August 14, 2014

Should Dhoni focus on one-day cricket?

His decisions in the England series have seemed to confirm that he does not care too much for the Test game. Maybe he should be concentrating on the World Cup
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Following the Old Trafford debacle, MS Dhoni gave an air of not caring deeply enough
Following the Old Trafford debacle, MS Dhoni gave an air of not caring deeply enough © AFP

One Test to go in this madcap 42-day pantomime. I have not known a series quite like it. Does that indicate that Test cricket has delivered again, a fluctuating compelling contest?

Fluctuating from the second Test to the third, maybe, but not much during the Tests themselves. Compelling maybe off the field, but it has been such a strange mixture on it, of the sort never seen before. England have done a modern-day Lazarus, but in most cases the most bizarre moves have come from Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

On a poor piece of groundsmanship, the series began. On day two, an even uglier piece of gamesmanship resulted. Days three to five hardly stirred a soul. Yet behind the scenes Dhoni orchestrated a different kind of brinkmanship. He went beyond the game itself, to play another one.

On the other side, Captain Cook was drowning in the game he previously knew so well. Yet in hindsight he was simply using up the rest of the bad air in his tanks, soon to be replaced by newer, fuller, fresher ones. Yes, he must have sensed this was as bad as it gets, but maybe he also sensed that his opposite was swimming in more dangerous depths. He took one large last gasp to play on. Two captains, two complexes.

On day 19, the first in Southampton, the crowd roused a nervous Cook. He jerked at Pankaj Singh, a raw late starter, and Ravindra Jadeja dropped a goober. It was such a poignant moment that it will be remembered for many years to come. Cook went on to stamp his leadership and command. Pankaj went wicketless for what seemed an eternity. Jadeja came and went, his series, possibly his Test career, at a nothing end. India had rushed from the penthouse to the outhouse in record time. England breathed and resurfaced again. A script you could not write.

In between days 24 and 29, Dhoni lost to Gordon Lewis and the ICC. Series over, on and off the field. Despite a punchy 71 by him on day 30, Dhoni and his young millionaires threw in the Test match towel. Late on day 32, after the match was handed to England in a shameful manner, Dhoni talked in the after-match presentation like he didn't care deeply enough.

Mind you, he has said before that Test cricket doesn't really do it for him. It explains, one could suppose, why he is a resolute and effective limited-overs captain and player. That's what stirs him. Whether it be the bucks associated, or the pace of the game or both, he is suited to white-ball, coloured-clothes, short-form cricket, and thrives on it. In Tests it's not the same. And now after a long run, 87 Tests to be precise, the question strengthens about how long he can continue like this as a Test player. Will he hang on for the coveted ton, just as Sachin Tendulkar did for the double-ton? Probably.

Whether it be the bucks associated, or the pace of the game or both, he is suited to white-ball, coloured-clothes, short-form cricket, and thrives on it

If he did back down from Test cricket, India wouldn't miss his strange, often weird, tactics. His selections are illogical when finding the appropriate balance in picking enough specialist players to out-skill the opposition over long periods. His manoeuvrings on the field as keeper and strategist are too often at odds with what the game situation demands - Ishant Sharma bowling short at Lord's the exception.

Instead, Dhoni could focus on his defence of the World Cup he brilliantly coordinated and won, back in 2011. With his limited-overs triumphs he shows a completely different energy, proactive and attacking; those are formats where he has to use the bits-and-pieces players he likes so much. He will need all his gumption and pull to do so again, away from home, with a lesser equipped team. It would be a worthy defence if he pulled it off. Improbable as it may sound, is it time to start planning it away from the Test team?

India need to find a champion who will lead them to uphold the Test match message for future generations to come. From these last 18 days of Test cricket, young aspiring Indian cricketers will seriously wonder what the fuss is about the longer format, based on the lack of care for it by their leaders. The focus will turn to the attractive short forms, the short-term fix.

Cook deserves a bow and a bouquet. He seriously had most of us fooled. He looked shot. He hung in. He needed luck. He got a reprieve and then his team, his senior mates, rallied. It was good to watch after a month - make it 12 months - of burnout and disarray. They took their cue and nailed it on day 19, through to day 32, missing not one beat. They were the ones who deserved a day or two off, not India.

One thing is for sure: Cook is a champion of Test cricket. It's his game. He is the specialist. There is a strong case for him playing only Test cricket from here on. That is not a bad thing, and for England to function effectively Down Under in February next year, they may need a more daring opener and tactician. But in Cook - even if Michael Clarke will not lose sleep knowing Cook is his opposite next year - England at least have someone who will fight a good fight for the great cause of proper, hard-fought, respectful, thoughtful five-day cricket.

Not that the last stanza at The Oval will last the five days scheduled. The curtain in this crazy play may fall early. And what individuals will it fall on?

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nutcutlet on August 14, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    There is one facet of the collective Indian psyche that I think I understand; it's the need for a cricketing champion. For over two decades it was Tendulkar (& even his departure was attenuated because it had become almost inconceivable to the Indian nation to imagine Indian cricket without him). Now that mantle (whether it fits or not) has passed to Dhoni. He has to be the new superman; the one player that symbolises Indian cricket. He must do everything; captain all Indian sides, provide counter-attacking batting and keep wicket too. These are unrealistic expectations. Something had to give. And it has. MS has never been in love with Test cricket, but his preferences are a long way second to the extraordinary craving of the Indian nation to have its champion. He has to play TC. He has to captain too. He is extraordinarily wealthy, but no matter; he is also enslaved to the nation. It would not happen anywhere else. Rationally, he should leave TC. But there's no rationalism here.

  • on August 18, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Well said MC! MSD is an astute, tactician in limited overs game with his innovative field placings, bowl changes ...he just does not let the game drift away beyond a certain point espcly when spinners are on..thet sort of peg the opposition .....generally, wkts are bat friendly in ODI n T20s , so his bat fire power out score the opposition... Test cricket is totally a diff proposition.... quality players espcly bowl , 1seamer n 1spin to take 20 wkts is a big prob....keeping bat failures aside both in Eng n NZ, wkts were bowl friendly, so Ind bowl under-performed( prob lack the fitness n ability) Field placings n team selection were not good, jadeja playing ahead of Ashwin was non-sense.....

  • jay57870 on August 17, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Yes, Martin - Dhoni's "strange, often weird, tactics" are puzzling. But let's not be too harsh. He can't carry the team alone. He can't bat, bowl, field, catch & run for the whole team. Nor is he the coach. Don't blame selectors: Ashwin is in, Jadeja out. Don't blame T20: Look, the top 2 Test teams - SA & Oz - both have many players performing in IPL. And don't blame Dhoni: he's shown he has the Staying Power - physical endurance & mental toughness over the long run to cope with adversity & crises, to play through pain & injury, slumps & fatigue. Captain Cool is the only modern-day skipper to lead his team to the top in all 3 formats. Yes, Tests too! Staying Power has been the hallmark of the Indian greats - Ganguly, Dravid, Tendulkar - who carried the burden on their backs in the 1990s & 2000s in India's long path of ascendancy at home & away! Are Kohli, Pujara, Rahane & Co capable of carrying the team as they have done? And as Dhoni is doing now. But he can't do it alone, Martin!

