Dhoni – and India’s Twenty/20 vision …

I’m beginning to lose count and will admit that I’m confusing ODIs and Tests – but lets see now … India’s list of vice captains in the not so recent past – Sachin, VVS, Sehwag, Yuvraj and in the Bangladesh series – Nobody. Somewhere Kumble and Ganguly felt good about it for a session or two when the captain left the field too. So that adds up to about 5 give or take an ego.

And now, we’ve named a sixth. Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be Dravid’s deputy into the Ireland tri-series. In Ireland ? With the South Africa games as the real series?

What of Dhoni’s record / reputation of being good only in “our conditions” ? A simple (simplistic?) statsguru search says thats a bit iffy :
Dhoni in ODIs is 66 innings, 2288 runs, 3 100s, 13 50s, 47.66 avg.
Playing away its 23 innings, 751 runs, no 100s, 7 50s, 46.93 avg.
Not great but certainly not starkly atrocious like the reputation suggests. However, like the Sidhuism goes about stats and miniskirts …


A few months ago, remember reading this nice piece by Mukul Kesavan on the Dhoni phenomenon. That was while we were still nursing the WC07 dream. Now, with that dream gone to dust (pinch me & maybe Gilchrist is his hero but he walked on the Murali LBW?!) , and Dinesh Karthik challenging nicely for the Test spot, this decision is a big vote of confidence. And it’s going to keep the pressure on DK to keep the momentum of his performance right up there.

But to me, more than anything else, it probably signifies that India’s taking the Twenty/20 World Cup later in the year a bit seriously. The older legs are not part of that plan and justifiably so and Dhoni will lead us there. Not Yuvraj.

And yes, I am assuming a vision from the BCCI.


16 thoughts on “Dhoni – and India’s Twenty/20 vision …

  1. Thanks for reminding me of the number of vice-capts we have had in the past 12 months — I too had lost count. Is there a “real” role for the vc in cricket except that of a place-holder when the capt is off the field, or a usually weak voice in a core team meeting with Dravid, Coach, Manager, Sachin/Sourav [whether they are VCs or not!] and the hapless VC? Is there any concept of “grooming for the future”? If there is, then for India, the future is as uncertain as your vice-captain appointment for the next tour.

  2. Joeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy !

    Now – here’s a Friend !

    I’m sure I’m missing a VC here or there – but this season, I think they’re going to do the rotation bit seriously and won’t be surprised if Dhoni leads us in a game or two in the Ireland series …

    Agree though about the lack of grooming – and if my theory of Dhoni for Twenty/20 skipper is correct, then why not Yuvraj ?

    Also, its just a plane ticket , but with Gambhir and Uthapa and Sachin and Dada all there, its unlikely that DK gets a ODI game in Ireland , so why take him there – oh yes, because we decided that we wud have one team for that series and another for the England ODIs (which may have a different VC ?)… Makes a lot of confusing sense?!

  3. Mr Dhoni has not captained the Jharkhand side. He has no pedigree.

    And in the high pressure environment that is ODI cricket and the higher pressure environment that is 20/20 cricket, does he have the werewithal for handling both the pressures of captaincy and donning the gloves

    It has been my observation that unless Mr Dhoni has a senior stalwart at the other end, curbing his natural instincts and channeling them, Mr Dhoni is more often than not, prone to a brain fade.

    Which dovetails nicely with BCCI’s vision – brain fades!!

  4. Homer,

    Isn’t it just the way things are these days that since these guys are starting young and playing so little domestic cricket, they are not getting that leadership “pedigree” …

    I’m not sure I agree with the observation though. My memory has partnerships with Raina getting us a few games that seemed hopeless a few seasons ago, or Karthik as recently as Bangladesh and even that 183* agst Sri Lanka had partnerships with everyone (Sachin, Viru, Dravid, Yuvi all getting 20s and 30s- but it was really Dhoni’s innings).

    Now, how does one search partnerships on Statsguru ? (Kartikeya, wake up !)

  5. Sfx,

    As regards leadership, why not Kaif? Kid has captained at age level cricket. With success.. Led UP to its first Ranji Championships a couple of years ago. Has done everything the team asked him to do and has led on th field by example. Has done a splendid job grooming RP Singh and Piyush Chawla and Suresh Raina.

