MS Dhoni has handed over captaincy to Virat Kohli across all formats. Now, Dhoni, after almost a decade, will be part of the Indian team just as a keeper-batsman. Dhoni will have to perform to keep his place in the team as Kohli follows a horses-for-courses policy where a performer gets extended stay, while a big name with inconsistent show can be shown the door. Dhoni, however, will be a bit relieved as he has to just focus now on his batting and keeping. He can also take inspiration from former Indian skippers who have revived their career after giving up captaincy. Have a look.
Sachin Tendulkar: Sachin Tendulkar and captaincy could not gell together even though his batting was top-class. Sachin was not able to inspire his teammates to put up same level of performance that he was producing consistently. Sachin has two stints as skipper, and both met a dismal fate. The team’s fortunes dipped with Sachin at the helm. The final nail in the coffin was India’s loss in the two-match Test series against South Africa in 2000. Sachin called time on captaincy for the final time and never took it up again. Free from the burden of captaincy, Sachin found his old rhythm back and was able to play freely. And he continued to dominate world attack for another decade.
Rahul Dravid: Dravid was doing well as Indian skipper. But all of a sudden, he called time on his captaincy career in August 2007, leaving everyone shell-shocked. He said at the time that he wanted to concentrate on his batting. Dravid’s batting then went north and he scored three tons in the disastrous tour of England in 2011 which India lost 0-4. Dravid’s batting was top-class throughout the series. Dravid struck 5 Test tons in 2011 and scored 1145 runs @ 57.25. This was his second best year in his Test career.
Sourav Ganguly: He was stripped of captaincy and dropped from the team following indifferent form with the bat. But dada made a spectacular comeback as a player and went out on a high. He last captained India in Harare Test against Zimbabwe in September 2005 and was dropped from the team. But he made a comeback after a year in the Test series against South Africa in December 2006. He had his best year in Test cricket in 2007 where he clocked 1106 runs @ 61.44 with 3 tons and 4 fifties. He also notched up his best Test score of 239 against Pakistan. He called time on his international career post the 2008 series against Australia. Ironically, he was out for a golden duck in his last Test innings compared to the ton he has scored in his maiden Test innings against England at Lord’s in 1996.
So, Dhoni’s best is yet to come?