Dhoni in test cricket
MS Dhoni has retired from the one-day format as abruptly as he had relinquished the captaincy of the test team in the middle of a test series against Australia. What has surprised most of his fans is the abrupt end of his career. In the case of the one-day format he has however said that he will be available as a player, but then Dhoni is 35 and I suppose he will find it difficult to keep his place against younger and fitter players.
Now that Dhoni has retired one can look back to see his performance inthe acid test of cricket and that is the 5-day test cricket format. Here Dhoni performance as captain was pretty poor. Though a captain is as good as his team, yet he led India to some of the most stunning defeats in the longer format of the game whenever India played away or outside India.
The biggest defeat was in Australia and England when on 2 consecutive tours he led India to 8 consecutive defeats. I think this must be some sort of record. The selectors then had decided to drop him but he had a close relationship with the president of the cricket board, N Srinivasan. The board president intervened andDhoni was given a reprieve, though he again did not do much and lost home series against England as well.
Dhoni was, however, a first-class wicket-keeper and an attacking batsman who was a delight to watch but perhaps captaincy in the test matches lasting 5 days was not his cup of tea. He was more successful in the one day and T-20 matches where he led India with aplomb and won 2 world cups as well. But in the acid test of test matches Modi came a cropper and this fact will go down in Indian history. One wonders as Sunil Gavaskar has aid as to why the Indian team is tigers at home and pussycats abroad. This is the bane of Indian cricket and it has been so for the last 80 years.
Dhoni could not set the record straight and his performance as India captain of the test team is nothing much to be talked off. With Srinivasan ousted it was on the cards Dhoni will have to go and this is what happened.
However, Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman was in the Farrukh Engineer class and his glove work was good and some of his hitting powerful.