Mumbai: With the growing success Virat Kohli has been achieving lately, and on a consistent basis, questions are being raised if it’s time for India’s limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to take a backseat or call it quits from the game.
Kohli’s growing prowess in world cricket has become such that there has been a raging debate if the Delhi-lad can outclass Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar. During all this talk, another question was raised —could Kohli lead the side in all three formats? This school of thought was further endorsed by former Team Director Ravi Shastri.
"I definitely think so (Kohli should be given the job across formats). You have to see where India is going to go three years down the line. There are no major events till about three years down the line when you are back with the World Cup. So, this is your best time to think and build," Shastri had said earlier.
Team India have a packed calendar next season, one that is laden with Test matches, 17 of them to be precise. This means no Dhoni on the cricket pitch till next year.
And he certainly didn’t want to miss out on a chance to play for India leading a young side to Zimbabwe. ‘Captain Cool’ has made the most of this outing by helping the team complete a whitewash against the hosts, thereby ending his 20-month wait for an ODI series win.
Despite a series sweep against Zimbabwe, Dhoni wouldn’t mind the trophy in his cabinet, which is now facing a severe drought.
Post a 2-1 victory against West Indies at home in 2014, Team India, under Dhoni, have been battered in the 50-over format. Just before the ICC World Cup last year, India went winless in the tri-series involving England and Australia.
The Men in Blue hit rock bottom when they were humiliated in Bangladesh after young pacer Mustafizur Rahman left the full-strength unit jaded. Dhoni's problems further worsened when South Africa sealed a series win in India.
And 2016 didn’t begin on a good note as India lost to Australia 1-4 despite Kohli and Rohit Sharma scoring plenty of runs. Dhoni has gone on to become a lacklustre figure in the side.
Here are few reasons why Dhoni is no more good news for Indian cricket:
Where is India's upbeat captain?
Dhoni was considered to be one skipper who is known for his bold moves and daring tactics. He surprised many when he entrusted a rookie pacer the responsibility of bowling the final over of a World T20 final that ultimately turned out to be a masterstroke.
But times have changed after that. Dhoni has borne the brunt for being reluctant to make changes. In the ongoing tour of Zimbabwe, Dhoni was hesitant to test the bench strength in the last game even after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Youngsters Jayant Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat and Mandeep Singh warmed the benches throughout the series.
One who had faith in his players now seems to think otherwise. Take the case of Shikhar Dhawan. The southpaw was given quite some time in the 2015-16 T20 season, despite seven single-digit scores in 16 games. However, he was dropped in the all-important World T20 semifinal clash against West Indies.
Those magical finishes by Dhoni are far and few now. In fact we only got to see it once in IPL 9 when the Rising Pune Supergiants skipper bludgeoned Axar Patel for 23 runs in the last over. The fading ability was exposed during India's tour to Australia earlier this year.
His differences with Ravichandran Ashwin
If you’ve looked closely the last IPL, Dhoni seems to have lost faith in his go-to-man Ravi Ashwin. He deprived Ashwin of enough opportunities to stage fightbacks. The Tamil Nadu tweaker completed his quota of four overs only four times in nine matches across Asia Cup T20 and World T20 tournaments.
Too much arrogance creeping in?
It might be getting to him, but Dhoni might be bored and irritated of answering the same set of questions, relating to his retirement and depleting form again and again. Dhoni seems to be showing an uncomfortable attitude at press conferences when a probing question is being directed at him. The way he ridiculed an Australian journalist over retirement question after India's loss to West Indies in the World T20 2016 semifinal was unaccepted by a huge section while some found the lighter side to it.