Mahendra Singh Dhoni may well deserve the sobriquet Captain Cool, but he needs to extend that title to his utterances at press conferences during tours.
On Saturday, Dhoni revealed that there was “unrest” in the Indian dressing room after overnight opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was injured in the nets prior to the fourth day’s play of the Brisbane Test.
One can understand the uneasy feeling within the team since not one, but two batsmen (Virat Kohli, too) were injured in the nets, but is it right for a captain to tell the media that there was “unrest” and not elaborate fully on what he actually meant by “unrest”?
Was Dhoni trying to convey something about his teammates or support staff for the press to lap up? Cynics would probably feel so.
Controversy amidst poor performances is the last thing this struggling Indian team needs. It needs the captain to make all the right kind of noises, so that improving as a team is the sole objective now, especially after going two-down in the series.
One expected Dhoni to convince the media that there was good reason for Dhawan not coming out to bat. And if that was not the case, then he could have reported the matter to the other bosses in the team, who would then relay it to the Board.
Dhoni’s vague comments provided more ammunition to those (including some television experts) that Dhawan was a hesitant battler.
Dhoni said Kohli was given a few minutes’ notice to resume the India innings and indicated that his deputy was not geared up to do so. But as a No 4 batsman, shouldn’t Kohli have been ready in the first place to deal with a possible scenario of walking in at the fall of a first-ball wicket?
Dhoni’s statements are sketchy, and he must realise that being clear-cut with the media is also a good trait as captain. Even his staunchest supporters cannot credit him with his record with the media.
Indeed, there is some work to do for Captain Cool.