Just a few bad series and failure to reach the semi-final stage in the recently-concluded World T20 were enough to put Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership ability under scrutiny.
While there is a hot debate already on whether Dhoni should be retained as India captain, yesterday Wasim Akram added more fuel to the fire by suggesting that the ice-cool skipper should be relieved of leading India in all three formats.
“Perhaps, Dhoni must take some time out and assess himself as a captain. He is the best judge of his skills as a leader. There could be additional pressure on him as a leader in all three formats of the game. I think if he drops captaincy in one of the formats then he will be able to focus and enjoy his game more. I still feel he is one of the best players and finishers in limited overs cricket,” Akram was quoted as saying by Espnstar.com.
However, Indian experts are not on the same page as the former Pakistan skipper. Lalchand Rajput, who was coach of the maiden World T20-winning Indian team in 2007 under Dhoni, said there is no need to fiddle with the captaincy issue.
No need for change
“Team India is in safe hands under Dhoni. There is no need to change the captain at the moment. As long as Dhoni is enjoying leading the team, he should be allowed to continue. He is not one to bog down under pressure. Team India needs a skipper like him,” Rajput told MiD DAY yesterday.
Former India skipper Ajit Wadekar said it is too early to jump to conclusions regarding Dhoni’s captaincy. “As long as he can handle the pressure and demands well, there is no need to change the captain. Dhoni has done extremely well as a skipper. He is India’s most successful skipper after all. I am sure he can carry on for many more years as skipper,” said Wadekar.
‘It’s a team problem’
According to the Mumbai stalwart, the real problem with Team India is not with Dhoni’s captaincy. “It is the team that is not performing well. Our openers (Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir) are out of form. You need a solid pair at the top to get momentum going. Bowling combinations are not working out well for the team. So, naturally the team will not do well,” said Wadekar.
Former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad said Dhoni should be allowed to captain the team as far as the stint is an enjoyment. “It would be a sensible thing for Dhoni to opt out as captain in one format considering the load and hectic schedule. But if Dhoni is able to handle all this and is able to take the pressure, then he should continue to lead. If he is feeling the pressure of leading a team, then it is time for him to think seriously.
“Not that we don’t have good captains, but we need someone more experienced to lead the country. Dhoni is the best judge to assess his captaincy,” felt Gaekwad.
Dhoni has hinted in the past about giving up one format keeping in mind the 2015 World Cup. He had said he would assess his body in 2013.