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Dhoni: made for ODIs

It is as a one-day batsman and captain that he finds his best expression

Harsha Bhogle

January 18, 2013

Comments: 88 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni bashes one down the ground, India v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chennai, December 30, 2012
Dhoni seems to be naturally suited to playing the two-paced game in ODIs © BCCI

It was 119 for 4 when Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out to bat in Kochi. Ordinarily, Indian supporters might have been tense, given the scoreline; the fingernails might have been chewed, and India's recent one-day record might have been in danger of being pummelled further. But the man on his way out seemed to bring a sense of calm with him. He was in good form, of course - possibly the only one in the side in any form at all - but there was an inevitability about his performance. Dhoni calms nerves in one-day cricket, and there is little doubt that in the era after Ganguly, Dravid and Tendulkar, he is India's best limited-overs batsman.

It is just as true, though, that at 190 for 5 in a Test match he doesn't quite give you the feeling that all is well. His batting numbers in Test cricket are not bad - in the pre-Gilchrist era they would have been considered excellent - but he doesn't seem to control the game in quite the same way. And while Dhoni the Test player is good (average 38), Dhoni the one-day cricketer is a giant. You would worry, for example, if India had to bat him at No. 6 in a Test match; you wouldn't at all if he were a permanent No. 5 in the one-day game. Indeed, that is where I am convinced he should bat, because it provides the right balance between him playing as many balls as possible and ensuring he is in when the last few overs are being bowled.

Having said that, at six he evokes feelings similar to those Australian supporters will have had with Michael Bevan, and it is an interesting exercise to compare numbers and, indeed, to realise how similar they are. Bevan has 6912 runs from 232 games at 53.58, Dhoni 7215 from 216 at 52.28. It could be argued that they are beneficiaries of the many not-outs that invariably come when you bat No. 6, though batsmen who play in that position would be just as entitled to argue that they are not guaranteed as many deliveries as a No. 3, for example. But if you take away the not-outs and do a straight runs-by-innings calculation, Bevan gets 35.26 to Dhoni's 37.38.

As an aside, that demand to take away the effect of not-outs comes largely from top- order players, and I have heard it stridently argued by one such Australian cricketer, who thought players like Bevan liked the not-out rather too much and that therefore players like him were more valuable in the second innings than in the first, where the desire to stay unbeaten could result in fewer runs for the team. (When you have been around for a while you realise that the genesis of most points of view lies in where a particular player's numbers are strongest!)

So then, on to No. 6 itself, where Dhoni at 43.47 might seem to lag behind Bevan at 56.71 - until you look at those innings where batsmen have been out (which, I must admit, is not a clinching argument). Here he does 26.17 to Bevan's 27.94. The Bevan camp might say Dhoni didn't enjoy batting in South Africa (21.70 from ten innings), and that would be countered by the Dhoni camp (Bevan in Sri Lanka: 27.28 from 20 innings). (In fact, Dhoni's numbers in South Africa are part of a larger trend that shows the batting averages of all Indian batsmen take substantial dips in that country).

I believe Dhoni has something of an attitude that allows him to enjoy the one-day game more than a Test match, or indeed more than a T20. Witness how he sneaks overs in from part-timers, lets a bowler go all ten at a time, lets his instincts run

Interestingly Bevan never became a force in Test cricket, though he scored Sheffield Shield runs by the bagful. There was talk that he didn't like the short-pitched ball, though he must have got plenty of them in first class cricket in Australia. I rather think he was more suited to the one-day game, where his hit-the-gap-and-run-hard style was so effective. Dhoni too, till he unfurls shots later in the innings, is a jabber, a streetsmart batsman who gives you the impression he is in a boxing ring sometimes: jab, punch, defend, defend, jab...

I also believe it is something of that attitude that allows him to enjoy the one-day game more than a Test match, or indeed more than a T20. Witness how he sneaks overs in from part-timers, lets a bowler go all ten at a time, lets his instincts run. He makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys the one-day game. And in it he can get by some days with a weak bowling side, which he can't do in Test matches, where he can often spend an hour searching for a bowler. Don't forget that he never had access to the giant-hearted Anil Kumble, and that Harbhajan Singh seemed to be past his best most times when he bowled for Dhoni. You can see it is a combination that allows Test matches to drift at times.

So can we look elsewhere for a Test captain? Virat Kohli has only played 15 Tests, and it would be counter-productive to make him captain while he goes through a cycle of bad and good times. I fear there is a question mark over Virender Sehwag's long-term future, and while I hope that is dispelled quickly, it doesn't make giving him the leadership a sound long-term decision. And I think Gautam Gambhir needs to focus just now on being the batsman he can be without worrying about being the leader that he might be. So, you see, we've come to the end!

But there is one thing Dhoni can do. As some of us suggested (Rahul Dravid among them), giving up the T20 captaincy might be an option - not just the India job, those are too few matches to count, but the Chennai Super Kings one as well. That will give him two months of cricket to enjoy, allow him to look at the game in a different light, and give Suresh Raina a responsibility that I think he will grow into very well. It might be good for franchise and country.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by Nampally on (January 21, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

Harmony111: I comment in these columns for the love of Cricket that I once use to play. I support Pujara because in my opinion, he is the best batsman in India today. He is disciplined & refuses to give his wkt. away. If India selects 5 best batsmen, Pujara who bats @#3, should get his position automatically. You are asking my opinion -who to drop from the present side. I can give various permutations but I am not prepared to take any more of your Questions- OK? 1. Drop Ishant & make (Raina + Yuvi) the 5th bowler 2. Replace Gambhir or Rahane with alternate openers - Pujara or Kohli can easily be one- since Kohli batted almost as an opener in last ODI. 3. If Raina is NOT playing as an "All Rounder", replace him with Pujara - More reliable batsman. If I were the Captain, I would go with Item 1, above (since England is weak against spin). This gives me 2 seamers + 4 spinners. Ishant is in XI in case one of the seamers is off colour- but he is guy who is off colour as is Dinda!.

Posted by SaravananIsTheBest on (January 21, 2013, 21:52 GMT)

I would say that One Should be Poker. Right, im talking about Gambir can be given some time to forget his new Poking technique to throw his wicket, thanks to his laziness .. Bloody he's not looking like a guy who batted for hours in Napier-NZ, Rather looking to score from sheepish technique .. If anyone's way down in technic only him especially for that attitude 'why to hit when I can score with my Poke' eventually gets out. And this has been happening months now inspite of questions raised by Gavaskar, Ganguly etc.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

@ Sir.Ivor: Of course I've not seen any of these players bat ever. All I've seen is a few matches of T20 esp IPL where power hitters beat the leather off the ball. Moreover, I've never held a bat in my hand and don't know if a cricket ball is bigger or a hockey ball.