  • gandabhai on August 16, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    What about the' poor' umpireing decisions ?

  • HDG1978 on August 16, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    I hope rakon_me's judgement comes true and Dhoni quits Test cricket after another sureshot humiliation in Australia later this year. I guess I may not be able to bear to watch that series as well and despite being an Indian fan, I want the Oval Test to end tomorrow to be relieved of the pain that Dhoni and his boys have meted out to diehard fans of Indian cricket. I waited patiently for the huge political change that happened in India in May this year after 10 years of misrule. The end of Dhoni's career as India captain will be equally sweet as and when it happens,sooner the better.

  • jay57870 on August 16, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    Martin - Yes, it's a "madcap 42-day pantomime"! Fluctuating with the "strange, often weird" twists & turns of modern cricket, there's often a thin line between winning & losing. That's why Captain Cook has us totally "fooled". He's the Lazarus of Four Misses (Days)! Besides Jadeja's goober early in Cook's 95 in South'ton, there were 2 more drops in his 79 at The Oval (Vijay, Rahane), not to mention the early missed lbw call. That's Four Misses!!!! What's more, he hasn't scored a ton in ~15 months, the last one vs NZ at Leeds. Check facts: it took Tendulkar just 1 year to go from his 99th to his magical 100 tons! So how long does Cook "hang on for the coveted (next) ton"? A cat with 9 lives in a pantomime? Cook's now lionised by the same critics who were demonising him 40 days ago! Madcaps! What's more, Cook's now anointed a "champion of Test cricket"? Really? Martin, remember you recently declared: "From WG Grace to now, you (SRT) stand above them all"! That's Sachin for you, Martin!!

  • baskar_guha on August 16, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Some captains are blessed with great batsmen, or at least some batsmen in form and great bowlers, or at least some bowlers in form. Cook has this in Balance, Bell and Root and Anderson, Broad and Ali. Dhoni has Vijay, sort of, and Bhuvi, sort of and Ishant, once in a while. No wonder he hates test cricket, anyone who captains a side full of mediocrity on current form will feel drained. I am afraid this article simply ignores this context and thus misses out at a more complex portrayal.

  • Oracle_Magus on August 16, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Many wanted Ghambir or Virat to replace Dhoni, they've failed miserably, and now we are looking up to Sehwag for a Miracle. Pujara wanted to play in all 3 formats and many expected him to be the next wall, but the wall keeps collapsing more often than not. And still many blame the DRS, but we need to keep in mind it is not available for both the teams, so how will it harm one more than the other??? Because if Luck??? That sounds more ridiculous than an anything else. As the saying goes luck favors the brave, and it's confidence that allows them to be brave. This Indian team's confidence have been dented badly and we need some one to step. Dhoni does his best, but he needs company. Rahane and Ashwin showed promise in the 4th test, but this time was unable to deliver. This was the case of England too in the first 2 matches, but they have come out of their shell and playing the game of their life. The confidence of this Indian team has to be lifted, a lot depends on the Coach. Cheers!!

  • on August 15, 2014, 23:58 GMT

    Dhoni is not a great captain he is somebody who waits for things to happen than making things happen...one day and T20 format suits his captaincy because luck always favours him and batsmen tend to do more mistakes in the process of scoring runs at a brisk pace...so there dhoni doesn't have to use too many tactics...it just works... India is failing because they no longer have greats like sehwag tendulkar dravid ganguly and laxman.....none of the current players have great techniques to play on pitches away from home....the current indian team are heroes at home and zeroes outside.... loads of attitude and no talent...

  • bensen09 on August 15, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    @Suraj Varma India has the money i accept that, but talent i doubt it..ppl call Rohit sharma talented all the time ,they say he is talented than pujara,vijay,rahane,dhawan,dhoni,yuvraj,raina and on par with kohli ,but as he made any meaningful contribution? there is always a question of his place in the side be it odi's or tests..so urge ppl not to use the word talent anymore ,i'm sick and tired of that word because of Rohit Sharma ...

  • Nutcutlet on August 14, 2014, 19:01 GMT

    There is one facet of the collective Indian psyche that I think I understand; it's the need for a cricketing champion. For over two decades it was Tendulkar (& even his departure was attenuated because it had become almost inconceivable to the Indian nation to imagine Indian cricket without him). Now that mantle (whether it fits or not) has passed to Dhoni. He has to be the new superman; the one player that symbolises Indian cricket. He must do everything; captain all Indian sides, provide counter-attacking batting and keep wicket too. These are unrealistic expectations. Something had to give. And it has. MS has never been in love with Test cricket, but his preferences are a long way second to the extraordinary craving of the Indian nation to have its champion. He has to play TC. He has to captain too. He is extraordinarily wealthy, but no matter; he is also enslaved to the nation. It would not happen anywhere else. Rationally, he should leave TC. But there's no rationalism here.

  • on August 18, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Well said MC! MSD is an astute, tactician in limited overs game with his innovative field placings, bowl changes ...he just does not let the game drift away beyond a certain point espcly when spinners are on..thet sort of peg the opposition .....generally, wkts are bat friendly in ODI n T20s , so his bat fire power out score the opposition... Test cricket is totally a diff proposition.... quality players espcly bowl , 1seamer n 1spin to take 20 wkts is a big prob....keeping bat failures aside both in Eng n NZ, wkts were bowl friendly, so Ind bowl under-performed( prob lack the fitness n ability) Field placings n team selection were not good, jadeja playing ahead of Ashwin was non-sense.....

  • jay57870 on August 17, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Yes, Martin - Dhoni's "strange, often weird, tactics" are puzzling. But let's not be too harsh. He can't carry the team alone. He can't bat, bowl, field, catch & run for the whole team. Nor is he the coach. Don't blame selectors: Ashwin is in, Jadeja out. Don't blame T20: Look, the top 2 Test teams - SA & Oz - both have many players performing in IPL. And don't blame Dhoni: he's shown he has the Staying Power - physical endurance & mental toughness over the long run to cope with adversity & crises, to play through pain & injury, slumps & fatigue. Captain Cool is the only modern-day skipper to lead his team to the top in all 3 formats. Yes, Tests too! Staying Power has been the hallmark of the Indian greats - Ganguly, Dravid, Tendulkar - who carried the burden on their backs in the 1990s & 2000s in India's long path of ascendancy at home & away! Are Kohli, Pujara, Rahane & Co capable of carrying the team as they have done? And as Dhoni is doing now. But he can't do it alone, Martin!

