Mahendra Singh Dhoni offers to step down, former stars oppose move
Mirpur/New Delhi: Under attack for India's shock defeat in the ODI series against Bangladesh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has offered to step down from captaincy but several former players expressed their opposition against such a move.
Hours after India's series defeat, Dhoni had said at the post match press conference that he was willing to step down as captain and contribute as a player if it guaranteed success for Indian cricket.
“I am really enjoying my cricket... if it is justifiable if you remove me (as captain) and the Indian cricket will start doing well, and if I am the reason for all the bad that's happening to Indian cricket, definitely I would love to step away and play as a player,” Dhoni said at the press conference in Mirpur.
“I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket. Everything that happens is because of me.
Even the Bangladesh media is smiling,” he said.But, several former Indian cricketers put their weight behind the beleaguered Dhoni and said that he should continue as captain of the ODI team.
Former Indian captains like Bishan Singh Bedi, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Wadekar and players like Chetan Chauhan, Chandu Borde, Syed Kirmani and Kiran More strongly backed Dhoni, saying that there was no need to press the panic button and he is the best bet till the 2016 World T20.
“I don't think Dhoni should be replaced. He recently led India to the WC semi-finals and this series is the first series after that. He should continue as captain,” Vengsarkar told PTI.
Bedi, known for his forthright views on Indian cricket, did not want to single out Dhoni for the team's debacle in Bangladesh.
“I am not blaming an individual, rather it was a team lethargy that cost India the series. Regarding Dhoni's captaincy issue, I can't say much. Nothing is coming out clear at the moment. See what he spoke to the media was just out of sheer frustration. He was just being sarcastic,” he said.
“That's part and parcel of being a leader. You are lauded when victorious and criticised in defeat. He has already left the Test captaincy. About ODIs, I don't know. But it's the first time I have seen him ruffled and that's not a good sign anymore,” Bedi added.
Wadekar said that Dhoni was still the best person to lead India in the ODIs and T20s.
“I think he's still the best bet for captaincy in ODIs and T20s.
I suppose he should be retained as captain. It was amazing (the loss). They perhaps did not take Bangladesh seriously. They probably did not get enough time to prepare for ODI series,” said Wadekar.
Former wicket-keeper Kirmani also backed Dhoni to continue as captain of the ODI team.
“I would like to continue with Dhoni. He's a great performer. You need not be harsh on him just because he lost a series to Bangladesh.
It's just a passing phase. I think there's always a general feeling that a captain should be removed. All these things come up when a captain loses a series or is in bad form,” he said.
“England had earlier changed captains but that did not translate into performances. It's after all a team effort. You have to win a few and lose a few. It's a learning process.”
Chandu Borde said the Bangladesh series defeat was one off affair and Dhoni should continue as captain.
“Dhoni should continue and this is a one-off upset according to me. But it will take some time to recover. Bangladesh surprised us, didn't they. Our boys did not show any intent while the Bangladesh players' body language was excellent,” he said.
Former opening batsman Chetan Chauhan said Dhoni is still a capable leader and there is no need for a change of leadership now.
“I would not like to hastily arrive at a decision based on one particular series. Also I would want Virat to captain only in Tests this season.
For me, Dhoni should remain the captain in ODIs and T20's till next year's World T20 in India. One can think about a change of guard after that. He is still a capable leader and good player.
“Exhaustion may be a reason but the only one decision in his captaincy that baffled me was dropping a class player like Ajinkya Rahane.
That did not make any sense to me,” said Chauhan,Another former wicket-keeper Kiran More also threw his weight behind Dhoni to continue as captain, saying that the call for change of leadership was unnecessary.
“I think Dhoni is still the best and has a lot to deliver for India. It's one of those things and it can happen to anybody. I think the whole team looked jaded. They need to work out what's the best for the players.
“All these things are unnecessary and we need not panicand rather we should try out different combinations and bring on new faces.
We have a few problems in the bowling department. I'm disappointed with Jadeja; he had a poor IPL so he should have been given a break. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too did not look best. We also need to look for a good leg spinner in the team,” said More.
Former wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya, on his part, said thatany change in ODI captaincy at the moment was uncalled for.
“No need to press the panic button. Any change in ODIcaptaincy I feel at the moment is uncalled for. Dhoni knows how to play according to situations.
I would like Dhoni to continue as after retiring from Tests, he has enough time to concentrate on the other two formats and may be rework his strategies,” Dahiya said.