Why we had seen enough of MS Dhoni in Tests
4-0, 4-0, 3-1 and now 2-0.
Consistency is an important aspect in any sport. Teams and players who are consistent with their performances, become champions in the long run. Indian skipper MS Dhoni too was very consistent with his Test record overseas. Unfortunately, the consistency had come in terms of losses and not victories.
Having had his own reasons to camouflage India’s failure overseas under his captaincy, Dhoni hardly ever spoke about his contributions with the bat.
In 2012, when he led a team that had the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman against England, the team lost because the seniors didn’t play well. When India were mauled 4-0 by the Aussies down under, the same reason was cited. And the moment seniors left, how could one expect Dhoni’s team to start winning since he was leading a young side? Seniors left, youngsters were sacked. One man, who continued to remain in the squad, despite his consistent failures and not-so-Test-match-like-technique, was Dhoni himself.
But considering the way his deputy Virat Kohli has performed in the ongoing four-match series against the Aussies, voices from all corners backed him to lead India in the five-day format.
And thus came Dhoni's retirement.
For MSD fans, it is a big shock since he has announced his retirement with immediate effect, which means he won't be a part of the Sydney Test. But for the cricket cognoscenti, it is the perfect time for him to retire.
We need to realise, that this current India batting line-up has the potential to become world beaters in Test matches. They have showed us a glimpse of it in the ongoing series against Australia.
Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli have come good on most occasions throughout the year, when India have played most of their Test cricket overseas.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni were the only three players, who failed to prove their mettle overseas. While Rohit was dropped for the third Test, sooner or later, Dhoni too had to make way.
Whenever there were talks about removing MS Dhoni as the Test skipper, the emotional lot mentioned the laurels he brought for the country. Yes, in ODIs, he still is the best captain in the world, but he was hardly contributing anything with the bat in whites.
In Test matches, a team doesn't need a captain who can occasionally contribute with half centuries, but someone who can lead from the front with formidable knocks.
Playing Dhoni in Tests was nothing less than a gamble. With hardly any technique to survive in the five-day format, if he managed to survive the initial few overs by the seamers, he would soon unleash his ODI shots, which would eventually lead to his departure.
Unlike skippers of other teams, MS Dhoni didn't give you the comfortable feeling, whenever he came to bat in Test matches.
He was lucky not be sacked post the 8-0 humiliation at the hands of England and Australia when every selector wanted him to be ousted. Not to forget, despite playing 90 Tests, Dhoni doesn't have an overseas century under his belt.
When England defeated India 2-1 on their home soil, it only further fanned the flames of Dhoni being unfit to lead in Test matches.
But whenever there was talk of his potential successor, Virat Kohli was the only name which came to mind. The mercurial right-hander had a miserable run with the bat in the five-match series against England earlier this year and it wasn't probably the right time to hand over the captaincy to him.
But if there were any doubts as to how Virat Kohli would perform overseas, his brilliant form in six innings in the series Down Under further strengthened his case for Test captaincy. Compared to Kohli's 499 runs, Dhoni could accumulate just 68 runs from four innings.
As far as replacing Dhoni the Test skipper is concerned, Virat Kohli is all set to take the legacy forward. As far as replacing Dhoni the wicket-keeper batsman is concerned, we have some in-form candidates.
Wriddhiman Saha, Robin Uthappa, Naman Ojha have all had a great run in the domestic season this year. It was high time one of them was given the opportunity to play as a regular in Tests.
India are ready with an in-form skipper and plenty of wicket-keeper batsmen who can do wonders for India in Test matches.
Yes, he could have played the Sydney Test. That could have given his ardent fans an opportunity to cheer their brave skipper for one final time. But only if we knew what was going on in his mind, Mahendra Singh Dhoni wouldn't be the enigma he has been over the years.