  • gandabhai on August 16, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    What about the' poor' umpireing decisions ?

  • HDG1978 on August 16, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    I hope rakon_me's judgement comes true and Dhoni quits Test cricket after another sureshot humiliation in Australia later this year. I guess I may not be able to bear to watch that series as well and despite being an Indian fan, I want the Oval Test to end tomorrow to be relieved of the pain that Dhoni and his boys have meted out to diehard fans of Indian cricket. I waited patiently for the huge political change that happened in India in May this year after 10 years of misrule. The end of Dhoni's career as India captain will be equally sweet as and when it happens,sooner the better.

  • jay57870 on August 16, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    Martin - Yes, it's a "madcap 42-day pantomime"! Fluctuating with the "strange, often weird" twists & turns of modern cricket, there's often a thin line between winning & losing. That's why Captain Cook has us totally "fooled". He's the Lazarus of Four Misses (Days)! Besides Jadeja's goober early in Cook's 95 in South'ton, there were 2 more drops in his 79 at The Oval (Vijay, Rahane), not to mention the early missed lbw call. That's Four Misses!!!! What's more, he hasn't scored a ton in ~15 months, the last one vs NZ at Leeds. Check facts: it took Tendulkar just 1 year to go from his 99th to his magical 100 tons! So how long does Cook "hang on for the coveted (next) ton"? A cat with 9 lives in a pantomime? Cook's now lionised by the same critics who were demonising him 40 days ago! Madcaps! What's more, Cook's now anointed a "champion of Test cricket"? Really? Martin, remember you recently declared: "From WG Grace to now, you (SRT) stand above them all"! That's Sachin for you, Martin!!

  • baskar_guha on August 16, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    Some captains are blessed with great batsmen, or at least some batsmen in form and great bowlers, or at least some bowlers in form. Cook has this in Balance, Bell and Root and Anderson, Broad and Ali. Dhoni has Vijay, sort of, and Bhuvi, sort of and Ishant, once in a while. No wonder he hates test cricket, anyone who captains a side full of mediocrity on current form will feel drained. I am afraid this article simply ignores this context and thus misses out at a more complex portrayal.

  • Oracle_Magus on August 16, 2014, 2:48 GMT

    Many wanted Ghambir or Virat to replace Dhoni, they've failed miserably, and now we are looking up to Sehwag for a Miracle. Pujara wanted to play in all 3 formats and many expected him to be the next wall, but the wall keeps collapsing more often than not. And still many blame the DRS, but we need to keep in mind it is not available for both the teams, so how will it harm one more than the other??? Because if Luck??? That sounds more ridiculous than an anything else. As the saying goes luck favors the brave, and it's confidence that allows them to be brave. This Indian team's confidence have been dented badly and we need some one to step. Dhoni does his best, but he needs company. Rahane and Ashwin showed promise in the 4th test, but this time was unable to deliver. This was the case of England too in the first 2 matches, but they have come out of their shell and playing the game of their life. The confidence of this Indian team has to be lifted, a lot depends on the Coach. Cheers!!

  • on August 15, 2014, 23:58 GMT

    Dhoni is not a great captain he is somebody who waits for things to happen than making things happen...one day and T20 format suits his captaincy because luck always favours him and batsmen tend to do more mistakes in the process of scoring runs at a brisk pace...so there dhoni doesn't have to use too many tactics...it just works... India is failing because they no longer have greats like sehwag tendulkar dravid ganguly and laxman.....none of the current players have great techniques to play on pitches away from home....the current indian team are heroes at home and zeroes outside.... loads of attitude and no talent...

  • bensen09 on August 15, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    @Suraj Varma India has the money i accept that, but talent i doubt it..ppl call Rohit sharma talented all the time ,they say he is talented than pujara,vijay,rahane,dhawan,dhoni,yuvraj,raina and on par with kohli ,but as he made any meaningful contribution? there is always a question of his place in the side be it odi's or tests..so urge ppl not to use the word talent anymore ,i'm sick and tired of that word because of Rohit Sharma ...

  • on August 15, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    You are absolutely right. Either Dhoni give up captaincy Or Wicketkeeping Duty. Better give chances to other Keepers.

  • on August 15, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Make pujara as the captain...hail the india...

  • Mr_Anonymous on August 15, 2014, 2:52 GMT

    I found this to be a confusing article. I agree with Martin that Dhoni likely prefers the limited overs format of the game. I don't disagree with the premise that Dhoni (especially on overseas tours) struggles as a Test captain. In his defense, let's be honest, the whole Indian team (collectively) struggles on overseas tours even though there are a few good one-off performances. The team is young and still developing. It is easy to bash Dhoni right now since the team lost 2 Tests. Martin's premise that Dhoni wants to hang on to complete a century of Tests is uncalled for. I think Dhoni is showing his team player qualities by not quitting and putting this young team in further disarray. I remember reading that Martin himself had expressed regret at not playing the semi-finals of the 1992 WC due to injury. Martin, think of it this way: Dhoni is continuing on despite imminent "injury" to his Test career captaincy record because there is no one else who is ready or qualified to take over.

  • huffpost on August 15, 2014, 1:51 GMT

    Having observed Dhoni over the years, I can predict that he will retire from tests or at least give up captaincy after the Australia series...He had already indicated this a couple of years ago.. he will quit on his own although I am sure he will never ever be asked to quit...

  • _-Will-_ on August 15, 2014, 1:27 GMT

    Thankyou Mr. Crowe for this and other honest articles!

    @trublue_cricfan: Your comments have effectively echoed my thoughts! I now have a bit more spare time on my hands, which I intend to put to good use!

    @Nutcutlet: Some fair points made there. I believe, however, there is a lot more to it than that, but without attempting to dissect the issue of hero worship and other cultural facets of Indian cricket, I wish to present some simple facts: Tendulkar relinquished test captaincy after a relatively short run of poor results. He did this twice in his career if I'm not mistaken! Even Dravid, another 'cricketing champion' came to his own conclusion that he should not lead. Many of us only wish Dhoni, like some past 'champions' would have done the same.

    But, ironically, it was Tendulkar who recommended Dhoni! The combined effect of just two factors -Dhoni's long reign and Tendulkar's extended stay - probably set us back a few years at least.

    Give with one hand, take with the other...

  • RanKan on August 15, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    Has Dhoni really said " that Test cricket doesn't really do it for him?" I very much doubt that he would have been selected as test captain if he had ever said that or displayed disinterest. Perhaps this is purely conjecture on Martin Crowe's part.

