Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Why Cook and Dhoni will struggle against Clarke

England's captain is too conservative and India's can't seem to bring his limited-overs aggression into the Test arena, so they are unlikely to beat Australia

Ian Chappell

June 1, 2014

Comments: 173 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and Alastair Cook walk out for the toss, India v England, 3rd Test, Kolkata, 1st day, December 5, 2012
Dhoni and Cook: no match for the ultra-aggressive Michael Clarke © BCCI
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni | Alastair Cook | Michael Clarke
Teams: Australia | England | India

In reality, the degree of difficulty involved in captaincy lies somewhere between those who believe it's a mystery Sherlock Holmes couldn't unravel and the camp of great Australian legspinner Bill "Tiger" O'Reilly, who concluded: "My collie dog could captain a cricket team."

However two international captains, MS Dhoni and Alastair Cook - provided they retain their jobs - will soon face a task closer to the Holmes degree of difficulty. Both Dhoni and Cook will have a return bout with an opposing captain who handed them a drubbing, a whitewash, a hiding - take your pick which terminology you use - but whichever way you perceive the situation, it's the toughest task any captain faces.

The difficulty is created by the style of the opposing captain. As long as Michael Clarke's dodgy back holds out, Australia will commence both those Test series with a huge advantage.

Clarke's style is ultra-aggressive, with an attack to match, so he'll be prodding the opposition from the opening delivery of the series. In contrast Dhoni, at least in Tests away from home, is a captain who tends to be reactive rather than proactive. Clarke's style wins that contest every time.

Cook is ultra-conservative, and during the 5-0 drubbing in Australia, even when he had the opposition teetering on the edge of the cliff, he couldn't initiate the final shove. As much as anything, that's what frustrated Kevin Pietersen. He's an aggressive cricketer who likes to win and he could see England, unconvincingly led by Cook, had little chance of beating Australia.

It may well be that Pietersen had worn out his credits as a match-winner but it still makes little sense to cast aside your best batsman to bolster a captain who is out of his depth. At least out of his depth in a head-to-head battle with a captain like Clarke.

Supporters of Cook will say he can improve. While an important part of captaincy is learning on the job from your mistakes, there are certain critical things about the task that can't be learned. Aggressive intent and a positive approach can't be taught and Cook will be hard-pressed to acquire those innate qualities. He's unlikely to match Clarke in a contest where those attributes tilt the scales.

Dhoni is a slightly different case. He does have an aggressive streak as captain and it stands him in good stead in the shorter forms of the game. However, that trait seems to desert him in a Test series played away from his beloved home turf.

Dhoni's failings could be caused by a combination of things. Firstly, the short forms of the game virtually dictate how you should play, whereas in Test cricket, the captain has to establish a pattern and then attempt to impose his will on the opposition. Secondly, a captain can stay in the job too long. This leads to him becoming stale and adopting a more conservative approach.

It's going to be hard for India to beat Australia away from home. They don't possess the fast bowlers who are crucial to winning on bouncy pitches and there's a question mark over their batting under those conditions.

India may not win under another captain - most likely Virat Kohli - but they have no chance under Dhoni. On the last tour of Australia, India went downhill fast under his leadership and unless the injection of youth has an inspirational effect, I don't see Dhoni reversing that trend.

In Cook's case he has one advantage. His next meeting with Clarke will be on English soil. Nevertheless, it won't help Cook much as his team is short on match-winners with Pietersen's dismissal, and Australia's strong pace attack should be suited to English conditions.

The real problem for England is they have virtually no alternative choice for captain. Neither situation bodes well for India or England in a series where captaincy could make all the difference.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

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Posted by Batmanian on (June 6, 2014, 15:58 GMT)

To paraphrase Leonard Cohen on Phil Spector: Captain Dhoni may be a mad genius. But he is a genius.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2014, 21:34 GMT)

Spot on as usual Chappelli although you are probably going to cop a bit for this! Cook is a poor excuse for a captain, and without KP England will be in danger of getting decimated each time they walk out onto a cricket ground, at least in the short term. Dhoni is a good player but only a fair captain, both will struggle against pup, especially at home.

Posted by jay57870 on (June 4, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

Miss #3) the unknown unknowns, things we don't know we don't know. It's presumptuous of Ian to say "Cook & Dhoni will struggle against Clarke". As if the rest of the world stagnates, while OZ rides the wave. Even experts are failing to see the looming signs: It's T20 that's become the platform for Test cricket. Many OZ stars play in IPL: Warner, Watson, Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Bailey & Co. So did Clarke & Harris last year. Not to mention emerging stars: Maxwell, Starc, Cummins, Faulkner. In fact, Brett Lee credits Johnson's resurgence to his IPL stint. Improved Warner is back in Tests. This year's IPL was very competitive. In the exciting finals on Sunday, it's the unfancied, unknown players who stole the show: M Pandey, M Vohra, A Patel & an older W Saha. India's not sitting still. Yes, it has a wealth of hidden talent. Selectors are watching IPL closely to find the next Sehwag. Remember he was your "next Bradman", Ian? The opposition can ambush too. Elementary, my dear Chappelli!!

Posted by jay57870 on (June 4, 2014, 3:05 GMT)

Ian - Spot on about Sherlock Holmes: he's clueless, he misses! Miss #1) the known knowns, things we know that we know. Coaching matters. Darren Lehmann's arrival turned OZ around. Look at the dismal situation when Arthur & Clarke suffered the "Homework" saga & a 0-4 whitewash in India. Arthur was axed. The affable Lehmann was inserted to remedy the toxic team culture. It worked. Though OZ lost 0-3 in Eng, they rebounded later at home with a 5-0 Ashes drubbing. The momentum carried over to SA: OZ won 2-1. Cooke could not have succeeded without Lehmann. Miss #2) the known unknowns, things we know we don't know. Cricket's vagaries - injury, form loss, fatigue, burnout, personal issues - can quickly render a team vulnerable to defeat. Also longevity. Many key players are over 30 - Haddin (36), Rogers (36), Harris (34), Watson (33), Johnson (32). Clarke too (33). Surely these "ageing masters" are limited by their "use-by-dates", especially Clarke with his "dodgy back". Time to exit, Ian?

Posted by indianzen on (June 3, 2014, 22:16 GMT)

Ian, if Clarke is too good as you exaggerate, why did he loose 4-0 to India in India ? Every team will struggle in another country and at times luck decides who will win, just like SL winning in England at the moment...

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 17:32 GMT)

@Jamie: Fast bowlers will win you matches outside subcontinent.. Its as simple as that.. Australia is winning because clarke has bowlers like johnson, siddle, pattinson who bowl close to 150kmph.. Im sure dhoni would be a great captain if he has bowlers like that.. If you are true follower of cricket you will know that india were the true winners of 2007 test series if not for steve bucknor in the sydney test.. We won the one day series following that..

Posted by Nampally on (June 3, 2014, 13:08 GMT)

Dhoni is a proven failure as a Captain to lead India overseas. It is so obvious that it does not need a Rocket Scientist to prove it. Why is he still the Captain of the Indian Team touring England? The Indian Selectors have some serious Soul searching to do as regards their tactics or reasoning behind Dhoni continuing to lead India overseas in Tests. Rohit Sharma is the best alternate choice. He is better tactician & leader than Dhoni. He also has the personality. That is the first change India needs if it needs to perform better. Secondly, India needs to focus on opening batsmen & opening bowlers seriously. Dropping an in-form pace bowler like Umesh Yadev or opening batsman Uthappa shows serious deficiencies in the selectors. Form, Record & Fitness should be the only basis for selection. Last but not the least at least one batsman & bowler should be selected with an eye on the future- e.g., Nair & Sandeep Sharma. India has the best talent & if used correctly will perform at high level

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

I tend to agree with Ian's views on Clarke, undoubtedly aggressive. However as it was shown in the series in India an aggressive captain without the correct team (more so bowlers bit batsmen too) will have his tactics backfire. Aus has only done well in seamer friendly conditions remember!!! India's recent tours of south Africa and new Zealand clearly have shown lack of penetrative fast bowling is the clear cause of unflattering results. Batting has performed satisfactorily but loosing matches or drawing matches when you have the runs to back you up is just not done. Before passing dhoni for being reactive abroad I wish we could see him with a pace battery of two 135-140 and one quality 145-150 km bowling attack. Unfortunately this might just be a dream.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

All the folk on here defending Dhoni are completely missing the point! Chappell is purely stating that Dhoni will struggle outside of a India against Clarke as if you haven't noticed India are touring Australia later in the year. So all these folk going on about being whitewashed 4-0 in India are obviously a bit wet between the ears , as actually read the article properly. Australia will hammer India 4-0 again this summer as we did it last time with a weaker Aussie team than this one , and exactly as Chappell put it , Dhoni is totally rubbish outside of his custom made dust bowls. And again before all you Indians start moaning again yes Australia and most other teams will still struggle in India , but Australia won there in 2004 so when was the last time India won in Australia? Yes thought so!

Posted by latecut_04 on (June 3, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

Everyone seems to attribute Clarke's aggression to the presence of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris. Yes,he has the most feared fast bowler in his repository. But that is not the only cause for his aggression. Remember his first series in SA after the Ashes debacle in 2011 and his declarations. They were always sportive and result oriented.(like they are right now).Also Clarke is a very shrewd tactician unlike Dhoni and Cook.(look at his use of Lyon and how he has been molded into Aus attack, spin was a major headache since the days of Shane Warne and although we cant say Aus spin problems have been addressed they are currently at a much better position than they were during the days of Doherty,Beer,Krajza etc ).Even if Dhoni has a 150 k bowler he wont know how to use him(see how he has left Umesh Yadav at home for the series against Eng.)not saying Yadav is anyway similar to Mitch. point is Dhoni being a poor test player will always be a poor captain .Period.

Posted by Natx on (June 2, 2014, 22:52 GMT)

I've been watching the columns from chappell for a while and I admired him for speaking his mind out and calling a spade a spade. But he seems to have been fixated when talking about captaincy. It's primarily about australia. While I have nothing against Clarke, it is important to note that all his recent successes were due to one or two bowlers - Johnson and to an extent Ryan Harris. When neither of these bowlers were with him, he struggled and the so called captaincy is there for all to see. Great example is the recent whitewash in India when both these bowlers didn't play. SA success cannot be attributed to his leadership as the pitches are somewhat similar to Aus and both Johnson and Ryan contributed. It needs to be seen how his remaining bowlers fare in conditions that are unfriendly to fast bowlers. That is the reason why many of the folks rate Dale Steyn the complete fast bowler since 2009. Unless clarke wins series in India, Pak, SL, he is only good for chappell & not others.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 22:52 GMT)

may well be that Pietersen had worn out his credits as a match-winner but it still makes little sense to cast aside your best batsman to bolster a captain who is out of his depth. Normally I have time for Chappel's comments, but now, I have to wonder. Cook is, and has been for some years, England's finest batsman. Pietersen has always been a show-pony who only wants to do well for England so he can improve his asking price in the IPL. Fortunately, he's been found out even there.

