Today is a great day. Finally the iceman has melted. Its a great day for a change has finally arrived. Test Captain terrible has gone away for good. Strange are Dhoni’s ways. Why would he quit midway through a series? Only he can answer.
This must have happened in 2011 after a 8-0 whitewash both in England and Oz. MSD chose to stick to the “side in transition” answer after every test. Agree that he had problems with the batting with the big guns not firing and piss poor bowling attack. But he never questioned his own contribution in the whitewash. He failed miserably as a batsman. In 2011 Eng tour he managed two fifties in eight outings. His batting was horrendous in Oz later that year. But somehow he managed to hold on the side.
Dhoni was never built to play test cricket. As batter he had no technique at all. He has managed his own technique thus far. His weakness was the cover drive,which he chooses to play without moving his feet. The slips were always in business when he was batting. This caused him a lot of problems as he had no other scoring shots. Of late he developed a strange way of going across and blocking out swingers but this left him vulnerable to incoming deliveries. He was found out in England this year when he lost his wicket to ins wingers either LBW or caught at short leg. With almost all his scoring shots blocked his batting was a good as dead.
It baffles me as to why a player would need 90 tests and not sort out his batting. He said he had been working on his batting since November last but it never turned into runs. As a last roll of the dice he invented this crazy ” jump across and block” routine. In 9 tests in Oz he averages 17.5 with a solitary 50. This is from a man who has 8,000 plus in ODI with an average of 50 plus batting at number six.
MSD’s oddness made him what he is today. Be it his hairstyle or his batting or his skippering. But his strangeness failed him as a test cricketer. Test cricket is a brutal game for its a complete test of a players mental and physical skills.Its never easy when a bowler has to bowl 30 overs a day or for a batsman to bat two whole days. The amount of discipline needed is incredible. Test format calls for rapid adaptability to conditions and upgrading skill levels with every match. Those who don’t change get left behind. MSD as a test cricketer sadly got left behind.
MSD as a captain had two personalities, one at home and other away from home.At home all he had to do was throw the ball to Ashwin and Ojha. The rest used to run on auto pilot. Abroad it was a different MSD. He let things drift. His strategies were puzzling. It all goes back to the Windies tour in 2011 and that test at St.Lucia. India were asked to chase a small total but ended up at 94-3 with a draw. It was puzzling to see India giving up. This was clear indication that MSD did not get test cricket at all.
All through the Eng & Aus tour in 2011 when the batting was failing he refused to make any changes to the order. Where was the captain who led from the front? His statements were always bizarre, after having lost 4-0 he said”Overall,I am happy with the way we played”, “as long as the process is right the results will come”, “the side is learning”, “its the first time for many of them.”They will do better the next time they are here”.
There was outright denial to accept that there was a lack of skill in the side. He was treating International test cricket as his school sports meet. The most common refrain was “ball goes soft and bowlers are tired”. Its very hard to swallow that logic. Why did he pick bowlers who cant bowl in the last session?
His field placements went from innovative to ridiculous. He placed a leg slip as a attacking option for a fast bowler. How does a fast bowler plan a leg slip dismissal? Its impossible to do that. The most annoying thing was the way he left things drift.He would wait for inevitable declaration and with that loose the initiative.
He joins Graeme Swann in infamous list of wankers who left the ship midway. MSD was just one test away from having the worst overseas record as a skipper in the history of the game.
The world’s greatest finisher has finished his career in the most abrupt manner.This a classic case of a guy who never saw the writing on the wall and paid a price. He shall be remembered as a coward who chose to go underground.