  • Jaffa79 on August 14, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    There is not a player in world cricket I respect more than Dhoni; he stands up when needed and has a lot of integrity. I just think he is indicative of India's respect for Test cricket. I just get the idea than India do not care about this format at all.

  • fguy on August 14, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    the TINA excuse has now cost us one too many series.

    make ashwin captain. a bowling captain in tests is always a good idea as he'll always look for wickets plus ashwin seems to be very competitive & will be a better bet than virat who i feel can be disastrous as captain.

    think ashwin should go from bowler who can bat to batsman who bowls (esp. overseas). basically the mirror opposite of moeen ali. he always looked comfortable against pace/bounce/spin/everything. even against shillingford where all our other batsmen were at sea (except for nohit) he was good. in aus, vs eng at home, wherever he's consistently been one of the better batsman on view

    also a bowling captain can afford a lapse in concentration due to captaincy worries while bowling but if a batting captain lapses in concentration due to captaincy worries while batting he's out

  • pauln2 on August 14, 2014, 23:07 GMT

    Martin, I couldn't agree with you more. I've been at the ground twice now when an opposing player has scored 300 against India (Michael Clarke and Brendon McCullum) and each time those innings started with India in a strong position - Australia was 37/3 and New Zealand was a mile behind on the first innings. But when a wicket didn't fall, Dhoni switched off and let things drift along - for hours and hours and hours. In 50-over cricket all bad things have to come to an end but in tests that's not necessarily the case. He set crazy fields, hardly attacked and waited for each new ball to see if something would happen. When it didn't he switched off again. I think you're spot on; limited overs suits him far more than tests. Maybe it's past time the Indian team moved on in the hardest form of the game.

  • on August 14, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    I actually think Dhoni is a disgrace, and it is furthermore an abomination that he is leader of the Indian Test cricket team when, as Martin Crowe expresses excellently, he could clearly care less for the long form.

  • 22many on August 14, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    I wouldn't pay a dime to watch the present Indian cricket team under Dhoni's captaincy...they were a disgrace in last years series in NZ....they couldn't have cared less about the results....they looked like they were filling in time under duress and that after dropping several games from their tour.

  • abhi_crictwit on August 14, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    What a article... awesome.. up to the point. Martin you are the best writer around for sure. Dhoni' is not a player like Dravid, Gangually who came up from the grind of test cricket and values it.If you take a look at his first-class cricket its dramatic rise mostly through one-day style batting.I feel he is also responsible for not nurturing next leader like what pointing and Australia did to Michel Clark. More than these embarrassing test series losses , concerning is the impression young cricketers must be getting about test losses and how much its hurting Dhoni and his young millionaires. Its loss to Indian cricket and cricket overall .. a damage which looks tough to reverse .. much like pokes at outside offstump ball...

  • Sportius on August 14, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    May be he should quit tests instead of hearing all these nonsense from former test cricketers. in the current series no other captian would have made a difference in the results (india might not even have won lords without him). When a team loses it everyone looks for a scapegoat and in indias case in overseas tests it is always MSD. despite the fact that he is playing no.6/7 people always expects him to score centuries abroad. all those gritty 50s with the tail never matters. No one denies the fact that he is not test material. His fault is that he doesnt get overjoyed in victories and doest cry in defeats. He for one knows the fact that this team is mediocre in tests himself included. Untill India cant find better batsman to bat at the top order and better bowlers to take wickets(more Bhuvaneshwar kumars) winning overseas is going to be a miracle like one happened in lords. Untill then we can continue blaming how bad is MSD in tests or throw him out and blame the next one to step in

  • sahasrabuddhe on August 14, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    @Martin Crowe: You are SPOT ON in terms of your analysis. Dhoni was never a test material...not a test batsman..and certainly not a test captain. It's lack of vision and gumption in Indian cricket's selection panel, and board that he has been continued... Retaining a captain after 8 straight losses! What a travesty!

  • mzm149 on August 14, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    The problem with South Asian teams is that our captains don't prepare next captains to lead after their retirement. May be players successors themselves are not ready for the transition. May be its a cultural thing. Dhoni and Misbah are perfect examples. There seems to be no one to lead after current captain. Look at South Africa. Transition from smith to Amla has been so smooth. After Ponting, Clarke took no time to settle. Cook had a wonderful Indian series, Ashes in England before that woeful Ashes away and Sri Lanka series. So we can pretty much say Cook is settled now.

  • on August 14, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    Benson09,

    With all due respect, one cannot compare NZ to India because Indian has huge resources in terms of money and talent. If BCCI had managed it well, we would have won over all other teams anywhere in the world almost every time. So even if NZ or other such nations are even remotely competitive with India, they have done well.

  • hoodbu on August 14, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    "Dhoni and his young millionaires" - I love it!

    Martin Crowe is becoming one of the best writers ever. He's as attacking as he was as a batsman.

  • on August 14, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    Indian Cricket today is in a "Still Mode". There is hardly any motivation, no discernable planning, a highly disjointed group with no self confidence. They are just going through the motions - The Captain goes off on a "Shooting Spree", leaving the rest of the team to eke out their own strategies before a crucial final match, which India must win to save the series. Is there no one to question this abdication of responsibility ? Presence of Coach is not visible nor effective. BCCI & IPL have built up such an EGO in the top players, that losing a couple of matches , does not have any effect on them. There is no loss in their earnings & this reflects in their cockiness & lack of humility in such repeated abject surrenders to a team not that strong in comparison. Indian Cricket Team today lacks a "Role Model".

  • bensen09 on August 14, 2014, 15:38 GMT

    the most attacking captain in the History of test cricket who has an away win percentage of 11 % (ie 1 win that to versus zimbabwe , out of 9 away tests ) talking about Dhoni.. If Crowe was such a tactician why didn't he win more than 1 match..If he is illogical, you are a medicore captain .But you are a great batsman Though ..Respect for that !!!

  • on August 14, 2014, 15:37 GMT

    As an Indian supporter and someone who has seen most of India's last 4 overseas test series, I have to agree with Martin. Its extremely frustrating to watch Dhoni's team selection and on field tactics. India should move on and pick whoever they think is the next best.

    One of Dhoni's quality that we will be difficult to replace will be the ability to handle pressure and not letting captaincy affect his performance. We will never know how the next captain will be able to cope with those challenges, but under Dhoni India has no test future. India should also not hesitate to try an unconventional approach of a coach-captain relationship where the coach has an increasing leadership role like in many other sports, because being a leader of India's cricket team brings pressure that very few teams would face.

    I see lot of non Indian commentators (Warne, Botham, Holding, Strauss, Chappel) echoing Martin's view. But none from Indian commentators? Thats disturbing.