And I admit that it is a fact that Pujara made the most no of runs anyone has ever made in a 4 test series and an avg of 87 there is ample proof of his class and that he just needs to walk in to the ODI team and will score 50s and 100s by the dozen smashing (or rather timing) the ball to the boundary.

Nampally: Now it was YOU who did not ack my answer. And the question persists still. Pujara in the place of whom? If it was that easy then you would've known the answer but face it, you too have no idea about it.

Ok, let me re-word it. Suppose you are the captain of Indian ODI team and face this dilemma. Which player will you drop? Let's hear your reasons and over all thinking. #1 to #7, right? Ok, go on ... I am waiting.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (January 21, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Harmony 111, I read your well expressed fears.I would firstly like to mention that batting in cricket is all about timing.I am not sure if you have seen Asif Iqbal,Tiger Pataudi David Gower Zaheer Abbas, Vishwananth or Azharuddin play. They were not like what one sees in the WWF.They were slightly built but played shots which took one's breath awayThere seemed to be no sound but the ball would speed away as if propelled by some strange force.Pujara looks slight of build but has a good sense of timing and placement.Above all he has the kind of footwork which even someone like Boycott found fluid which reminded him of Barry Richards. Ted Dexter said much the same about him. Englishmen are reserved in their praise and not given to the kind of eloquence one sees in the media. If balls do not travel to the boundary as fast as you would like them to, it may be because of the outfield or because the timing was not as it should be for a particular bounce in the ball and such things.

Posted by Nampally on (January 21, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

@Sir.Ivor:Thanks for your concurrence on Pujara's talent & technique. If you look closely at all the Indian batsmen, incl. Rahane & Kohli, their bat does not always come straight down the line with no gap between bat & ball with correct footwork. Rahane was bowled by Finn twice in last 2 ODI's bat pad gap. Pujara has bat Pad together along with great foot work & had coped with Panesar & Swann in Mumbai Test with the best defence reminicent of Gavaskar. I do not see any Indian batsman has his technique. As for the hook shot it is also a function of timing + correctly judging pace of the pitch. If the bounce is misjudged it does not always keep the ball down.Pujara has shown his hunger for runs & discioline not to throw away his wkt. Besides his recent 2 Triple centuries in Ranji @ a S/R of 94 showed he is no slouch with S/R either.In the present Indian batting where top 5 bats. slumped to 29 for 5 due to lack of batting technique, it is futile to ask: who will he replace?Any of Top 5!

Posted by seeknshare on (January 21, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

How about Tendulkar for TEST Captaincy? Since he has retired from ODIs, he would be ideal person to lead Team India in TESTs till selectors find a successor for him in test team.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2013, 8:59 GMT)


In a comment that went unpublished on Sharda Ugra's article, I too had noticed that Pujara did not look too ok in playing the horizontal shots. And imo he is uneasy in playing these shots cos he has weak shoulders. He is/was unable to lift and release his arms to get the desired power in his pulls shots, cut shots are more about timing but on wickets with extra bounce he will need to have quicker arms to deal with the bounce. Some batsmen have a problem with the short ball due to their stance or shuffle or due to their style. Pujara doesn't have that problem but he lacks the strength, this is why perhaps his shots don't travel far. With this weakness, how will he fare in ODIs where he won't be able to let balls go?

Alright, I may be making too much of a slight issue cos so many ppl play ODIs after all, Raina for eg.

CP's commitment or talent is not in doubt, but the root question is: Who will you drop to play CP? GG? Is CP an opener?

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (January 21, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

This is to queer the pitch in the on going discussion between Nampalli and Harmony 111. I too am a follower of the fortunes of Pujara.That is because I have a habit of following cricketers all over the world from the U 19 level.In the batch of Pujara he looked exceptional even at that stage,with his superb technique as also his commitment and dedication to improving his game, not rest on his laurels as sung by the media and getting arrogant.Add to that the fact that he has been scoring the kind of runs that was commonplace for batsmen of the famed Nawanagar stable, now called Saurashtra.When he played that match-winning innings against Australia in a tricky chase he attacked. His temperament came to notice.But he hooked many balls which went in the air but near any fielder.He was not rolling his wrists.He went back and practised for hours.Now he does.That tells me that he is an earnest learner.He is a humble man to boot. I would replace him for Gambhir because he has the technique.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2013, 4:45 GMT)


....." if you eliminate Gambhir, Sehwag, Dhoni & Yuvraj from this discussion, the next 2 senior batsmen are Kohli (15 Tests) & Pujara (9Tests).".....

Well in terms of pure logic nothing is wrong with this statement of yours but it is a very funny statement in my eyes. I hope you too can notice the fun part.

Ofc benching is not a good thing. But what to do? Only 11 can play the game. Had Pujara been a fast bowler or a spinner then he would have walked in with ease. But he is a batsman, that too a middle order batsman - and I don't see a slot in the middle order for him unless someone gets injured (god forbid) or someone loses his form completely.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

@Nampally: I did not ack YOUR answer cos firstly that forum is closed for comments and secondly YOUR answer never really arrived. I asked you who Pujara will replace in the team and you said anybody in the team from 1-7. That's like Who will be Ind's next PM? - Anybody amongst the Indians.

Look, it's not that I dislike Pujara or don't want him in the team. But the fundamental question is, whom to drop? VK/YS/SR/MS can't be dropped. RJ is now performing and is an AR. Pujara can't bowl so RA/IS/BK/SA too can't be dropped. This leaves us with GG & AR. But AR himself is new & GG is at least getting some runs now. Besides Pujara is not an opener. Asking him to open as a newbie might harm him a lot.

I wouldn't even dare to call anyone to be in the class of SRT or SMG just yet. Such comparisons put immense pressure on the player and don't turn out well usually.

Just cos someone is talented you can't take him in by dropping an exp and proven performer.

In my opinion, Pujara has to wait.

Posted by Nampally on (January 21, 2013, 1:54 GMT)

Harmony111: Your original question was who will Pujara replace in Dhoni's batting line up. I answered it clearly. Why did you not acknowledge MY answer?

I have been a regular commenter in Cricinfo columns for nearly a decade & my inputs are attempts to improve Indian Team. I have played lot of cricket in India & abroad both as a Captain & as a Player. Benching is heart braking.

