Known to be the greatest limited-overs skipper, MS Dhoni won it all – the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy; in addition, Dhoni also took the Indian Test team to the top of ICC rankings in 2010.
He won all these with different sets of players, a fine blend of youth and experience. However, amid all these, Dhoni, who stepped down as the Indian captain in early 2017, also at times didn’t give enough opportunities to some players.
Here are 5 Indian cricketers who didn’t get enough backing from skipper MS Dhoni:
Irfan Pathan was a well-established all-rounder in the Indian team across formats when MS Dhoni took over the captaincy. Pathan played a key role in India’s victory in the 2007 T20 WC.
However, after that, the southpaw was gradually pushed outside from the national side in all formats. He was dropped from the Test team in 2008 and played only 3 ODIs between 2009 and 2011. He made his return in 2012 and even though he did well with both bat and ball, Dhoni looked past the Baroda cricketer after that year.
Later on, he also took a dig at MS Dhoni stretching his career despite being the age of 39.
Age is just a number for some and for others a reason to be dropped…
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) October 3, 2020
Perhaps nobody has been as vocal about his exclusion from the Indian team as Manoj Tiwary, who has often raised the question of why he was dropped and not considered for two years between 2012 and 2015 when Dhoni was at the helm despite scoring an ODI century at the end of December 2011.
Tiwary has been a consistent run-getter in domestic cricket and in the IPL but his opportunities with the Indian team were few and far between. He made his ODI debut in 2008 and by the time of his last ODI in 2015, the Bengal batsman only managed to get 12 ODIs under his belt.
Even before Bumrah and Shami, fast bowler Varun Aaron was considered the next tearaway Indian pacer. Aaron made his Test and ODI debut in 2011 and got to feature in only 18 games for India by 2015 before being dropped.
Aaron consistently clocked 145 KPH. And although he had issues with injuries, the Bihar pacer didn’t get the kind of backing a talent like his needed. To think, Aaron played his last ODI under Dhoni when he was only 25. With his pace, Aaron could have rattled even the best batters in the world, but Dhoni and the selectors at that time didn’t recall him.
It still remains quite a mystery and baffling fact that stylish batsman Robin Uthappa, who starred for India in 2007 and 2008 in T20 WC win and CB Series triumph in Australia, was subjected to the bench later on and then couldn’t get a spot in the series leading up to the 2011 World Cup.
He didn’t get to play a single ODI between 2009 and 2013 and then only on the back of scintillating IPL performances for KKR, Uthappa returned in 2014 but after a few appearances, he was dropped again.
Munaf Patel was a key part of India’s 2011 World Cup winning squad and played in all the three knockouts game as well. However, after just two ODI series after the World Cup – vs West Indies and England wherein he did well overall – Patel was cast aside by Dhoni and never considered again. It is hard to believe that a pacer who honed himself as a highly accurate stump-to-stump bowler didn’t play for India after 2011, when he was only 30 years of age.