  • on August 14, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    To advice Indian batsmen who have found survival extremely menacing to attack the Opponent's spinner who is on the top of his game was really nonsensical. He should at least be prudent about what he says after those shameful performances and learn to self-introspect on the weaknesses and shortcomings. The way Indian batsmen are getting out doesn't seem they have learnt anything from their past exposures.

  • RB007 on August 14, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    Martin Crowe's anguish is palpable. Most lovers of Test Cricket find it difficult to accept Dhoni's approach. His captaincy has not evolved and has stagnated. Just one example will suffice. Jadeja has played 7 consecutive away Tests and is tipped to play his eighth at the Oval. That's just unacceptable. Moreover, Dhoni's struggles as a wicket keeper and with the bat in away Tests makes him a serious compromise at No.6 if India were to consider playing 5 bowlers regularly. Spliting the Captaincy may be the most sensible option. Dhoni remains Captain in the limited overs formats and concentrates on retaining the World Cup. I would not want to wait for Kohli to mature further. He must lead India in Australia, else another 4/0 thrashing is on the cards.

  • usernames on August 14, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Continuing my previous comment, it *seems* like Dhoni doesn't care for test cricket but you've got to be sensible and realize that test cricket doesn't produce the kind of adrenaline rush that a shorter game does. Surely you're not taking the extremely elitist view that Test cricket is everything?

    If you are, nobody can help you, but if you aren't, you can see why explanations around Test cricket seem boring. We don't have players who will cry after losing a test match--Indian cricket and the environment surrounding it is *far* too paranoid for a player to do that. Nobody here will say the player really cared... indeed, the narrative will be that the player was weak.

    Probably Dhoni should retire from tests but that should be a decision made based on his last three years as the captain and not this series. He's fared much, much better in this series than he has in the past. I do think he should go and the captaincy handed over to somebody like Pujara.

  • on August 14, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    Vijay or Rahane or Pujara or Kohli one of these guys can be the test captain.

    Since Vijay and Pujara play only one format at these point of time give one of them the test captaincy.

  • shane-oh on August 14, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    @baghels.a - I think you'll find your last point is the same as Martin's overall one. He isn't judging one format to be less worthwhile than another (even if he feels that way, he isn't making this point in this article). He is simply suggesting that Dhoni doesn't care about tests and should therefore make way.

  • usernames on August 14, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    While I'm not a fan of Dhoni's captaincy in test cricket, this seems like a very convenient article. In this series, at least, Dhoni has taken ten right decisions for the one odd one (going defensive in Southampton) and he's still lost. Why? The team is in transformation and it will take time. We have to be patient.

    If you consider his decision to ask Ishant to bowl short at Lords as an exception, I wonder what you think of his decision to finally shed the 7 batsmen theory and go with an all rounder? Oh right, you think both of them are bits and pieces and thus we must try somebody else. What if somebody else fails? Yep, he was Dhoni's favorite and thus he got the chance. The earlier player didn't get enough chances. How convenient!

    Think that doesn't happen? Consider the case of Ashwin, how poorly he fared in the opportunities, and how he magically became a better bowler for the 'experts' while he was benched. A captain can make a team perform at 150%, he can't make a team 5x better

  • T-800 on August 14, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    @muzika

    You illustrate my point exactly. Those overseas failures coincided with those legends playing during the sunset of their careers when their reflexes and general performance had dropped considerably. If you had been paying close attention to Indian cricket, you would have known in what shape even an absolute legend and one of a kind player like Sachin Tendulkar was towards the end of his career. It was painful to watch.

    And this precisely dovetails into my point about skill sets. The legends mentioned were the last set of Indian players who had the skill set to handle quality fast bowling on pacy tracks. Once they went past their prime - the Indian system failed to produce adequate replacements, a good indication of which is that these legends ended up playing in their late 30s, something unusual in Indian cricket until then

  • on August 14, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    Definitely. Not only Dhoni but all the team should focus on hit and miss ODI or T20.

  • roversgate on August 14, 2014, 13:34 GMT

    I completely agree and have been saying this for a while now. Dhoni is brilliant in limited overs but is completely out of place in tests (that bit of captaincy in Lord's aside). He doesn't value the format enough and it is further compounded by his inability to score heavily outside the subcontinent.

    The bigger issue however is finding the successor. Kohli is aggressive but I feel he is a direct replacement for Dhoni. He values the longest format but lacks the patience and I feel he too will let games drift if he doesn't get immediate results. We need a proactive but patient captain.

    In the present side that leaves two candidates - Pujara and Rahane. Both are patient, good sponsors for test cricket and can be trained to be proactive. In fact, Pujara would have been a good candidate had he performed well in the present England series. Right now he needs time to bring his game back.

    Either way, we should replace Dhoni in the middle of the home season next year.

  • baghels.a on August 14, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    Well i do agree Dhoni is more keen on shorter formats and whole concept of Test cricket does not come naturally to him but why he should be singled out and castigated for it ,Dhoni is a terrific ODI and T-20 cricket and has multiple achievements in those formats in his CV, so why winning two World Cups and CT in Eng should be considered a lesser achievement than any Test win ??Martin Crowe whom i am a huge fan of and many others posters here often look down on shorter formats as some kind of poor country cousin to test cricket,I greatly respect and acknowledge Tests as oldest and most traditional format but just as leaving balls outside off stump and surviving a session is a test of patience and application,discipline similarly trying to score 12-15 runs from a Sunil Narine over on a wearing pitch in a t20/ODI when trying to chase a stiff target is equally a challenge.it is not question of one format being superior to there, it's just that all 3 formats require different skill sets.

  • Ash76 on August 14, 2014, 13:04 GMT

    Dhoni cannot retire from Test cricket (not yet) without properly planning the road ahead for his successor. The best thing he can do (in the interest of the game) is to set a deadline, say 1 year from now for his retirement from test and discuss the next steps with the selectors/bcci. They all should plan together for his successor. And, though I am not a big fan of Kohli I do not see any other name. Maybe, Ashwin - but I really dont think he is ready yet.

  • cricketsubh on August 14, 2014, 13:02 GMT

    arjun calidas @ makeing kholi captain i donot think he can become a good captain he is too agresive by nature we saw in bangladesh he get angry when bowler hit for runs as a captain u need to be cool people think he wins the under19 world cup he can do the caps job sry to say under19 captaincy and test captaincy 2 diffrent thing and he need to cement his spot at the moment in indain 11 he is gud test test player not world class test player he is still young and impoveing so let him play as batsmen only

  • on August 14, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Dhoni should call angelo mathews and ask how SL defeated england.. Else its gonna be real heavy...

  • on August 14, 2014, 12:51 GMT

    Dhoni should step down his captaincy. ...bring sehwag as a test captain. ...and saha or samson as a keeper....dhoni not at all deserve a test team membership. ...after leaving captaincy. ..