I said if you eliminate Gambhir, Sehwag, Dhoni & Yuvraj from this discussion, the next 2 senior batsmen are Kohli (15 Tests) & Pujara (9Tests). Pujara's batting stats. in First class, List A & Tests are shown against his name. His record in all columns is superior to any batsman in Dhoni's Team India. His Captaincy for India A is also documented. When SRT & Gavaskar played for India regularly, before 20 years of age, why not Pujara @ age 24 with similar talent & superb record?. Any well wisher & Fan of Indian Cricket Team will like Pujara in the India XI & Not on the bench.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2013, 0:47 GMT)


I am absolutely not picking on you but you really seem to be a Pujara fan. Nothing wrong in that but I;d really like to know the basis on which you have so much faith in Pujara.

You said ... "Amongst the batsmen the 2 senior guys are Kohli & Pujara....". How is Pujara a senior by any means?

You said ... "Pujara has an outstanding batting record in just 9 Tests & has proven leadership qualities." Yup, ONLY 9 tests so far. What's the rush to declare him a potential captain when he is yet to find his feet in Intl cricket? Let him grow & mature first. Let him spend a season or two and then see what he is made of. Moreover, while Pujara may well become the captain some years down the line, as of now I don't see any hurry to even think of him as a potential captain. There is absolutely no basis to be in so much hurry. And what "proven leadership qualities" do you talk of for Pujara?

You really really seem to like Pujara - but pls be grounded about him. Dont break him pls.

Posted by Nampally on (January 19, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

I agree with Harsha on his views about Dhoni being created for ODI & is great at it but I am puzzled at him in not presenting a candidate for the Test Captain in view of Dhoni's inadequacy ! Sehwag & Gambhir,the 2 seniors, are clearly on the way Out. The next 3 senior guys are Yuvraj, Ishant & Ashwin. Amongst the batsmen the 2 senior guys are Kohli & Pujara. I feel the forum should be opened for discussions for a suitable candidate amongst these 5 guys based on Leadership abilities, Form, Fitness & performance record at the Test Match level. Ishant has been in & out of the XI & is not a "shoe-in". Yuvraj average 35 in Tests & played most tests. But his Fitness is ?, in view of his recent recovery from serious illness. Ashwin has cemented his place in XI based on all round abilities but is he Captaincy material? Kohli has showed lot of promise but is short tempered & abusive - No PR qualities.Pujara has an outstanding batting record in just 9 Tests & has proven leadership qualities.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 19, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

Well said harsha.Even great player dravid agreed to this and somewhat ganguly too side with dhoni by saying that captain needs more time to build the team with youngsters.I guess now nyc_missile won't have a place to hide after reading this article :D ,who knows he may come up with the stories that dravid and harsha are paid well by BCCI..LOL.

Posted by aneesst on (January 19, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

@harsha telling that dhoni's credible avg in one day is due his not outs is ridiculous bcoz if we take out the not outs from any batsmen their avg's will get affected some egs are ganguly 41 will slip to 37, dravid 39 to 34 and master blaster sachin 44 to 40. so it is very natural. also we know that most of dhoni's not out are above 50 scores not juz single digits.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

@ Top-Spinner: I don't know about you but most Ind fans have been saying this for some time now that Dhoni is among the best in the world in ODIs. Secondly, if an Indian commentator like Harsha or Sunny talk like that for Dhoni it would seem like a boast and won't look good. Plus we don't have a culture of showcasing our stuff or make such statements unless we are challenged. When Cook said it it came from a opposition captain and without any needling from Ind media or any other source. So it gets more coverage.

As for your comment about Kohli, it won't hurt Ind's record much cos we are anyways losing but it will put tremendous pressure on Kohli who is still growing.

@Ajayvs: Man, Pujara has not played even 10 tests so far, way too soon to even see a captain in him. In fact let him 1st cement his place in team.

@Rahulbose: There is a diff in LIKINGa format & being LIMITED in that format. Dhoni may be limited in Tests but may not necessarily give it low priority that format.

Posted by S_Pras on (January 19, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

Harsha, I have always been a fan of your writing and insights. But at a time when India is getting pummeled one test series after an other, I find it odd that you have chosen to celebrate dhoni, the ODI batsman than ask some serious questions to both the selectors and the current captain in terms of team composition, remedial measures and so on. Despite being at the helm for so many years, Dhoni has not managed to build a team like Ganguly did. Why has not there been an analysis on Dhoni the wicket keeper,for example. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed your earlier article about how large the ODI squads are. At a time when SAU is playing the semis in what is supposed to our premier national competition, what is the point in having Pujara warm our benches than actually be in the playing XI.

As a media personnel & cricket pundit, it would be good if you can come up with constructive ways we can improve in tests first.

Posted by Ajayvs on (January 19, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

To my mind, Pujara is a good gamble for test captain. Agreed he is very new to test cricket, but looking at his technique and temperament he is definitely a long term prospect. If we can gamble the way S.A did on Graham smith, we might have solved the captaincy puzzle.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 19, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

Dhoni's priority is T20, ODIs and test cricket in that order. I don't know why pundits like Bhogle and even former players like Dravid assume Dhoni will take up test cricket and leave T20. Surely someone like Dravid knows that Dhoni does not value days cricket. People should not blame Dhoni, given his skills and strengths it is natural for him to prefer limited over games.

Posted by kalyan0408 on (January 19, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

Good article Harsha... well appreciated. Would you also consider his performances outside sub-continent and see how good a player he is? I am not saying that he is the only one in Indian cricet team not good outside sub-continent. As a captain I think he should also think of the future of Indian cricket. He should be more responsible for the team performance and grooming young players. As you refered about Harbajan under Dhoni's captaincy, I think the styles of both players are different. Harbajan is bowler who attacks the batsmen to get his wikets, whereas Dhoni is more of a wait and watch kind of captain. You should allow the players to have their own thoughts on the game. But Dhoni seems to take full control of the game to his own way which may not allow the players to perform to their potential. The players would only become executers especially in bowling department to the captain's strategies.

Posted by Top-Spinner on (January 19, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

I don't understand, we are losing boat loads of tests under our helicopter man so how much more damage can a young player like Kohli inflict ? Didn't Pataudi take up the captaincy at the age of twenty one?

Posted by Top-Spinner on (January 19, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

This article comes a day or two after Captain Cook made that comment about Dhoni being the world's best finisher. Harsha is definitely a good columnist but more often than not Indian commentators and columnists tend to latch on to comments made by foreign cricketers. Prasanna was never considered world class in India until Ian Chappell said so and no one knew Indians were (yes, were) the best players of spin until the Australians mentioned it. Laxman was roundly criticised for lack of footwork and dropped at will until the Aussies spoke highly of him. Our columnists, Harsha included, only write good pieces after the fact. Have you ever seen articles analyzing the talents of a young batsmen or bowler or identifying them as Test material? Why aren't there articles on Rayudu's potential, Wasim Jaffer shabby treatment, Amol Majumdar's total neglect or Sunil Yadav's technique?