Posted by whoster on (June 2, 2014, 20:28 GMT)

I agree to an extent with the philosophy that a captain is only as good as his team. Against India and England (in England) in 2013, Clarke showed the same attacking style of captaincy, and got thrashed. In the return Ashes series and against South Africa, he had Mitchell Johnson at his disposal - now the most feared bowler in Test cricket. When a captain has at his disposal someone who can (and regularly does) destroy a batting line-up in one spell, it makes Clarke's job a lot easier.

Clarke is scoring runs, and that's the real contribution he's made as captain. Got to give him massive credit for the century in South Africa after getting peppered by Morkel.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 19:16 GMT)

158 comments as we chew the fat of Test cricket amongst proper teams. This is what we care about! IPL finished yesterday, who won again? No one remembers, no one cares...

Posted by Nampally on (June 2, 2014, 18:27 GMT)

"Indian Captain cannot bring the limited over aggression into Test Arena" is the reason quoted by Ian Chappell for India not being able to beat the Aussies! If India goes with its best XI with 3 or 4 pace bowlers, India can match the Aussies in pace bowling. Aaron & Yadev are around 150 KPH. India also has 5 equally good batsmen to counter the OZ pace attack. Kohli & Pujara are up to the task. India needs to establish 2 good openers from half a dozen available. If they do then India needs just 3 or 4 other players in the middle order from 1 WK + 1 Batsman + 1 spinner+ 1 all rounder. The problem with Dhoni- the current Indian Captain- is his stubbornness to go with just 3 specialist bowlers + I All rounder- as the 4 bowlers for a 5 day test match. These 3+ bowlers- cannot take 20 wkts. That is the simple answer. During the last Indian tour even the team unity was split. So choose a Captain who unites the team + plays the best XI - NOT Captain's favourites. India has the talent to WIN!

Posted by Steven_Scott on (June 2, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

Clarke is very overrated as a captain. His brand of captaincy is more like brave gambling- comes off when you win but makes you look real stupid when you lose. He is the only captain to declare in the first innings and then lose by an innings (tour of India) because he declared on 230+ for 9 on day 1. Johnson has carried the team in their last couple of series and that has to do with individual brilliance and not Clarke's captaincy. About Cook and Dhoni. they are doing what they can with resources at their disposal (which is not much). When Aussie had a team that couldn't play cricket to save their life (English Ashes and India tour) Clarke couldn't do anything. A captain is only as good as the team.

Posted by inhotpursuit on (June 2, 2014, 17:31 GMT)

Dhoni lack of aggression or so Mr Chappell perceives, is not his inherent weakness and neither that he is shit scared of losing. Neither the tenure as a captain, there have been captains who have led for much longer periods. Yes, toothless bowling has a role to play in his defensive approach but bigger factor is the batting line up that is still unsettled, unlike fab four or five of Sehwag, SRT, VVS, Dravid and to some extent Ganguly that one could count on anytime to at least put up a fight (you are not sure if these greenhorns can chase a target of 200 to win a Test in SA/Eng/Aus)...not surrender meekly as the current bunch of 'golfers' are used to every 2nd game under alien conditions. Its not every decade that you get to see fab four...Dhoni can continue to be defensive but he should at least ensure that the team does not fall apart or fall like nine pins when playing overseas.

Posted by cloudmess on (June 2, 2014, 16:11 GMT)

I would agree that Cook has turned out to be a very average captain, but if Clarke is better he is not better than much. He is still a long way from Taylor & Waugh. The turnaround in Australian cricket over the past year is much more down to Lehmann and Johnson. Clarke lost 0-7 to India and England at the start of last year, with exactly the same brand of 'attacking' leadership - proving, if nothing else, that there is much more to positive captaincy than just cute field-placements and macho swearing at the opposition's strike bowler.

Posted by CricFanKrish on (June 2, 2014, 15:45 GMT)

The captain is only as good as his team, the saying goes. Yes, MS has been defensive many times. However, we also need to consider why he is defensive. That is due to two reasons. 1) He does not have a bowling attack that can give him wickets. He chooses to cut down on giving runs. 2) Even now, his batsmen are tigers at home and minnows abroad. Barring two good series against the Aussies when Sehwag and co racked up big totals, sadly I don't see that happening with Dhawan and co.

Let us hope Varun Aaron, Ishwar Pandey, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar can change the scenario a bit, and win at least one test. That is providing that Dhawan, Vijay, Kohli etc click in England. Else let us not forget that India were white-washed 4-0 the last time around. Cook may not be aggressive, but he still beat Australia 3-0 in England. India did do that at home (beat Australia 4-0) but Australia did have their moments and the margins were not as bad as the 0-4 drubbing they got in Australia.

Posted by cricket-india on (June 2, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

wonder how chapell can think of kohli as captain; the guy can't lead a domestic T20 team without spewing venom against fielders who slip up and bowlers who leak runs. what chance does he stand against a tactician like clarke? appointing a captain is indeed rocket science, or something close to it; atleast it's not as easy as taking your best batsman (which again kohli was not for RCB - it was yuvi and ABDe) and putting him in charge. you may or may not like MSD as captain, but if dropping him means giving kohli the reins, no thanks i'll stick to MSD. ganguly wrote in that homily for SRT that the great man led better than the numbers show becauser the seniors were on their way out and the juniors were not yet established; and in any case SRT never lost 8-0. wonder why MSD can't get that consideration, dada? dravid, vvs, SRT himself, viru, gauti, zak, bhajji...the seniors were on their way out, and kohli, ashwin, praveen, sreesanth, ...the juniors were still finding their feet, right?

Posted by brusselslion on (June 2, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

IMO the article is spot-on. Clarke is an aggressive & innovative captain and Cook is conservative and poor. Dhoni is also a poor Test captain as he has demonstrated time and again e.g. On the last tour to England Sharma was bowling well in the morning session approaching lunch at Lords, & England were struggling with 2 new batsmen in. Dhoni's response after lunch? Replace Sharma with some harmless spin. For those apologists who argue that Dhoni doesn't have the Aussie pace attack to play with, personally I doubt whether he would get the best of them: Impossible to prove, of course, but it probably wouldn't have been 5-0 Australia vs. England if Dhoni had been captain rather than Clarke.

BTW: Kudos to @Roleplay & @tanstell87 for pointing out that many Indian fans do still care for Test cricket, contrary to @Cpt.Meanster's belief.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (June 2, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

I don't think Dhoni is bad. He is a good captain for India, he plays okay. Cook is a good bloke, but he needs to get better fast. Clarke is the most tactically astute of the three and will win as long as he has a good fast bowling line up.

I don't think Australia lost in India because of poor bowling, i think we lost from poor batting. Our batters need to get better against spin. Warner was terrible but got better, Smith is good, along with Clarke - but a few other blokes like Hughes, Doolan etc will need to get better before we go there again.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 14:41 GMT)

Well, i do agree to the fact that Cook and Dhoni are below Par captains especially when compared to Clarke.. no doubts about that. Clarke is a much better Test batsman also. But we do need to redefine this term called "Aggressive Captain" or player. In my opinion, a captain who is on top of his game plans, is able to keep his team motivated/charged up, has the guts/capability to rise to the occassion/lead by example and maintain a cordial environment in his dressing room/on field behavior is an aggressive captain. Clarke fairs well above Dhoni and Cook, but he does NOT have any control over the players behavior whether it is ON or OFF the field. His arguments/issues with Katich, Watson etc.. are well known. In fact not only he encourages the on field misbehavior, he is also the one Leading them to this and in the Name of Sledging, they always cross the line. India, South Africa, England, newzealand, westindies generally do NOT misbehave, but aussies always do that.

Posted by CRIC_FAN94 on (June 2, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

I think Ian chappel has forgotten australia's 0-4 defeat on indian soil under the same aggressive captain "CLARKE".May be an aggressive and positive approach by a captain can have a bit of impact on the game but it doesn't solely decide the result of the game.To win a test,you should have bowlers who can pick 20 wickets.As clarke didnt have good spinners and dhoni didnt have good Fast bowlers, both lost series quite easily.I dont australia winning a series in India unless they have one or two quality spinners and same with the Indian team unless they find atleast two quality F.bowlers.

Posted by looloogun on (June 2, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

dhoni & clarke , when it comes to captaincy they both fold themselves under the same foil . dhoni and clarke are both like cunning fox`s they`ll never tolerate attitude against them,they had cold relations with team mates and got many of their former mates out of their team . very reluctant to give chances to new players if they are not like "YES sir"(eg .baba ,mitch marsh) captains like border,ganguly, waugh,vaughan ,warne are like visionaries whereas dhoni ,clarke care only about winning . fortunately clarke has lehman ,but dhoni has duncan.at the moment its even between both got whitewashed against eachother when toured each other . so personallyfor me both are poor captains .

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

give ms dhoni mitchell johnson, peter siddle and james pattinson and you'll see aggression. kinda hard for a captain to be ultra attacking when his fastest bowler dishes 125s. when australia got smashed 4-0 in india, no one bothered questioning clarke's captaincy despite all the mishaps that happened on and off the field. the reason he wasnt ever going to win that series though is that he didnt have decent spinners, and not his tendency to attack/defend. simple enough

Posted by Protears on (June 2, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

Did Michael Clarke not lose 4-0 and 3-0 to England last year? When Clarkey is under the cosh he loses as well. Maybe in Pakistan if they have slow low turners he will have a rude awakening with Ajmal and co.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

Certainly MS Dhoni is much better and bold and wise captain in compassion with Cook and many times cook cooks his team downfall because of defensive tatics

Posted by paps123 on (June 2, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

Cook was poor as a leader in AUS but the 2 teams also looked poles apart while no one can take away the imagination that Clarke shows in his captaincy and result in SA was testimony to that. Dhoni's ultra defensive and boring tactics cost India 2 test matches in SA & NZ where winning was a breath away but he was content to wait for it. Its unbelievable that INDIA could not even beat NZ in a test match in NZ.

Posted by arunrajaram on (June 2, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

Dear Ian, Whilst I agree Clarke as a very aggressive captain and Dhoni not being able to transfer his aggressiveness to tests (especially overseas), please do not try to just focus on home tests for Aussies. I agree they won against SA in SA recently. Between 4-0 and 5-0 home victories, they lost 4-0 to India in India (in your language you call call it india returning the favour and aussies had no where to hide etc etc.) and 3-0 to England. I would love to see Clarke coming here and thrashing India with the similar aggressiveness. We'll see his aggressive side when your bowlers are ineffective in conditions that don't suit them (which is Dhoni's defense rightly!).

