bowlers when they were on top ,,, they were attacking ( kumble at his best, harbajan probablu at his best prime, and definatly Zaheer was in his own league, and ishant was is good attacking rythm ) any captain can set good fields if you have ATTACKING bowlers

continued in next comment

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

What about Dhoni's position as a wicketkeeper in Tests. Wriddhiman Saha is a much better choice for tests. Did somebody account for the number of catches missed in England Tour. I think if Dhoni is removed from Test captaincy he should be dropped from tests too. Having said that, he is probably the best ODI batsman in the world now. But may not be the best captain outside subcontinent. Particularly with next WC in Australia India should test Pujara/ Kohli as captain. I would prefer Pujara for tests (folowing GC Smith's footsteps) and Kohli for ODI's. That way there is not too much pressure on one individual.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 17, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

That seems to me to be a comprehensive review of Dhoni's Test captaincy. Nice work, Sharda, thank you. It's an inescapable conclusion to deduce that MS has fallen out of love with TC, if he ever really embraced it in the first place, his statement in Oz last year ('Test cricket is the real cricket') not withstanding.(MS has a career in politics awaiting him because he likes to play to his audience & tell them what they'd like to hear, btw). To the crux. It lies underneath this talk of MS. What is the direction of cricket, specifically TC, in India? Does anyone know from which direction the wind blows? Who is being groomed to step up to the captaincy of the national side, or is it steady as she goes as the sails lie slack, unable to catch a passing breeze? In short, where is the ship going? To me it seems that those who direct Indian cricket are incapable of setting any sort of course. Test series come & go, & India lies stuck. Ultimately, does anyone care these days? It seems not.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

Forget Captaincy, M S Dhoni will not make the Test team in any Test-playing nation based on skills alone. There are better wicket keepers in the longer format, and there are an innumerable number of superior middle-order batsman in Ranji "Days" cricket. The only reason he holds a place in the Test team is because he happens to be India's captain. If it had been any other player in his position, he would've been sacked from playing Test cricket 5 years ago, let alone captaining the team.

He's got a great Test record because he had a team with one of the best middle-orders this millennium has seen. Otherwise he's a mediocre test captain who lacks imagination. Unlike the shorter forms of the game where Dhoni's equanimity works so well, you need to take 20 wickets to win a test match. It is here that Dhoni's weaknesses come to the fore. He's not an attacking captain. He cannot think like Dravid nor can he inspire like Ganguly.

I truly hope he quits Test cricket with immediate effect.

Posted by ansram on (January 17, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

Neither Sehwag nor Dhoni are competent to lead the side now. Ask Sehwag to shoulder some responsibility before taking on the mantle of captaincy. The guy has no commitment whatsoever to India's cause and is a walking wicket every time he goes to bat and he takes no responsibility to put a price on his wicket. TBH no Indian player is fit to be captain, wish we can have a non playing captain in Dravid or Ganguly like we have in tennis.

Posted by Jaggadaaku on (January 17, 2013, 7:45 GMT)

Mr. Cool already had become Mr. Cold a long time ago. This Mr. Cold's weaknesses have been come up in every series. He rarely talk to the bowlers about what to do or what his plan is to trap batsmen or so because there is no plan. Just bowl whenever he gives the bowling to the bowlers and try to get opposition out. That's all. Looks like in India, their fans also don't care about team's and captain's performance. On the facebook.com, there are many blind fans still say that Dhoni is the "super captain" and "Real Captain" despite team India have been losing every game and series at home and away. If anyone see Dhoni's batting, I am sure he would say that this guy has zero skill.....no ground shots.....no strong defense shots.....just cut shots and rare pull shots Mr. Cold can do. Gambhir made his last century in January 2010. It has been 3 years and 50 innings already without making single century. India has 27 local teams but they don't wanna try someone else...God only knows why!

Posted by tarun1.raman on (January 17, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

Given the status since a couple of years, a lot of decisions has been taken single-handedly by Dhoni. Be it the West Indies chase scenario, setting up ridiculously defensive fields for players like James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus, especially when India had sort of taken the upper-hand. The sort of cynicism that Dhoni has received for his captaincy is not justified, but when it comes to the Test arena, it's high time that one realises that none of his knocks have come handy in saving the blushes of saving a Test for India. At home, he has been very well. With cultured conditions, one expects the home captains to do that by heart. But when it comes to away games, the skill gets tested, the mind gets twisted and captain should in all situations, look to win. From what it seemed since the last two years that India have played Tests, the fear of loss for Dhoni caved the chances of a victory.

Posted by Pathiyal on (January 17, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

situations like early loss of front line batsmen coupled with a meagre bowling attack (attack or lack of it :-)) has forced him in recent time to stick to defensive tactics! i doubt whether a virat or a gambhir can do anything near to what MSD does in tests.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (January 17, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

I am happy as long as we keep thrashing pakistan in the world cups! The only tournament that matters in cricket.

Posted by seth_319 on (January 17, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

Ugra said about the test captincy transferring to sehwag from dhoni, i'm die hard fan of sehwag but believe that dhoni should be better option for test captaincy rather than sehwag... as dravid said, dhoni should concentrate only on ODI and TEST cricket by resigning T20 & CSK captaincy..