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

Always great to read a Bhogle piece, they make so much sense, and this one is no exception. Dhoni at #6 for me is fine. Gauti, Jinxy, Kohli, Yuvi and Raina are good batsmen where they are and so is Dhoni. But I do agree with having him relinquish the captaincy duties for CSK and the T20 capt. for India. Suresh Raina will definitely develop into that position, although I may be tempted to back Kohli as well. I feel Dhoni should stick with the Test captaincy until there is someone set, even Kohli's not ready. So that's my two cents.

Posted by seeknshare on (January 18, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

Dear Harsha, Your viewPoints, opinions and suggestions are most-of-the-times "spot-on". There is no doubt that Dhoni is made for ODIs and T20s. Is it 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 xylo on (January 18, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

I don't think Indian cricket fans felt as secure as with Dhoni, Kohli and Gambhir even with the likes of Dravid, Ganguly and Sachin when the pressure was on.

Posted by ut4me87 on (January 18, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

I am old enough and have managed to follow all the Indian captains from Wadekar to Dhoni. In my opinion, Ganguly stands out because he would look for talent and build a team - a team builder. Also with his expression he was trying to make things happen - not always successfully. He did not have the fast bowlers - only Srinath and Prasad (who did not play too many tests under Ganguly); but he looked at the raw talents and somehow inspired them to perform. Pakistan performed well under Imran, Sri-Lanka under Ranatunga and these things do count. Dhoni lacks the passion in test cricket. But in limited over cricket - he is most probably the best wicket-keeper/captain world has seen.

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 20:46 GMT)

I don't believe what dravid says. Dravid probably greatest player and a fighter but i do not think he has smart brain. He has too many ideas and do not know how to focus it. He probably want to take obvious route. I lost confidence in what dravid say because he is more into political correctness than hard hitting truth. Once you are off the cricket you have to live off other players. Dravid think his moneybag is dhoni so he is sticking with him. For me i tell the truth as i see it. If dhoni start to give credit where it is due , i am fine but i do not want him captain of losing young team. Because i feel he become stagnant and clueless in Test captain because mainly his contribution as test player is negligible as batsman and wicket keeper. So he has no influence like he has in ODI. if top 5 fails dhoni can will the team to win because of his ODI batting. He do not have that much patience in TEST batting because there is no time limit. I rather have kohli make his own young team.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 20:05 GMT)

What is this disingenuous argument about 'no alternative' .How will we know if someone else is good till he's tried? Harsha's recipe is sure shot way of destroying Ind cricket further.If he doesn't find any other alternatives,even after 10 shameful losses,here's some help: Try Sehwag for one series, if it doesn't work out,try Gambhir..and then Kohli !

This team desperately,can do with a churning and massive shake-up.Nothing, I mean no change will be worse than having a man who presided over 2 disgusting white-washes and a humiliating series loss at home..So STOP giving this joke of an excuse that there's no alternative.

Posted by Hardy1 on (January 18, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

Dhoni's a better one day player than Bevan I feel. The Indian team(s) in which he has played is some way short of reaching the quality of the team that Bevan played in. Furthermore Dhoni has a higher strike rate (even taking into account the rate at which this has steadily been going up in all cricket), plays 3 formats & has the burden of the highest pressure job in world cricket in the form of the Indian captaincy. And for all his shortcomings in the longest format, if ever there was a man for a pressure situation, Dhoni is it. On a side note I never did get why Bevan didn't make it in Tests despite having 30 innings to prove his worth, because he was clearly a great first class cricketer.

Posted by cyclist00752 on (January 18, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

To further understand the impact of Dhoni (vs. Bevan), check their respective country's match winning statistics. It can be seen that seen that when Dhoni was playing India has won 121 matches (of the 216 matches Dhoni played for India). While when Bevan was playing Australia won 155 matches (of the the 232 matches Bevan).

On further drilling down the statistics it can be seen in 65 of the 121 matches won Dhoni scored 30+ while in 70 of the 155 matches Bevan scored more than 30 runs. So I think both players were almost equally impactful (with Dhoni adding wicket keeping and captaincy to his credits and Bevan adding his fielding and bowling to his credits).

While several experts have acknowledged Dhoni's expertise in batting and captaincy in ODI's, I strongly feel he needs to be relieved of test captaincy. Even losing one test match is precious. Giving captaincy to Kohli would probably mature him further and make the team more attacking. And after all Fletcher is there guide him!

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

Dhoni is obviously a monster for the bowlers in ODI's....in England tour 2011, he was struggling to make runs in the Tests..but once the ODI series came...he suddenly transformed himself into a demon for the English Bowlers....though he's been pretty mediocre in Tests & t20's....its ideal time to give a chance to UDAY KAUL / SAHA in tests....while someone like UTHAPPA can be used in the T20's version of game....SURESH RAINA/ VIRAT KOHLI can be given the captaincy for T20's while in test we can use SEHWAG as a stop-gap captain till someone like PUJARA or KOHLI establishes their place as a TEST PLAYER. MANOJ TIWARY can be used in ODI's while ROHIT SHARMA should be tried in TESTS...while guys like MANISH PANDEY, MANDEEP SINGH or MAYANK AGGRAWAL should be tried in T20's...

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

Harsha, While you stated the obvious that Dhoni is the best ODI batsman today, you stopped short of declaring your recommended candidate for the Test Captaincy. Most of us agree that Dhoni is not the best choice either for Test captaincy or Test XI. There are better Wk/batsmen in India for the Tests. However by making Dhoni a Captain for all 3 formats of the game, Indian Selectors have eliminated the chance of producing alternate candidates. My major objection to Dhoni's Captaincy are 3 Fold - 1. His XI selections is irrational 2.His on- field bowling changes, field placing & overall tactics are hard to understand or justify 3. Dhoni is not the right man for developing a sound Future Indian team. He is like a Banyan tree under which nothing grows - all talented players are benched. India needs to start with a visionary young Captain who leads the team by his own example. Pujara has proven his talent in batting & leading India A teams Home/abroad.He is my choice candidate for Captaincy.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 17:54 GMT)

One would buy Harsha's argument for retaining Dhoni as Test captain if one thinks that ODI is the real cricket and test cricket in foreign countries is something you play only to enjoy (Not mine, Dhoni's comments). Nothing wrong with that opinion , but detrimental to the dream that India would regain the number 1 ranking in Test cricket. It is really sad to see all these arguments from BCCI and people on their payroll that nobody really can do anything, it is all doom and gloom. I think as fans we should boycott watching cricket for a brief while (watch Ranji trophy for a change please to see the talent we waste), which is the only way to reduce TRP, and the only language BCCI understands. Rebuilding a TEST team with Yuvraj, Raina as test no 5 & 6, Ishant Sharma as strike bowler and Ravindra Jadeja as allrounder is pure BS.