Posted by venbas on (June 2, 2014, 9:49 GMT)

Dhoni's problem lies with the team he gets...When all you have is a Stuart Binny,Varun Aaron, Ashwin or Ishant Sharma in your squad at the expense of revamped Uthappa or Akshar Patel, Manan Vora or Sandeep Sharma cooling their heels in domestic cricket/ipl, on can only feel sorry for Dhoni. Needless to say the man Dhoni himself is a liability in Tests and Saha can be the WK with Gambhir taking over as Captain.

Posted by sdwlrd on (June 2, 2014, 8:54 GMT)

Dhoni has a problem managing bowlers, both on and off the field. While the quality of Indian bowling talent is debatable, he seems to have problems getting good strike bowlers even with all the money CSK's got. Ashwin is the only permanent fixture in the bowling department, because he is mentally strong and is constantly seeking to improve himself. All the other young talent are either demotivated or under-confident. There was an old Tamil TV interview featuring Ashwin, Badrinath and Balaji, in which one of them said no one knew what Dhoni was thinking. Being cool in a pressure situation and being cool with your teammates are two entirely different things.

Posted by imtiazjaleel on (June 2, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

Michael Clarke has to win a series in India, Cook has already done that. Anyhow, they lost the Ashes becoz Anderson & Co. did not bowl well, whereas Johnson & Co. bowled exceptionally. It was Johnson & Ryan Harris who won the ashes not Michael Clarke. Talking about Dhoni, if we reverse the roles of Dhoni captain of Australia and Clarke of India playing in Australia, i believe Dhoni will win hands down. We have to look at the team also who he is captaining.

Posted by latecut_04 on (June 2, 2014, 8:28 GMT)

Also Dhoni's team selection is atrocious. Keeps a genuine finger spinner(Misra)out of the team and picks Aswin(whats he)for a 5 test series. Also doesn't select the best pace bowler(UYadav)in the county but picks IPandey who is yet untested. Regarding Cook he is an excellent batsman and and a potential great but a poor poor captain as displayed may times during last Ashes. His strength seems to be his nemesis in captaincy(defense!!)Clarke was always aggressive and intuitive as captain and is a great batsman.(Remember his series against SA where he w as always aggressive both with the bat and wearing skipper's cap)For India the way forward is to make Kohli the test captain with DK as their keeper and Samson an understudy for him. Having said all this Dhoni is a nexcellent ODI captain and an ODI great.But he just doesn't have the defense to survive against quality bowling on lively tracks in test matches without field restrictions.Period

Posted by latecut_04 on (June 2, 2014, 8:19 GMT)

Dhoni is a poor captain.(there is nothing like outside sub continent, in the sub continent, on bouncy tracks etc)you are either good, average or poor .However I fail too see why writers like Ian cant call a spade a spade Dhoni is a POOR TEST PLAYER and doesn't deserve his place in the squad.Let us take his keeping first. In India's last outing to England PKumar was India's best bowler(unfortunately)swinging the bowl at 125ks..But he was negated by Eng batsmen by standing outside the crease. A class wicketkeeper should be able to stand up to this pace and be effective and Dhoni simply wasn't up to this task. This is just the most glaring of many of his flaws as WK. Regarding his batting I don't think anything needs to be written..in the just concluded SA series, his lack of contribution with the bat was one of the main reasons for India's failure. India just don't have a lower middle order with this guy coming at no:7 outside Asia. and this is from India...contd

Posted by USAMAAJMAL678 on (June 2, 2014, 7:51 GMT)

well i think chappell has gone into the details a bit too much that dhoni will struggle coz of clarke being aggressive and so and so..the simple and plain thing why dhoni will struggle is that he is not even an average captain when it comes to captaining in alien conditions outside subcontinent..he is a below average captain outside subcontinent..just take a look at his record last tours he captained away from subcontinent(excluding westindies who have subcontinent like conditions)....against eng ,aus,sa,nz last series he played....he captained 12 tests losing 10 of them managed 2 draws and not a single win..couldnt even win a single odi in those tours against sa,nz,eng and didnt manage to reach the final of tri nation series in aus in which 3rd team was another asian team srilanka...so whether clarke as captain or anyone else ms dhoni will lose not bcoz opposing captain is too aggressive but coz he is a below average captain outside subcontinent..he is a way to overrated captain...

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

I think Mr.Chapell has always had a problem with MSD.... There is no comparison between MSD and Clarke..... Our MSD is far far better than Clarke...both as a batsman and as a captain!!

Posted by afzal501 on (June 2, 2014, 7:07 GMT)

I think its not Clarke who should be credited, its Lehman who hAS turned the team around, although I agree that captain needs too be aggressive, but Clarke was not very effective under previous coach even though he had same players. So I think its the coach and captain together when they can work together.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

@cnksk You make some excellent points. Certainly if Australia are to perform well in India it will be necessary first and foremost for their batting against spin to improve. If I recall correctly Dhawan and Pujara batted extraordinarily well, while Ashwin ripped the Australian batting order apart.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 6:41 GMT)

this article, wishful thinking of a former Australian captain.just coz Mitchel Johnson can bowl short on bouncy tracks, MJ is pretty ineffective elsewhere and Australia doesnt have a plan B,C or D.

Posted by cnksnk on (June 2, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

Contd... A captain can be only as good as the team. Even in the current team does any one really see any one other than Virat and Pujara scoring runs consistently in Australia. Rohit will continue to play and will score 1 big innings with a number of other 20 's and 30 s which will look attractive. Dhawan is a question mark and Vijay will try and grind his way. Ajinkya will play well although he is still developing into a VVS at No 6. Dhoni is not a successful batsmen overseas. So with this team can any one be aggressive. Any captain will start the test match only with a defensive bent of mind and can only start getting aggressive as game progresses. Clarck is good but is a function of good bowling attack which will get him 20 wickets most time.

Posted by cnksnk on (June 2, 2014, 6:06 GMT)

Ian is an excellent writer and yes Dhoni will struggle against Clark. However not for the reasons mentioned. Clark was aggressive in the last Ashes in Australia only because he had the best bowling attack in world cricket. Ryno, MOJO and Siddle / Patto are a handful any time and in Australia they can be lethal. Just go back on one year in time and Dhoni , whitewashed, hidding, blanked out, the Aussies under Clark. While Micky took the flak for Homework gate, Clark was part of the decision and had agreed with the decision, got away too lightly. Dhoni in my view would not be defensive if he had 2 decent bowlers. Any attack with Ishant as the leader tells a story. Bhuvi is good with the new ball, but not so effective with the old. Umesh and Aaron are still WIP. Ashwin needs to reinvent himself and there are no good all rounders to cover for a 5 th bowler. Even the few series that India won overseas was more due to large scores and the bowling taking wickets at great cost.... Contd...

Posted by Harold-I on (June 2, 2014, 5:20 GMT)

Not sure the comparison is fair. Dhoni is a less then average test captain, and Cook just isn't very good. But those two also have to suffer from their teams in a depression of talent while Australia are on the up - and it should also pointed out that Clark still needs to prove himself in England and in India. The captain always looks better when his players are performing well - and I do agree that agressive captaincy goes well with agressive players - and that's what Australia produces.

But there are good test captains out there. I thought McCullum's captaincy excellent - once again reminding everyone that NZ punches well above its weight. That's the true worth of a captain, getting his players to play to their potential and then using that potential to get a better than 100% return from the whole team. Obviously Clark has far more to work with than NZ does.

Posted by BackStreetBowler on (June 2, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

I think this is too many words spent on a version of the game that is rapidly losing relevance in current times. I love test cricket. But I watch it for about 2-3 hours out of the total 30 hours in a test. One can argue till the cows come home about test matches being the real test of character, talent, etc. But it is simply not a game for the times. Only retired gents may have the time and the inclination to watch a complete test match.

The real question for me - Is judging a captain by the way he leads a side in a test important at all? I think not.

In today's times a more important litmus test is how he leads his side in an ODI / T20.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (June 2, 2014, 4:39 GMT)

For those criticising Clarke's Test series away record it is: 3W (SL '11, WI '12, SA '14), 2 L (IND '13, ENG '13) and 1D (SA '11). Not bad given the resources at his disposal. I am sure Dhoni would love that kind of away performance.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (June 2, 2014, 3:57 GMT)

i never understand this about clarke being 'imaginative' and all that. does he place two men on top of each other on the point boundary to take a catch of say someone like sehwag???

clarke's personality and demeanor is busy body. compared to cook and dhoni. like someone said make clarke captain of ind or eng and see if he can win them matches.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 3:23 GMT)

Well it is not about the captancy. It is all about the selection of the players and most importantly the fast bowlers. I do think Lehman made that difference in selecting those players for example Warner, Johnson, Harris. Captancy looks good when players are performing. I agree on Dhoni as Indians does not have those fast bowlers or they do not select them. But looking at England I think they are going back to dibli dobli era of the 90's again

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (June 2, 2014, 2:36 GMT)

Spot on analysis with MSD - the role of a coach, trainer, captain is to make a player think he is better than he really is, to max their potential, if a captain cannot inspire-he better have a team of 10 absolute once in a century freaks. For india, save the odd insipired spell by any quickie ishant, bhuvan, shami take your pick, I forsee us chasing 500+ regularly in the first innings. For clarke, take away Mitch in his current avatar, i guess that will balance out a lot-that said would still put Clarke as more pro active and better strategist than AC or msd. The saddening part about indian pacers is their unwillingness to learn or go out of their comfort zone, eg ishant bowls the same gunk day in and out. This is where strong characters like Ranatunga, ganguly, fleming were so good, they inspired their limited resources to rise above their inadequecies and give a good fight. The coming series between india and england should be good and i forsee the losing captain will be discarded.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 1:34 GMT)

More than Clarke I feel its the change in Australia's support staff's mentality after the entry of Darren Lehmann. Keep in mind that he has led multiple domestic teams to finals. I think england need a tactician and counterattacking skip while India need to breed a group of super swing bowlers from an early age and utilise that as an advantage. I have no doubts in Dhoni's stratergies and approach because I feel one needs to be calm and unbreakable to defeat the bigger opponent, for example Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas. I think both India and England are against the rope it really depends on who's willing to fight another round and win the title against Australia.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 1:25 GMT)

For mine there is a time for aggression and a time to play steadying cricket depending on the situation of the game.Chappell love for Clarke is a tad over the top and somewhat blinkered.His ultra aggression against SA in Aust in the lost series was questionable.His aggression in that series in the WACA test was as poor as anything Cook has dished up only on the other side of the scale

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

i agree with you 100% Chaps. Lehmann is an excellent Manager (who also has excellent stats. as a Test cricketer...if he'd been English, he'd have over 100 Caps), Clarke is already one of Australia's finest ever Captain/Batsmen & Mitchell Johnson dominated the recent Ashes series 5-0 whitewash probably more than any other Aussie in history and i include the likes of Stuart Clark 2006-07, Terry Alderman/Steve Waugh 1989 and Lillee/Thomson 1974. i've got a feeling that this Australia squad could turn out to be just as good as the Warne/Mcgrath/Ponting or the Chappell/Lillee/Walker ones.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 0:29 GMT)

i totally agree with Chaps. Although i'm English, i make sure that i watch ALL of Australia's Test matches. Darren Lehmann is brilliant as Manager, Clarke is brilliant as Captain and Mitchell Johnson dominated an Ashes series more than any other Aussie Test match player in recent history & i include Alderman & Steve Waugh in 1989 and Lillee & Thomson in 1974.....Johnson's bowling figures for the series (plus his very useful batting) is phenomenal....for a few months after the retirement of Ricky Ponting, i was a bit depressed but i reckon that the current Aussie test side has the talent, variety & strength in depth to be even better than the Warne/Mcgrath and Lillee/Chappell eras.

