Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Blame it on Dhoni

Poor Dhoni what can you do to stop this horrendous run of losses for Team India. No matter how poorly the other 10 players on the field perform, the fault lies on you. Yes, you hit the nail on its head when you mentioned that you have become the new punching bag of Team India. Sachin coped it for the last two decades, now it is your turn!

On a damp wicket, with a lot of assistance for the faster bowlers, it was always going to be hard batting first. The need of the hour was to see off the new ball and then capitalize towards the end. Like we have been seeing in the test matches for the past year or so, none of the top order batsmen showed any sort of application to play the swinging ball. It is high time, the selectors consider replacing the under performing openers. Does Sehwag really command a place in the ODI team? He has been in poor form in this format for sometime, and to add to it, he is a liability on the field. Already the team is short of quality bowlers, and every run saved on the field will be a big bonus. In the end, Dhoni played one of the finest innings in ODIs saved India from the blushes. All this from a man who doesn’t have the technique to play on tracks conducive for fast bowling. He may not posses the best of techniques, but whatever said or done, he has found a way to cope with it. The fact that he is one of the few Indians who can play the pull shot definitely helps!

With the new ODI rules making it mandatory to have five fielders inside the 30 yard circle, it is important that India choose their 5th bowler wisely. Dhoni has received a lot of flak for going with only four specialists bowlers. Even during the world cup campaign India went in with four bowlers. Batting has always been their strength, and looking at the current crop of bowlers, India’s batting unit will always be stronger than the bowling unit. You can’t blame the bowlers for a poor performance from the batters. The fact that it was stretched to the 49th over shows how well they tried. Dhoni prefers packing the side with 7 batsmen, so that however poor the bowlers bowl, he will have the firepower in the batting to cover it up. Even if the team wants a 5th bowler, who are the options? If Jadeja is selected, all will conjure up Dhoni’s love for CSK players! Finding four good bowlers itself has been a major issue over the years for India, and I don’t see how we can find a decent 5th bowler anytime soon. Other than Ashwin, there is no bowler in the top 30 ODI rankings. The fact that Jadeja is the second highest ranked bowler for India tells you the story. A fully fit Irfan Pathan might solve the problem. Irfan and Ashwin do seem to be good enough to bat at positions 7 and 8. More importantly it will give Dhoni the chance to bat atleast one position higher. With the kind of bowlers India has currently, it is really harsh on blaming Dhoni for his defensive tactics. When Warne and Mcgrath retired, we saw how Ricky Ponting struggled, with his new bowlers. The fact that India did reasonably well during the period 2007-2011 is a testament of how well Dhoni handled his limited resources.

During the India England Test series, the focus was on Sachin’s batting and Dhoni’s captaincy due to which Sehwag and Gambhir got away despite their insipid performances. Sehwag has been underperforming in ODIs for sometime now, and probably it is time to look ahead and give Rahane a chance. If the top order doesn’t get fixed soon, Dhoni will experience what Sachin has endured throughout his career.

Dhoni’s captaincy over the years has been pretty much the same; it is just that now he’s having too many players in the team solely on their past reputations. During such turbulent times it is necessary that the captain inspires the team. He tried his best in the last ODI, running quick singles and two’s despite the fact that he was totally drained out by the end due to the sapping heat of Chennai and trying to give the bowlers some sort of a chance. Compare this to Gambhir, who was more interested in staying not out rather than farming the strike in Mumbai. It may not have made any difference in the result, but it sends down the wrong message. Maybe the right way is to give some of the senior players aspiring for captaincy a kick on their backside and give chance to players with greater zeal and enthusiasm. Dhoni has become everyone’s favourite punching bag; I hope in the new year, he’s the one punching.

Rohit Ramachandran PoduvalAbout Rohit Ramachandran Poduval
A Classical Leg Spinner, Writer and Software Engineer. Please feel free to add my to your circles. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook


The Cricket Diary said...

Great article. Sachin was the punching bag for 20 or so years, now it's MS Dhoni and I can already tell you, in the future it will be Virat Kohli.

It is insensible when you see everyone blames Dhoni, not keeping in mind that he leads and 'keeps in all three formats and the IPL. The selfish Gambhir and the unreliable Sehwag have always escaped, some way or the other.

It will also give India's fielding a new look, something which has been horrible for some time. Kohli and Raina are the stars in that department.

With the new ODI rules, as you said, India need a proper 5th bowler, who can take wickets, not just restrict the runs. In the batting line-up, the trio of Gambhir, Sehwag and Rohit - who needs to do some soul searching - need to be dropped ASAP. We've lost far too many series' overseas, just can't afford them at home. Rahane, Vijay/Dhawan & Tiwary will do for now. Hopefully.

Sai Ram

rohitrp2003 said...

Thanks Sai :) Unfortunately in India, we just look for a scapegoat rather than looking at the root cause. The problems start right from the top order. Gambhir has done reasonably well in ODIs, so it would be harsh to drop him from the team, though I feel its time to drop him from the test squad.

Dont see who the wicket taking 5th bowler is going to be ! Hopefully Irfan gets fit soon and he can bat at 7. Jadeja being our rank 2 bowler shows how bad we have become :(

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