As captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s eye-popping ascent began with the triumph in the 2007 T20 World Cup. Its 2012 edition may well have flagged off a jaw-dropping descent. With India bowing out of the tournament, the third successive time the team has failed to reach the Super Eight stage under Dhoni’s stewardship, the knives are well and truly drawn. Suddenly, questions are being asked of his choice of playing eleven, field placements, his super-cool attitude, even his superstitions.
As if on cue, K. Srikkanth, who relinquished his duties as chairman of the selection committee just a fortnight ago, popped up on television to say that the BCCI might now want to re-examine if it wants a common captain for all three formsof the game; that’s short-hand for stripping Dhoni of some of his responsibilities by farming out the captaincy. With the anchor egging him on, Cheeka blurted out: “Of the players on display, Virat Kohli looks to have the best potential as a future India captain.”
The first questions over Dhoni’s leadership had been posed earlier this year when, shortly after the 2011 World Cup triumph, India lost four Tests in England and then four more in Australia, making it 0-8 away from home. “In Birmingham, after India lost the series, Dhoni’s post-match conference was like the head of the production team of a factory explaining why the company had failed to achieve its targets,” wrote cricket historian Mihir Bose. “After one of the most one-sided Tests in recent history, there was not a note of regret at the Indian performance, no apology to fans who had invested money and emotional capital in the series.”
A 2-0 series victory against New Zealand made Dhoni the most successful skipper at home, but it did little to erase the impression that his best was past. Controversies over player inclusion (think Piyush Chawla), player exclusion (think Sehwag, Harbhajan) dogged the man who could do no wrong just a year ago. When V.V.S. Laxman retired, he said he could not “reach” Dhoni; when he held a dinner for his former mates, the captain was left out. Last week, after India’s T20 chances were blown, Dhoni lamely blamed the rain.
Given the political dynamics of Indian cricket, Dhoni’s end as captain may not yet be nigh, but intimations of mortality have been received.
How short is public memory (It’s Called Byes, Oct 15)? For more than five years, Dhoni has brought laurels—including the world cup—for India. And now, Indian cricket fans want his head on a platter? Poor Kohli, the lickspittles are already queuing up to praise his swagger, attitude and use of the middle finger. They want him to be a foil for Dhoni in the endorsement game. Kohli better watch out, or else he’ll be buried under the mountain of their expectations.
V. Mahadevan, Chennai
Dhoni’s critics have collectively declared him a failure after an 80 per cent win-rate in the T20 championship!
Rajneesh Batra, New Delhi
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
I say this as a cricket lovet and not an individual obsessed ,'cricketer-lover'.
Most self-proclaimed cricket fans in india tend to be cricketer-lovers and don't even know the basic laws,like the LBW law.
I'm afraid,this outlookindia issue illustrates the same pathetic obsession with individuals and not a love of the sport.
This "Kapil won us the 83 Wc,Dhoni won us the 2007 20-20 & 2011 ODI Wcs & Virat will out us back on the right track" line of thinking fails to take note of the fact that there are 10 other guys in the team.
But taking that on the chin,may I still-as a dedicated fan for over a decade-point out,that I genuinely believed that he should have been relieved of his captaincy duties post the 2011 ODI WC win.
Dhoni's strength's as captain,actually strength,is his management and utilisation of spin bowlers in sub continental conditions.To be specific,slow,low tracks.
His handling of pace bowlers is awful.
Also ,Dhoni as a batsman in test cricket doesn't inspire much confidence either.He isn't that good a keeper & If Parthiv patel can average even 30 with the bat,I would pick him ahead of Dhoni in the team.
The average deficit would be made up by his(Patel's) significantly better keeping.
I Love Dhoni's limited over's batting though.He should be batting up the order in ODI & 20-20 cricket for India.Number 4 seems allright for someone like him who can knock it around and run fast between the wickets.That is a rare quality in an Indian batsman.
“The Dhoni critics have surpassed even the CBSE Scoring as they collectively declared him ‘Failed’ even after scoring 80% in WT20 at Colombo.”
How short is public memory?Once MS Dhoni was God for Indian fans,For a bit more that 5 years MSD has brought laurels to India,Many test wins, World Cup in T-20 as well as ODIs,the last after a gap of a quarter of a century. We had so many captains in the interim, not one could repeat Kapil Dev's feat.MSD was captain cool, Marvel and several other things.However several deadwoods,well past their sell by date, in the team could not stomach this.The only way they could take revenge was playing a lousy game.But these dolts had a powerful backing wrecking the Indian team.Of course India lost 8 tests in a row, but won the world Cup for ODI in 2011.Now that India left after getting into the super 8 for T-20 world cup.the great fans/ instant critics are up in arms.Nothing short of Dhoni's head on a platter would do. It is sad to think there are some former'captains' too in this lot of avengers. That MSD has become the highest paid player for endorsements, just added to their envy.So be it. Sri Dhoni should retire gracefully , play only in IPL if allowed.That way his fans can see him in action without these idiotic interfering busybodies. One by one all those wannabees can be made captains;that would be lots of fun.won't it?
The point that I made in my first comment over here is wonderfully illustrated by the 2 other gentlemen who posted after me.
Obsession with indivduals and looking to give all credit to an individual for good performances and vice versa.
The TEAM won tournaments.Even back then Dhoni was not great at handling pace bowlers.
He will be rememberd as that guy who was comfortable handling spinners in slow conditions,while in the field or while batting
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