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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dhoni - is it luck or charisma behind his initial success?

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Date:Nov 13,2008-Article was migrated
With Anil Kumble hanging his boots after poor series and serious injury, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was handed over the Test captaincy of India. He managed to win the Nagpur quite comprehensively in the end. Meanwhile Rahul Dravid failed miserably in the series managing just one half-century and there are calls that he is next in line for retirement. So is this a fair assessment, and does India no longer needs its fab-four? Does Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has a 100% record so far, deserves the captaincy?

'Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.'

Media like everyone else, likes to salute the rising sun which in this case happens to Dhoni. Lets look at a few facts.
In the 2007-08 Test series in Australia, Anil Kumble led the side extremely well and had a good personal series. Dhoni averaged just 17 in four Test matches with no fifties while someone like Harbhajan Singh who didn't all four matches managed two fifties. Media as always has chosen to ignore this fact.

During the CB series in Feb-March 2008, Indian bowlers led by Ishant did an amazing job. India however continued to struggle as a team because their were unable to put up decent scores. Sachin Tendulkar who missed the early part of the tournament because of injury played a major role in reviving the team. In the two finals(best of three) he scored 117 and 90. Tendulkar bashers were no where to be seen.

However, what followed was the IPL. The focuss was lost and the more glamourous and young Indian lot captured all the attention. Dhoni missed the test series in Sri Lanka but he played well against Australia. What is important to note is that those runs came under home conditions. Despite sounding cynical, let me add that I am great admirer of Dhoni's leadership. However, it is too early for us comment. He is yet to prove himself at Test level abroad against quality opposition. More important, India may have fared well against Australia at home and may easily beat England but they still don't have enough depth and need the likes of Tendulkar and Dravid especially abroad.I really feel sorry for Jammy, I hope he scores plenty against England.

Also we must not forget that India won the toss three of the four times. In Bangalore where India lost the toss, they nearly lost the match and if it had not been a rescue by Bhajji and Zaheer, India could well have started the series 0-1 down. Anil Kumble too was extremely unlucky in Bangalore where a couple of decisions went against him and a crucial catch was dropped by none other than MS Dhoni.

As for Mahi, despite all the buzz I would like to wait to form an opinion. But its good for him that he is a wicket-keeper and manages to keep his place even if he has a poor series with a bat, a luxury that most Indian captains don't get.
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