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (January 17, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

I am very happy that Sharda has taken it upon herself to question Dhoni's right to be captain in Tests. This is particularly heartening to read when one realises that in recent days people as respected as Dravid and even Ganguly have written in favour of Dhoni.To me it appears to betray a pattern and it is not difficult to see why this is happening.India have a history of throwing out captains when they have lost badly.Like Gavaskar was after Pakistan 1982. So what is it that Dhoni has which is different despite his having led India to 10 Test losses including 2 at home which took away the once proud fact of being unbeatable at home.Dhoni came for the selector's meeting after the Mumbai Test in fatigues and dark glasses,strutting about as Sharda mentions.He told the media that there could be no changes.It all smacked of defiance.The kind that can only arise when someone is backing him.Dhoni won because his luck at the time he did was phenomenal. India will pay if he remains Captain.

Posted by cricket_unbiased on (January 17, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

Dhoni could not produce desired results. Agreed but why this is posted now, when whole team is under performing and MSD is in form of his life. He had gone through a rough period and he took all the criticism when the team was down and always stood calm even when he achieved everything in the world. He should bat all 50 overs of ODI, he should give you every title, he should keep wickets and still marshal his troops like a tiger, he should bat at higher number because nobody is capable of batting, he should not miss any match. What more do you expect from him? Yes, he lost 8 tests as a captain and that is not at all good but; to question his commitment is a poor ploy.

Posted by Straight-Drive on (January 17, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

I liked the comments"At this stage any replacement will do, because he couldn't possibly produce results worse than those in Dhoni's last 18 months in charge of the Test team". These are true words, but i beg to disagree. At this point, I would look to find a stable 11 that gives some decent results. When i agree that Dhoni is not the best captain, replacing the captain is the last thing to do. For Sehwag, he doesnt play according to the situation - how can he be a good captain? Virat hasnt really proved in the longest format. I guess we should give more time for him to settle in the test side before we consider him for captaincy. I would consider Dhoni is the best captain for now, at least until we find a stable team. At least i beleive changing the captain will definately not change the fortune of the side.

Posted by Kunal-Talgeri on (January 17, 2013, 7:28 GMT)

True to Ugra's ability and reputation, the arguments to drop Dhoni as Test skipper are excellent. But the Board and ex-cricketers' pro-establishment attitude must also be blamed for producing a commercial system of 300-day cricket. In the '90s and 2000s, Tendulkar, Kumble, Ganguly and Dravid were silent beneficiaries as the calendar began to be loaded with ODIs. For this generation of players, T20 is the new ODI. That is the currency, figuratively. (Crowds love it; T20 is like Packer's circus in our market.) It could even be argued that today's cricketer plays more Tests overseas. There were no India-Aus Tests in Australia between 1992 and 1999; Dhoni has played two Test series down under in a four-year cycle. Dhoni apart, it is up to the BCCI to decide if it wants world-class teams for each format. The selectors must decide who the best 15 are for each format. The choice to play cannot be left to players. Like any professional, they will play as many lucrative days of cricket.

Posted by NP_NY on (January 17, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Dhoni is defensive in Tests? Sure he is. Have you seen India's bowling attack. None of the bolwers will make into any of the top test teams. How can Dhoni be aggressive with this kind of bowling resources? I am just glad that India won the first test against England.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 17, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Btw, we need a young test captain. Either of Kohli, Pujara or Ojha will do. And Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir need immediate dropping. Sachin and Sehwag's test careers are over (If they extend it, India will lose more matches, youngsters will not get chances they deserve and their (Sehwag and Sachin) career averages will come down slightly.) Gambhir can come back into the test team after a Ranji season where he needs to score runs and hundreds aplenty.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

@RogerC nailed it bro. Hope the genius like nyc_missile understands it.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

Sehwag or Kohli ! Wrong question. I would prefer Dinesh Karthik instead of Dhoni in tests and give him the responsibility of captaincy too. I still remember Greg Chappel talking highly of his leadership qualities

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Good article..it feels like Sharda pulled the words right out of my mouth..MSD has become arrogant and uninspiring...Someone pointed out his Nagpur 99..well, that was a do-or-die for him, not necessarily for India...MSD probably knew if the Test Captaincy is gone, he will have added pressure to deliver in ODI and T20 in future.. For his batting along, MSD does not belong in the Test Team... Also, Indian Selection Committee is the most useless one in the world..and probably due to meddling by BCCI big bosses.. Most other countries would have atleast removed MSD from captaincy after England and Australia Test series losses..as well as dropped a number of non-performing players. There is no dearth of talent in India, but all the politics in BCCI is ruining cricket in India. But that is the Indian culture...corruption rules.. If MSD has any self-respect, he should voluntarily resign from Tests.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

@nyc_missile: Your argument is a joke because it shows Ganguly only captained the winning team instead of Captaining team to win. The second category belongs to Dhoni beacuse he holds the record of high AVG,RUNS n S.R in match winning innings. To make it simple "he contributed more to win the match instead of simply witnessing it".

