NEW DELHI: Looks like Lady Luck is again smiling on Indian cricket captain Mohinder Singh Dhoni.
So has the skipper, under whom the Indian cricket team has seen new lows in recent series whitewashes in England and Australia, saved his Test captaincy with his 224-run knock in the on-going Chennai Test?
With this magnificent knock, has the Indian captain managed to silence those who were seeking his replacement as Test captain?
After India’s defeat by England in the home series last year, Dhoni would have been replaced as Test captain, but there was no replacement on the horizon. Sehwag and Gambhir were struggling. And Virat Kohli was considered too young for the role. So the crown stayed on Dhoni’s head by default.
So will the Test captain’s crown stay on his head for long?
It depends on the outcome of the series, not on his double century.
All his double ton shows is the old flamboyance in his batting which he exhibited when he was blooded into the Indian team. Nobody can forget his carefree 185 off just 145 balls against Sri Lanka in 2005.
But when he was burdened first with one-day and later Test captaincy, Dhoni was not the same swashbuckling batsman he once was. Yes, on his day he could make mincemeat of any attack, but such knocks were few and far between.
Perhaps, with his back to the wall and critics baying for his replacement, he has hit a purple patch once again. Let us see how things pan out for him from here onward.
“Dhoni should feel lucky that he’s still there. If Tiger Pataudi or Sunil Gavaskar had lost as many Tests, they wouldn’t have lasted this long. He hasn’t done enough to continue being the skipper. He should have been eased out after the World Cup win,’’ former captain Bishen Singh Bedi said after India’s home defeat by England last year.
“He’s is not a Test skipper. You need a skipper who’s worthy of his place in the eleven. Tell me is his 99 of any use to the team,’’ Bedi told a channel in December.
Even the usually circumspect Sunil Gavaskar had suggested change in Test captaincy at that time.
“I believe that a break in captaincy will do wonders for Dhoni. I am not saying that it has to happen during the middle of a series but maybe after the Australia series (in February) or later part of 2013,’’ Gavaskar had told NDTV then.
“He (Dhoni) needs time to reflect on his game and come back in a better way. I am very impressed with the manner in which he remains cool and unlike other captains doesn’t clap and all, but a little break won’t be bad. Captaining India is a privilege but the demands and pressures that come with it are incredible … He can be part of the team (without being captain) for the next couple of years as he is a match-winner.”
About Virat Kohli, Gavaskar had said, “Virat Kohli might bring the flair of Tiger Pataudi in his captaincy. If he knows that he will be appointed for the long term, he has the dynamism, the aggression, panache and class. I like everything about him apart from his mouthing abuses when he reaches a milestone. I don’t want him to change anything else, as he can bring in a lot of dynamism.’’
So let us wait how Dhoni acquits himself as the captain now.