  • ramli on August 14, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    Should MSD sob before the camera to prove that he cares for test cricket? If India's mainstay that is batting fails altogether, defeat follows ... just because MSD did not pick the team envisaged by Crowe does not make him less-caring ... agreed his ideas did not work out to stop defeat in last two tests ... in fact, it is 5-test series that is causing problems for India ... not used to scale up fitness and performances at short notice ... just that

  • ladycricfan on August 14, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Dhoni's batting style is good for limited over formats. But he is not comfortable with his own batting in test matches. To be a confident leader captain should be confident of his own performance. To have 5 bowlers Dhoni has to bat at No 6, where he is not comfortable. Then there seems to be some personal issues with Ashwin whom Dhoni trying his best to not include in the XI. Even when Ashwin is selected he is not used properly.

    When England is rebuilding their team, this series was the best opportunity for india to win the test series away from home. But Dhoni's team selection has unsettled the whole team and the best they can do now is level the series.

    This should be the last series for Dhoni as test captain. Ashwin is a thinking cricketer and should be the the new test captain.

  • DaisonGarvasis on August 14, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    There is only so much a Captain can do with other batsmen scoring runs. He did well with the bowling resources and changes with the batting order and team composition. Dhawan, Gambhir, Kohli, Pujara are the names we should be discussing if you want reasons for the two losses - NOT DHONI.

  • here2rock on August 14, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Dhoni is not cut out for test matches, his ability to fight often serves him well but he seems out of place with his technique. If he wants to continue to play test cricket he needs to play like one day matches or even T20 cricket, take the game to the opposition. India need to play aggresvie brand of cricket, put the oppostion under the hammer, they are playing timid cricket, not Indian style.

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on August 14, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Are u kidding us Mr.Martin crowe..Ms Dhoni is the best wicket keeper batsmen after Gilchrist and You are talking about his retirement in tests...

  • titus_p on August 14, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Perhaps Dhoni thinks he is above everything as he led India to a World Cup triumph. As Martin Crowe said he just seems not interested in Test Cricket and may be because he knows there is nobody to replace him. (His words for Jadeja). But like England brought Butler for Prior, India should try Ojha who is in good form instead of him, even when Dhoni was not there for practice yesterday, there was a different pace and effort in the Nets it seems..!!!!

  • on August 14, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    Okay.. Dhoni steps out, Kohli is the captain.. Wait, who is your wicket-keeper then?? Naman Ojha?? One double century and he is suddenly the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world?? Dhoni's captaincy and selection might leave a lot to be desired.. But as a player, he is worth his weight in gold to the Indian team.. Kohli is technically not adept to playing in the top order.. Rahane at three, Pujara at four, Kohli at 5, Ashwin at 6.. See the difference it will make to the team.. And also play Amit Mishra.. He is the best spinner in the country.. Enough of Ojhas and Jadejas..

  • DaisonGarvasis on August 14, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    Martin you have written better articles before but I beg to differ with this one. For me Dhoni did all the right things in preparation for this series. He made bold decisions to make changes in batting order and team composition. He backed his young - very young - bowling unit to deliver wickets and they responded well. Even with some occasional brilliance in second test, it was batting that was shaky all along. And top order batting is what let the team down in the third and fourth test. All these same media were singing Dhoni's praise along with songs on how bad Cook is as Captain right after the second test. Mere batting failures in 3rd and 4th test and everybody is on with how bad a Captain Dhoni is. I don't think so. I simply don't think so. Sorry to say, it looks like you had this article in mind even before the Team started losing. Dhoni will concentrate on ODI and world cup when it's time for that. Again, maybe you spoke too early; there is one more test to go.

  • on August 14, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    He fails any format....he has to improve a lot...he need his guys to backup and fight hard..we never see anything like that in england tour..

  • thinkgood on August 14, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    We have gone thru this topic million times but have come up with one answer or question - who else there to take his place as Captain of Indian Test team? . Only Ashwin come to my mind as a distant option...but he too is just not ready for captaincy.

  • truebleue_cricfan on August 14, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    It was really disheartening to hear Dhoni's casual speech and attitude after the loss. Defeat should hurt. It is very evident that it doesnt for Dhoni and his men. Which brings us, the fans, to ask ourselves this question. Should we really invest our time and energy in watching these players put on such a pathetic show? What prevents us from turning our attention from this glorified bunch and pursue other pastimes? In the past, I have often been drawn towards cricket even after numerous heartbreaking performances by the team. For the first time ever, I dont care that there is a test match starting tomorrow. I dont care if the Indian team wins. Or loses. I wouldnt mind if I couldnt get to watch a single ball of the test. I think I speak on behalf of all genuine Indian cricket fans when I say that this frustration is a sign of things to come.

  • Presynaras on August 14, 2014, 10:29 GMT

    There are five possible candidates for Captaincy after Dhoni. Kohli, Gambhir, Rohit, Ashwin, and Pujara. I won't bring in any of the seamers as candidates as they already have enough on their plates in trying to maintaining the fitness, pace and form. Vijay and Rahane seem to have become the pillars of Indian batting and let them concentrate on only their batting and slip fielding. Gambhir and Kohli are out of form, Pujara often has issues with his fitness, Rohit's place in the team is not confirmed. That leaves only Ashwin. His position too is not assured yet, as a bowler, as Jadeja or Mishra might outdo him in the spin department. But what he has proved so far is his ability to bat and that is sure to keep him in the team. He might eventually turn into our 7th batsman and 5th bowler and he has the cricketing brains to be captain. Unless a Sehwag regains form or a Badrinath gets into the Indian middle order, nobody is there in the domestic circuit with captaincy experience.

  • lancia71 on August 14, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    I am a fan of Dhoni but feels he doesn't deserve a place in the Indian test batting line up. I am sure there may be few who can do a good job with gloves and can better than Dhoni in India. I feel Kholi should be the captain. Ofc he will have his share of mistakes as all of us do. Yes Kholi failed in England so far but by far he is the best batsman India has produced after Tendulkar. A sri lankan fan here.

  • ndeshpande1 on August 14, 2014, 10:19 GMT

    i think rohit sharma will make a better captain. He has already proven his captaincy mettle with mumbai indians. His previous coaches had vouched that responsibility makes this talented player play with more maturity and caution. Opening the innings in ODI is an example. I think it is better to give it a try and it might work out. Try for 1 series. also the game of cricket needs a talented and easy on eye style batsman like him to come good on consistent basis.