Posted by nayakdarshit on (January 17, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

stopped reading after reading half of the article, usual anti-Dhoni stuff, nothing new, as a senior editor we expect unbiased views from her, If someone is really concerned about India's poor test form, and understands the game a bit, that person would not be favoring "Sehwag" for "test captaincy", can't she just see that Viru in current form does not even deserve to be in any playing 11, leave aside captaincy. And why aren't there any comments on India's bowling, you can take my life if I am exaggerating but with these bowling resources, I bet even the great captains like Ganguly, Smith, Ponting & Strauss would look like jokers. Sitting outside with a cuppa in one hand and pen in another, commenting on a players commitment is one of the easiest jobs in the world..

Posted by SamRoy on (January 17, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

Yes Sharda, since that match at Colombo 2010, I have been shouting of my rooftop that Dhoni is a terrible test captain because he is overly defensive. When Ajantha Mendis came on to bat, score card read 77/7 and yet Dhoni 4 fielders on the boundary! Mendis settled down took the singles freely on offer and scored his highest first class score. India won that match and everybody forgot what an absolutely, mindboggingly bad spell of captaincy we had just witnessed. But half the time, my hue and cry over Dhoni doesn't get published because many experts on this forum are a fan of Dhoni. I understand that and Dhoni is an easy man to like; I like him too. But when we are judging, we must not be partial. He is an all-time ODI great and even a very effective wicket-keeper batsman in Tests. But, his term as captain has been harmful to the test team.

Posted by bobmartin on (January 17, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

If India's rise to #1 in the test rankings is given as a credit for Dhoni's captaincy then by the same token, the team's rapid decline to #5 in the rankings must surely rate as a debit.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 7:00 GMT)

Many here are saying that Dhoni doesn't have bowlers to take wickets or batsmen to perform. But the truth is that he doesn't give chance to new players or bring in any who can play better or groom any players. Is it not what he as a captain supposed to do? Or is it supposed to be somebody else's job.We still don't have anybody to fill in the no.6 spot and it was vacated in 2008. I read in an article that he never discusses anything with a bowler in the field. This now makes clear why Indian bowlers perform better with Zaheer as he give them advice. Without him Dhoni doesn't have a senior bowler to fill in the role and he himself isn't coming up to take the responsibility like Ganguly did. Ganguly supported his players. But Dhoni is supporting all the wrong players atleast in Tests. So he is the wrong captain for Tests.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

Urga complained Dhoni for resting only 2 test series. Isn't he a human. Instead why dont you take it as opportunity to develop new Test Leader. Why don't his Competitor took that opty to prove his worth as captain instead of committing to ad company. Remember I aslo want new Test captain but not as Replacement for Dhoni instead to reduce burden of Dhoni. He did fine job also as Test Captain. The problem for al these loss was due to Top Order Batting Superstar failures. Also they were irreplaceable.

Dhoni also among the record for scoring 100 in a session.All he needed was good start which never happened. Also give these bowing resource to Clark I bet he would run away from Captaincy.But Dhoni is brave enough to handle the pressure.All he needs is support from players. Cheers

Posted by Leggie on (January 17, 2013, 6:53 GMT)

The one point that keeps bothering me is when commentators / reporters alike talk about India's "defensive" tactics on day 4 of the Nagpur Test. To refresh people's memory, India were 8 down and started the day with Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha with Ishant Sharma still to come. Indian tactics of slow batting was criticized heavily. Now, what kind of expectation was it that they would score at run a ball or more - when recognized batsmen failed to do so the previous day.. And, if Ashwin/Ojha could score at run a ball, obviously the pitch must have been docile enough for the bowlers to breakthrough.. And on such a docile pitch, can we even theoretically expect our "world class bowlers" to get through English top order?? Beats logic completely. Fully agree that Dhoni is not a Test captain and his tactics leaves a lot to be desired. Let's pick on "real" points and real issues. My 2 cents, drop Gambhir, move Sehwag to middle order, change captaincy and invest in good bowlers.

Posted by shrastogi on (January 17, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

To blame Dhoni's captaincy in test cricket for Indian failure against Australia & England is a bit too much. Captain can make at the best 25% difference. When seniors in the team dont perform how can captaincy win the test. When you have young players in the side seniors are expected to share the burden ie in 6-8 innings 3-4 times a senior has to do well but we have just seen 1-2 ininngs performance from Indian senior batters in the home series against England. To add to batting woes bowling left much to be desired as well. It is always better to be defensive than be foolish. Dhoni backs players he knows well for example the CSK players like Jadeja & Ashwin which sometimes is harsh on other players. I'm not saying he has done the best in recent past but a captain is as good as his team so we need a continuity in captaincy till we have a settled young team when someone like Kohli or Pujara can take over in tests. But Dhoni can give up t20 and IPL captaincy so that he can be fresh.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

When our top order batsmen fail miserably, how can any captain be successful? Sehwag, the genius, has always played irresponsibly and is not in form. So he must be out of all forms of cricket. Gambhir is a good prospect though he is also not in form. But he can be retained. Tendulkar, the great, has lost his teeth and must be out of all forms of cricket. Ajinkya Rahane, Pujara, Manoj Tiwary and Jadeja have to be included in the playing 11. They must replace Sehwag, Tendulkar, Murli Vijay and Pragyan Ozha or Piyush Chawla. Dhoni has a very long rope to climb. He is still the best wicket keeper-batsman-captain. So my team is Dhoni, Gambhir, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Yuvraj or Raina, Jadeja, Aswin, Ishant, S. Ahmed or Dinda and B. Kumar. In addition to the two choices given we can have new batsmen like A. Rayudu, M.D. Unadkat and Sekhar Dhawan and bowlers like Amit Mishra, A. Mithun, S. Sreesanth and R. Vinay Kumar as reserves

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

Sharda also gets it spot on 'lack of choices'. How will you know if someone is up for it,unless you try.I also do not buy this incorrect argument about batting form impacting one's leadership.Ganguly had a substantially long spell of poor batting but was inspirational and passionate enough to keep the team winning.