Posted by MinusZero on (June 2, 2014, 0:27 GMT)

Yes, Australia beat England 5-0 in the last series, but in all but one test, their first innings was on the ropes and they should have been bowled out cheaply. The middle order is still a problem. Watson should go, how many chances does he get?

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 0:22 GMT)

I recommend Gambhir could be better captain in test matches but his own performance had left him out of team. Dhoni is a calm captain but I find him limited in test matches. It's good to believe in your team but it's not necessary to stick with same team. But India is left with no other choice. Dhoni needs to prove his worth in overseas. You can see SL hardly gets swept home or away. Loosing is never a problem with Dhoni's overseas captaincy but loosing that badly certainly arises questions. I wish he won't repeat 2 spinner theory in England. Cook looks like leader but I don't feel he is likely to inspire English team. At times he is defensive, at time he is left with no clue. Clack is certainly best among test captains as he is aggressive,he is bold and experimental. Australian players has record of good batting performance as captains. There would be nothing better way to inspire leading from front. But Australian era has come to end. Clark needs to prove in overseas too.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 0:20 GMT)

People need to remember MSD the Test captain is quite different to MSD the ODI/T20 captain! He is quite negative and defensive in Tests putting fielders on the boundary when even the opposition tail is in! The Test 1 ranking was courtesy of a star studded team and th hard work of his predecessors! His record away from home or outside the subcontinent in Tests is shocking! Cook is even worse...the less said the better. Clarke has probably benefitted from having a coach with a positive mindset beside him than ones with defensive, negative views. I wouldn't say he is the greatest but compared to the other Test captain at this moment he is probably the most tactical and attacking...and yes it helps having a couple of strike bowlers.

Posted by vish2020 on (June 1, 2014, 23:47 GMT)

What about when Clarke lost all games in the tests in India?? Only Aussie and England pitches count for wins? And all others grounds are practice matches? Typical Aussie

Posted by SLSup on (June 1, 2014, 22:55 GMT)

...on SutheeshKumar's comment: Haha. You cracked me up! What a fantastic statement. But don't take what Ian Chappell says too seriously. He rarely reads his own stuff. It is obvious by what he's written here that he doesn't read them cos if he did while writing it he surely would not have published it!

All God's Children. Live and Let live.

Posted by Semoli on (June 1, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

Dhoni is a defensive captain when it comes to tests. He believes in stranglehold technique. It does not work overseas...why not try something else?

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 21:36 GMT)

Not sure how Chappell for got about 4-0 white wash when Aussie toured India last time. Every team will have home advantage, Clarke has to prove out side down uder

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (June 1, 2014, 21:12 GMT)

@Chris_P, you have got to explain how the "outstanding tactician" Clarke lost to Dhoni 0-4 in the latest test India-Aus test series, or for that matter why he lost the Ashes series to Cook in England -- the two lowly captains identified by IC.

Posted by hhillbumper on (June 1, 2014, 20:48 GMT)

Clarke lost 3-0 to Cook.4-0 to Dhoni. Maybe he should learn to travel first. Given that the best fast bowlers he had are over 32 and both got longer sick records than my local hospital maybe we shall see how good they are when they next tour

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 20:40 GMT)

Ian Chappell, I respect you a lot and your observations in general but I completely disagree with this assessment here. I think Clarke has still a lot to prove. I think the best was Mark Taylor, followed by Steve Waugh as Australian captains. Yea Clarke has rebuilt the team etc...but to do such comparisons doesn't make sense. I am sorry to say but this is Typical Aussie Attitude! And yea I like Clarke as a player...dont get me wrong!

Anyhow I wish Dhoni (and India) gets a few quick bowlers and Pujara, Kohli, Rohit and Dhoni can fire at the same time...I think Australia will get their own medicine! It's time someone beats Australia in their own den....pretty convincingly!

Posted by gandabhai on (June 1, 2014, 20:08 GMT)

In the history of test cricket, whoever is the best captain of all time. Give him the same bowlers Dhoni has had at his disposal. You will see a captain losing most of the time. Mr Chappell, No firepower = No win. Take MJ out of the last ashes, What do you get ???????

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (June 1, 2014, 20:06 GMT)

'It still makes little sense to cast aside your best batsman to bolster a captain who is out of his depth.' Probably the most sensical thing written on here about the Cook vs Pietersen saga. Cook is a very good batsmen but an abysmal captain. Pietersen is a superb batsmen.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 19:27 GMT)

with due respect Mr. Chappell, i think u wrote this article while dreaming about the golden days Australia dominance in world cricket. wining in home turf n in similar condition doesn't make clarke best or attacking captain. I thought u know about this. he have to go a long way to prove that.No one strikes in my mind whom i can say a game changer in current australian test team. Most of the player is aging. Frankly speaking they will not be able to compete in sub continent condition.

Posted by the-rover on (June 1, 2014, 19:22 GMT)

Just read the title, don't need to read the article as it will be total rubbish. The captain with the best bowling attack wins 70 to 80% of cricket matches. The rest is just window dressing and stuff for the talking heads.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

it is true that MSD performed really badly as a capt in Aus,SA and NZ, he did faulter on the selection of XI specially the bowling unit, the biggest reason for the series loss at each place was probably the negative mentality and lack of belief in own bowlers to finish off the test for him(first test in SA and McCullum triple ). However it is too partial to say Clarke is a league above both, he did drub IND and ENG at home but was also whitewashed at IND and ENG and looked as bad as dhoni and cook did in AUS. Come on Ian, Clarke aint a Clive Lloyod yet not even an Ian Chappel for that matter!

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 17:22 GMT)

one line missing from ur article...............india whitewashed aussies 4-0 in india

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 16:29 GMT)

Spot on Ian. Can't see Dhoni winning abroad until his tactics change somewhere dramatically in the coming days under the guidance of any other coach other than Duncan Fletcher. This Fletcher Dhoni has put Indian Test cricket back by at least 15 years. First of all, this combination has had this strange behavior of losing the first test and then going with the same team for 4-5 Tests. One can understand having unchanged XI when teams win, but this management selects an out of form player for the first team, gives him a good opportunity to fail all Tests and effectively killing the persons career (good examples being Gambhir, Laxman, Dravid, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina Ishant et al). If they change this simple approach and selects the best XI for each Test, India can do better overseas. The batting looks formidable enough in Vijay, Shikhar, Pujara, Virat and Rohit. Dhoni needs to improve on his overseas batting record and India needs to go with 5 bowlers if they don't want to slip any furthr

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (June 1, 2014, 16:12 GMT)

Nampally,It is nice to know that I was missed. I was out of India for a while. But Ian Chappell's piece triggered of the usual response because he apparently holds Dhoni in high esteem. I have always held as you will know that Dhoni's cool captain mask has more to do with him not knowing what to do. In his own admission,he takes decisions on instinct and is happier letting the bowlers set their own fields.That means he has no strategy at all. No setting of fields for specific bowling strategies and getting the batsman to play in a certain way. We all know that he defines nepotism in matters of team selection. And since he is still in favour as the Captain,we just have to bear it. The tour management remains an enigma when India tours as he seems unaccountable to anyone. The thing is that most people expect India to lose in both England and Australia later this year. If that happens,there is still hope that he will be replaced. But if India wins in either,he will remain for untouched.

Posted by wasimahm on (June 1, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

Michael Clarke's batsman always come out firing, his own personal game is all about shot making, he's got catchers all the time and he's always thinking wickets. This is what the crowd wants. All in all he's just the perfect man to captain a Test side.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 15:46 GMT)

I'm quite certain that India recently won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 4-0...

I agree that Clarke is a good captain, but as far as the requirements of a good cricketer, and in the captain's position no less, he is lacking sportsmanship and behavior; please tell me how many altercations and disputes you see Dhoni and Cook at the center of.

Opinions are opinions, and I'm glad I read this article, because it does bring up some interesting points. However, I doubt Chappell will view sledging and poor sportsmanship as a knock against a good cricketer...

Posted by wasimahm on (June 1, 2014, 15:42 GMT)

First of all let's stop looking at these three captains from the results perspective. A good captain is someone who does something to improve the game by taking it forward, trying to create a contest plus being inclusive of the people who are putting in time and money to watch you play.

I think Cook has none of these qualities. Instances like the fifth Test of the 2013 Ashes comes to mind where KP of all people comes and blocks everything despite a 3-0 lead, the crowd at The Oval certainly deserved better; in Australia where he just let Stuart Broad drop his square-leg back in the second over of a Test match; on many an occasion fielding a deep point when the ball is swinging; retreating too quickly for the the kind of attack he has. Alistair Cook is all about absolute negativity.

Posted by tamperbay on (June 1, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

@nareshgb1 and other. Mitch is a special player but he is only effective when handled correctly. He needs to be given confidence by his captain and also a licence to bowl short aggressive spells. I can't see Cook handling him this way. The English style is attritional and negative, and Cook has followed that tradition. They jettisoned Harmison who was similar to Mitch in aggressiveness, fragile confidence, inconsistency, and mercurial brilliance. I'm not sure about Dhoni. Maybe with Mitch in his team he would have more success.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 14:55 GMT)

I think your jumping the gun there mate. 'Pup' Clark has a lot to prove yet, and learn,including his so called aggressive tactics. He has a competent team on quick pitches. Fullstop. It is not a reflection on his ability as leader. The win in SA is like India winning in Sri Lanka from an asian view point. SA conditions is similar if not same to Australia. Them beating each other in each others backyard doesn't mean much to anyone, considering Australia has been winning there since SA was readmitted to international cricket (Heck,even in your days Ian) anyway. the last win was in SL in 2011,and it wasn't all that convincing,but Ill give it to you. After which he was drubbed 4-0 in India . Forget the end result,but during the series he really looked inept and out of his depth.To conclude, anyone can look like goliath in their own backyard,especially if the opposition comes from a glaringly different background. It has little to do with Clark and whatever grey matter he possess.

