Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to quit from tests after losing the Border-Gavaskar trophy to Australia in Melbourne has raised far more debates than the actual loss itself had. While there is no doubting Captain Cool’s calibre at being one of the best test captains of all times, the team’s consistent losses in tests under his captainship had started giving critics a good time. He might have managed a draw at MCG, but the mess was done already.
1. Constant pressure of performing in all the three formats got MS into the grip of underperforming at the overseas tests and the good thing is that he could actually assess himself and took the toughest decision to pass the bat on to Virat Kohli. It is commendable that he could take this decision thinking of the betterment of the team instead of his own career – sportsmanship at its best.
2. Dhoni lost more tests abroad than any other Indian captain. His losses abroad sums up to a total of 15 followed by Ganguly and Azhar with 10 losses each. Ganguly obviously had the fortune of winning 11 tests abroad. Too much of the criticism and a person already under pressure to perform had to think the better of himself and the team of course.
3. Dhoni suffered 0-4 whitewashes by England and Australia in 2011-12. Its been 5 years since India won a test series abroad. The last win was 1-0 against West Indies in the year 2011. Overtly criticised for his tactics and passive captaincy, Dhoni’s decision to quit tests came in just in time when the criticism was about to get worse.
4. Towards the end of England series in August 2014, India was being called the worst traveller in contemporary test cricket. Neither Dhoni was able to do much as a captain nor as a batsman to improvise the performance of the team. The way he took command of the ODIs could not shadow his underperformance in the longer format of the game.
5.While the BCCI could not command him to quit owing to his successful winning records in the ODIs, Dhoni had the courage to accept the truth of the losses that team India was tackling most of the time and he knew it was time to pass on the mantle. This is not something most of the captains would be able to do.
1.Dhoni’s decision to quit tests came just in time when team India is in the middle of an ongoing series against Australia. Dhoni should have at least led the team till the end of the series, about to finish with the fourth and final test in Sydney. He has captained India in 60 tests with 27 wins. He could have done better had the pressure been reduced.
2.As stated by former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly, Dhoni should have continued playing the longer formats of the game even if he wasn’t the captain. This could have relived his pressure and performance would have augmented benefiting the team greatly in future tests.
3.Instead of retiring completely from tests, Dhoni could have acted wisely and simply retired from the captaincy. This would have allowed him to play freely and he could have rejuvenated himself from the pressure. The way he gave up in the middle of the test series shows him as the sportsman who succumbed to pressure and criticism leaving his team at the hour of need.
4.Dhoni has the record of winning 21 tests and lost only 3 at home. In last test, he overtook Gavaskar (3449) to post most runs as Indian captain (3454). He led India to No.1 Test ranking for 18 months starting December 2009. Indeed one of the best captains of Indian cricket legacy, Dhoni should have pushed his calibers in the longer formats too.
We should respect the decision taken by one of the best captains of Team India. India saw the greatest of victories under his captaincy and when he silently retired from test series, it was also a decision for the betterment of the team. However, Dhoni could have continued playing till the end of the ongoing series instead of quitting in between.