So she is right,try Sehwag for just one series,put him in middle order and see how it goes...or take a gamble with Kohli as he cannot do worse than MSD in the last 2 years anyway.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

Urga doubts about Dhoni's commitment to test cricket. But She doesn't knows her beloved Shewag not even committed to Indian Cricket itself but want him as Captain. Also demands Dhoni to make Shewag bat at middle order instead of giving wise" Idea" to Shewag prove it in Ranji. Everybody know that he opened for Delhi in Ranji before Eng series started. Kudos to ur Indian Cricket Commitment Urga

Posted by munibkhan on (January 17, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

As has already been stated, the problem is not Dhoni - its the BCCI's approach to the game. The board wants to go in one direction (T-20, media rights, sponsorships etc), the coach/manager and captain cant go in the other direction. What I find baffling is the stark comparison in results since Kirsten left (something Shadra has overlooked in the article). Fletcher is a good coach, but he appears to be completely stifled in his current role - seems to me he's just waiting out his contract, having seen what a "shake-it-up" approach (Chappel) can result in.

Dhoni appears jaded (at best), and part of the problem is his workload. India need to take a page from England's book and introduce different squads for all three formats (including diff captains), and introduce player rotation to avoid burnout and injury. Dhoni is still the best Test captain available to India, but his limited-overs responsibilites need to be reduced to rejuvenate his Test captaincy.

Posted by MarySD on (January 17, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

She suggests Sehwag as captain and people are praising this article! There is no reasoning or logic in this article----plain bias.

Posted by trublucrictr on (January 17, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

Just a thought - why not mandate Sachin to captain the side while Sehwag, Gambhir get a chance to claim the role while Kohli and/or Pujara are prepped as next in line.

Posted by VSingh99 on (January 17, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

I think his lack of commitment shows in his batting. I don't have the dates/details of the test matches but are there at least 3 or 4 times in the last couple of test matches when India were 5 down for a very low score and Dhoni would come out and get a ball that is on a length that he could just leave...but ends up giving the slips catching practice. Now I know it's easy for us to sit on the sidelines and talk. But surely as a professional in his position he should play himself in and fight. Ok people will argue that he should have batted slowly considering the situation India were in when 5 down for a very low score. Then you end up with him batting so slow like in the last drawn test against England. But I think overall with his field placings and the way he managed his bowlers it shows his lack and he needs to quite test cricket and focus on odi's.

Posted by RogerC on (January 17, 2013, 6:31 GMT)

When India does badly under Dhoni, it is only his fault. But if India gets to number 1 ranking under Dhoni in 2008, it was due to past captains. Well written and unbiased article indeed. And, as usual, not a word about Sachin's outstanding performances in the last two years.

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (January 17, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

I don't think it's a fair to say Dhoni isn't committed to Test Cricket. Yes Dhoni response has been indifferent and wierd most of the times when India has lost Test Matches and his tactics have been dismal to say the least. But his batting in the Nagpur Test when he scored a determined 99 clerarly suggests he still is very much keen for Test Cricket. I also do think his comments "just a position I hold it's not something I want to hold on to or stick on to. If there's a better replacement, it's a very open thing" have been blown out of proportions. What else is expected of him to say when asked the question on captaincy? To suggest Dhoni is not interested in Test Cricket is harsh to say the least.However what I also do believe is we should preserve him as a player in two of the longest format.The time is ripe to take the bull by it's horn by making long over due changes,investing in youth will only help in long run and this includes change in captaincy as well. Who next is the question

Posted by kumaran.n on (January 17, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

There was once this person sitting in the arena of formula 1 racing and commenting on how to drive the car and how to make passes. So then, when the comments were overheard by a team manager, he called upon the person and asked him to meet him after the race. While all was done, the manager gave one of the cars and asked him to do a lap at 300% of the time taken by a driver, which obviously din't happen. The idea is, its easy to sit out in the boundary or your couch and make comments about how to perform, what to do and who is the best in business. But to be out there in the field with jokers and make them perform is a daunting task which MSD has been carrying ever since he took over. Does the indian team have a good top order batsmen or spear bowlers for any of the formats? Take a look at the recent Tests, ODI's and T20's, and the performance of the top order who you think need to lead the team. Do they really deserve the captaincy while they are struggling with their form?

Posted by Test_Cricket_Lover_India on (January 17, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

I completely agree. M S Dhoni doesn't enjoy test cricket. When India is on back-foot, he looks completely out of place. He doesn't bring any value on the table. He doesn't talk to his bowlers. He starts waiting for things to happen rather than making things to happen.

If you look at partnerships against India in 2011, the facts support the point what I have been trying to bring home.

