The job of a captain is to back the young players till the time they don’t find their feet in international cricket. However, when you talk about backing the young players, you have to be selective as a captain as well and have to identify which player has the potential to serve the national team for a long time.
One of the traits of MS Dhoni’s captaincy was that he wouldn’t discard anyone after just a couple of games. He often gave players a fair no. of opportunities and some of the players whom he backed have gone on to play a number of games for India.
Here are the 5 players MS Dhoni supported even when they didn’t perform well –
Rohit Sharma was not one of the most consistent players when he first burst onto the scene. He often had to bat in the lower middle-order as India’s top order was pretty settled and Rohit used to struggle batting at no. 5 and no. 6.
However, once Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag lost their places in the ODI side, Rohit was promoted up the order in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and he has never looked back ever since.
While Ravindra Jadeja has always chipped in with the ball for India in white-ball cricket, he has not been able to make too much of an impact as a finisher with the bat.
However, Dhoni always kept utmost faith in Jadeja, not just as a left-arm spinner, but as a finisher as well. Jadeja was dropped from the ODI side a few months after Dhoni left the ODI captaincy of India.
Ishant Sharma is now the spearhead of the Indian Test attack, but there was a time when he was not able to justify his place in the Indian squad. However, Dhoni was always of the view that Ishant could make a difference in red-ball cricket and he kept the Delhi fast bowler in and around the group.
Ishant put in a couple of quality performances under Dhoni as well, but most of his best performances have come under the current Indian captain Virat Kohli. However, there is no denying that he was backed a lot by Dhoni.
Suresh Raina was a relatively consistent player under Dhoni’s captaincy, but he also went through phases where he struggled with his form and could have been dropped from the side. But, Dhoni threw his weight behind Raina whenever he lost his form and kept him in the team.
Raina, to be fair, repaid Dhoni a no. of times with many impact knocks in both ODI and T20I cricket.
Shikhar Dhawan has been very, very consistent in white-ball cricket since the time he has made his debut for India, but he has always had a tough time in Test cricket. He has got a few Test hundreds to his name as well, but he has never been a consistent Test batsman.
However, till the time Dhoni was in charge of the Indian Test team, Dhawan was one of the first-choice openers. Currently, the left-hander is not a part of India’s Test set-up.