Sharique N Siddiquie
The Indian cricket team has written a fresh success story in Sri Lanka by winning their first ever ODI series in the island nation which has added another feather to the cap of India’s ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But, apart from creating cricketing history, this victory also indicates the beginning of a new era ushered in by Dhoni’s young team and fading of the older stars as was evident in the Test series of the same tour.
There is a method in this young team’s madness, which makes it more than just another series win. This victory would help Mahi to prove the point that he has been making for quite some time.
What is that point? Just before India’s thumping ODI series victory, India lost to the host nation in the Test series. The Indian Test team comprised all the seniors including Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble, the only notable absence was that of India’s ODI skipper Dhoni. Still the team failed to make a mark
Just before the beginning of the Lanka tour, Dhoni informed the selectors that he wanted to take rest and would be available for the ODIs. So, Indian team was left without its, arguably, most successful wicketkeeper-batsman. His absence was deeply felt as Indian batting line up crumbled on more than one occasion and lost the Test series 2-1.
At that time former Indian skipper and senior player Sourav Ganguly had remarked that never in his career could he have afforded such a break as Dhoni’s- even when he was the captain.
Dhoni’s ‘break’ was significant in many ways. He had a point to prove. It is an open fact that Dhoni doesn’t want seniors (read Ganguly, Dravid and the likes) in the team. Seen with this background, it can be concluded that Dhoni wanted everyone to realise his worth.
The Test series loss also proved that Team India can no longer afford to depend on the seniors. This in a way proved Dhoni’s point of view. After the Test series got over and seniors- Sachin and Sehwag injured, returned home, it was time for Dhoni to unfold his ‘plot’ to reinforce his argument and he did it with panache.
Mahi not only captained India successfully to the series victory but played the captain’s knock on more than one occasion, making two half-centuries. His performance and form has forced us to believe that had he played in the Test matches, he could well have been a deciding factor.
With all the evidence clearly indicating towards Dhoni’s ‘plot’, we can well expect some fireworks, once the Indian team is back in the country.
Now, that India has won the ODI series, he would be in a position to demand the removal of all the seniors. And with a performance like this, it will be very difficult for the selectors to ignore him.
Well that’s the way, Mahi vey!