How he applies himself in batting is a brilliant example. Dhoni, inODIs, is the best batsman but his batting in test is very casual. It goes to the extent like - Well! I am doing whatever I can do but will not struggle. While, the same Dhoni sticks to 'whatever it takes approach' to bail team out.

His average in ODI after 2011 World cup is a staggering 80+ while it is 33 in 19 test matches during same period. It emphatically proves Ms. Ugra point that Dhoni actually doesn't enjoy test cricket.

The million dollar question is - Who can be appointed skipper in Test Matches? No one qualifies!

Posted by AnilKumarK on (January 17, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

I don't Understand why everyone is enjoying by digging Dhoni? I do accept that India has lost 9 out of last 16 tests, But you can't blame only Dhoni right Ms.Sharada? Ok you were talking about his worst decisions in the field, But you have to consider one more point as well, Does any bowler is giving any back up to the captain's decisions or taking wickets or bowling in tight line? Does any Batsman is performing to his best? Only one time team has scored more than 350 in the recent 4 matches against England ! If you start pointing out, then you should point out every one who had not performed! not only dhoni. And Please stop Kidding about giving Captaincy to Sehwag!! Ofcourse he is a great player, But he never act according to the situation. Even though When the team is in Deep trouble, he will play his own game like few hits and more giving away wickets, Does Team INDIA should follow his leadership who is not able to control his flow? Please post some reasonable articles with meaning!

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

Many here are asking for Kohli to be made captain. I would say give captaincy to Pujara. Also as a wicket keeper I would point out Aditya Tare and number 6 should go to Abhishek Nayar. This would make a team of Mumbai players, but I don't see any other option as they both are fair choices.This would also give us a better all rounder at 6.

Posted by Menon86 on (January 17, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

Yes Dhoni and his team has under performed. That is a fact. But,why do you suggest that only the captain needs to be changed? Is there any person in the team whose place can be justified due to "cricketing logic"? And what is the cricketing logic behind your statement that nobody can produce worser results, hence drop Dhoni? A player should be elevated as a captain if he has the cricketing ability and capacity to make tough decisions. I don't think there is anyone to replace Dhoni as a captain. If a player feels he is not 100% fit and he needs rest, he just should'nt play, be that a Test match, ODI or T20.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

So when the team wins, you say that the captain is as good as the team (second para), but when the team looses due to bad attitude of so many players (and bad selections), then it is the problem of the captain. Wow! Some logic this is.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

Dhoni's biggest contribution apart from creating his cliques in team,comm box and Board is he has taught the team to lose consistently abroad w/o fail illustrated by white-washes; no draws even. Successfully ground to dust all the glorious achievements and fighting traits imbibed in the team by Ganguly.Thanks MSD for destroying test cricket in Ind!

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

Anand Bharadwaj - Ashwin as captain? You must be kidding.. First his place is questionable in the team. Look at his bowlign against the 2 strong opposition he has played against - Austrlia in Australia, England in India. Will do many a batsman proud! He is a good IPL player who must count himself very lucky to be selected by a pro-CSK BCCI and (previous) selection committee !

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (January 17, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

It perplexes me a lot when every other poster comes and type ''Dhoni is great in ODI and T20s but not fit for tests'' As far as I know he is the 5th best best in history of Test Cricket and best ever keeper batsman for India..His batting average in tests is FAR better than Boucher,Healy,Alec Stewart,Dujon,Knott and almost every other celebrated keepers.And also he is way ahead of current generation of keepers.. He has batted only 115 innings and has scored 28 half centuries and 5 centuries. Is this bad? How is he not fit as a keeper-batsman in tests? :\

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

Simply fantastic and an honest article by Sharda. Dhoni should be replaced as early as possible by Sehwag/Gambhir in test cricket as captain and should be removed from the test team.T20 captaincy should go to Raina. Keep Dhoni in one-day team and as captain. Hope BCCI and selectors understand what we fans understand.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (January 17, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

M.S Dhoni's clear distaste for test cricket is shown by his selections,Suresh Raina & Ishant Sharma have played a combined figure of over 60 tests & thats a lot of inconsistency.Dhoni does not take winning test matches seriously.He has had just 3 good performances with the bat in ages(2 70s at Edgbaston & a 92 at Centurion),his centuries have been on pitches that aren't testing.His wicketkeeping is shockingly poor & costs India vital moments.Virender Sehwag is a special cricketer & deserves what he has been asking for.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

Truth has an uncanny way of finding its way out no matter how long its hidden.This article is one such about Dhoni which has been kept under wraps by spineless,selfish 'experts' and some ex-cricketers.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 17, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

I can't agree with Sharda saying "Dhoni is not committed to test cricket". Not committed is a too big word for a professional. You can say "Dhoni is technically not equipped to the format" but to lament commitment of the guy is a joke. Say he is a defensive captain and doesn't merit place as captain in the team. I agree. But who is the replacement? Gambhir and Sehwag are equally worse at the moment. If Dhoni doesn't carry the batting in the lower order, Viru and Gauti fails at the top order and makes it tough for the middle order very very frequently these days. If you put it to lack of commitment to Dhoni, use same standards to Gauti and Viru too. And, they too doesnt merit place in the 11. Bring in Saha for Dhoni, Dhawan to open with Gauti an push Viru to no.6 in the batting order. Put Gauti and Viru in notice and watch them carefully.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

Scintillating piece! Thoroughly exposes Dhoni who's been pretending to be the test captain all the while thinking ODIs & T20s.BCCI & selectors must be made to read this 100 times !

