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Comment: Dhoni’s poor attitude is dragging India down

The Roar logo The Roar 15-01-2016 Ronan O'Connell
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Just one match into this ODI series and India captain MS Dhoni already has bemoaned his country’s dearth of readymade talent, his squad’s lack of a pace-bowling all-rounder and the state of umpiring.

That’s a huge slab of negativity to unload in a short amount of time and smacks of a defeatist mentality from the beginning of what had shaped as a winnable five-game series for the tourists.

One of the greatest limited-overs players in history, Dhoni’s international career is now winding down and he is on shaky ground as captain, with growing calls from Indian pundits and fans for him to retire.

Virat Kohli, the man who shapes as his successor in ODIs, has reinvigorated the Test team with his leadership, turning them into a more attacking outfit.

Kohli is a fiercely self-assured character – it is difficult to imagine him becoming mired in doom and gloom the way Dhoni has at the start of an away ODI series against the reigning world champions.

The 27-year-old batsman has garnered praise for his leadership, in particular the manner in which he has shown confidence in his charges.


It was crucial Dhoni displayed similar outward faith in his players ahead of this tough series against a team which has dominated India in the ODI format – they have won just six of their past 17 matches against Australia.

Instead, the day before the series opener, Dhoni whinged about the lack of “readymade talent” being produced by his country.

He followed that up with comments which must have crushed the confidence of rookie Rishi Dhawan, when Dhoni repeatedly lamented that India did not have a seam-bowling all-rounder worthy of playing in this series.

The 25-year-old Dhawan, who is in India’s ODI squad as a seam-bowling all-rounder, bats at four or five for Himachal Pradesh and also opens the bowling, averaging 39 with the bat and 31 with the ball.

MS Dhoni of India speaks at a press conference after defeat during the Victoria Bitter One Day International Series match. © Will Russell - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images MS Dhoni of India speaks at a press conference after defeat during the Victoria Bitter One Day International Series match.

Dhoni’s comments made it clear that he does not rate Dhawan, who is yet to represent India. It must be devastating for a young player on their first overseas tour to hear their captain stating publicly, albeit in an indirect manner, that he doesn’t think they are good enough for international cricket.

Of Dhoni’s three aforementioned gripes, his distaste for the Decision Review System makes the most sense. A long-time critic of the DRS, Dhoni reiterated his view in the wake of Australia’s comfortable victory in the series opener at the WACA.

India were unfortunate not to have dismissed centurion George Bailey for a duck after he gloved down the leg side the first ball he faced. Dhoni maintains that if the DRS is to be used it should be less confusing, particularly in regards to lbws.

It is a quirky element of the DRS that a delivery predicted by ball-tracking technology to be shaving the stumps can be given out, while another ball predicted to be striking a much greater portion of the stumps can be given not out.

As Dhoni stated to the media after the WACA match, the DRS “should not be the umpires’ decision justification system”.

“It should be giving the right decision,” he said. “Like in tennis you don’t say the umpire called it out and half the ball has to pitch inside the line. It has to be plain and simple.

“You don’t have to keep too many things in consideration. You either say, ‘This is DRS, doesn’t matter whether it is given out or not out, if half the ball is hitting the stumps, you are out’, irrespective of the decision.

“Now, for example, you take DRS, in an lbw decision, what changes everything is whether it was given in favour or not. It can mean a margin of one inch overall, and that is very big.”

There is logic in Dhoni’s argument. But there is none in the pessimistic way he has approached this series against Australia.

Kohli must be seething. It’s time for the young buck to take over and re-energise India’s limited-overs teams the way he has done with the Test side.

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