Posted by cricanm on (June 1, 2014, 14:27 GMT)

I think its not the fault of only MSD, we need to think that msd has not fast bowlers who can take wickets in overseas, we win in india because d pitches r spin friendly, n indian spinners take wicket on these pitches. He as a wkt keepar batsman has not done as bad as people criticse him. We also saw the captaincy of clarke in india in spin friendly condition, when india cleen swept. So a captain is as good as a team.

Posted by Nampally on (June 1, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

@Sir_Ivor: Great to see your input to Cricinfo after a long break. I agree that Captaincy depends upon Luck & Playing XI. When we have captains who do not know how to pick a XI, it shocks one & all. Dhoni did it repeatedly in SA & NZ tour recently. He had 3 "specialist" bowlers + 1 All rounder for a 5 day Test & lost from a winning position to SA in first test. He repeated the same in the second test. This is an example of rank bad captaincy. All 3 bowlers survived the test without injury but were too tired to be effective in the Second Test. The first aim of a Captain is to have a United & balanced XI. Secondly the field placing & bowling changes with a plan of action for each opposing batsman. In this respect Clarke is the best when he has right players as is Cook. Clarke & OZ team was swept 4-0 in India. He rose to sweep England in Ashes at Home!Bold Clarke when he had the right XI showed his tactics pay. India needs to take a page out of this for replacing Dhoni as Test Captain!

Posted by mclaren123 on (June 1, 2014, 14:00 GMT)

@Nampally-Dhoni lost the series to NZ

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (June 1, 2014, 13:47 GMT)

The truth is sometimes quite uncomplicated. If India win in England it will be because Bhuvi (and may be Shami) bowled well and because Kohli and Pujara batted well. Dhoni is a decent captain, but players have to fire -- there is simply no other way around that. Cook wouldn't have won in India but for Peitersen, Swann, and Panesar. They played well and made Cook look good. Clarke's players didn't do well in India and so Aus lost 0-4. Let's not praise Clarke for Johnson's performance in Aus.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 13:37 GMT)

What about the drubbing Clarke led Aussie team received in India? It does not feature anywhere in your article?

Posted by Greatest_Game on (June 1, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

Mr Chappell states "Both Dhoni and Cook will have a return bout with an opposing captain who handed them a drubbing, a whitewash, a hiding - take your pick which terminology you use …"

In the last encounter between India and Australia, Clarke was handed a drubbing, a whitewash, a hiding - take your pick which terminology you use. Australia lost all 4 tests in their tour of India in March 2013. In this "return bout," as Mr. Chappell calls it, Clarke is the last captain whitewashed. Has Mr. Chappell forgotten this?

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 13:30 GMT)

Chappell always thinks the current Aussie captain is the best in the world. Even when it is Ponting and Clarke in question. Clarke's 0-4 and Ponting's numerous humiliations havent seemed to change his mind.

Anyway, Dhoni's record speaks for itself. Except for the blip when India had retirements of the mainstays of the side - WORSE than the Windies losing Viv, Greenidge, Dujon and Marshall at the same time - he has generally been the best captain in the world across all formats. Test #1 for 2 years with ageing stars, 2 worldcups and an incredible record in the IPL. It is funny to see Clarke even compared at this stage of his captaincy.

Posted by SutheeshKumar on (June 1, 2014, 13:27 GMT)

Well then Mr.Chappell, let Clarke captain the current Indian side and we will see how good a captain he still is.

Posted by nareshgb1 on (June 1, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

Just give Mitchell Johnson to Dhoni and watch the fun. Heck, give Mitch to Cook and watch the fun. Clarke is good - at least without Mickey hanging around, but he is no Warnie. He was lucky to get a jaded England team last year and even luckier to have Mitch firing the way he did.

Posted by Tmaa on (June 1, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

Okay Mr.IC Aussies nxt scheduled against Pak in UAE lets chk thn hw aggressive Clarke is nd hw gud quality Aussies bowler posses on Flat Pitches,,Aussies hv not evn one quality batsman except Clarke against Spinners,,All teams r struggling thz days when they are playing away,,so wht gud australia hv done if they r winning at Home ;)

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 1, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am not going either praise Chappell or criticize Chapell as it is his opinion and so is some of the others here in the discussion forum. As an Indian, IMO here is why this Indian team cannot win the series both against AUS and against ENG, 1) India is still rebuilding, especially in test matches and the side is relatively young 2) India do not have match winning bowlers who need to take 2 wickets to win a test match 3) India batting is also vulnerable after the retirement of all time greats. Even winning a series in India will be a challenge for this team and finally too much t20 cricket is being played.

Posted by Chris_P on (June 1, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

First things first. People posting stating captains are the result of how their teams perform clearly show their total lack of understanding of the game. Anyone can who has played cricket at a serious level can see Clarke is an outstanding tactician, reading the game well ahead of his opponents. Don Bradman, for example, was a freak batsman, but as a captain, although he never lost a series, was uninspiring and tactfully poor. Stephen Fleming was probably the most astute captain of recent times but how could you measure his performances by test results? Clarke won several series prior to the 3 losses he had in that 9 month period & since shown why he is so astute. Seriously, if people cannot see that, I am not sure what game you are watching.

Posted by Nampally on (June 1, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

Dhoni's Captaincy abroad has been an absolute disaster! He got swept in England & Australia + lost a winnable Test series in SA from being on the verge of victory. He barely drew the series vs. NZ with some really poor decisions. Dhoni's problem is his one-track mind which clearly is illogical- either in selection of XI or having a plan of action. In my opinion Rohit Sharma is the most knowledgeable about Cricket + has the personality for Test Captaincy. Kohli may be a great Cricketer but does not have the Captaincy attributes. India should have switched to Rohit Sharma as the Captain for England & Australia. As for Cook, he has the personality for Captaincy & leads by example. But his team let him down badly when he failed in batting. In my opinion he is still a good Captain- who needs some luck. Clarke is aggressive captain alright. But luck went in his favour & his players showed up. He had some bad losses when they did not show up. It is like "Luck favours the Brave" for Clarke!

Posted by jeauxx on (June 1, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

@rahul.singh: Clarke is not "a very average" ODI batsman. Dhoni is almost certainly the best in the world at the moment but Clarke's average of 45 puts him amongst the best as well.

Posted by Anubhav-the-Experience on (June 1, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

Things change...Its always fast bowlers on English + Aussy wickets and spinners on Sub-continent wicket... Panesar bowled better than Ashwin & England won. Zaheer & co. bowled well in england hence they won in 2007 & before.

Posted by rahul.singh on (June 1, 2014, 12:25 GMT)

It may well boil down to a captain's own game. Dhoni is one of best ever one day batsman and a very average test batsman while Clark is the opposite. This reflects in their captaincy.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

Thats a really poor article. Even after the big achievements of My Chappell, i dont see much in this article other than saying great things about the australian team after a summer. The whole ashes was moved around by one man, Johnson. He wont bowl with the same hostility ever, and after him, the rest of the bowlers will look pretty ordinary. Their batting still remains a concern for them. Also, indians are good in their backyard, or even better, than most other teams are in their own.

Thats a strength, not a weakness.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 12:11 GMT)

The Captain is only as good as his team. Give Australia's Bowling Attack to MSD , then we see how reactive he is...As Shrewd captain Clarke might be, Australian team got thrashed in India in the last series...

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 12:08 GMT)

While I agree with the views about Dhoni and Cook Clarke hasnt been that convincing either. Look at his captaincy record away from home.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

Being a former captain of Australia Ian likes to talk up the role of captaincy.. If it wasn't for the strength of our bowling attack under Johnson then Clarke would be an outcast failure by now. Clarke is lucky he arrived on the scene when our bowling stocks started to turn around and then we got Lehmann. Clarke has done nothing more than follow an aggressive tactical approach which is easy when you have an aggresive hostile attack.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

A captain's aggressiveness is directly proportional to the quality of his bowling attack. Period. If the Indian team is able to play out the initial 20 overs without losing a wicket ( or one wicket at the most), then we need to see how aggressive a captain Michael Clarke is. Chances are that he and the Aussies could be chasing leather all day long. The Proteas experienced it recently, when the rookie Indian batting unit didn't lose early wickets against the new ball and once the ball became old made hay. The Aussies could be in for a similar kind of experience.

Posted by Herath-UK on (June 1, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

Any captain or team will be aggressive at home in any case. Aussies had a thrashing in the ashes on seaming wickets here in UK and I did not see any such trait in him. Similarly he was poor in the series in Sri Lanka I thought. Sri Lanka & India were quite aggressive & were confident (& proved coming to the final) when the last WC was held in the Asia & so Aus & NZ will be strong favourites to be somewhere in the SF/ final & I think Sri Lanka will be. Not only Sri Lanka beat Aussies in the last one day series in Australia last year,Aussies just escaped their lowest total with Kulasekera doing a wonderful job.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 1, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

Aggression means nothing if not translated into results on the field. I have great regard for Ian's cricketing nous, but this article is poor. India will not win this time, down under, even if they were captained by Michael Clarke ! I agree that Dhoni is a more effective captain in ODI's and i think it is because that format is his forte. His test batting credentials are average and so is his captaincy in the longer format. And one last quip about "aggression". I thought this is cricket, not WWF!!

Posted by cloudmess on (June 1, 2014, 11:41 GMT)

According to this article, Clarke's 4-0 victory at home v India in 2012 carries more weight that Dhoni's more recent 4-0 victory at home v Australia. How does that work? And Clarke hardly did any better in England last year. The reason Australia did very well over the winter was down to Mitchell Johnson and some hard, bouncy pitches. Take those away, and I think you'll find that Clarke is still a fairly average captain (and a distinctly poor man-manager - remember that last India tour), notwithstanding his cute field-placements and attacking rhetoric designed to gain the approval of Chappelli and Warne. .

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 1, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

@thegreatwhiteduck (post on June 1, 2014, 11:18 GMT): "Are there counter-examples where an aggressive captaincy approach did not pay off?" = Yes, read my previous post. In swinging, seaming conditions like U.K, attacking play seldom works.

Posted by rizwan1981 on (June 1, 2014, 11:35 GMT)

Clarke's AUSSIE team were beaten 4-0 recently by Dhoni's Indians and 3-0 by Cooke in England last Summer.Also , Greame Smith's team beat the Aussie's in Australia although SA lost at home recently . So , its a bit of a stretch for Chappell to say that Clarke's captaincy is superior.

Even going back to Chappell brothers , AB , Mark Taylor , Waugh and Ponting's captaicny , the Aussie's record in India and Pakistan was appalling.The only reason Aussies can play aggressive cricket is if the conditions suit them.

Clarke can captain aggressively because he has Mitch Johnson. But how long can Mitch bowl at 95 MPH ? Also , Mitch's record is very poor in the sub-continent as was his mentor DENNIS LILLEE who averaged over 100 in Pakistan and NEVER played a test in India !

