It is better to quit the game of Cricket when people ask ‘why’ rather than ‘why not’. In recent times, the place of Dhoni as player in the Indian team is challenged by critics and ex-players as well. A sword is hanging in front of him all the time as he needs to perform at the highest level. His dismal show with the bat in losing raise the question whether he deserve a place in the young Indian side. His work behind the stumps is also not up to the world standard. His finisher image is no longer retained as he falls pray in the slog or death overs in the shortest form of the game. His laborious knocks in one day matches raise the question whether he is a liability in the side. He failed to enthuse the young brigade in the side and he is facing flak by carping critics. Both Dinesh Karthik and Wriddhiman Saha are knocking the doors for a place in all the three formats of the game.
Thus, Dhoni drama is hogging limelight and both the Captain Virat Kohli and Coach Ravi Shastri are trying hard to defend Dhoni. Shastri’s statement in press says “Look at your career before commenting on MSD” reveal the real story. In the past VVS Laxman was axed despite being a saviour of Indian batting during crisis and his very special innings failed to convince selectors; whereas MSK Prasad and Co, played spoilsport in picking Dhoni again and again despite repeated failures. Perhaps, Dhoni’s brand value and his numerous endorsements are more valuable than his role in Indian team. Anyway, Dhoni is getting an extended stay in Indian side just like Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Lesser blessed players like Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly failed to enjoy this royal treatment.
Current form and performance count more than World Cup winning performances in the past. Form is temporary and the class is permanent is not applicable in case of an aging player like Dhoni. Infusing young blood is the order of the day in world Cricket. Why not we do away with Dhoni and encourage a young player like Rishabh Pant. He is a left hand batsman and he can gather well on both sides of the wickets in a more efficient way.
Cricket is a team game, where performance is the name of the game. When the performance of a player is found wanting, then the axe should fall for the seasoned player. There is no short cut to success. There is abundant talent in this country and the same is wasted to prolong the career of a tested player just for the sake of making his presence felt. For many, the crawl in Antigua – where MS Dhoni recorded the slowest ODI half-century by an Indian, in a failed chase – was clinching proof that his best was behind him.
Without doing much analysis, we can safely assume that M.S. Dhoni has demonstrably faded as a finisher in the shorter versions of the game. However, since he is such a wonderful talent, he can revive and rediscover his once famed repertoire of shots. How does he do that? Let him go to the net and hit a thousand balls a day for a month. There is no alternative to hard work.
It is very clear that Kohli wants Dhoni to play despite his age and form. So it is hard to push Dhoni out of the team during Kohli-Shastri tenor. Dhoni is finished, he is no longer a finisher and hence does not deserve a place in the team. The selectors should look for better options if they really interested to regain the World Cup in the year 2019. Defending Dhoni is not the end solution to the problem.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)