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

Thanks Sharda for bringing out some gems spoken by MSD.One need not even look at 8-0 or 10-1 but his reckless,cringe-worthy (under)statements are a brilliant summation of the man himself.And what his thoughts on test cricket are..

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 17, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

I am a big fan of Ugra's writings. She is a breath of fresh air among biased writers and commentators. Dhoni is fundamentaly a defensive captain. If you ask me, Azhar Ud din and Ganguly were India's best captains and Kapil was not bad either. Dhoni is defensive and lacks imagination in longer format of game. As Sharda points out, India's rise to No.1 in test matches was due to several reasons such as flawed ICC rankings, a lot of home test matches. If you see the period when India was self procliamed No.1, they had lost in Pak(2006), had not win in SL, Australia or SA so their rankings were bit of farce.Dhoni is also an average batsmen in test matches as his technique is exposed in test matches. He can no longer play pick up shots on short boundaries.Irony is that India may win against an English 'A'side in ODI series and all will be forgiven and forgotten.Reality is that India has lost 10 of last 13 tests and were kicked out or lost ODI/T20 tournaments!Sehwag is India's best bet!

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

To Everybody pls neglect this false fact/point article Since it has come form typical Delhi Cheerer as like nyc_missile. No insight about current politics that lagging team performance and spirit down.

Posted by sweetspot on (January 17, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

@desi1 - completely agree with you. I don't know why we have to keep on harping about Test cricket, when as a format, it has been beaten to death. No sport which has only 9 teams playing, after being around for 100 odd years is worth keeping. The sooner we get over our own colonial hangover, the better for us and the better for cricket.

Posted by karthik2203 on (January 17, 2013, 5:28 GMT)

Honest! Harsh and perfect truth! But, not as a Dhoni fan, it may look like we have given one too many chances for Dhoni. It really isn't so.. Our stalwarts have departed, the legends who could see the ball through and let others bat around them, The new team is finding its footing. Let Dhoni lead India in Australia series at home, when we have a better settled Kholi and Sehwag, a better looking, fitter, bowling unit against a commendable Australian line-up. This was lets see if Dhoni's defensive tactics turn attacking, a short run of victories will help him and the team, including Sachin, get some confidence. No point in hurting a wounded snake!

Posted by himohan007 on (January 17, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

Hai Urga, Shewag was the captain of Last Test in Aus due to Dhoni's ban. So what dif it made to team result. It yield innings defeat. So instead of Showing jealous on Dhoni teach Shewag,Gambir n Co how to bat in Test cricket lol

Posted by sweetspot on (January 17, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

Test cricket is on its way to the grave. There may be the occasional great Test match, but it is not the way forward for the game. Dhoni realizes it I'm sure. He is not a man to be disrespectful, but he would rather bring about change. To succeed in ODIs, MSD has the team he more or less wants. He is an even greater captain than he has been given credit for, because he can push meagre resources to some great results. His own flexibility is fully to the fore in ODIs, and the job he does for his IPL team. On the Test cricket front, he simply doesn't have the resources. There is no point blaming the captain when the much celebrated batting line up simply doesn't show up game after game. The problem is that MSD has set such high standards in the limited overs arena that somehow we expect the same from him in Tests. Without Dhoni having got India the big successes in the shorter formats, we would expect much less, and accordingly leave the man alone. Show some respect.

Posted by maddinson on (January 17, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

out of 37 test wins, 6 were against Bangladesh and 3 (includes 2 test matches when there first choice players were on strike) were against Zimbabwe. So only 29 test matches against regular test playing nation. Great Record

Posted by FASTBOWLERSAREMATCHWINNERS on (January 17, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

What's wrong with now is- he'l loose on endorsements deal

Posted by jamit03 on (January 17, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Indian cricket is in a phase of transition and if you can't see the voids left by Saurav, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble, you will keep criticizing Dhoni. A captain is as good as his team is and one have to realize that we got to have give some time to MSD. At times his gamble didn't pay off but it happens. He is a instinctive player and you just can't question his commitment and if you do that probably you need to understand the game more Sharda.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (January 17, 2013, 5:20 GMT)

come on do not blame dhoni for test defeats. i blame IPL for test cricket decline. india played very well in T2020 format against eng and pak recently. the problem is with indian system and fans . no body watch test cricket then why to make big fuss about it.

change captain or not but you cannot replace legends like sehwag, dravid, laxman, ganguly, kumble, dhoni and tendulkar to build up #1 team any soon. It's all dream.

Indian team as a whole has no motivation to play test cricket. they just want to play T2020 and they are right because it's entertaining.

