NEW DELHI: At times, a picture is worth a thousand words. As Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked towards the post-match presentation on Wednesday, there was a clear sense of disbelief showing on his face. Perhaps, Captain Cool was yet to come to terms with the embarrassing defeat.
Even though he tried to treat it as just another bad day in office, it was clear from his expressions that he was unable to find that Midas touch. A 0-4 series loss is nothing new for Team India, but what comes as a surprise is how Dhoni has failed to handle the situation. Unable to find old rhythm with bat, his work behind stumps under scanner, he also seems to have entered that stage where he can’t find the right direction.
If bowlers marred India’s chances in the first three games, it was a new story in Canberra. With Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli going great guns, all they needed was a steady finish. With their specialist finisher around, few expected India to surrender this one. But the man from Ranchi lost the plot completely, helping the Aussies come back into the game.
A dejected Dhoni walking back to the pavilion not only killed India’s chances, but also raised a million-dollar question: Has Captain Cool lost his mojo?
Former national selector Raja Venkat believes ‘captain’ Dhoni is past his prime and it’s time for him to call it a day. “There was a time when he was considered Captain Cool. But these days, all his moves are backfiring. It seems there’s no new vision in the team,” Venkat told Express from Kolkata.
In the past too, the former East Zone selector had been vocal about Dhoni’s form. But now, he says it’s time that Virat Kohli is made skipper in all three formats. “The team performed so well under Virat. Be it against Sri Lanka or South Africa, the team looked brimming with confidence. If Dhoni can take credit for a victory, then why pass the buck when the team is losing? The BCCI seriously needs to look into the matter,” Venkat adds.
When Dhawan departed, India were 277-2 in 37.3 overs, and in such conditions, one expected Dhoni to take hold of the situation. But he lasted three deliveries. “There’s something wrong with him. Not just batting, his decision to drop Ravichandran Ashwin has also been baffling,” former cricketer Madan Lal says.
With the Asia Cup and World T20 lined up, both Venkat and Lal believe the team needs changes. “There has to be a few changes. Else, things won’t improve. With big events coming up, the team management needs to address the issue immediately,” Lal adds.
But then, Dhoni has also found a supporter in former Australia cricketer Michael Hussey. Having played with Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings, Hussey believes he still has a lot to offer as captain. “People forget it’s not an easy job. You can’t just come in and smash 60 off 30 every time. You have good bowlers, and they have gotten smarter, and they know what Dhoni’s strengths are. So things will not always happen the same way,” the Aussie was quoted as saying in Sydney.
That, however, doesn’t have many takers in India. With former captains like Sunil Gavaskar too calling for a change in leadership, the finisher is nearing the finishing line! Almost.