Indian Cricket and M S Dhoni have become quiet synonymous. Captain Cool is also one of India’s most popular limited-overs players and the most talked about captain besides being an all rounder. But now it’s not only about him and his captaincy, it’s also about the team and its performance. Dhoni’s identity is his captaincy and if he loses it, which looks quite possible after the South Africa series loss, will he adapt to follow another skipper or will he be caught in the jeopardy of leading as a skipper?
Dhoni lost his winning mojo
Except the Zimbabwe series, India lost all the ODI series in year 2015; be it the World Cup 2015, Bangladesh series or home series against South Africa.
We all know that Dhoni is akin to captaincy and to stay at that spot he needs to bring a change in his approach towards ODI. In the South Africa series, Dhoni had his own strategy which was inflexible. Instead of considering the match situation and strategising to control the match, he used his old tactics of using four overs of fast bowler in the first spell, couple of overs in the middle, and from the 20th over to 40th over unleashed spin power around the opponents. Although this approach worked for Dhoni to some degree in the past, it was also the cause of India’s loss in matches held at Kanpur and Rajkot. Let’s have a look at Dhoni’s performance against South Africa and who fits to replace him.
Expectations from South Africa Series
This year, India has not been up to the mark. Year 2015 has seen India making a mediocre show in ODIs and the recent 3-2 series defeat to South Africa intensifies the apprehensions about Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his career as a skipper. The Series defeat against South Africa could also mean the end of road for Dhoni’s captaincy. Apprehensions are being made on making Virat Kohli the leader in all formats of the game, which signals the end of Dhoni’s captaincy. The recent series has shown that Kohli is a good support to the team and can help India bring back titles – if Kohli performs well, the team performs well!
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India has had a tough time in ODIs this year and even failed to clinch any series. In January, India was defeated in the tri-series in Australia, was eliminated in the semi-finals of the World Cup, suffered defeat against Bangladesh for the first instance in June in the bilateral series and suffered defeat in the Twenty20 series and ODI series against South Africa. Such a letdown has brought questions upon the team performance and its captain MS Dhoni. If we look at the overall performance of 2015, especially the recent series loss, a number of questions have been posed about Dhoni’s captaincy. Will he still hold the title Captain Cool?
At present M S, Dhoni is captain of Indian National cricket team in ODI and T-20 formats. Dhoni made his international ODI debut against Bangladesh in December 2014. He played his first International Test match against Sri Lanka.
Dhoni’s Career highlights:
He became ODI captain in 2007 replacing Rahul Dravid. Under Dhoni’s captaincy India won the first-ever bilateral away series in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. He has excellent captaincy records which includes; most wins by an Indian captain in limited overs and Tests matches, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. Main highlights under his captaincy have been India’s victory in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, CB Series of 2007–08, 2010 Asia Cup, 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. His dream knock of unbeaten 91 off 79 balls against Sri Lanka in World Cup final took India towards victory. He was awarded Man of the match for his efforts. Dhoni is the first captain to win all three ICC limited-over trophies: World Twenty20, World Cup ODI and the Champions Trophy.
After taking up the Test captaincy in 2008, he led the team to series wins in New Zealand and West Indies, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013. In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings.
Is it Time to Replace Dhoni?
With the focus on 2019 World Cup, Kohli is being considered as a replacement of MS Dhoni as ODI skipper. It all began with speculations and the historical Test Series win against Sri Lanka in 2015 that the qualities of a captain were seen in Virat Kohli.
When the tournament will be held in 2019 in England, Dhoni will turn 38 by then and it is not common to see a 38-year-old skipper, batsmen or wicketkeeper in cricket. So, it could mean ascend towards the throne for Virat Kohli.
Kohli and Dhoni are two different characters. While Kohli prefers aggression and pace, Dhoni likes patience and control. By making Kohli the ODI captain with immediate effect, it will give him time to select and groom the team for the World Cup 2019.