Posted by FlairSelva on (January 17, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

Superb article.. These selectors have guts to remove test captaincy from Dhoni. Sehwag should gets an oppurtunity as a test captain. He is also captain cool with genuine character in the field. Additionally Sehwag will find winning rhythum in tests rather than finding excuses. Sehwag should continue as test captain for atlease 3 years if he proves him in Aus series.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

India were able to win or save a test on their batting strength . We never had a pack of bowlers who could rattle a team like the Aussies has or SA has now.For a long time it was Anil Kumble (and to a certain extent Bhajji / Zaheer) who were waging the lone battles . So at the end of day it was always the batsmen who would pile up runs or bat out entire sessions to save the game . Now with Gambhir ,Sehwag failing miserably (god knows for what reasons) there is no solidity right from the top and add to it the deplorable bowling resources - we are seeing absymal results from the team . Dhoni , I believe is in the same situation where Ponting was after all their greats retired . If Dhoni has to be ranked a great captain then like Dada he should motivate the team and get the best out of them . He should be inspiring for his team mates to look upto him . But all said and done Dhoni with all his shortcomings is the only viable option to lead the side .

Posted by Dhanno on (January 17, 2013, 5:07 GMT)

That is an accurate portrayal of last 2-3 years of Indian test cricket captained by Dhoni. I am glad Ugra brought up the fact that dhoni missed 2 test series because he wanted "rest". It is format which is less cared by BCCI (run on a proxy) and Dhoni's lack of interest is just an extension of it. In terms of what effect his statements (excuses, blaming "away" pitches, bossing the home curators, indifference to 4-0 and 8-0 scorelines) will have on Indian youngsters we would know only in 5-10 years. To save test cricket we would need a paradigm shift, we need 11 players based on their integrity towards test cricket ( not the ones "enjoying their game", "i follow my natural game" type). This will mean booting Gambhir, sehwag, Dhoni, SRT (yea he still hasnt retired from one format). There might have been merit to bringing Viru in middle order year ago, but now he seems almost as careless as rest about the longer format. So choose best 11 and make one captain or watch test cricket die.

Posted by CurrentPresident on (January 17, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

Despite repeating herself, Sharda has a good point. Dhoni is not too interested in Tests. Even if he was, he is not good enough. But that's also true of most of the players in the Indian test team. Even the crowds are not interested in the Tests. Who has the time?

Let Dhoni focus on the ODIs where he is the best and IPL (where he can keep the BCCI boss happy).

Making Gambhir or Sehwag the captain might keep them interested in Tests. Between the two, I prefer Sehwag - he has the heart and flair, Gambhir does not have the self-belief. Or, take a leap of faith in Kohli now. Either option is good. Then pack the Test side with the up and coming youngsters and groom them. Frankly, they are the only ones who have the drive and hunger to play test matches.

This is the only sustainable model for a Test team in India. And Sharda is right - it's just a sport (I like her comparisons).

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 4:58 GMT)

Bravo Mrs Ugra!! --immensely commendable job especially given that these days we don't find much honesty when analyzing Dhoni..Sid Monga and Sharda Ugra are two of the most courageous when it comes to speaking facts about Dhoni .The 'experts' unfortunately for reasons some known and some unknown sugar coat criticism about Dhoni,if at all.She has hit the nail on the head.Why lead a team when your own interest is elsewhere.In any case,enough of a long rope to MSD the test captain.Time to drop him is NOW.

Posted by vinov_guy on (January 17, 2013, 4:51 GMT)

Hi, Why do we spent lot of time discussing these things. As long as Mr. Srinivasan is the president of BCCI dhoni will be the captain of India Cricket team in all formats no doubt in that. Never in history of Indian cricket has a captain been supported by BCCI this much even after losing 8-0 and a home test series and ODI series and the captain blames the pitch and grounds man. Firstly He was critical of Laxman and Dravid saying they are old and not good fielders in field, this shows how much the T20 has influenced the mind. Drop him of Test, Let him lead ODI and T20 as per his interest. Thats the only way out. Again, there is no point in we saying all this. ITs all Mr Srinivasan who decides...

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

Can't understand how some columnists can write a 1000 words just based on a couple of throwaway comments spoken by Dhoni over the past few years. And then they complain that the press conferences are boring with the same old comments.

The logic of just give the captaincy to anybody because they can't do a worse job is ridiculous!

Nobody has written better and saner than Dravid on this subject. Dhoni should definitely captain against Australia. As for the next captain, nobody has mentioned Ashwin as a potential candidate. I would like to throw his hat into the ring.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 17, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

Superb,incisive,forthright,revealing piece and one that's bound to send Dhoni cheerleaders running for cover.This is not just a mere article,its an unleashing of simple truth and a tower sized mirror for all those who give million excuses just like the man himself,to defend Dhoni the ''test'' captain. Too bad Dravid fell into that category.

Everything that Sharda spoke is true of Dhoni,not just the captain but as she rightly points out,the player too..who thinks that test loss is no big deal when compared to ODI loss in WC.His heart&soul is in shorter format& it doesn't take rocket science to decipher that given his atrocious technique..which btw is mighty effective in ODIs.But as she also rightly questions,why is he holding the captaincy position and thereby aiding in/presiding over the worst phase in Indian cricket.Just give it up..and let others take it.Its not an easy task anyway given the mess he's gotten team into..so MSD stop being greedy and RESIGN AS CAPTAIN in tests.

Posted by saikarthikg on (January 17, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

Captaincy to Sehwag??? U kidding??? How can some-one give captaincy to a particular person in test cricket who has lost his place in the one-day int. due to the lack of form and whose place in the test cricket itself is a long shot?

Kohli??? I did not see any sign in him giving importance to test cricket!!! He was abysmal in England series.

