Opinion

MS Dhoni Retires From Test Cricket: Playing the Devil’s Advocate

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Champions 2007 t20 world cup.

Champions 2011 cricket world cup.

Number 1 in Test rankings.

Winners of Champions Trophy.

 

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One probably wonders what else is left to achieve in this game. The story of the most successful captain in the history of Indian cricket. Welcome to the world of MS Dhoni.

He shocked the world with his sudden retirement from test cricket. He is the most successful test captain in Indian cricket no doubt. But I am going to play the devil’s advocate and many of the questions could initiate fierce debates.

1. Why announce retirement in the middle of a series?

Agreed that every player has his right to close shop as he wishes to. But how can one come to such a significant decision in the middle of a series? Surely there must be some reason behind this.

One probably feels that there must be some unrest in the dressing room for Dhoni to come up with such a decision. The fact that Dhoni had openly talked about a “misunderstanding” in the dressing room and openly criticised two of his senior players clearly showed that everything was not quite well behind closed doors. Whatever may be the case, surely he could have delayed his retirement by one more game. This gives rise to the next question:

2. Is there a lack of communication between the Board and the team?

Nobody would argue that Virat Kohli is the next best man to lead the country. Dhoni’s sudden retirement can only mean 3 things:

a. The Board knew about the decision from before.

b. He was ‘asked’ to step down as captain. And this prompted him to retire from the format completely.

c. There must have been a serious revolt against him in the dressing room. Especially from the outspoken Delhiites.

These are all assumptions I agree. But one is bound to assume a lot of things when things aren’t clear.

3. Does Dhoni play only for selfish motives? Does playing for the country do not mean anything to him?

When asked for a reason for the sudden retirement, an official statement from the Board stated that it was due to ‘strain’ from leading the side in all three formats prompted this decision. One begins to wonder how many t20 internationals does India play in a year. More than Chennai Super Kings play in a month long season of IPL?

Now surely the strain from playing all formats for his country won’t stop him from participating in the IPL or the Champions League. God forbid the Big Bash league! Again nobody would argue that the 5 day format is not ‘lucrative’ enough for players suited to the shorter format. Keeping for an average of 200 overs in a test match equals to keeping in 10 t20 games! It is simple math and even simpler(larger)/flow of money.

4. Is Srinivasan finally losing his hold on Indian cricket?

It is an open secret that Srinivasan and Dhoni called the shots in the Boardroom and the field respectively. The nexus was even more powerful than that of the corrupt netas and babus in the country. Now as Srini gets muddled up in the controversies surrounding his ‘conflict of interests’; Dhoni is slowly but surely losing his power to call the shots too.

***

By Ashirbad Hazarika

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