Posted by dailycric on (January 18, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

I am sick and tired of this "there is no alternative" argument for Test captaincy. Three points. First: Test captaincy should be given to the best man to lead the country. As Ganguly has said, we don't need agonizing or apprenticeship for that, just sound selectorial judgment. As Sharda Ugra has said on this site, you can't have a Test captain who doesn't even respect the format. Second: A Test captain should be good enough to be in the side. There are at least three stronger candidates for Test keeper than Dhoni - Saha (best keeper in India, + tighter batting technique); Parthiv (outstanding batting form, can bat anywhere from 1 to 7, and would allow us 5 bowlers) and Gautam (new kid, good behind and in front of stumps). Dhoni's Test keeping is mediocre, batting disastrous. Third: Kohli has played more Tests than Smith did when he became SA captain, and has played for India for longer than Dhoni was playing when he became captain. Stop making excuses, make Kohli captain, he's ready.

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

No offence, nevertheless it's ridiculous some people even put him above great Imran Khan as a captain. Now we all know he is more of a lucky captain than a great one. And yes I do agree he is a captain made for ODI.

Posted by Sri-cric on (January 18, 2013, 14:08 GMT)

Harsha , asusual a great article. The problem in India is that pretty much the same set of folks are in all the formats. I rather see Dhoni playing ODI and T20 and let maybe Ashwin or kohli trained to become a leader for the test matches and bring in Karthik/Saha as wicket keeper. Dhoni is a freak and one of a kind but still being a captain/Wicket keeper/batsmen on all formats is a daunting task.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 18, 2013, 13:37 GMT)

Dhoni is the best captain for ODI and T20. He should give up playing in Tests if he wants to save his body from breaking down because keeping is hard work. Harsha - I think you are wrong on this. Dhoni excels in shorter formats, so he should stick to ODI and T20. Let Saha or Karthick play in tests.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (January 18, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

One thing for sure is, we have a finisher of the game who is reliable. Remember, Aus ODI series, Dhoni almost single handedly finished games india's way. Over a period of time, with power packed batting at the helm with Sachin, Sehwag, Ganguly, Dravid, Gambhir...we don't have good finishers for India. Though the role is played by Robin for some time, he is not quite reliable all the time. However, the question still hunts is who are regular 1, 2, 3? for india now...can't always rely on Yuvi, Mahi..isn't it

Posted by Temuzin on (January 18, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

And Harsha you made a few fan (anti-Dhoni) squirm by giving facts about Dhoni the wonder boy of Indian Cricket.

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

Pawan Khatri >> you spoke my mind...

Posted by VickGower on (January 18, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

@Venkatram Gopalakrishna, thank you for your sanity. I am afraid that opinion makers are about to gut the one good thing that has happened to Indian cricket, when the guy is still in his prime. I mean THIS is the time, when the whole team needs to be rebuilt, that we need Dhoni's temperament and leadership skills to be at the helm. That some should demand his head when he is most indispensable is the real tragedy here.

Posted by VickGower on (January 18, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

Sehwag's batting average in 2012: 31, Dhoni's average during that time: 41.

So let me get this right. According to some posters here we want a guy who cannot field, cannot bowl, cannot bat, and whose coherence as a speaker goes no further than See ball, Hit ball, to be a captain, over a guy who is a better batsman and a superb keeper. Why don't we make Zaheer Khan, or Bhajji the captains instead?

Posted by gitapat on (January 18, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

Without doubt Dhoni should lead India in ODI and 20-20s. And has no place in the Test side. It is time that we had a new captain for Test cricket and replaced Dhoni with Dinesh Karthick or Saha

Posted by VickGower on (January 18, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

It is not that Dhoni best expresses himself as a captain in an ODI. It is that he presently only has talent good enough for the limited overs formats which do not test you like test cricket. Context is so necessary when deriving axioms out of data. Be careless and you could end up saying, Darren Sammy as a captain best expresses himself in the t20 format because Windies won that world cup, which by the way tells us so eloquently how limited overs magnify talent. The less the number of overs, the greater champion you can be. My only fear here is that the whole Indian cricket faternity is losing the laser like focus needed to solve the predicament it is in: you need bowlers who can take 20 wickets in any condition. What of that, right now there are NO world class bowlers in India. I wonder if ANY Indian captain in modern history has suffered such poverty. I welcome examples. Any written word that does not press on this mind boggling situation simply distracts from the REAL ISSUE.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

In fact I would rate Dhoni certainly above Sachin, Rahul and Saurav. He always bats under pressure when the required run rate is high and tail-enders only to support him. He has done exemplary over the years. Somewhere I feel this Dhoni bashing should stop for the time being at least till find five test cricketers who can just walk into the Indian cricket team (not based on a few performances). We need to have patience. Saurav was very very lucky that he had the best ever Indian test/ODI team at his disposal. It is not his captaincy that had a say but the top batsmen like himself, Veeru, Sachin, Rahul, Dhoni with Kumble, Zaheer and Bhajji supporting him.

Posted by vatsap on (January 18, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

It must be with great relief that likes of this writer would feel once Sachin retires. The articles can then be more straightforward and plain spoken like this one. Would any of our experts have the guts to ask Sachin not to play IPL after the WC in 2011 and not to skip the WI test tour. Just wondering.

Good article.

Posted by tickcric on (January 18, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

@ 100_rabh, Perhaps you are 100% correct. But I would also say Harsha's suggestion in the final paragraph may have come knowing essentially CSK & the Indian team has a common management. So there is a possibility that they may try out Raina as captain both for India & CSK. Having said that, I know you are probably more correct in saying Dhoni will not leave CSK captaincy and this article is an expression of 'typical Indian defensive mentality'. Have to agree Sehwag is just the right choice.

