Srikkanth, Gavaskar call for Dhoni's head
They were opening partners and even after retirement they both seem to be in sync as Sunil Gavaskar and Krishnamachari Srikkanth on Monday called for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's removal as Test captain. Both also felt it was time Sachin Tendulkar took a long and hard look at his future in the game.
Calls for MS Dhoni’s head are growing after England broke a 28-year-old jinx by defeating India 2-1 verdict in the Test series after the fourth and final match ended in a draw in Nagpur on Monday.
Saying Mahendra Singh Dhoni was no more effective as the leader of the Indian squad, Srikkanth, a former chief selector, on Monday called for his removal as Test captain.
Gavaskar, who till a few days was backing Dhoni, also echoed his former opening partners. The batting legend opined that young Virat Kohli was the future of Indian cricket and that he was ready to take up the captaincy job from incumbent Dhoni in the aftermath of the series defeat against England.
Gavaskar said it is time the selectors look to the future as Dhoni seemed out of sorts in this series. "Till the fourth day of this Test I said there is no alternative to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but now that Virat (Kohli) has come up with a 100 under trying circumstances I think he has discovered a good part about himself. I think he is ready to take on the mantle," the former India skipper said.
Srikkanth was of the view that Dhoni would be better of without the captaincy burden in the future.
"Dhoni's become stale and doesn't know what to do when things go out of the way. He shouldn't be the Test captain anymore. Had I been the chairman of selectors, I would have picked Dhoni as a wicket-keeper batsman but it is time to look beyond him as a Test captain," Srikkanth said.
"I will pick Dhoni as a keeper/batsman because his contribution has to be considered. I think he will be better off without captaincy and add more value to the Test team," Srikkanth told a news channel.
Srikkanth also believed the time has come for Sachin Tendulkar's future to come under the scanner of the selectors. "Sachin needs to take an honest call about what he wants to do. If he thinks he can play against the Australians then he should be given another series. The best way forward will be to have a conversation with Sachin and I guess the selectors will be talking to him and making him feel comfortable," he said.
"I think this is something to be looked at in a positive manner because that's where the future is," Gavaskar told another news channel.
He also criticised the Indian team for the humiliating defeat but Dhoni's name came up for special mention for his ordinary and unaggressive captaincy in this series. "If India were looking for a win they should have shown the intent by declaring at the overnight score. England batted exceedingly well but our bowlers were ineffective and our batters didn't do as much as they were expected to do. It was a team failure," he said.
"You don't put a forward short-leg and a silly point to just get wickets. You also put them to pressurise the batsmen and get his wicket somwhere else. When you crowd a batsmen with fielders in his peripheral vision pressure automatically come on him and that's what he (Dhoni) didn't do," Gavaskar said about Dhoni's reluctance to deploy a more attacking field during England's second innings.
"I don't think England necessarily played better than us but they were more determined. They didn't lose heart after the defeat in the first Test in Ahmedabad and instead put in extra effort," he observed.
The cricketer-turned-commentator also said that it is time Sachin Tendulkar should make a decision on his career as he felt the senior batsman was no longer enjoying his time on the field.
"The important thing is how much you are enjoying the game. If you are not enjoying the game, enjoying to be on the field and doing things other than your speciality I feel that's the time to move on. May be that's happening to him (Tendulkar) and may be he will know that the time is right to go," Gavaskar said.
"Quite clearly this series wasn't good for him. In this Test he looked just a bit lost in (England's) second innings, at least that is what I have gathered from his body language. May be that's the sign. "As he said I think he will reassess his future before the Australia series," he added.
The former opener said complacency also had a big role to play in India's embarrassing defeat. "Complacency is a part of Indian psyche and you can't do much about it. Everytime an Indian tries to be ambitious he is pulled down and that's one of the reason why Indians don't have the killer mentality," Gavaskar observed.
"Having won the first Test in Ahmedabad that complacency factor came in. I don't think India wanted to win (the series) as badly as England wanted. I didn't look helpless out here, they looked capable but the instinct was missing," Gavaskar added.