A Dowg's Life

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MSD, the rise & demise of the Captain Fantastic.

This article is not about the game. This article is not about media. This article is not about the records. This article is not about the fans. This article is about the incidences on/off field which have/will heavily influence this great sport in India. This article is about Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

India is blessed with the abundance of talent across all walks of life. Sadly, not all get to see the bright light & achieve the fame, which they truly deserve. Others, however, can turn anything into gold by a mere touch. Unfair, right?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is probably the most well known name in India today. The captain of Indian team, who, with his ‘Midas’ touch, has managed to win everything that any Indian would has ever desired. Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, Number 1 in Test match cricket and the elusive wins outside the Indian subcontinent to name a few. This guy has gone further than any other Indian captain has ever been. However, does he deserve all this praise? My answer: HELL NO!

Strangely enough, the experts haven’t talked about his wicket-keeping skills. Numerous catches have been dropped in the last couple of years and still, nobody questions his technique. Having said that, his record behind the stumps is remarkable but is a wicket keeper in the team only to catch the balls once the batsman lets it go? Whatever happened to cheering up your bowlers? What happened to cheering up the team? What happened to ‘Aai ga’ ‘Shabbash’ ‘badiya hai’ chirps caught by the stump mic? Why is it that MSD smiles/shows happy emotion only when he has taken a good catch? Wicketkeepers are supposed to be the energy force behind the bowling team, where has this disappeared in the last few years? MSD is capable of all the above, and yet, everything seems missing from his game.

It’s an understatement to say that MSD is not the same batsman as he was during his initial days. The flamboyance has disappeared. The genuine passion for the game, which dripped from his face, is missing. Failures have taken a toll on him and he is now struggling to put forward his usual brilliance on the field. There is no doubt that MSD is an exceptional hitter of the cricket ball, why is it that he hasn’t done it often enough? Why has a butcher turned into a sheep farmer? I understand that at times, the team requires you to construct a cautious innings. Only at times. As a batsman, there are only a handful of innings that he has played to change the course of the match, and most of it, came when he wasn’t the captain of the team. We have seen his infamous ‘helicopter’ shot more in commercials and less on the field. I was an admirer of his attacking play (I still am), but its heartbreaking to see him lose that aspect of the game so early in his career. Yes, I do believe that he has a long way to go, provided, he gets back to being the MSD that took the world by storm.

Dhoni’s captaincy has not changed from day 1. His mantra is pretty simple; let the players do what they desire as long as they bring the positive results. It sounds good till things start to go south! Since 2007, when he took over the captaincy, there are hardly any noteworthy performances by him on field. They say, ‘Captain must lead from the front’, how often have you used this term for MSD since 2007? Infact, at times he has done things, which no international cricket should do: Choosing domestic cricket over international games. Two years in a row, MSD has taken a break from international cricket (Against WI & England) citing ‘overload of cricket’ as the excuse. Why didn’t he sit out of IPL if he thought he was getting burnt out? Agreed that IPL is all about the money & glamour, but at what cost? His policy, “players at this level know their responsibility & should do as expected.” Sounds good to the ears, but how practical is it? Virat Kohli has a documented history of abusing umpires, opposition players, fans & media personnel but MSD hasn’t done much about it – How do I know? Well, what did Kohli do after scoring his first Test century? Yes, BHENCHOD!

Clearly, everything that MSD has believed in, has failed miserably. Seven straight Test match losses are enough proof. As a cricket fan, I don’t mind the losses; I mind the manner in which my team lost – Repetitive mistakes, no planning, zero inspiration/motivation, unwillingness to improvise and lack of fight. This is unfathomable; especially from a team which was World Number 1 just a year back.

I have no qualms about players endorsing different brands, admit it, nobody minds some extra cash. Hell, I enjoy watching the IPL and passing comments on how stupid these players look in different commercials. Having said that, I am sick & tired of feeling let down by the team that, in an ideal world, should beat the crap out of most opponents.