  • abhi_1209 on August 14, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Agree that MSD needs to go as test captain but where are the alternatives? Gambhir looked like a good bet until he went completely out of form and eventually out of the side. Happy to be proven wrong but Virat doesn't come across as a great tactician from what I've seen in the IPL and he himself needs to get back to form and scoring runs (hopefully from this test). India should be bold and appoint someone on a long term basis.. I think Ashwin will make a good captain but its just intution and no real proof

  • jacknathan on August 14, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    If Martin thinks Dhoni would play on to achieve 100 test matches, he clearly does not understand the person he is writing about. Dhoni has always been the exception to the Indian obsession with statistics - he would bat in the 90s exactly how he would play if he was in the 40s be it test matches or ODIs. It might well be that Dhoni does not enjoy test matches but that should not held against him on his efforts on the field. How many of us give our best efforts in a job we would rather not be doing? On both the Engalnd,Australia 2011 series as well as in the current one, the Indian team has been badly let down by its top and middle order batsmen - Dravid, Vijay and Rahane are possibly the only ones to justify their place in the team. Zaheer Khan's injury, Harbhajan's inefficacy or Jadeja's poor slip catching cannot be blamed on the captain - these are players who were selected because of their abilities which unfortunately did not translate into performance when it mattered the most.

  • on August 14, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    I think dhoni kohli sir jadeja rohit should concentrate on ipl, CLT20 and their franchises only.

  • shane-oh on August 14, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    It's a worrying thing indeed that the captain of the most populous cricketing nation on earth (by a country mile) is so disinterested in tests.

    One can only presume that this is at least partly driven by the primacy given to hit and giggle by the powers that be in India. I think after the coup by the Axis of Evil earlier this year most cricket fans knew that test cricket would be left by the wayside. This doesn't explain Dhoni's disinterest in it, but it does beg the question - is India producing players who are interested in test cricket? Or does it feel like an obligation to them compared to the rock show of the IPL? I'd love to see an Indian player come and captain their test team with the respect the format deserves, but I'm struggling to think of a candidate. Pujara perhaps is the logical choice long term but is he ready? Otherwise Kohli may be the only option but as already touched on, he may not be an automatic selection in the 5 day format forever.

    Interesting times.

  • Cric-Aus-SL on August 14, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    Whatever mention about Dhoni is correct, But Cook doesn't deserve many credits, His weakness as a captain will definitely explode in few matches again

  • on August 14, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Surely his stats have to suggest that he needs to quit the Test captaincy atleast, as his ODI record speaks for itself in achievments but his test record is terrible. Does anyone know if Dhoni has the worst away record with India than previous captains from years past?

  • legfinedeep on August 14, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    Is there an Indian captain who has a worse record than Dhoni - particularly an away record?

  • rashivkd on August 14, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    Yes, indeed. And everyone seems to ask who is next then. My answer is, we have two options. Kohli and Ashwin. If you ask me, I would like to give it to Ashwin. The reason behind is, he is a very thinking player. He used/loved to speak to the others in the field, unlike MSD. It will coordinate the team into one goal, one plan. What is wrong with MSD, I felt is, He is not insisting a bowler to bowl in his own plan. MSD gives the luxury to bowlers to set a plan. At times, especially with new bowlers, they were completely under prepared and that may affect the performance.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 14, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    Dhoni,with his results in tests for a long time,team looking vulnerable as it is now is in point of no return.But things should be bit better in short forms as ODI,t20 are Inds forte.But though they've done well in these,o/seas games will be a challenge.

  • on August 14, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    One question remains unanswered Martin: If not Dhoni, then who does India ask to lead in tests? Kohli used to be the one we thought of as the next captain. Sadly, he is more off key in batting these days than my singing. He will have to sort his batting woes out before he can be considered again. The rest are all playing musical chairs in the team. Dhoni is not the 'chosen one' for Tests, I agree with you, but right now, he is the only one.

  • vish2020 on August 14, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Totally agree. Dhoni should have retired after earlier whitewash in eng and Aus. He isn't made for tests.

  • shehzeer on August 14, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    While Crowe is right that MSD has made many illogical/Strange decisions and choices, he may not be the only reason why India team has been doing so badly overseas. There are several several reasons for this. Where is the bowling talent in india ? Barring Ishant , all the seam bowlers are still raw in test cricket. And how many chanes Ishant got ? And Zaheer khan has not been fully fit since 2011 eng test.

    Despite all these issues, Dhoni's lack of interest (it seems so) in test cricket is totally totally unexpectable. As you can read from the magazine "thecricketmonthly.com" , he doesnot like to plan too much/think too much too ahead of matches, But test cricket needs lot of planning/analysing/thinking. It will not all fall in place suddenly just few hours before a match.

    Thats why Martin crowe is right in that his style is suited for One day cricket.

  • on August 14, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Couldn't agree more! Was brutally honest than what i would've liked, but well written Mr. Crowe. 87 tests and not a single test ton outside Asia. And his 71 wasn't an innings to talk about, it is easier to score in a low scoring innings with wickets falling in haste and probably knowing the test is lost, than to build an innings and create a platform to help the team win. The only innings MSD has played in latter scenario is the double ton on a turning wicket in India against Australia in 2013, which was a brilliant knock under pressure. It's well documented he struggles abroad and again well documented his captaincy is not for educated minds to understand. MSD definitely has a role to play for India, defending the 2015 WC. Given the squad list of all teams, India does stand a good chance of defending it, we do have a strong ODI team to perform outside Asia.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 14, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    @T-800: No point blaming the current crop, India lost 0-8 with a much older and legendary side three seasons ago. How many times have we seen positions of strength being squandered by negative captaincy? How long are we going to see bits and pieces players like Jadeja or Binny who are neither here nor there? The blame for all that lies squarely on Dhoni's shoulders.

  • on August 14, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Every one knows that dhoni is not a good test player. His captainship is also very bad. He might be able to hang in there for 50 over odi matches but in test matches he cannot hide his weaknesses. He has power but he lacks foot work against good bowling attack he is always struggling outside off. Lot talented player are not getting chance to play for India because of dhoni bizzar selection criteria. He always support bits and pieces types of cricketer. Dhoni should not be captain art all

  • mayank_mickey16 on August 14, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Great article. Same were my thoughts when I heard the Indian captain with Michael Atherton during the post match presentation and compared it with Captain Cook at the Lord's Post match presentation interview. Dhoni appeared jolly and to an extent careless . I mean it's OK to be calm and composed and not show your emotions, but for God sake fans of the team and sport need to know that their captain is hurt as equally as they are.

    Dhoni has done wonderous things for Indian cricket , but if he really wants to go down in cricket history books , It's the 5 day cricket that matters. Tendulkar was the ICON of the sport not because of his One Day Exploits, it was due to his ability to face any kind of bowling , in any condition in the 5 day format.People will remember his 200 tests more than his 500 odd one day games.

