Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why Dhoni as India captain is a bad idea

MS Dhoni is a joy to watch on the cricket field. He reminds of that old Kapil Dev philosophy: why take a single, when you can hit a six? Like Kapil, he is a swashbuckling, exciting cricketer and he now finds himself captain of the Indian Twenty20 team for the World Championship in South Africa.

Its a remarkable show of faith by the Indian selectors, assuming they are taking this new format seriously. But much as I enjoy and respect Dhoni's abilities and undoubted commitment to Team India, I have a ton of misgivings about this appointment.


None of it is tied to the perception that as a captain, you have to curb your attacking instinct. Dhoni has curbed his instincts before to play superbly mature innings - his potentially series-turning knock in the first Test at Lords being the most recent example. Besides, its Twenty20 for crying out loud! How much curbing can you do even if you tried!

My concerns stem mostly from the sheer workload on a wicketkeeper (assuming Dhoni will keep wickets to add an extra batter to the lineup). This tough assignment requires vast reserves of concentration. You need to blank everything out around you and focus on the ball being delivered until it goes dead. You have to do it again and again through the entire innings.

Now we are asking the guy to worry about the game: who bowls next, what is my overrate like, who should I try out, what traps should I set. It can overload the best of them - even in a shortened format with only 20 overs a side. It's the primary reason that Adam Gilchrist is an unrealistic captaincy option for Australia. And that reason should have been good enough for the selectors to have left Dhoni alone.

8 comments:

Manish said...

Aspi, I would have loved it, if you had given us an alternative for MSD. I really don't think Yuvraj fits in. He's a bit too brash to be a captain. The one I can think of is Sehwag himself. Cool, calculative and a street smart operator. Well suited for the smaller format. He did captain India's only 20-20 match. But, he again is not a certainity for the final XI.

Dinesh Karthick is another name, I could have gone for. But leading a team loaded with seniors with massive egos would be not easy for him.

And I am disappointed that Murli Karthik - one who holds the record for the best bowling in a 20-20 isn't in th eteam.

Aspi said...

Manish, I think Yuvraj fits - not sure how he is viewed politically though. Brashness is ok - once you become captain you learn how to temper it. Ganguly was pretty much the same way Yuvraj is today and he turned out ok :)

Sujatha said...

Stopped by to say hi! I'm so out of this? Where is Dravid?

Aspi said...

Sujatha, hi! Good to see you here. Dravid, Tendul and Gangles removed themselves from consideration for the Twenty20 team. They are still around for Tests and ODIs so no changes there.

akhil said...

I tend to agree with what manish has said about Viru. I think he is the right person for the job, though he is out of form.

I feel it's too early put Dhoni in the Captain's shoes...Yuvi cld have been a better choice if they had decided to ignore Viru.

Sujatha said...

Viru still not playing well? That's not a matter of form, methinks.

Aspi, thanks for the info. :) I feel like I'm in a desert here, after the talent show and cricket overload I had in India. Settling down slowly now and will think about getting myself back into those things again. Any recommendations for service providers?

Aspi said...

Hi Suj, welcome back to the US. I've been following your adventures on your blog.

Dish TV works well for me - although their box keeps breaking once a year for me and I have to fork out $15 for it each time. Last time they mailed me a remote instead :) so they'll waive the fee.

But I use it for US and Indian TV. What is shown on DirectTV, I watch online if interesting.

Dish has a killer cricket package (PPV) that can be used to watch online as well (live).

Need a good US-wide phone service to synchronize your multiple phones? Grand Central (recently acquired by Google) has been impressing the crap out of me lately.

Anonymous said...

A valid point here of Dhoni getting overworked in a pressure cooker situation of a free for all20-20 cricket match. But if Dhoni can use his fine cricketing sense he could as well pass the keeping gloves to Dinesh Karthik who is actually a regular WK and relieve himself of the burden.