Dhoni has got enough to offer

Virat Kohli is going to take over from M. S. Dhoni for sure, butlet that happen in normal course of time and by natural progression.

India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni suddenly seems to have fallen out of favour with the public and the media for no apparent reason.   -  AP

The easiest thing to do is to flow with the tide but while doing so, one has to be issue centric rather than individual centric. The Indian skipper M. S. Dhoni suddenly seems to have fallen out of favour with the public and the media for no apparent reason. A few isolated incidents of failures have been highlighted to suggest that Dhoni is no longer the captain or the batsman that he was. However, in their enthusiasm to drive home their point, it has been forgotten that he has won a lot more than he has lost. As far as his captaincy is concerned, he is banking on his instincts as he has always done, and sometimes certain decisions will be proved wrong due to various reasons.

He was subject to a lot of criticism after the first ODI but, true to his colours, he had answered his critics in Indore in the best manner possible. His efforts on either side of the stumps were outstanding. But for his lone battle, Team India would have lost the game horribly in Indore. Team India is 2-1 down in the ODIs (at the time of writing) and contrary to popular belief that Dhoni’s decision to shuffle the batting order led to those defeats, there were other critical factors at play. One of those is the ability of the South African bowlers to execute their plans to near perfection. The other one was the inability of Raina to read the situation well enough before going for the big hit too early in his innings.

Perhaps, Dhoni would have been forgiven if he were not to change the batting order, but Rahane needs to bat longer than, say, a Kohli to step on the gas pedal. Rahane justified his promotion to No. 3 by notching up successive half-centuries and Team India lost their way not because of his promotion or tardiness. The South African bowlers ensured that not many deliveries landed in the fourth quarter of the pitch, an area the Indian batsmen relish. They bowled short and straight enough, curbing the freedom and also exposing the inability of the Indian batsmen to play the pull shot. The scuffed up surfaces also ensured that the batsmen did not have the pace to make use of or manoeuvre the ball around the field.

While I am not suggesting that anyone including Dhoni can rest on his past glory, it is imperative that the team has to be the focal point and not just a few individuals. However, it has almost become a tradition to make some individuals bigger than the team in this neck of the woods. Dhoni may not be the same when it comes to carting the ball at will, but Team India still needs his calm presence, especially when in trouble. He has done the hard work of playing the role of a finisher for a long time and it is time for someone else to take over.

Let us not forget that his glove-work is still efficient enough, which means that Team India still needs his multi-dimensional skill set. It is alright to go after an individual based on disappointment and a few odd failures but Dhoni has got enough to offer. Kohli is going to take over from Dhoni for sure, but let that happen in normal course of time and by natural progression. It does not do anybody any good to react based on the result of every match. Even South Africa have made mistakes and lost a game when they were on the verge of victory. Despite the side having a different captain for each format, I am sure the South African fans are not going to single out AB de Villiers when they lose. In a team game, contribution from every individual is the key and, as such, targeting one individual when things go wrong is, perhaps, not the best course of action.

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