With all due respect to India’s most successful skipper MS Dhoni, we would like to point out that it has not been entirely a bed of roses for him. Yes, he has impressive statistics as the skipper of the Indian cricket team. But there have been some brickbats too in his captaincy career which Dhoni has taken on the chin and moved on. Cricwizz brings to focus those nightmarish blots in MS Dhoni’s captaincy.
Two straight series white washes: Right after the high of 2011 World Cup win, India faced their worst phase in Test cricket when they suffered two straight embarrassing series whitewashes against England and Australia. Not even India’s worst enemy would have dreamt of such a downfall in the fortune of Team India. First, MS Dhoni-led team was whitewashed by England 0-4 in 2011 and another 0-4 whitewash against Australian Down Under. Dhoni’s statistics as Test skipper took a beating after these two losses. However, he did lead India to 4-0 whitewash over Australia at home but the pain of the two series whitewashes could not be forgotten in a hurry.
Losing the 2014 World T20 final: India were the best team in the tournament, winning all their matches till the final. Virat Kohli was in great form. He was the best batsman of the tournament. He scored consecutive half-centuries in semis and final. But India came short in the final against Sri Lanka who bowled and fielded excellently in the death overs to restrict Dhoni and Co. to a below-par total. Kumar Sangakkara then finished off the game with a fifty and broke Sri Lanka’s jinx of losing out in ICC finals.
Failure to finish off a few ODI games: Although Dhoni is widely admired for his finishing skills, he has garnered a fair bit of criticism for his failure to finish off games at the later stage of his career. It was evident his finishing skills were on the wane. In a T20I match against England in 2014, Dhoni failed to rotate the strike and instead looked for big shots to finish off the game. Eventually, India fell short by five runs. Dhoni’s tactics were criticised soundly.
Run-ins with senior players: Dhoni has always harped on fitter and younger players for limited-overs and he has even used a rotation policy for three openers – Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir – during the 2012 CB series. It has sparked a controversy and was sign of a possible rift between him and senior players. Viru and Dhoni were never on good terms and it added more fuel to the fire when the former Indian opener skipped Dhoni’s name in his farewell speech.
Bilateral series loss in Bangladesh: This was completely unexpected and was the first sign of Dhoni’s chink in his leadership. It probably was the beginning of the end of Dhoni the skipper. Despite a full-strength India, Dhoni and Co. lost the 2015 bilateral ODI series 2-1 in Bangladesh. The loss was followed by T20I and ODI series loss to South Africa at home and captain Dhoni was walking on thin ice. These two bilateral losses would hurt Dhoni the most in his impressive resume as Indian cricket captain.