Posted by starsagitarian on (January 18, 2013, 10:38 GMT)

I disagree with this idea of Dhoni being a player with affinity for ODIs. As a captain he is good in shuffling around his resources, be it ODIs or test, but what if there are no resources at his disposal? This is where Dhoni the captain fails! As was evident in the ODI series against Pakistan, India lost primarily because the batsmen could not withstand some quality seam bowling, and Dhoni as a captain has always banked on his batsmen to shore India out when in trouble. Hence there was very little he could do to avoid a series defeat. This pattern invariably crept into the first ODI against England as well where again the batsmen let him down. Point is as long as the team is winning all the decisions a captain makes look sane and outspoken, but the same decisions would look outrageous when a team loses. Hence in my opinion, Team India as a unit has failed and Dhoni should not be blamed for the misfortune as his decisions would have still made sense had India won more matches as a unit.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

I am not sure I follow. Let me summarize: 1. Dhoni is a great ODI player. Check. 2. Dhoni is a good ODI captain. Check. 3. Dhoni is an average test player (both keeper and batsman). Ignore this aspect. 4. Is Dhoni a great test captain? Ignore this question. 5. Dhoni's test failure is because he has no good bowlers. Blame others for failures. But own up to successes in other formats. 6. Can Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli be test captains? No. They should first secure their place in the test team. 6. Does Dhoni need to prove he belongs to the test team as a player? Heck no. He is the captain!

When you can't convince them, confuse them!

Posted by Un_Citoyen_Indien on (January 18, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

The formula for calculating batting averages is NOT (CAREER RUNS) divided by (CAREER INNINGS). That is just absurd. The correct formula is (CAREER RUNS) divided by (CAREER DISMISSALS). Where I live, even school kids know that (they calculate their own averages during inter-school matches). Consider that Tendulkar's average drops from 44 to 40 based on this strange logic of dividing runs by innings.

Why, even Sir Don Bradman's career average drops to 87 from 99 when we use Mr. Bhogle's formula. I wonder if he would try suggesting to an Aussie that Bradman actually averaged 87 and not 99.

Posted by ronynairrony on (January 18, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Harsha Bhogle makes a very persuasive point. And one must read between the lines to find it in the last paragraph. We can't get any worse in test cricket. And that remains the right stage for Kohli to take over. He reminds one of the young Graham Smith, who played fewer tests when thrust to the South African helm. And one who came into his own holding the reins. When the depth of the trough remains so small for Indian test cricket; what prevents Kohli from taking over? How much worse (r) can we get? Dhoni the test cricket captain has become Dhoni the drifter. Sadly. And he makes a persuasive case on why NOT to entrust a wicketkeeper with the test captaincy over a long period of time.

Posted by madaboutcricketabhijit on (January 18, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

I agree with Harsha Bhogle completely. Dhoni is an excellent one day player, probably a gifted one day specialist. He has traits similar to that of Micheal Bevan. The only reason he is playing Test Cricket is due to lack of alternatives and other keeper batsman failure to cash on their opportunities. Probably, it is high time that India should look for alternatives in the long format as Dhoni himself has accepted that he is not too keen to continue playing Tests for long time.

Posted by 100_rabh on (January 18, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

I cant help but feel Harsha that this article is a reply to another article written yeasterday by a fellow journalist of yours. I am also afraid to say that your article takes us no where close to reality. Everyone is suggesting what Dhoni should do after those 10-15 test match losses but no one is shouting what BCCI or selectors should do or should have done. Thats a typical Indian defensive mentality. I can bet my all money that Dhoni will not leave CSK captaincy because he really loves it, probably more than his test match leadership because he has all the say in team selection, squad selection, pitch selection and dare i say rules selection there courtsey certain Mr. Srinivasan. You need an imaginative leader which Sehwag is, as shown in his few roles as a captain, and it could work as a motivaion also for this marvellous player.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (January 18, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

The real intentions of so called experts like you is that MSD should play every India Match(to keep the sponsors happy), whatever the format may be and how useless he may be in One of those Formats !

Posted by ruudraza on (January 18, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

harsha has to be be the best broadcaster in world cricked. he is simple, honest, unbiased with fantastic cricketing humor. That said, 10-15 of the matches beven won could not have been won by anyone else. He was the difference between australia being the best and australia being incvincible. Then again dhoni's scores much quicker and is more valuable in the modern game.

Posted by vsreddy4u on (January 18, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

Dhoni's problems as test captain will be over once we take on oz at home with two splendid swing duo bhuvi and shami and with coach as dada.There is no need to worry much about the batting though.Hope dhoni will become the best test captain soon over taking dada under the guidance of dada.

Posted by TOMCHEENATH on (January 18, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

Harsha Bhogle has done justice in his meticulous analysis of our captain MSD and his prospects. No doubt, MS is a highly successful captain after Mohd Assarudhin and his job behind the wicket is fantastic. If we allow him to open test or one day or T/20 formats of the game, we can witness wonders. He has got the patience and temperament to stay long hours at the creeze if he is honoured to open the innings. He will not throw away his bat lest he loose his reputation. Once the selectors decide and allow him to start the game, we will definitely witness a different captain, who has already proved that he can face furious new ball attacks in the middle of the game. Since Indian cricket is undergoing experiments before the coming world cup, I suggest to the team management to allow MS to open the innings in all the formats of the game

Posted by nandhi on (January 18, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

Harsha Bogle Rocks....!! Great article with compassion and realistic solution. Not just a sensational article like Sharda's...Suresh Raina for CSK and IndiaT20...superb sensible and fresh option and relief for Dhoni...Now the ball is in Dhoni's and Srini's court. Hope they look at it with sincereity...

Posted by realfan on (January 18, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

why are every one talking of droping dhoni? he is the best wicket keeper batsmen we have got for many years and he is good captain too ( i am not saying best, because for me best is Ganguly )

dhoni has done everything he can do as captain i mean whats the point of feild settings or stategies if you dont have bowlers who can bowl for that field????? and who will be the captain if dhoni is sacked ASAP ? KOHLI? tell me how many FIRST CLASS matches has he captained? sehwag? tell me how many matches he played with determination, leave alone playing for nation,sehwag is a type of person who drops a sitter catch at slip and smiles making jokes, no nation would like to have that type of captain and Gambir? the one who prefer ipl over india,

instead of sacking captain, sack the player who are under performing ( SEHWAG, GAMBIR, SACHIN, ISHANT ) and i hope this this australia series will show the doors for any one of these especially with the openers fresh legs with be better for strong base

Posted by TATTUs on (January 18, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

Bevan is miles ahead of Dhoni as a finisher. Bevan could not do much in test cricket. That could be seen as this. Australia during Bevans time had great batsmen. There was absolutely no place available. There were guys who missed out. 2 Husseys, Brad Hodge, Staurt Law, Bevan even Hayden among them. Law and Bevan being slightly older didnt get a second chance. Who knows what he might have scored if he had played say 50 plus tests.

