Six months ago he was considered as the messiah of Indian cricket . The man who single handedly won the World Cup for India to whet the appetite of a success starved cricket crazy nation. The world Cup win elevated him to a demi god status with critics and supporters waxing lyrical about his achievements. Hailed as India’s greatest ever captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was all poised to take Indian cricket to even greater heights and spawned an era of Indian domination not just financially but on the field as well.
Cut to 2012, within a span of just six months how the tables have turned for Dhoni. A beleaguered side , staring at a second successive whitewash overseas , the worst losing streak since 1968, has created an uproar back home and the clamor for his head among supporters and ex players has only grown . There are murmurs within the BCCI ranks about the possibility of separate captains for Test and ODI’s , a decision that was unthinkable just a while back .With every mach, Dhoni is getting flayed left right and centre for his cluless captaincy and shoddy batting display in the ongoing series Down Under
Can the entire blame for India’s debacle be assigned to Dhoni. Or is he like any other captain is only as good as his team , a team whose form has continued to slide inexorably for the past six months.
Being captain Dhoni had to shoulder a major part of the blame . His defensive captaincy and hapless batting have not helped India’s cause. The fact that he issued a statement hinting at a possible retirement from the Test cricket post 2013 created murmurs that his heart is not in the longer format of the game and which is reflected in his performance. He is the only captain to lead a team in all the formats , a policy that is not adopted by any other country as a result Dhoni has played a mind boggling 285 matches in a single calendar year ,if one includes his IPL exploits as well. This , without a shadow of doubt, has taken a major toll on his mind and body and his inconsistent sometimes clueless captaincy in the ongoing India Australia series bear testimony to that . His patchy form with the bat in Test cricket overseas, has been cruelly exposed in this series .
Undoubtedly, Dhoni has not been helped by an ageing batting lineup which has failed to perform again and again. The holy trinity of Dravid, Laxman, and Tendulkar have failed to shoulder any responsibility unlike previous series and Dhoni cannot be faulted for that . What he should be accounted for is the failure to read the warning signs and institute systemic changes, in conjunction with selectors after the English debacle in the summer of 2011.
It is said in cricket a captain should lead from the front and set an example for others to follow. And currently Mahendra Singh Dhoni is failing to inspire his team whether he is batting or captaining on the field . The selectors,for the good of Indian cricket, should definitely not consider this series as another aberration and shove it under the plush carpet of IPL and instead must take radical decisions . If that demands a change of guard at the top, the selectors should definitely bite the bullet, without farther ado . Going by the mood in Australia as well as back home in India , Dhoni only has the One Day series to redeem himself …..otherwise his time as an Indian Test team Captain , a team that aspires to be number 1 , is definitely up.