|Axing Dhoni will put us back by
5 years: Dilip Vengsarkar
|15 May 2010,It has been an
interesting week for Indian cricket. The lows at
the T20 World Cup seem to have suddenly turned
into a campaign to strip Mahendra Singh Dhoni of
his ODI and T20 captaincy. If ever that happens,
it would put Indian cricket back by five years.
It would be nothing but a knee-jerk reaction.
Everybody makes mistakes, including you and me.
The media has hyped it further. But there is no
need to get carried away by all that. To my
mind, Dhoni has been amongst the most positive,
intelligent and cool cricketers of the current
generation. Besides, he possesses a very good
temperament. His behavior on and off the field
has been impeccable too. He is a key player in
all three formats of the game - T20, ODIs and
Tests. There's nobody better than him in the
Indian team who can lead the side. Why do people
forget that less than a month ago, he had led
Chennai Super Kings to victory in the IPL.
It was during my tenure as chairman of the
national selection committee in 2007 that Dhoni
was appointed ODI captain. That was also the
first time when Indian cricket had two captains
for two different formats. Sachin Tendulkar was
the obvious choice to lead in all formats but
since he declined, the Test captaincy was handed
to Anil Kumble, another seasoned campaigner.
Since Anil had announced his retirement from
ODIs, we had to look out for a new leader. Dhoni
fitted the bill perfectly. Here was a good Test
cricketer, who could adapt quickly to all the
formats of the game. Remember, he was not even a
captain of his zone then. But we had a vision.
Dhoni with his outstanding abilities as captain
and player justified the faith and complimented
our thinking. See how his career graph has
zoomed after he became captain.
The two-captain theory was a necessity then, not
now. You can't have a fixation for such
theories. The question that needs to be asked
is: is the situation so bad to warrant such a
change? The answer to that is a big no. Besides,
I am not for a Test captain playing under an ODI
captain. It is not fair, and I feel strongly
The national selectors should show spunk and
rest players who are not in form and lack
fitness. They should ensure that there is no
comfort zone, where players take their places
for granted. There should be a lot of options,
competition for spots in the Indian team. That
is the way ahead, especially keeping the 2011
World Cup (50 overs) in mind.
Media reports suggest that Virender Sehwag's
name is being considered for ODI & T20
captaincy. I have not seen him lead a side, so
it is not fair on my part to comment on his
abilities as a captain, though there is no doubt
about his abilities as a great batsman. What I
do know is that Sehwag has not been part of the
last two T20 World Cups. My vote will always go
to a player who fights out in the middle and
gives his hundred per cent in every game.
Does anybody remember that we won the first T20
World Cup tour because we had enough time to
prepare for it despite not having much
experience in that format? The hype created by
that success was largely instrumental in making
the Indian Premier League-1 a massive hit. The
IPL games are indeed high pressure and high
intensity games and it does take a toll. Of
course, there are foreign players in the mix but
no team is affected as much as the Indian team
because nearly 90 Indian cricketers take part in
the IPL. Thus, not only our top players but even
our bench strength ends up fatigued.
-- By Dilip Vengsarkar (The writer is a former
India captain and was chief selector from Oct