He should be celebrating with his family and friends. He should be in high spirits, but there are more reasons to keep him engaged with all things dirty and gloomy. He was hailed when Team India won matches, and criticized when they lost. But can you always win? There will be others who will surprise you from time to time; every team is prepared for that, as they should be.
Defeat against Bangladesh was unexpected, but don’t make MS Dhoni the sacrificial lamb!
A large section of the Indian community is asking him to step down so that Virat Kohli can take over. There is no respect in their tone, only rash demand. There is no acknowledgment of his role in raising the aura of Indian cricket. Basically, we are a thankless bunch! A series defeat against Bangladesh is all it took for us to call him a failure.
In 2007, a long-haired dude announced himself and took the world of cricket by storm. India had lifted the Twenty-20 inaugural World Cup and Dhoni was credited for turning the fortunes of Indian cricket around. Since then, MS Dhoni and India have only gone up. And we hate him for that.
His achievements as captain are incomparable and he sustained his supremacy for over six years. He steered India to its first overseas Test victory in New Zealand. A few months later, India earned the status of the number one Test team. Dhoni gave India its second World Cup in 2011 and forever etched his name in the history books. And who can forget his double century against Australia under huge pressure? Dhoni single-handedly scripted India’s 4-0 drubbing of the Oz, an unthinkable feat up until then. He remained calm under trying conditions, never allowing his emotions to get the better of him. There are so many instances and victorious moments to refer to. But the issue here is different.
Off late, Dhoni’s magic appears to be fading away. But there was never a magic to begin with! He didn’t have a magic wand. In fact, calling him a magician is a tribute to his accomplishments which were achieved through hard work and skillful captaincy. It was all so great that it seemed nothing less than magic! He has kept the dressing room peaceful and brotherly. There was never an issue with Dhoni as leader and no one complained. Should such a leader be forced out of the game so unceremoniously?
Cricket captains are more influential than any other captain from any other sport. Their role is multifaceted. Besides ensuring precise field settings, bowling changes at critical junctures and suitable batting order, MS Dhoni was a master strategist. His frame of mind, his body language and extreme belief in self cannot be quantified. Dhoni thought he could, that’s why he was able to do so many things.
How can only Dhoni be responsible for the series defeat? The entire team fared badly because players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma reflected sluggishness and complacency. They thought there is no need for them to play to full potential because what could Bangladesh do? Well, they know now. Virat Kohli should also understand that it’s about passion, not fashion that helps win matches. Kohli’s preoccupation with his hair style, his pink lips and tattoos is a visual pain. He should focus on cricket more than blowing kisses to Anushka Sharma in the stands.
It is for the first time that Dhoni finds himself pushed to the corner. His intentional collision with Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur was a reflection of how deeply stressed the man from Ranchi is. The fort that Dhoni had built around himself to ward off anything destructive has been breached. The harsh and judgmental comments directed towards Dhoni have started finding its mark. We thought Dhoni was the second best thing to happen to India after Sachin Tendulkar.
A dejected Dhoni recently said he is willing to quit captaincy and play under someone else if his leadership is hurting Indian cricket. It was the reaction of a man who may no longer have the strength to cope with so much negativity.
MS Dhoni has been a loyal servant of the game. He has won India more matches than even Sourav Ganguly. Just because he is not reacting sharply to haters, shouldn’t mean he should be pushed further more. If the BCCI decides to finally replace him, they must do so with dignity that MS Dhoni deserves.
BCCI has been accused of unceremoniously removing cricketers in the past. If Dhoni meets the same fate, it will be the darkest chapter in our cricketing history.