Posted by amitsurti on (January 18, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

The question is about viability and the notionality in the world of marketing(IPL). Perhaps we need to be broad minded enough to accept the fact that, Dhoni may quit captaincy in T20 at all levels, for the sake of Indian Cricket. As I feel, if Dhoni gets the time off from his captaincy strategies, he well be the best batsman in Indian line up. We cant pull the plug for all the three, then let mahi himself took one off. in that case raina will have his own opportunity to develop as well, as aptly put by Harsha.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (January 18, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

People here seem to have forgotten he is a wicket keeping batsmen. That in itself speaks volumes about Dhoni they player. Who is every bit a valuable test wicketkeeper India ever had... Kiran more, Mongia or Kirmani dont even come close to the things Dhoni has been able to do. I guess different yardsticks for a all time great and normal players

Posted by Chandrurec5 on (January 18, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

A small step for Harsha a giant leap of imagination for mankind. The article is timely and pertinent to the current cataclysm that is haunting Indian Cricket and requires diligent perusal. It is hard to see the woods for the trees, and trees for the woods, but Harsha you excel in seeing both, and lending your vision to the general public as well. Thanks again for this wonderful service rendered to humanity.

Posted by VishalBalsara22 on (January 18, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Dhoni is still the best captain we have for Tests too. Ghambir and Virat are way behind as far as captaincy is concerned. They need to perform first. Dhoni is trying to build his team for tests now and we need some bolwers like Kumble and early age Bhajji who can dominate the game. And with Dravid and VVS gone, dhoni has to build the batting base too. Tuff ask for a captain and no one other than dhoni can do it at this moment. So people please stop shouting against MSD, we will see positive results in future in tests too. P.s - This artcle is way much better than Sharda's article where she says that dhoni doesnt care for tests. That was rubbish

Posted by aryan-is-dravid-fan on (January 18, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Good article Harsha, but a short article such as this is never going to be adequate to compare and discuss both sides of the story. It is interesting that this article seems like an answer to Akash Chopra's - as you give almost the opposite arguments for why Dhoni should remain captain! As good a one-day player Dhoni may be, I do not believe Dhoni deserves a place in the Indian test team - leave alone being captain. His test batting leaves a lot to be desired. He may be good for the pre-Gilchrist era, but unfortunately for him and Indian fans he is playing in the post-Gilchrist era. Saha has been in good batting (and wicket-keeping) form & there is Kaarthick & Kaul to consider. With regards to captaincy and not having Kumble or Bhajji at his best, a good captain makes his bowlers. No bowler has really flourished under him including Sreesanth, Pathan, Zaheer, Munaf, Bhajji, and now the current crop of spinners. I believe Dhoni is not a bowlers captain and it is time for Kohli or Pujara

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

The assumption behind all this is that captaincy is a burden and Dhoni needs to be relieved of some of it so that he can enjoy his cricket and improve himself.

It is understandable coming from Dravid who never enjoyed his captaincy stint and jumped ship at the first opportunity after the 2007 world cup.

But what if Dhoni revels in being a captain and does his best when he is captain? Is that so improbable? Some people are at their best when they are in leadership positions (recent examples like Cook and Clarke) and taking it away from them assuming that they will be better off is presumptuous at best.

If you genuinely think Suresh Raina will be a better captain of CSK, go ahead and do it but spare me the talk of how it will be good for Dhoni and the world.

Posted by himohan007 on (January 18, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

@mathewjohn2176 loved it bro

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 18, 2013, 7:11 GMT)

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18 2013, 06:36 AM GMT), It seems to me that you are holding a players management position inside the dressing room. LOL..good made up stories .Dhoni got credit due to the only reason that he made 94 in final and as captain.Great players like dravid who played under him still bat for dhoni tells a different picture than yours as a sehwag fan.In simple words,both sehwag and Gambhir want to be captain and thus under performing where as other inexperienced players are battling out to save a game when openers are behaving like a walking wicket.Everyone saw sehwag 100 against Bangladesh in first match and then zero in World Cup final.As you say,its not toxic environment, the senior players like dravid,laxman and sachin reflexes are slowed down due to age and thus failures of many senior players led to losses.Sehwag played IPL and skipped half of England series due to fitness issues.Next time come up with better stories ,no flawed ones.

Posted by tickcric on (January 18, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

ODI Strike Rate comparison, Dhoni 88.28; Bevan 74.16. That's significant especially for number 6 batters. Even though strike rates are increasing in ODIs but still Dhoni clearly got the edge here...You mentioned the concern sometimes associated with Bevan that his desire to stay unbeaten (& thus improve the average) may result in less run for the team especially in the first innings. Bevan's strike rate batting first & second respectively was 79.69 & 67.60. He was definitely faster batting first. Even for Dhoni the difference between strike rates batting first and second remains fairly same. Dhoni is at 93.76 & 82.02. For both of them the aggregate batting strike rate remains midway between their strike rates batting first and second. So I am not sure of this allegation against Bevan... In my opinion Dhoni by virtue of nearly same average 52.28 as against 53.58 (of Bevan) at a much higher strike rate of 88.28 as against Bevan's 74.16 is ahead of the two.

Posted by hoodbu on (January 18, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

You write this as an Indian fan, not a CSK fan. Why would CSK want Dhoni to relinquish captaincy if he has been doing such a fine job with them?

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

I think some people need more explanation. All of dhoni's supposed to be great batting was against weak bowling line up. He can not play fast ball outside off stump. He can murder if he play against slow bowlers. People over hype batsman. That said for me dhoni is very responsible ODI batsman india ever produced. I never liked his "lucky" captaincy though which is basically hope and pray. But his speaking skills is as good as michael jordan in that he never offends people with what he says. He may blame everyone except himself. He is not of the type who take responsibilty and try to fix. May be you can call him very clever in that if you take responsibilty and fail , you get killed by everyone in India. One example was he did n't change batting order during 10-0 loss because if you change and lose then all pandit say you changed the batting order and we lost. Plan was simple. He was more interested in getting rid of dravid , vss and sehwag all slow movers in the team. He succeeded.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 18, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

A very good suggestion made by Harsha. We cant afford to lose Dhoni as Wicket keeper Batsman in any format of the game.What we should do is replace him as a skipper in T20s(that include CSK) with Raina and at the same time replace our head coach with Saurav Ganguly. If Dhoni is too laid back or waits for things to happen then what our head coach is doing at that time? can't he send the message that we are being over defensive or we should bowl to a particular batsmen with a particular field setting.These things are seriously missed in Dhoni's captaincy but at the same time if captain is lost in the hour of play, it is the job of a coach to come up with a motivation or a plan. So for me, the first change should come in our coaching department.