If Dhoni and Cooke have the luxury of 3 fast men who can bowl at 100 MPH, they would also be pro active in their captaincy like Clarke.

Posted by eng_mdkhan on (June 1, 2014, 11:30 GMT)

Ian is right and forget about home records specific to his article about upcoming series he is right on the money. Dhoni is not fit mentally for test captaincy his records clearly indicate that even the average captains on India have a very home series record. Now Dhoni is not Ganguly but what is frustrating is his reluctance to evolve as a captain in Test cricket despite the years of experience. On the outset he seems disinterested but perhaps we are wrong. England has more than just cook's captaincy to worry about since they handled KP in the most high handed manner you could imagine. Things could have been internally resolved and KP the match winner could have been retained but unfortunately that is not to be. No replacement for Swan along with lack of the aggressive approach is definitely going to hinder England's chances. I personally feel with so much cricket played in different formats most of the English players look jaded compared to Australians who relish a challenge.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (June 1, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

There was a time not too long ago when Ian was not too optimistic about Australian cricket. That was soon after the 4-0 thrashing in India and later the Ashes defeat in England. There were no captaincy comparisons then. Then came the Ashes at home when Johnson and Harris delivered in a big way and Brad Haddin bailed them out everytime and Australia thrashed England 5-0.Then came the great South African win in South Africa. That has brought Australia to almost the top and obviously such comparisons. The point I would like to make is that a good captain is made by his team or at least a few batsmen and bowlers iin his team with consistency throughout a whole series and secondly,with good luck. Australia could easily have won the first Test of the Ashes series in England but they did not. That series may have been different if that had to happen. Cook is a captain who success will be based on the above factors but he will not be like Strauss. Dhoni will only win when luck favours him.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

MSD is a far better captain than clarke or cook. Great strategist, tactician and above all extremely calm under pressure.

Posted by thegreatwhiteduck on (June 1, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

This shallow article doesn't explain anything. It begs its own question. It accepts as axiomatic that aggressive equals good and conservative equals bad. Why is an aggressive approach (to captaincy, mind you, rather than simply bowling aggressively) always or usually better than a conservative approach? Why not explain that, even with some examples. Are there counter-examples where an aggressive captaincy approach did not pay off?

Posted by InternationalCricketFollower on (June 1, 2014, 10:48 GMT)

Its not Clarke..its Johnson. Once Johnson's venom is gone..Aussies are in serious trouble.

Posted by Lodhisingh on (June 1, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

It is everything to do with playing at home or away than Clarke being a better captain than MSD or Cook. Can't recall Clarke winning in Eng or India?

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (June 1, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

These arguments cut both ways Ian. I know you're mostly focusing on upcoming series, and it's true India and definitely England have been too conservative; but look at the other side of that coin and admit how abysmal Australia have been in swinging, seaming conditions where patience and attritional-style play is required. Here in U.K. where we get a lot of movement, Australia have really struggled, and coming out swinging/swiping at every ball has clearly not worked and made the batsmen look all the more embarrassing when they get out. There was also a game in the last South Africa vs. Australia series where careful, steady play was required, and unsurprisingly South Africa took that game easily. If Clarke (Australia as a whole) are unwilling to adapt to different conditions and play the cricket required for those conditions/opponents etc. then he/they will struggle every bit as much as other captains/teams, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

when Mr. Chappell says that Clarke is ultra aggressive, he's correct. no doubt Clarke is aggressive, but it's not about being aggressive, it's about being effective. aggression works for Clarke because he has bowlers who can intimidate batsmen. that's the last thing Indian bowlers can even dream of. talking about dhoni's captaincy, every time when India is in good positions, it's said that he squanders it. do you think he deliberately does that? his bowlers run out of steam, as simple as that, can't the people see that. the Indian bowlers don't allow that level of freedom and imagination to dhoni which is essential in a captain. aggression won't work for dhoni Even if he's ultra aggressive like Clarke. Effectiveness>Aggression.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 10:27 GMT)

Dhoni does not have the fast bowlers to attack in Australia. A lot of blame should go to Indian selectors, they have not tried newer emerging bowlers but relying on the same untrustworthy bunch, 5-0 in Australia's favour is a reasonable prediction. England is very strong team on their own turf, the Ashes series in England next year will be a more even contest.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (June 1, 2014, 10:14 GMT)

Winning on bouncy pitches is the only criteria to be callwd as good captain then I think clark is a great captain...

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

The article says that it is going to be difficult for India to beat Australia in Australia. Agreed. The case will be reversed when Australia come to India and we witnessed what actually happened to Australia and with the exception of Micheal Clarke, no other Aussie batsman was able to play spin. Every team is strong on their home turfs and this is a fact.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

Australia lacks Quality spinners to win in sub continent india lacks quality pacers to win in australia new Zealand n england england whereas r just inconsistent all 3 r good on their day n taking about captains clarke leads from the front setting an example dhoni has the best cricketing brain n cook dpnds alot on his team backing him up with their performances would love to see an ODI tri series involving ind-aus-eng

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 10:03 GMT)

just imagine (as one can only imagine) "ultra-aggressive Clarke" with Indian bowling attack in overseas tests.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

Question should be rewritten like this.... 1. Why Cook and Clarke will struggle against MSD ? 2. Why Cook and Clarke retired from T20I ? 3. Why can't Cook and Clarke captain their team in all the formats like MSD ? Clarke had a big failure in IPL and Cook really can't handle the pressure (ICC champions trophy 2013 ). MSD is smart and quick among these captains. You really don't feel the heat of becoming captain of India. MSD is one in 180crore people and even if you combine both the countries, Clarke and Cook are two in around 50 crore people I guess. I think espncricinfo should interview Kapil Dev or Ravi shastri asking them why Cook and clarke completely fail against MSD ? MSD is the greatest captain that the world had ever witnessed and we are proud and lucky to have MSD as the INDIAN TEAM CAPTAIN.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

Its easy to be aggressive, when the condition suits your team. Remember when Australia came to India or when they went to England, they were on the defensive with Clarke batting too low. I have no delusions of grandeur that India are going to do amazingly great in England or Australia, but if Chapell wanted to praise Clarke, he could have easily done so without mud-slinging on Dhoni and Cook.

Posted by Smithie on (June 1, 2014, 9:44 GMT)

Many Indian comments cling to their 4:0 most recent win over Aus in home conditions. Two points to consider - Clarke was teamed up with Sth African Arthur as coach and the whole team ethic was poisoned. Teamed with Boof will be a more formidable combination. No mention of how Cook and his team rolled India at home most recently. Time for some perspective gentlemen. Dhoni in Tests is not at his best as a captain - strategic thinking and attention span perhaps relevant?

Posted by Hardy1 on (June 1, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

Didn't Clarke's team get battered 3-0 & 4-0 in England & India within the last year?

Posted by Bloodwrath on (June 1, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

Clarke no-doubt brings about the Australian aggression in a big way into the game but as far as dhoni is concerned.Dhoni can't even be aggressive forget ultra- aggressive outside subcontinent as he doesn't have quality bowlers to back him up, Especially considering that pitches nowadays are tailor-made to suit the home team and India's best bowler Shami is at best average considering his bowling partners consist of 'talents' like Ishant Sharma

Posted by warneneverchuck on (June 1, 2014, 9:25 GMT)

Australia is as good on subcontinent wickets as india on Australia pitches... so if indian team is overrated then so is aus....

Posted by Mundrathy on (June 1, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

Mr. Ian Chappel, dont you think you are prasing Mr. Clarke too much!, did you forget what happened to Australia team under his leadership in India, why dint you mention that anywhere in this article, and how is Clarke's success is different from Dhoni's , Dhoni has success in spinning conditions and Clarke in Pace bowling conditions, do you want to show that Australia won in SA because of Clarke, you are wrong, its because of hostile pace of Johnson, and familiar conditions. India will also win against Aus if played in Srilanka, Bangaldesh, or UAE. I strongly believe you will eat your words soon!.

Posted by vj_gooner on (June 1, 2014, 9:23 GMT)

@ Kumar Lang - Premature evaluation?

Cook bungled against RSA (both home and away). And Dhoni fallacies away from home is a well-scripted one.

Clarke's captaincy failures (against IND) came when the entire team were in tatters and the coach Arthur had no clue as to what he was doing.

Whereas in England, it was very evident that the team was improving. Once Boof got his time, he has improved the team & Pup's captaincy by a huge margin. You can't go to RSA and win just like that.

Posted by MarkTaffin on (June 1, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

No doubt that Clarke is a far better captain than Dhoni and Cook. But I think the only think separating him from Brendon McCullum is that Johnson and Harris are a better pair of fast bowlers than Boult and Southee. For now.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 9:16 GMT)

What happened to your great captain Clarke in India last year? 4-0 whitewash, drubbing , hiding, choose your pick. It's simple, India don't have good fast bowlers.We lose in seamer friendly conditions. Australia don't have a half decent spinner.They got 2 consecutive whitewashes in India.Ian Chappel seems to have conveniently forgotten about this, just to prove his point.

Posted by RogerC on (June 1, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

Give the Indian bowling attack to Clarke and let's see how great he is with that. Clarke's Australia lost series in India and England badly and also against South Africa at home. At that time nobody praised Clarke's captaincy. Australia were saved mainly by Johnson's resurgence recently and credit now goes to Clarke's captaincy. I remember how Steve Waugh used to get personal mileage with terms like 'mental disintegration' when the real reason for his wins was a great team full of champion players.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 9:05 GMT)

I know Ian Chappell is a big fan of Michael Clarke but it should be remembered that in 2013. Clarke lost the series in England 0-3 and just like Cook in Australia ..He had opportunities to win matches. I think Clarke will ultimately be judged on his ability to regain The Ashes in England and the 2015 World Cup . If Australia beat India at home it will not necessarily prove that Clarke is a better captain than Dhoni no more than India winning at home makes Dhoni a better captain.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 8:56 GMT)

I think the biggest problem for India this summer is going to be their lack of a spinner that can consistently make breakthroughs. Unless they pass on the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja and try a leggie or perhaps even go back to a rejuvenated Bhajji, they are going to struggle. That aside I like the looks of the young Indian batsmen and their seam bowling too. I think with the recent shake up in the England set-up they are probably now the 3rd best test side behind Aus and SA who are level pegging in my view. Really looking forward to watching the upcoming test series between all nations as some rebuild and others continue to build on their momentum, there is no complete side out there anymore since the retirements of Smith and Kallis, one thing Aus really has going for it in this situation is indeed the leadership of Clarke.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 8:48 GMT)

Frankly I have to say I totally disagree with this article. He praises Clarke for his convincing victories in Australia and South Africa highlighting captaincy as the main reason. Then when he comes to Dhoni he is comparing his performance in the same Australia and South Africa. So he is basically comparing Clarke's home performance vs Dhoni's away performance. How about we change sides and compare Clarke's away record to Dhoni's home record. The statistics actually show they are quite similar (Dhoni has 1 series loss at home, 4 away in 6 years. Clarke has 1 series loss at home and 2 away in 3 years). It basically comes down to the conditions. Clarke has a very good fast bowlers to unleash in Australian conditions and Dhoni has a very good spin bowlers to unleash in India. While everyone critises Dhoni about his overseas captaining no one ever sees how good a home captain he is. In 6 years he is lost just 3 matches. Yes Clarke was convincing but all at home and in similar SA.

