At a time when Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s affinity to Test cricket is under question, he comes up with a ridiculous utterance about the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Reportedly, a journalist asked the Indian captain after the innings defeat at the Oval on Sunday whether his batsmen would be better off skipping the IPL and playing country cricket.
Dhoni’s apparent anger at the question is understandable considering he had just come off the field as a loser, but Dhoni’s ‘don’t be jealous of the IPL’ response cannot be called smart either.
Whether the mandarins of Indian cricket agree or not, the IPL, despite its positives, has played a role in Indian cricket’s drop in standards, according to some experts.
Dhoni is well within his rights to talk up the tournament, but this was no time to do that. His Sunday reaction made him out to be an IPL cheerleader.
Dhoni is not the only one to be blamed for the catastrophe in England. In fact, his 82 in the Oval Test was a fine knock which deserved to get converted into a hundred. Without that contribution, India’s first innings total of 148 would have been akin to a beggar’s bowl.
Going by the situation, it is unlikely he will be axed as Test skipper because there is no replacement in sight. Dhoni should cash in on this and go out of his way to make Test cricket his and the team’s priority. He has done wondrous things for his country’s cricket.
He is an astute captain and can do better if his teammates rally around him, just like they do in limited overs cricket.
As the captain, he should also be saying the right things outside the confines of the dressing room. Tact and public relations come with the job. He cannot duck.
The time to say complimentary things about the Indian Premier League is next April.