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

@mathewjohn2176 , true , I am hard core sehwag fan but i never promote sehwag as captain but i rather have sehwag captain than dhoni mr teflon. My issue with dhoni is always he is a safe captain when he has all the tools. But at present india do not have bowlers or even batsman. India always won with sehwag batting and massive score to get wickets. When that method is no longer option , Dhoni is basically jobless for me. Kohli is fine. Some players when they given a chance play with responsiblity. Kohli is of that type. Sehwag is not captaincy material. He is good strategist but he can not handle people. He lacks people skiill and man management. Kholi has that. He can make players play for him. Sehwag can't do that. He can't even bat responsibly. But that said sehwag always shine in a good environment. Dhoni as captain is toxic environment. There is reason indian team quit in 10-0 loss. They don't want to fight for dhoni , they got burnt in world cup where dhoni took all credit.

Posted by jasif on (January 18, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

now since u have admitted he is an ODI player....then plz sack him as test player/captain forever IMMEDIATELY!!!

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (January 18, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18 2013, 04:31 AM GMT), By looking at 2012 kohli performances, right now he is going through a lean patch and throws away his wicket when settles down.Let him mature enough to handle pressure and get back his form.India depends so much on him nowadays after the continuous openers failures.By giving captaincy ,its going to add more pressure .He always looks hot headed in the field as well.Thankgod you are not promoting sehwag for captaincy as you always do ,it will be a joke if that happens .Anyway carry on with the exclusive bashing of dhoni in every post.

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (January 18, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Probably what stands out in Dhoni, is the calm he exudes on the field when leading the side. With that demeanor he won everything for India from the year 2007. I am a firm believer that luck has played a big part in his success rate as captain. He is not one who is too knowedgable about the game. That is why perhaps he allows the bowlers to mostly set their own fields etc.He is a hardy batsman and a fairly safe wicket-keeper.In the situation that he finds himself, it is easy for him to say that he goes by his instinct.When he had luck on his side he won India the inaugural 20/20 World Cup with India never having played that format at all.He never lost a series out of India.Even in South Africa he drew the series.In 2011 after the WC win, he seemed to have lost that luck.Or how else can you explain the 8-0 loss abroad and now also the 2-1 loss in India. Something that never happened. It is just that his good luck seems to have vanished. It may be temporary.It is best to rest him I feel.

Posted by Straight-Drive on (January 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

Harsha.. You reflect my thoughts. When the whol world calls out for the captains head - my thoughts are that it was not alone Dhoni who was responsible for the recent test disaster. Even though, Dhoni had not been aggressive or does not willing to experiment new commers, i guess its not Dhoni alone to be put to sword. I beleive that the coach is as much to blame as the captain and the team. Fletcher does not seem to guide young people like Pujara, Virat, Ishant, Aswin or Ohja. It was okay when the team had people like Dravid, Kumble, Saurav and Lakshman. Some times, i feel a coach like Greg Chappel - for the current team might have been a blessing as we dont have any one to guide the team. I feel Indian selection process also needs to under go a change. It has to be a little bit more transparent and justifiable.

Posted by Mohammedan11 on (January 18, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Nobody can deny the caliber and quality of dhoni as a captain in any format, but according to the recent remarks he made in final test match presentation interview I doubt his commitment to test cricket, shouldn't that be the top criteria to select a player for the game.I would rather select a player ofcourse on his merit but i would also as a selector want to know is he totally committed to the game.

Posted by GAUTYSAYS on (January 18, 2013, 4:46 GMT)

Reading you is always awesome your wordings,analysis and specially the in sights that you are having with.Reading you always gives the satisfaction of being oneself involved to cricket.Properly this sentence seems awesome "And while Dhoni the Test player is good (average 38), Dhoni the one-day cricketer is a giant."I always love to see your tweets even if i have missed any of them due to any reason.Loved reading your post.Wish more and more analysis from your side.Being a die hard fan of cricket and AC of you i love your wordology and the latest words from your lexicon.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (January 18, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

To me,MSD is better than Bevan. And I am not even die hard Dhoni fan!!

Posted by Alexk400 on (January 18, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

Let me put it mildly. Lets explain dhoni style of captaincy. He waits for batsman to make mistake to get wicket. His clueless field positioning and rotation of bowlers and if bowler do not take wicket we blame bowlers not captain. Dhoni captaincy is always "RISK FREE" captaincy. In That he does nothing and hoping and pray to get wicket. It worked great when india pile up 600 runs then pressure get to opposition. If there is no run cushion , he become clueless he wonder how he gona get wicket. He transfer the pressure to bowlers and bowlers get frsutarted and spray. whole cycle. I am astonished by worst analysis some reputed batsman. If india do not have resources and going to lose again and again , i rather have kohli. Kohli is type of person who grow with repsonsibility and excel. He is a fighter. You can always bet on young to do better than old disinterested dhoni who feels no one can replace him. Well his time is up.

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

as always a very sensible analysis and a win-win suggestion...if only there are some administrators in BCCI who can follow these posts <sigh>

Posted by sramesh_74 on (January 18, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

I like Raina's attitude. He seems to have developed the right temperament for the shorter formats. He should probably take over the reins in T20 internationals and for CSK.

Posted by anilkp on (January 18, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Harsha, I am so happy to note the difference in tone, views, analysis, plot, meaningfulness etc. between this article of yours and that mindless venom from Sharda Ugra yesterday. Thank you. I am not a fan of any player; I am a fan of logic and practicality, which, almost always, I find in your columns. Most of the time I wish the commenting fans grew up in their collective wisdom. But, I guess the senior editor at EspnCricinfo needs growing up too. One truth most journalists do not recognize is: sensationalism is an antonym to journalism, and "mindless sensationalism" is a crime against humanity. Thanks for not falling prey to sensationalism.

Posted by sweetspot on (January 18, 2013, 3:41 GMT)

All good from Harsha, except the suggestion that MSD must relinquish captaincy of CSK. It is true Raina is one of CSK's mainstays and has indeed captained them and India with some success. But let's not disturb CSK's amazing run - they are the benchmark of development for the IPL, and even if MSD doesn't walk out for the toss, everybody knows that is his team. The way to play IPL is still evolving, and Dhoni has been brilliant. The whole league needs him in that sort of role to set the standards even higher. Moreover, CSK are hardly the team to not be thinking long term. When they make the transition to the next captain, it will be in their own quiet way, a salute to MSD, make no mistake about that. Raina is being groomed for the role, there is no doubt about that, but the time may not yet have come. IF India's batting delivers, Dhoni will win in EVERY format. His own batting position is not that relevant, if the specialists do their job.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 18, 2013, 3:30 GMT)

Hmm a Dhoni cheerleader this Bhogle sure is! What a nice job of nixing the potential candidates for the job! BCCI must be proud of you Harsha!

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Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

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