Gambhir??? Another person who completely lost his form and has no idea what he is doing in the middle when he is batting. Captaincy to him is not even an option.

Who else can u find?

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

i agree perhaps pujara should step in the shoes as test captain his record speaks and india should hunt for bowlers who can bowl 140 plus speed with swing control then we can think off 20 wickets in test and the captain gains more confidence in his bowlers we are already 3 bowlers short barring yadav no bowler is threatening and this makes dhoni set defensive feilds whic frees the batsmen to score

Posted by tntn on (January 17, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

Another 'Ms. Hindsight wisdom' and Dhoni bashing session. She had no guts to the miserable failures of Sachin, Rahul , Zaheer and just want to wade into Dhoni. Was she under the same tinted glasses and kept her cool when the stars failed?

Posted by IndianCricketFan100 on (January 17, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

Excellent Article!! Dhoni is one of the greatest one-day players/captains India has ever produced. But his test captaincy skills are worse than any captain India has ever produced. And, the very fact that he is not bothered about it (as Ugra says, comparing 2007 world cup loss to test series loss to England), means that he has to give up the test captaincy to somebody who cares for Indian Test Victories. Dhoni will remain a great one-day captain, but with his skill sets and perception of the game, India is doomed in tests if he continues to captain the test side. High time for a change!!

Posted by Narbavi on (January 17, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

Well Sharda, why don't u mention the same with Sachin? He played the ipl immediately after the world cup but skipped the tests vs west indies

Posted by pvwadekar on (January 17, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

Dhoni is good for T20 and ODI and IPL .. he should quit test cricket and focus on the shorter formats. As it is, he does not have a good record neither does he have a good technique to play in overseas conditions. The other alternatives are Parthiv Patel or W. Saha. Regarding the test captain make Kohli or Sehwag or Gambhir the captain. It doesn't matter so much. Perform or perish.

Posted by gagans11 on (January 17, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

Worst article on cricinfo for years.........

Posted by 123cric on (January 17, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

Totally agree with the author. But a captain is as good as a team. Seniors like Sehwag and Gambhir who were suppose to be the cornerstone of Indian batting post the retirement of fab 4 has performed well below par. Dhoni's place as a test keeper/batsman is also in doubts though he will be the first man on the sheet in T-20 & ODIs. Why not offer test captaincy to Pujara and ask him to concentrate on that format only and dont think much about ODIs & T-20, wasnt Slater who was an opening test batsman never part of Aussie schemes of things for ODIs. Kohli i feel have to improve on the temperamental part and have to limit his exuberance to lead India with dignity and responsibility.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (January 17, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

I have advocated on prior articles' comments to have Virat Kohli take over the T20 captaincy. I think we need to have a new Test captain before we tour SA towards the end of 2013. I hear your case to replace Dhoni as Test captain and I don't necessarily disagree with you. However, Sehwag and Gambhir had done quite poorly on both of the away tours where we lost 0-4 and on "home" conditions (which supposedly suit them), Gambhir's average was 41.83 and Sehwag averaged 36.14 (below their own career averages). Now let's compare them to England's openers who are not playing in home conditions. Alastair Cook averaged 80.28. You might say he was in great form and player of the series so its perhaps not a fair comparison. Let's compare them to the other opener. Nick Compton made his debut in this away series and he averaged 34.66 (not much different from Sehwag and ~20% lower than Gambhir). At this rate Sehwag and Gambhir might not even hold their spot in the Test side for long.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

Dhoni never be a test material. give captaincy to Kohli he has passion to play cricket he always want to give best..Dont say its too early to give captaincy.. Greame smith the best example..i hope aus would beat us then dhoni will realise this defeat could hurt more than world cup loss 2007 but as indian i dont want to loose such a big series at home..selectors doesn't have guts to remove dhoni as test captain there better keeper& batsmen than dhoni in india for test formats..the problem with BCCI president he always back dhoni (CSK boys). we should learn from our mistakes,,if you dont recognise your mistakes even can't save you..please Selectors and dhoni wake up and save test cricket in india...biggest sad news kolkata test when india avoided innings defeat people celebrated thats status test cricket in india under Dhoni...

Posted by desi1 on (January 17, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

Any reason to think kohli gives more importance to tests than one day. Any reason to think Indian public gives more importance to test cricket than one day. The crowd in kochi ODI was more than the crowd in all the 4 test matches put together and this when there were lesser players (ODI specialists) playing. Why create this false hype about test cricket when people who actually spend money to fuel cricket want to see shorter formats as evident from the crowds, the broadcasting rights and the money earned by these cricketers. I think only people making money out of test cricket is writers like you. Dont belittle Dhoni by citing all these things out of context, he was 1 of top 4 batsmen (1 is now retired and 1 wll) in all these test losses + wicket keeper + captain. It is the job and the choice of the selectors to keep or remove him from captaincy. Cant believe all this criticism directed towards the only man who has given us some reasons to rejoice albeit in the shorter format.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

Asking Dhoni to "quit a format" is going too far.. He could stay on as Wicketkeeper/Batsman in Tests. Other than that the article is SPOT ON.. Dhoni has and always will remain a defensive captain in Tests.. In the shorted formats, there is none better than Dhoni to lead the team. He should play till the 2015 World Cup.

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