Posted by MianMoosa on (June 1, 2014, 8:42 GMT)

Ian chappell is 100% correct, michael clarke is by far the best captain in today,s cricket,,,,It,s not about how great talent u have in the team but its the matter of handling talent in suitable manner, For me dhoni is only good captain in spin friendly conditions, Alastair cook may take decades, but he could never be a good captain

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (June 1, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

Captains are born and statistics shows Dhoni is the most successful captain india has ever produced. Dhoni's results were better in limited overs matches than tests. If you are a good captain in limited overs you don't suddenly become bad in test matches. To win tests you need good bowlers to take 20 wickets.

This time you wait and see. Bhuvi is swinging beautifully left and right, will give you initial break throughs. Ishant the work horse will tirelessly try his best . New kid Pandey is a Promissing youngster. Aaron's pace will make the englishmen hop around. Sami will regain his Waqaresque performance shown aginst Windies. Jaddu/Ashwin will perform on spinning tracts. What else you need? It is not all doom and gloom.

Posted by steve48 on (June 1, 2014, 8:25 GMT)

Captaincy is as important as the captain makes it! Yes, Clarke has the better bowling at his disposal, but he USED them almost perfectly, with clear plans for each English batsman, proved by Stokes being our only over performer; they didn't know his game so well! Similarly, the sympathetic handling of Mitch, never allowed to over bowl an unproductive spell, with excellent bowlers like Harris and Siddle brought into the plan as willing aides, whilst Watson played his bowling role beautifully unselfishly as a wide of the stumps waster of time! Not even mentioned the handling of Lyon, and the round the wicket with overspin tactic. Captains need good bowlers, but the trick is to help them, improve them with tactics and focus. Clarke, obviously with Lehman's help, is excellent at this, way better than Cook, tactically clueless, or MSD, who often seems to lack belief in his bowlers.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:58 GMT)

You can often see a captain's substance when things are not going their way - which often means when they are losing. Recently when both India and England got whitewashed here in Australia both Dhoni and Cook looked clueless and lost for large portions of the series and often when did try things they were often extremely negative. They often let games drift away from them and you could see their players feeling frustrated. If you look at the Stephen Flemming for example, he did not have a good win/loss record but he kept being positive and trying things with the limited resources he had. He was a very good captain.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:47 GMT)

ian is 100% correct. To all the clarke critics - In tests captaincy is mainly read from the bowler's results - as that is where the captain is most involved. At this level any one can bowl where he wants at a reasonable level. Rest is strategy. Batting - once the player is out there he is on his own. In the tours to India and England it was batting that led Australia down not bowling. Infact bowlers actually did pretty well in England. So why blame clarke. Problems with clarke were mainly in team selection. But with boof as coach that looks more sorted out. But once his contract expires this problem might remerge.

Posted by henchart on (June 1, 2014, 7:40 GMT)

@Prabhakar Muthukrishnan: There goes one more Indian fan with another excuse viz almost won,if so and so had been available India would have won etc etc .Why cant the Indian fans just accept their overrated team led by Dhoni is just not good enough to win test series on bouncy pitches of SA,Aus and even England?To take 20 Test wkts abroad team needs good bowlers and the current Indian crop is just not good enough and NZL proved that in second test over there despite being on the mat.India has to improve its bowling to win outside the sub continent and playing two genuine attacking spinners might not be a bad idea instead of three mediocre medium pacers .Clarke or Dhoni or Cook , a captain is as good only as his team is or else why would Lara and Tendulkar have such a miserable record as captains despite being two of the best batsmen of their eras?

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:36 GMT)

As they say, a captain is only as good as his team and I think this holds true for the examples of drubbing, whitewash or a hiding - take your pick - that Chappell describes. For instance, the India down-under tour had the almighty Indian top/middle order fail nearly in every test, and there was little Dhoni could do even with aggressive captaincy in the field to defend such small totals. The bowling also lacked venom, and perhaps India will need to play to their strengths of spin, even down-under. It is however true that Dhoni is proactive rather than reactive in away tests, and this needs to improve. But I feel he's still the right man for the job. Regarding Clarke, his captaincy is outstanding but again, his key batsmen (Warner, Clarke, Smith, Haddin) and bowlers (Johnson, Harris) stepped up to the mark in the recent Ashes series. A lot of the credit needs to go to them rather than just "aggressive captaincy".

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

Ian is right. Clarke is easily the best captain in test cricket and a captain is hugely important in the longer form of the game. Forget the last series in India, it is irrelevant for many reasons. Firstly, Indian conditions hugely favour India, and Australian conditions favour fast bowling, which India has never been good at. Secondly, both teams are significantly different from then, particularly in form. India will not beat Australia at home, India rarely plays well outside of India in tests. In reference to Cook, I think he is a poor captain and should focus on his batting. He is way too conservative and seems to lack the tactical nous to be effective. The problem England have is a lack of obvious (if not capable) replacement.

Posted by balboa1422 on (June 1, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

has gone through the same grind, and will go through it over and over again till he's 35-36. And And And India ends up blaming the captains for being dour. All said, I am no admirer of Dhoni or his brand of cricket.

Posted by balboa1422 on (June 1, 2014, 7:27 GMT)


in India. Take him out anywhere else and he'll surely struggle. Ashwin forgets even his name. Fast bowlers did you say? Ishant Sharma is a veteran now. When it comes to an Indian medium pacer, the onus is always on longevity and not quality. The moment a bowler picks up 30-40 wickets his pace reduces by at least 10%. He starts preserving himself. It doesn't matter for the spinners how many wickets they pick up abroad, there are always the home tests to set the record straight. And the batsmen, there are about 3 places that are eternally available in the Indian line up, expect for a brief 3-4 years period in between (the Gambhir to Ganguly batting line up days), and there are about 6-7 guys contending for them. And they take these places in a very well managed cyclic order. Score heavily in India, fail abroad, be persisted for another couple of series, fail miserably, come back to India, belt away in IPL/ODI/whatnot and get back in the team. Meanwhile the one who replaced you has

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

How could the chappel forget Clark & co. was white washed by MSD & Co. recently?? Not fair to compare MSD with clarke.....They have their own plus and minus....Both r equally good in captaincy...... As an indian fan,love MSD

Posted by SpaMaster on (June 1, 2014, 7:15 GMT)

Oh please.. A captain is only as good as the team. These series would be decided by players, not by the captains. Clarke may be as aggressive as he wants, but if his players are performing well enough, he won't be able to stop the kind of 4-0 drubbing he received in India earlier. A captain's ability is measured in how he brings out the best from his players and whether they can make them play above their overall potential. It has nothing to do with being aggressive, defensive, neutral, etc. If you go with a weak team and play super defensive to earn a drawn series outside, he would be a great captain.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

I agree with the analysis. India's test performance under Dhoni even in India has not been stellar. It's probably the right time to install a new test captain (Kohli or Pujara or even Ashwin maybe) and give a long leash. If he's not the captain, Dhoni may struggle to find a place in the test team. So this has to coincide with his retirement from test cricket.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

give australia bowlers to dhoni and i clearly c him ahead of clarke just remain u give aus a pitch which does not respond to fast bowling and eases them

Posted by Scrop on (June 1, 2014, 7:10 GMT)

Mr. Ian why did the Tacticians, Aggressive, proactive, result oriented - take your pick which terminology you use - but whichever way you perceive the man Clarke lose to India 4-0 last year ?

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 7:09 GMT)

Looks like Ian Chappel forgot wat happened to Australia last time they toured India. Ian chappel has to wait to see Clarks so called "Agressiveness" without Johnson

Posted by Scrop on (June 1, 2014, 7:05 GMT)

Clarke is a good captain, NOW he has dependable bowlers to claim 20 wickets in Tests, so was Cook about an 18 months back and so is Dhoni in subcontinent games.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 6:45 GMT)

Give Dhoni an in-form Johnson and watch how aggressive he becomes!

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 6:42 GMT)

Can someone remind me how the "aggressive and proactive" Clarke performed the last time he toured India? The Aussies were thrashed 4-0 and he had no idea what to do!

The "aggressive" Clarke couldn't do much in his last tour to England either, where his team lost 3-0.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

got it wrong Chappel.. Remember Australia loosing to India 4-0 under Clarke. The core strength lies within Harris, Johnson, workhorse Siddle and gutsy Smith and of course within Clarke himself. One thing about Clarke is he is positive and aggressive like most Aussie captains, and it pays dividend when you have a good attack. So don't overrate him, he is as good as his team is. Meanwhile Dhoni and Cook aren't. Having lot of potential, they are unable to guide their team to be aggressive or positive like Clarke does. It is something pathetic to see Cooks changes and Dhoni's field settings. You can't say Clarke is the reason for Australia's turnaround, he is one of many reasons.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

Why is it so all-fired important for a captain to 'prove himself' against India in India? It isn't the team that wins in India that is the best team, it's the team that does best over the most conditions at home and away. India can't play against good teams away from the sub-continent. Australia just beat South Africa pretty convincingly in SA. South Africa has also done well away from home in recent years and that has earned SA the recognition it deserves.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

Ian seems to have forgotten about the last two test series that India played in South Africa and in New Zealand. While the results may reflect otherwise, the young rookie Indian side almost won the first test against SA and it was only one bad session that cost it the series ( losing the second). In NZ the team was in a position to win both the test matches. The batsmen gave a great display of test batting. It was the bowlers that failed during these two series. While they may still lose the series to England and Australia, they will not lose as badly as the last time around, when they were carrying too many aged warhorses for their comfort. Both the English and the Aussie sides can brace up for some tough fight.

Posted by fantasycomestrue on (June 1, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

Captaincy is two things, One is to have resources and the second is to use them in the right fashion. For Australian pitches, looking at the recent past- the resources you need are Bowlers who can bowl fast with extra bounce and batsmen who can take on opposition with aggressive stroke-play. Dhoni when he toured Aus last time did not have batsmen in aggressive mood. They were consolidators barring Virat Kohli who proved a point by the end of series. The lesser we talk of Indian Pacers the better it is. So, no resources means no Victory in Aus. However Cook had the resources & did not know how to use it. Broad, Anderson, KP were handled bad. Can`t say about Cook but this time Dhoni has a string of aggressive batsmen. It sure will not be 5-0 this time.

