Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It’s time for Virat Kohli to take over from Dhoni

By John Cheeran
The captaincy question returns. It is time to lessen the burden of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Stepping down as captain would serve both Dhoni’s and Team India’s interests. He has had the longest run as India’s skipper in Tests – 53 matches.
New Zealand tour, simply put, has been a disaster. Dhoni’s men lost the five-match one-day series 0-4 and the Test series 0-1. It would have been catastrophic had India attempted to go for the victory target of 435 runs in Basin Reserve, Wellington, befitting the ‘super king’ status they claim. Indian openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan tried but Virat Kohli had other plans when he cracked a plucky century to keep the Kiwis at bay.
As captain Dhoni has been successful in the past. He inspired an average bunch of cricketers to win the World Cup in 2011. But since then it has been a downhill journey for the side as much as for Kapil’s Devils who, after stunning the cricket world in 1983, had a string of Test defeats against the West Indies and England.
As Test captain Dhoni has an abysmal record abroad. Since 2011 India has lost Test series in England (0-4), Australia (0-4), South Africa (0-1) and New Zealand (0-1). In the last three years India has not won a single Test abroad, out of the 14 it has played.
There can be arguments that clearly England, Australia and South Africa were far superior sides compared to India when Dhoni locked horns with them. But should world champions tremble in fear in New Zealand? Not a single Indian supporter would have thought the series would be so lop-sided.
At some stage, senior players should take responsibility. It is such a time for Dhoni. Dhoni knows he is on the back foot now and clearly, he has stopped blaming anyone, especially bowlers, for the disastrous consequences in Auckland and Wellington. Who is to be blamed for letting a side escape from 94/5 while staring at innings defeat and turn the tables on you? Dhoni the captain has been clearly too defensive in his approach in Tests.

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