    And Mr Dhoni had ONE partnership with Suresh Raina.. Against Sri Lanka at home.

    Look back at all his scores of 50 and above and see how many of those innings were played in the company of players with less than 200 ODIs under their belt.

  6. Agree – on leadership – why not Kaif. Have always read great opinions on his leadership. But he doesnt make the cut in the team and honestly , at the moment in this batting lineup does not deserve to.

    Why not Yuvraj who shud be a good Twenty/20 resource ? Good Qn .

    I’m not saying Dhoni’s the next great skip, Homer.

    I’m just saying that I think thats the rationale behind the selection / elevation …

  7. Homer,

    They do a lot of things wrong but sometimes they get a lot more flak than they deserve. And this is slightly off topic as far as this Dhoni issue is concerned, (and I hope anyone with any opinion on his appointment voices it), but I think BCCI got more criticism than they ought to have on this Graham F issue. (Its amazing how much spam a simple car brand name 4 letter word can generate !!!).

    Their team and the think tank they trusted believed X to be the man for them. So they went to get him. On their terms. The more I see it, the more it seems like the BCCI did its groundwork at its end, Dravid and Shastri approached the guy, ascertained his availability, he agreed, then he applied, he knew exactly what the schedule and deal was, and what the country was all about, he came down for the interview, accepted the terms and he chickened out or renegotiated with Kent. Now, thats just a bad apple. It happens in every business.
    And yet, the BCCI’s the one thats stuck (and will stay stuck) with not just the problem but a barrage of people saying they screwed up. I’m not sure what part of their act was poor management. No succession planning from the Greg Chappell era onwards – I agree – but young Clark Kent staying back in farm job was not their mistake.

    Likewise, the selectors were criticised for the team they picked for Bangladesh … it worked like they said it would, they said it would be easy, they said they were only resting sachin and saurav and that they would need to do such stuff all season.
    So far that script – complete with logic and rationale has worked well.

  8. Sfx – agree the BCCI got more flak than it deserved on the Ford issue — but I think the flak they got is a reaction to several strategic and tactical blunders of the past. The motley crew on the BCCI committee [not the selection panel] has neither any noteworthy cricketing sense [only 1 has played some cricket] nor any admin skills [sorry, 1 of the lot does, but they still can get a BCCI website up and running!]. Their usual strategy is “hope”, and hope is not a strategy. Sympathy I have none for them!

  9. Tribbiani
    Fair enough. They do a lot of things wrong. But , to be fair, how’s that giving anyone leeway to wrong them when they do things right?
    Emotional pent up frustrations is one thing (we’d have been burning graham effigies if this had happened after a good WC showing – or asked greg to stay!) – but we don’t expect that level of administration in a lot of other areas of our services. Even when we pay taxes which entitle us to ….
    p.s. – pls notice 5.25 am in singapore. hence this great digression from dhoni for twenty20 to whats happening to my taxes !!!

  10. Sfx,

    Forget the BCCI. The Dhoni selection is not grounded in any display of leadership on the field by Mr Dhoni.

    Secondly, the argument that a keeper cannot focus on batting, keeping and being on top of the game as captain holds true even today.

    Gilly had issues, Stewart had issues, Flower had issues – what makes Dhoni the exception?

  11. Homer,

    Subjective opinion, I guess, but I actually think, like Kesavan does in that article that Dhoni’s batting skills have been evidence of him being able to read and pace innings quite well. ” …to subordinate his aggression to a larger plan …” as he puts it”. Thats perhaps the only evidence they have. Its a bit like Greg saying that he saw lots of leadership potential in Dinesh Karthik. Except with a bit more experience.
    Anyway, once again , I’m just saying I think thats what their gameplan is in the elevation. Also, I think its limited to Twenty20 and not the ODIs.

    Your point about the difficulty of a keeper multitasking is a good one. Does a shorter (Twenty20) make it easier, perhaps? Harder ?

    Strange part is, despite it all, everyone’s tried or is in the process of trying it. Starting from the right (geographically !) NZ’s Lee Germon, Gilly, Sangakarra, Latif/Moin, Stewart, Flower, Taibu, Boucher, Ridley Jacobs ….

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