  • on August 14, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Despite all this he is still India's best bet to lead in tests. While leading a rookie team he has done wonderfully well. The Indian team with Sachin, RD, VVS, Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer got white washed in England in 2011. This rookie team has done much better. They also did well in SA and New Zealand. With a little bit of more talent on the bowling side, they could have won tests in both these countries. Bowlers have been India's Achilles heel. Give two bowlers who can take wickets irrespective of the conditions and he will defeat every team in the world in their own backyard, test , t20 or ODIs.

  • Realistic_cri_fan on August 14, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    Totally agree with Crowe.I think he will retire after the Aus series.Because he is a type of guy who takes all the criticism and burdens.He probably don't want to burden a new captain in Australia.Because Australia is not a place to experiment with a new captain.He is not a type of guy who looks to play for 100 matches.Surely after all the away defeats he will retire and save the image of the next captain.He will be remembered as the worst captain to lead India in tests.

  • T-800 on August 14, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    People are focusing too much on Dhoni's captaincy. While Dhoni's test captaincy certainly isn't great, I don't believe that is the main reason for India's overseas woes.

    The main reason the Indian team flops overseas is because the current crop of players simply lacks the skill set to play test cricket overseas. Pace bowling on pace friendly wickets in Test matches is the Achilles heel of India's current lot. Seriously, if people like Pujara, Kohli etc who were touted as the future of Indian batting don't step up to the plate, exactly which Batting genius is waiting in the benches to fill the gap? I don't see any

    Changing the captain, coach etc will be purely cosmetic and will not produce any substantial results. However if India lose this series, I think the pressure on BCCI will be huge to do this and so I guess Dhoni's captaincy job faces a serious threat.

  • lillee4PM on August 14, 2014, 3:08 GMT

    The last time MSD was in Australia, he admitted in an interview that Test cricket was not his priority. He was banned for slow over rates and India were thumped. He should have left the Test arena a long time back and just played limited overs cricket.

  • lillee4PM on August 14, 2014, 3:08 GMT

    The last time MSD was in Australia, he admitted in an interview that Test cricket was not his priority. He was banned for slow over rates and India were thumped. He should have left the Test arena a long time back and just played limited overs cricket.

  • T-800 on August 14, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    People are focusing too much on Dhoni's captaincy. While Dhoni's test captaincy certainly isn't great, I don't believe that is the main reason for India's overseas woes.

    The main reason the Indian team flops overseas is because the current crop of players simply lacks the skill set to play test cricket overseas. Pace bowling on pace friendly wickets in Test matches is the Achilles heel of India's current lot. Seriously, if people like Pujara, Kohli etc who were touted as the future of Indian batting don't step up to the plate, exactly which Batting genius is waiting in the benches to fill the gap? I don't see any

    Changing the captain, coach etc will be purely cosmetic and will not produce any substantial results. However if India lose this series, I think the pressure on BCCI will be huge to do this and so I guess Dhoni's captaincy job faces a serious threat.

  • Realistic_cri_fan on August 14, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    Totally agree with Crowe.I think he will retire after the Aus series.Because he is a type of guy who takes all the criticism and burdens.He probably don't want to burden a new captain in Australia.Because Australia is not a place to experiment with a new captain.He is not a type of guy who looks to play for 100 matches.Surely after all the away defeats he will retire and save the image of the next captain.He will be remembered as the worst captain to lead India in tests.

  • on August 14, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Despite all this he is still India's best bet to lead in tests. While leading a rookie team he has done wonderfully well. The Indian team with Sachin, RD, VVS, Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer got white washed in England in 2011. This rookie team has done much better. They also did well in SA and New Zealand. With a little bit of more talent on the bowling side, they could have won tests in both these countries. Bowlers have been India's Achilles heel. Give two bowlers who can take wickets irrespective of the conditions and he will defeat every team in the world in their own backyard, test , t20 or ODIs.

  • mayank_mickey16 on August 14, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Great article. Same were my thoughts when I heard the Indian captain with Michael Atherton during the post match presentation and compared it with Captain Cook at the Lord's Post match presentation interview. Dhoni appeared jolly and to an extent careless . I mean it's OK to be calm and composed and not show your emotions, but for God sake fans of the team and sport need to know that their captain is hurt as equally as they are.

    Dhoni has done wonderous things for Indian cricket , but if he really wants to go down in cricket history books , It's the 5 day cricket that matters. Tendulkar was the ICON of the sport not because of his One Day Exploits, it was due to his ability to face any kind of bowling , in any condition in the 5 day format.People will remember his 200 tests more than his 500 odd one day games.

  • on August 14, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Every one knows that dhoni is not a good test player. His captainship is also very bad. He might be able to hang in there for 50 over odi matches but in test matches he cannot hide his weaknesses. He has power but he lacks foot work against good bowling attack he is always struggling outside off. Lot talented player are not getting chance to play for India because of dhoni bizzar selection criteria. He always support bits and pieces types of cricketer. Dhoni should not be captain art all

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 14, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    @T-800: No point blaming the current crop, India lost 0-8 with a much older and legendary side three seasons ago. How many times have we seen positions of strength being squandered by negative captaincy? How long are we going to see bits and pieces players like Jadeja or Binny who are neither here nor there? The blame for all that lies squarely on Dhoni's shoulders.

  • on August 14, 2014, 5:55 GMT

    Couldn't agree more! Was brutally honest than what i would've liked, but well written Mr. Crowe. 87 tests and not a single test ton outside Asia. And his 71 wasn't an innings to talk about, it is easier to score in a low scoring innings with wickets falling in haste and probably knowing the test is lost, than to build an innings and create a platform to help the team win. The only innings MSD has played in latter scenario is the double ton on a turning wicket in India against Australia in 2013, which was a brilliant knock under pressure. It's well documented he struggles abroad and again well documented his captaincy is not for educated minds to understand. MSD definitely has a role to play for India, defending the 2015 WC. Given the squad list of all teams, India does stand a good chance of defending it, we do have a strong ODI team to perform outside Asia.

  • shehzeer on August 14, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    While Crowe is right that MSD has made many illogical/Strange decisions and choices, he may not be the only reason why India team has been doing so badly overseas. There are several several reasons for this. Where is the bowling talent in india ? Barring Ishant , all the seam bowlers are still raw in test cricket. And how many chanes Ishant got ? And Zaheer khan has not been fully fit since 2011 eng test.

    Despite all these issues, Dhoni's lack of interest (it seems so) in test cricket is totally totally unexpectable. As you can read from the magazine "thecricketmonthly.com" , he doesnot like to plan too much/think too much too ahead of matches, But test cricket needs lot of planning/analysing/thinking. It will not all fall in place suddenly just few hours before a match.

    Thats why Martin crowe is right in that his style is suited for One day cricket.

  • vish2020 on August 14, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Totally agree. Dhoni should have retired after earlier whitewash in eng and Aus. He isn't made for tests.