MS Dhoni is the only captain in the history of the game who has won an ODI World Cup, a T20 World Cup and an ICC Champions Trophy, all under his captaincy.
Not only was he astute with his tactics in match situations, but he also had an eye for talent and he often used to back players who, he thought, had the temperament to perform in pressure situations, even if those players were a little inconsistent.
However, not all the decisions that Dhoni made during his stint turned out to be correct. He made quite a few mistakes as well. But, those mistakes don’t get talked about a lot because of Dhoni’s outstanding captaincy stats overall.
Here are the 5 worst captaincy decisions by MS Dhoni:
#1 Picking Piyush Chawla for 2011 ODI World Cup:
Piyush Chawla’s selection for the 2011 ODI World Cup raised many eyebrows. Chawla was a leg-spinner and he added variety to the Indian attack, but the surprising thing was that he was nowhere in the frame of selection and was picked out of the blue.
Chawla eventually couldn’t perform well in a couple of opportunities he got in the World Cup and was dropped subsequently.
#2 Picking finger spinners for the 2016 T20 World Cup:
Despite Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin not producing great numbers in white-ball cricket for about a year or so and Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal excelling in the IPL, Dhoni decided to persist with his old foxes for the T20 World Cup, 2016 and it turned out to be a wrong call as the finger spinners struggled quite a bit in dewy conditions in the night games on small grounds.
#3 Overlooking Kedar Jadhav when he was at his peak:
Kedar Jadhav was in his prime in 2014-15 and could have been an ideal prospect to bat in the middle order for India in the 2015 ODI World Cup, but Dhoni rather decided to use Ajinkya Rahane, who was a top-order batsman, in the middle order at no. 4.
Jadhav eventually got picked in the Indian team a couple of years later and he did play some good innings as well upon his selection, but he could have been much more useful if he was picked at a time when he was playing the best cricket of his career.
#4 Sending Yuvraj Singh to bat ahead of Suresh Raina in 2014 T20 World Cup final:
It’s not that Raina had played any big knocks in the 2014 T20 World Cup. He had batted at no. 5/6 in most of the games and hence, didn’t have the opportunity to score big, but whatever little time he had spent in the middle, he had looked in good touch, probably in better touch than Yuvraj.
Yuvraj, in the previous games of the tournament, had taken a little bit of time to get going, while Raina had provided an impetus to the innings straightaway.
The stage where India lost its second wicket in the final match against Sri Lanka, somebody needed to come in and provide impetus to the Indian innings. In form, Raina was probably a better choice than Yuvraj at that point.
But, Dhoni missed the trick and sent Yuvraj who scored a 21-ball 11, as a result of which India didn’t get the momentum they needed.
#5 Sending Ravindra Jadeja to bat at no. 4 in T20 World Cup 2010 against England:
Dhoni sent Jadeja up the order in that game as there was not a lot of value attached to Jadeja’s wicket. He was playing more like a bowling all-rounder and even if he had got out at that stage, India had Yuvraj and Dhoni himself to follow.
Jadeja could have caught England off-guard with his stroke-play. But, the move backfired. As it turned out, Jadeja used too many balls and when he eventually got out, it was too difficult a task for the finishers to drag India over the line.