Posted by Kingman75 on (June 1, 2014, 6:03 GMT)

Dhoni has a lot to answer for. In 2010, he had the chance to develop his number one team into a formidable force by playing more aggressively and installing confidence in his team. Instead he kept playing defensive cricket and moulded his team into one that did not lose first and foremost. Unfortunately, when the results went against them, the team could not respond and they have since failed to win any test matches away from home. His away record is now so bad that it makes him the worst ever!

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (June 1, 2014, 6:01 GMT)

Today in Tests, Michael Clarke is the most tactically astute and aggressive captain hands down.

My question is, if tomorrow Clarke's Ashes winning team plays a test series against a strong opposition in conditions not suited to fast bowling, how would it fare? If they fare badly would it be because Clarke's strategies are good only in familiar conditions or because majority of other 10 players don't have the skills to succeed in unfamiliar conditions? If they fare well, would it be because he is a brilliant strategist or he has the players with skills to succeed in unfamiliar conditions?

My point is that a Captain needs a team which can successfully execute his strategies. If we only use recent results to judge a Captain's worth, it will give us a skewed picture. E.g The same Cook whom Clarke totally outwitted, led England to a series win in India where later Clarke led Australia to a whitewash. So in familiar conditions Clarke holds aces, in unfamiliar conditions that may not be so.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

Premature evaluation of Michael Clarke captaincy. Let's see how he goes in India and/or without Mitch.

Posted by screamingeagle on (June 1, 2014, 5:42 GMT)

Well, I believe India would lose even if Clarke does not have all the pacers doing well. Simply because India does not have the bowling to match. But then the converse is also true. Clarke would struggle when the series is in India. That said, I do believe Dhoni has to be replaced, as soon as possible. On a positive note, Chappel has the knack of prediting things the wrong way around, so here is to Aussies playing awful cricket when India tours :D

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 5:31 GMT)

Dhoni may be a horrible captain. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of Dhoni myself. But crediting the entire Ashes triumph down to Clarke's "aggressive" captaincy is stretching it quite a bit! To explain it in a simple way: when are my chances of scaring a guy driving a car on the motorway more: a. When I'm riding a bicycle. b. When I'm driving a truck. Dhoni or for that matter most Indian captains are perpetual bicyclists when playing abroad. Everyone is a "lion" when playing in his own den. Of course we did lose to Swann & Co. some time back in our own backyard. It just shows the fact that better team wins, and not just "aggressive" captain, especially in Tests. Aggressive captain may be able to convert a "95% winning chance" to a WIN, but not a 50 or 60% let alone a 10% which Dhoni and Co. face in foreign (read pace n bounce) condition. Hopefully the likes of Shami, Umesh, Sharma (clutching for straws here) do turn those 10% to say atleast a 70%

Posted by SrinR on (June 1, 2014, 5:29 GMT)

Completely agree about Dhoni. He probably does not value test victories much. Also, he is not in the same imaginative/innovative mould as Clarke - with his own batting, yes, but not in the captain's role.

There is one other thing that is troubling about him. It is the putdowny/sarcastic comments he makes about his own bowlers. Doesn't he realise that it does not help in any way at all? He's done the same thing with the CSK IPL team, with similar dismal results. Someone needs to talk to him about man-management, or else the captaincy should be taken away from him.

If India ends up losing the upcoming test series against a weak England side, then surely that should be the last straw for Dhoni's innings as captain.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (June 1, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

opinion differs among different people. In the title "dhoni cant seem to bring limited over aggression in test" line clearly applies to clarke as well. Multinational tournaments like odi world cup, t20WC and asia cup are real deal and winning that tournaments are prestigious moments. Dhoni achieved everything but what clarke achieved in multinational tournaments? Clarke cant seem to bring his test aggression in limited format! Not only clarke, cook too very defensive in shorter format. I really dont want to talk about test bcz test matches dont have atleast one prestigious multinational tournament! "Not great aggression in meaningless bilateral test series (as like meaningless bilateral odi series) is not a great deal.

Posted by kensohatter on (June 1, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

Chapell i normally love your articles but I disagree here. In my mind Allan Border was Australias greatest captain... I doubt his win/loss record was anything to boast about. Same goes for Stephen Fleming of NZ. These guys got performances out of average players to build a team unit. As well as Clarkes team has played im not sure you can credit all wins to captaincy alone. Much of the credit must go to Lillee (now off contract) and his work with australias fast bowlers (johnson in particular). I agree that England have a tentative and cautious mindset that is evdient in every english captain ive seen not sure why. Clarke deserves credit but not to the point where is captaincy is the difference... Its not. his bowling attack is the difference. Sometimes Clarke as a batsman is the difference but captaincy of a team in form doesnt deserve this kind of article. Write one on Border and Fleming they worked magic with limited resources.

Posted by cric_wanderer on (June 1, 2014, 5:11 GMT)

Agree that Clarke is aggressive, but i do believe that it is the bowling line up (read Mitchell Johnson) that has made him look aggressive.. He has only won couple of series recently, one a Ashes and other against SA.. We know what he did when he toured India last time... Unless he proves himself on Indian sub-continent, I dont think he is miles ahead of Dhoni and Cook.. Maybe if Dhoni and Cook had the same bowlers and pitch conditions, would not be different... Dhoni also has proved himself in one-days and T20.. Clarke does not even come close to him.. SO if he is such a good test captain, where does it all go wrong in ODIs and T20s ?

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (June 1, 2014, 4:59 GMT)

Spot on as far as Dhoni is concerned, his ultra defensive captaincy is the single biggest reason behind India's struggles abroad. When the captain gives his pacemen not a single slip catcher when the opposition is 5 down and over 100 behind, how on earth does he expect to win?

Posted by tanstell87 on (June 1, 2014, 4:53 GMT)

India cant beat Australia in Australia & Australia cant beat India in India...simple equation !!

but i would love to see India atleast show some fight in upcoming tests in England & Australia...

i completely disagree with Cpt.Meanster that most Indians dont care about test cricket....they do & they want India to be number 1 in all formats...

Posted by devil_in_details on (June 1, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

While Dhoni has been defensive outside of india, its mainly because of lack of quality pace bowlers which are needed to win tests. In India , when the pace bowlers can reverse swing and spinners take teams apart, he has been reasonably good as captain. As an Indian fan, I feel we have a got a spirited bunch of actual pace bowlers now- Shami, Umesh, Varun and Bhuvi backed by Ishant. The big hurdle to convert that promise to wickets is discipline. If and that is a big if, these spirited youngsters can combine pace with discipline, we would be a formidable test team away from home too. One only hopes these young bowlers, get better with experience and don't give way to injuries.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 4:44 GMT)

The reason why dhoni being reactive than proactive in away tests, because he doesn't really have a bowling fire power to restrict any team, this was a huge problem during 2011-12 series against australia in australia,that eventually reflects in their batting too, as a result they messes up the whole series, if india has to have any chance of leveling this series, they should have at least two bowlers who could bowl constantly at 140km speed, with utmost accuracy, but that is less likely to happen.

Posted by Roleplay on (June 1, 2014, 4:33 GMT)

First of all @Cpt.Meanster most of indians love test cricket and there is a reason as dravid , laxman ,sehwag are considered the best match winners in our history of cricket.Not only Indians love every format and but they also love watching test cricket involving countries like sa,aus,pak,eng(rest we dont care).@ ian I always wait for your articles but recently you have lost the knack of predicting or making right judgement regarding cricket.You once said india should trade rohit sharma and unmukt chand with some aus fast bowlers.Niether of these batsman have done anything except for some media hype.You once said that raina and bairstow would become exciting test cricketers but ..i can go on....what happened to clarke when he was humiliated in India and England .What happened to his brave aggressive captaincy.Oh wait 7-0.Anyways Thank you for this article and now we can see the results favoured opposite to what u predicted.

Posted by goldeneraaus on (June 1, 2014, 4:18 GMT)

Critics of Clarke say that it is easy to be aggressive when you have M johnson firing but they clearly have not followed this Aussie team over Clarkes reign. He has made truly agressive declarations, fearlessly saught victories from all positions and appears 2 steps ahead of the game with his field placements and bowling changes right from the start of his reign (Though I'm sure backroom staff help with this in planning). Ian is correct about Clarke being significantly better on field leader than Cook and Dhoni but at the end of the day both Cook and Dhoni have team's which COULD test the aussies,given our batting is still frail, but they do start off on the back foot because of this leadership gap.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (June 1, 2014, 4:14 GMT)

Without good bowlers no one can prove their captaincy skill. Clarke is probably a good captain but he has many, many fine fast bowlers to make him look good. I bet if Dhoni & Cook had Australia's fast bowling resources their records would improve. Certainly a bad captain can waste resources but Clarke is currently in a fortunate position.

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (June 1, 2014, 4:00 GMT)

opinion differs among different people. In the title "dhoni cant seem to bring limited over aggression in test" line clearly applies to clarke as well. Multinational tournaments like odi world cup, t20WC and asia cup are real deal and winning that tournaments are prestigious moments. Dhoni achieved everything but what clarke achieved in multinational tournaments? Clarke cant seem to bring his test aggression in limited format! Not only clarke, cook too very defensive in shorter format. I really dont want to talk about test bcz test matches dont have atleast one prestigious multinational tournament! "Not great aggression in meaningless bilateral test series (as like meaningless bilateral odi series) is not a great deal.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 3:29 GMT)

Ian, point was Michell Johnson was on song. It made Clarke's job easier. I'd want to see how he'd so when his fast bowlers are struggling. That is when you can see how good he is as a Captain.

Posted by vishwa1111 on (June 1, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

Not sure dhoni will struggle anybody in indian pitches......he is the best I have ever seen...I am a Srilankan

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (June 1, 2014, 3:19 GMT)

A vast majority in India do NOT care about test cricket. If India does well in tests, it will be considered a mere bonus. Indians love their T20s and ODIs and the major focus should be on preparing for the World Cup in 2015 held down under. The test match series in England and in Australia before the World Cup is just a side show and I for one could care less about how MS Dhoni or Cook handle Clarke. Lastly, the ICC test rankings is completely flawed. If the Big 3 ever needed to do something, it would be to tweak the rankings to properly reflect each team's position. What Chappell fails to understand is that Clarke rode on the backs of some very good performances by the Australian team in the Ashes. The same guy saw his team decimated by India and by England away from home. So the captain is only as good as his players. You don't need a Phd to know that.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 3:03 GMT)

This is not a defense for Dhoni, but unfortunately he does not have the weapons in test cricket. ODI is a different ball game, you can outbat your opponents; in Test matches you have to take 20 wickets to win it. Having said that, Dhoni is definitely not as a good test match captain; he does not even seem to be able to select the best 11 available!

Posted by dunger.bob on (June 1, 2014, 2:51 GMT)

I wonder how long it will take the Indians to point out that the last we met it was them who gave us the drubbing. 4-0 I believe. I guess Ian meant the last time India were in Australia.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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