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Monday, August 01, 2011

Eng-Ind - MSD needs a break

Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Adelaide OvalCaptain Cool needs a break
What is important for the Indian team is to give MSD a break from cricket. He is clearly feeling (mentally) the fatigue of continuous cricket that he has been involved with. Maybe the bowlers will take a clue and bowl so slowly that the team will be warned and Dhoni will be suspended for the next test match.

His field placement on the 3rd day of 2nd test match was nothing above average. On a day when the English team was scoring so quickly, Dhoni did not do much to curb the run-rate. Agreed that the bowlers were not getting help from the wicket but that has been the case in instances where the Indian team has played at home. Remember how Dhoni used 8-1 field placements to bore out Hayden and the Aussie team in Nagpur? Or there could have been an attempt to ask the bowlers to bowl a negative line to restrict the free scoring. None of them were tried out. Similarly, in the first innings, Broad and Swann took the attack away from the Indians and added critical runs to the English total (an addition of 60-70 crucial runs).

His batting has been affected - it has been a long time since he has scored a substantial knock in test cricket (except for a fifty in the Windies test). His dismissal in the first innings of the second test triggered the collapse of the Indian batsmen (a deficit of minimum of 70-80 runs) - the attitude displayed by him during his stint at the crease was not befitting that of a No.7 batsmen, forget the captain of the Indian team.

If the chances were taken at the right time, the Indian team would have been sitting on a lead of 200 and not just 67. There in lies the tale of this test match. England has done well to come back thanks to sunlight as well as Bell/Pietersen/Morgan/Prior and may continue to make the score-line 2-0 but Dhoni cannot keep blaming the injuries to his bowlers alone as the excuse. In fact, he does not give any reasons and that is the best part.

His decision to revert the decision of Ian Bell in the same test was heralded by the media and the opposition team but it was not right to appeal in the first instance. That it was one of the junior member (Abhinav Mukund) who broke the stumps was pardonable but the appeal should have been rejected by Dhoni even before the 3rd umpire was called for. Anyway, all is well that ends well.

In trying to force him to play continuously, is the BCCI killing its golden goose - not just in terms of the attractiveness of the Indian team but also the longevity of a person like Dhoni. A fresh Dhoni who can revert back to his dynamic ways on the ground is what the Indian team needs. Will he get the break in the next test, thanks to the slowness of his bowlers?
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