Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dhoni, is there a conspiracy? End the Master’s agony, please.

By John Cheeran
What’s happening, guys? I thought today, and the next four days, was all about Sachin Tendulkar’s tryst with exit from the game. But a moron of a cricketer, who happens to lead Indian team now, has taken a strange decision after winning the toss at the Wankhede. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has put the West Indies to bat first.
Come on, on all counts, the second Test against the West Indies is inconsequential in the grand narrative of Indian cricket. It is just another Test. The series can’t be lost with the innings win in the first Test at Kolkata.
Make no mistake, this Test is all about Tendulkar. And his 200th Test. His final Test.
The most sensible and charitable decision on the part of the Indian captain should have been choosing to bat first. In Tests, the accepted wisdom is to bat first in any case. And you don’t have to dream up a strategy against this bunch of West Indians, who are hardly up for the challenge of playing through five days, quite clearly demonstrated at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
So what’s the reason behind putting Tendulkar on the field to chew his nails, waiting for his turn to bat, who knows when? Is there a conspiracy to deny Tendulkar his final run?
Yes, of course, India will have its first innings sooner or later. But, Dhoni, why this pretence that all of a sudden you are interested in the game than its illustrious servant? And, of all times, now?
The West Indies will crumble in any case. And it would have been a more practical decision for India to bat first and put up a huge score, giving all its batsmen a chance to build their innings with care and conviction, including Tendulkar?
Did Tendulkar have any say in this decision? I doubt. Wouldn’t he have been interested in stepping out to play his last innings without being hurried, recalling some of his best knocks, while Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay soften up the friendly West Indian bowlers? With Cheteshwar Pujara stepping in between, Tendulkar could have been perfectly primed for his parting shot.
For all that, Dhoni should have remembered that cricket fans have flocked to the Wankhede not to see him or his bunch of cricket enthusiasts in the XI. They have come to see Sachin Tendulkar and see him hold the bat, man.
Or has someone, a marketing wizard, advised Dhoni that this is the best way to keep fans at the stadium and across living rooms in India in suspense? To keep them watching a few more commercials?
You don’t believe me, right? Believe.

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