As any other Indian, even I have certain suggestions for Captain Fantastic:

  • If you have cherished all the praise & adulations given to you by the media, learn to take all the criticism as well. It is a shame to hear you talk about quitting the game when the team is in the gutter.
  • People like Kohli & Shreesanth are immensely talented and as the captain of the team, it is your duty to help them channelize their energy in the right direction.
  • No more ‘he plays like that and we can’t do much about it’ statements for players like Sehwag.
  • Adopt the Steve Waugh method of being shrewd with the bowlers & make them learn the basics of batting. It was pathetic to see Zaheer Khan throw away his wicket every time he walked in to bat in Australia.
  • Stop the BS about constructing the innings; you are at your best when you destroy the opposition’s bowlers. Do it!

I am not a Dhoni fan, but even I believe that he has it in him to help Indian team bounce back & be the world leaders in the game of cricket. It is safe to say that his honeymoon period with the media is over, it is time for harsh realities & he needs to grow a pair and face it like a man. Domestic fixtures like IPL & CLT20 are good on the eyes, but that’s precisely where their importance ends.

On that note, here is a question for all: Do you think Dhoni would have secured his position in the team for so long if he weren’t the captain?


12 responses to “MSD, the rise & demise of the Captain Fantastic.

  1. Marwaari (@Marwaari) January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Well written, I differ on a few points though. MSD was let down by his team as well. He is not solely responsible for the loss. He has played a few innings being a captain which are remarkable. After the white wash in England, he did play crucial innings against England in the ODI’s .. Although they didn’t culminate into wins, but surely he was playing as a captain.
    Shreesant has been given enough chances and he should be solely blamed for his fall.
    We all are disappointed by the performance of the team since the world cup, but blaming MSD alone for these would not be appropriate.

  2. NIMISHA January 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Answer to your question-HELL NO!!!

  3. Usha Pisharody January 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    We’ve had Captains who led from the front, and who were led out.
    Perhaps, being Captain puts one’s own abilities, in whatever manner at risk. While making allowances for MSD (whom I do admire a great deal) , I must admit to being deeply disappointed. The team first, the country first, for that performance. Each time, every time (which of course may not be possible, but THIS bad… unthinkable!)
    Would he have been selected? To repeat what Nimisha has said, NO!

  4. Deepsy January 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    He is good at what he does, ie TV commercials & modelling and should stick to just that. Answer to your Q: Heck NO!!

  5. Nishanth (@inishaanth) January 28, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Exactly Brother! We need someone really out of the norm to Kick the Tuckus to clear the ruckus!

  6. varun January 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Pathetic article on MSD, he has led from the front on many occassions, with the bat, He has had two bad series as captain, actually 1, because he was given a bad team in ENG, i Think Indian cricket needs a systematic overhaul, the reason why indian cricket is still at a credible level is because of the skill of players like MSD who have come up despite a flawed system. As a man who has brought so many positive results on the field, you can’t abandon him, atleast he deserves a fresh team, let’s see how he goes with it. But his attitude has been disappointing to say the least in the current Aus series.

  7. nikunj January 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    ans…hell no!!!
    Your article=mind blasting man!!!

  8. himanshu sharma March 7, 2012 at 7:14 am

    well, you have explained the downfall very well, but isnt that true with every single indian player other than sachin.. they are super performers when they come into team, then they start getting advertisements, even get to captain india and then when they are settled, their performances drop down and excuses come up.. This is story of every single player in the team. Some ressurect themselves after this downward trend with their integrity and passion for game, others take their position in team for granted and are thrown out.. Lets see on which side dhoni ends up with his current performance..
    And regarding his wicketkeeping skills, he bats well as a middle order batsman. Ganguly used dravid, with 0 wicket keeping skills, as a wicketkeeper as they were short of batsman..

  9. himanshu sharma March 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

    and the answer to thw question will be yes.. If he werent the captain, we would have continued to play well, dreaming of being the captain one day..

  10. Mohit Agarwal (@lifeteaser) May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Exactly. True. He really pisses me off with his stupid defense shots. Bats worse than the worst tail-ender in the world. Never seen him attack when the chips are down.

  11. Nkith August 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Sir, stupendous writings. Your anticipation about future, analysis of past is indeed the job which prodigious for a common man with conscience. I like the way you write here and I don’t know if it is really a part of your diary or it is mended for us. But more or less you make me think of my own way of dealing with the things or if not that much , for sure I have great affinity toward becoming that. May be I am becoming like that. You can see how you provoked emotions. Superbb read!

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