The Heavy Ball

This, that and the other. Mostly the other

Dhoni takes to captaincy by social media

Relies on fan opinions via Twitter and Facebook for decision-making

Anand Ramachandran

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A
MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten have a chat while heading for India's training session, Bangalore, February 24, 2011
Dhoni: yes, that's a phone in his pocket © AFP
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: MS Dhoni
Teams: India

Indian captain MS Dhoni, under some fire over his choice of Ashish Nehra to bowl the final over in the match against South Africa in Nagpur, has come up with a novel idea - from the next mach on, he's going to crowdsource his captaincy using social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

"Well, of course, it's clear that users of Facebook and Twitter are much better informed about things like team selection, batting order and bowling changes than myself and Gary. So I think the best approach would be to take all crucial decisions by using their collective input. As they say, two hive minds are better than one," said a grinning Dhoni, refusing to elaborate on who "they" might be.

Apparently Dhoni will carry a mobile phone on to the field, using which he will constantly refer to Twitter and Facebook updates from fans watching on TV, who will give him advice on such things as when to take the Powerplay, whether to bring third man up for the new batsman, and what choice epithets to use when berating Piyush Chawla.

"I'm getting used to it, though there are many difficulties involved in checking social network updates while batting or keeping wicket. It's hard to stay focused on the cricket when it's so easy to get completely sidetracked in order to enjoy a Kamran Akmal Joke, participate in a hashtag game, click 'like' on someone's manic-depressive status message, or RT a Ramesh Srivats tweet. Total productivity #fail," admitted Dhoni, desperately trying to come up with a pun, anagram or obscure in-joke to fit in. He also said that he's having some difficulty deciphering the curious lingo used on Twitter. "The people on Twitter seem to speak in some different language. They keep referring to players by strange names I've never heard of, like Man-Beast, Boromirfaramir, Fruit Shop and R Ashwin. It's like Fake IPL Player all over again," he said, inadvertently explaining his much-questioned spinner selection policy.

Coach Gary Kirsten also agreed that the system, while definitely worth trying out, is not without its shortcomings. "One problem with crowdsourcing is that you could get many conflicting opinions. For instance, when choosing between Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra or Munaf Patel to bowl a disastrous final over, opinions on Twitter and Facebook can be divided. Guess we'll just have to use a simple #youprefer poll to figure it out, eh?" said Kirsten. He also pointed out that input from fans on Twitter and Facebook may not always be of the highest quality. "While there are lots of informed and knowledgeable fans on the social networks, there seem to be some, such as @Shastribot, which keep spewing inane, obvious clich├ęs. Need to be careful who you take advice from."

The team is also trying hard to come up with a catchy name for the system, along the lines of UDRS. Among the options they've come up with so far are Social Holistic Input for Tactics, Crowdsourcing Of Crucial Knowledge, and Social Twitter & Facebook Usage.

"At the end of the day, if we lose a match because I took advice from people on Twitter and Facebook, at least the fans won't be able to blame me for it," concluded an optimistic Dhoni, clearly underestimating the Indian fans' ability to ignore logic and reasoning in favour of blind rage.

Meanwhile, irate cricket fans in London have reportedly pelted a passing bus with what appeared to be medium-sized pebbles. When questioned by a passing constable, they claimed innocence, saying that they had mistaken the vehicle for the Bangladesh team bus. Unconfirmed rumours also suggest that, shortly afterwards, they attacked a random passer-by, mistaking him for Haroon Lorgat.

RSS FeedAnand Ramachandran is a writer, comics creator and videogame designer who works when he isn't playing some game with an "of" in its name. He blogs here and tweets here. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 44 
. Your ESPN name '' will be used to display your comments. Please click here to edit this.
Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Rakesh on (March 17, 2011, 3:24 GMT)

I think we should request Japanese helicopters to drop some sea water and boric acid on the Hype around the RA to cool things down. I am sure if he fails to deliver these guys will not spare much time to make him another Akmal if not Chawla or Shreesanth. If you love the team you should start with trusting it first.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 12:14 GMT)

frankly speaking dhoni dcsn to ask nehra for last over was a correct dcsn in many ways hw dnt wanna make a mistake which afrdi made in t20 semi final................2ndly dhoni must be jokin while sayin all this come on if this is the ultimate solution why not team india is led my owner of fb and twtr

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

Very nice one; I have also had situations where I ran out of patience listening to comments by people who may not have never touched a leather ball

Posted by Cherisse on (March 16, 2011, 4:21 GMT)

Dhoni is brilliant ! Absolutely hilarious and that's why i love him ! lolololol

Posted by Jose on (March 16, 2011, 2:08 GMT)

LOL Good One...Now fans should not complain after implementing this system ;) :P

Posted by Hari on (March 16, 2011, 0:34 GMT)

Seems like not many people noticed the short forms for the name u used similar to UDRS.. =)) Nice thinking

Posted by Andrew on (March 15, 2011, 23:48 GMT)

"Social Holistic Input for Tactics" Love it

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 15, 2011, 23:32 GMT)

"Unconfirmed rumours also suggest that, shortly afterwards, they attacked a random passer-by, mistaking him for Haroon Lorgat. " -- awesome!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 15, 2011, 20:30 GMT)

If I was in Dhoni's place, I would have probably chosen Nehra too. Too bad he flopped horribly. Last over decisions are always gambles. If it works, it works. Else it dosen't

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 15, 2011, 20:02 GMT)

I like Dhoni's sense of humor at times... but seriously... of all the people in the team... why Nehra... LOL... its been 3 days and I still cant believe it was Nehra that came to his mind... If Dhoni has bowled the final over without a keeper, we could have won it :)

Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
RSS FeedAll
Anand Ramachandran
Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.

All Articles »

Anand RamachandranClose
Anand Ramachandran Anand Ramachandran is a game designer and writer based in Bangalore. He specialises in finding creative ways to justify time and money spent on watching sports, playing games and reading comics as "professional investment". He boasts a batting average of 79.66 with 53 first-class hundreds in various cricket videogames, on platforms as diverse as the Sinclair ZX-Spectrum and modern PCs and consoles.
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet