As an Indian, I am sad. As an Indian Cricket fan, I am sad and angry as well. Yes, accepted that fans and countrymen should stay united in the support of team it losses, just like it is with them when they win. Still, we cannot ignore the fact that Indians crazily shower love on the Men in Blue, so expecting them not to criticize the players after such disappointing performance is bit too much.
Coming to the reason why I am writing this, the skipper MS Dhoni. His interaction with an Australian journalist making buzz all around and few Indians enjoying it more than it should be. Not ignoring the ‘image’ Indians have about media and Australian, people felt like having fun when they see something like “Indian captain trolls Australian journalist”. But the Captain Cool found it easy to throw some counter questions rather than answering the original question itself. A cricketer who’s at the age of 34 and whose recent performances have not brought anything too big was expected to face such questions, at least I believe. But was it Samuel Ferris who found himself on the unfortunate end? We can answer it in YES. To me, it looked like the Aussie journo became a punching bag which was punched by a lost and disappointed captain and then many Indian fans followed their T20 skipper.
Yes, I am saying it, Thanks Samuel Ferris for asking something what Indian media wouldn’t have asked at that moment. Not that I am thankless man or don’t respect Dhoni for his contribution to Indian cricket but the current team and it’s future not looking hopeful if the things continue like this. Dhoni’s leadership has brought India T20 World Cup, ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy and no Indian Cricket fan will ever forget that. The sad thing is, it’s all past. What happened to Team India after 2013 is the worrying and disappointing thing to see. We cannot deny the fact that performance of Indian Team, after 2013, has gone down, down and down. Cricket, or say any sport, is too ruthless which doesn’t accept anything less than success. If the past performances can be criteria to hold positions in present then I don’t think we will have Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar as retired players, given that they performed pretty well even till their last appearance on ground.
The message, which is popping up time and again is very clear, Dhoni as a captain is losing battles one after another. I don’t know if it’s right time to question his love for IPL and especially CSK but seeing the number of chances given Ravindra Jadega and Suresh Raina is definitely questionable. Was it so tough for Dhoni to decide who among Jadega and Harbhajan Singh will be more worthy to have? The question is, what made Dhoni continue with three bowlers and two all-rounders, did he have confidence that two all-rounders will be able to survive against top batting line-ups? Shocking thing is, on the Indian turning tracks, Indian spinner including Ashwin have failed to give any remarkable spell, so expecting anything from Jadega or Raina to bowl good is too long shot. Hardik Pandya has conceded runs at the run-rate of above 9 throughout the series and still captain found his place in Playing XI. Thanks to the immature Bangladesh team otherwise India’s journey of WT20 2016 would have ended in group stage itself. This World Cup Jasprit Bumrah and Ashish Nehra were more impressive than any other bowler.
Thanks to the one-man army Virat Kohli who kept Indian batting alive in the World Cup. Absolute flop show by Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina & can include Rohit Sharma as well in this list. Yuvraj played some decent inning against Pakistan and Australia. Only thing to celebrate was to see Dhoni & Kohli finishing innings against West Indies & Australia with some courageous batting and running. Apart from that, can we remember anything worth celebrating? To speak more clearly, India seemed like a team of 5-6 players than a team of 11 players.
Agreed that it’s up to the players to perform but it is the captain who has to decide the Playing XI and pick right combination of 11 players who are in form. It is said that Dhoni doesn’t of changing team every match, which is good quality to have in bilateral series or in a series where you are intended to bring new players but this was The World Cup and resisting changing team can be better called rigidity than confidence. Dhawan was dropped because he was out of form and Ajinkya Rahane did the job pretty well, considering that he was playing his first inning in WC and that too at semi-final. Still, the question is, was it so outstanding bowling line up to continue with and not to include one full time bowler in place of all-rounder?
Dhoni, in the press conference, said to Aussie journo “I wish it was an Indian media guy, because then I would have asked if he has a son who is old enough and a wicketkeeper to play. He would have said ‘No’. Then I would have said maybe a brother who can play, who is a wicketkeeper.” It’s again an unacceptable thing. It’s like asking people if you’re a soldier and if you’re not then you’re not patriot. Mr. Dhoni, first thing, you’re not the first and last wicketkeeper for India, there was many and there will be many. Yes, you’re best at this moment! Secondly, I remember Rahul Dravid who was not a wicketkeeper but who came forward to accept the job just because team needed him to do it and he carried that duty for years, with full efficiency and without complaining.
The way MS Dhoni declared his retirement from test cricket was a shocker to entire but sadly it came as a result of back to back failures and criticism from everywhere. Yes, Virat Kohli was undisputed captain after MSD’s retirement but the job wasn’t easy for him. He continued with almost the same team but the overnight transformation was clearly visible, Indian team which was looking like a team which struggles to get the match draw was now putting it all to win the test and decided to eliminate option of draw. The same thing seems repeating itself for ODI & T20. One should make his way when people ask WHY and should not drag it to the point when people will say WHY NOT. I am not willing to see MSD off the field but now India needs change in leadership and the best thing is, India has that person ready. It’s right time for Dhoni to willingly give rein to Kohli and play as wicketkeeper batsman. I seriously doubt if India can continue like this for long. With due respect to MS Dhoni, I want to say that his era is over now.