The end of Dhoni`s midas touch?
Kolkata: Back-to-back Test defeats on home pitches have not just exposed India`s shortcomings but have also brought under the scanner, the leadership and batting form of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni whose much-touted `midas touch` is nowhere to be seen so far against England.
Dubbed `Captain Cool` ever since India won the 2007 World Twenty20 Championships under him, Dhoni`s stock has been falling over the past couple of years with poor away results in Tests.
Add to this, the successive losses to England in the ongoing home series, which have severely exposed India`s batting shortcomings after the retirement of rock-solid middle-order batsmen such as Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
An on-the-wane Sachin Tendulkar is not helping matters and this lack of in-form experienced players is also exposing the leadership failings of Dhoni, whose open demand for rank turners can be seen as a sign of weakness against an opponent which quite simply seems better-prepared.
The two defeats in Mumbai and Kolkata have left India with no choice but to win the fourth and final Test to save the series, which was ironically built up as revenge for the 0-4 humiliation that India suffered in England earlier this year.
"The easiest thing for me to say right now is `I quit captaincy` and be a part of the side. But that`s like running away from the responsibility," says Dhoni.
"Of course there are others who will decide. There is BCCI and the administrative people who also want to look into that (captaincy)", Dhoni replied when asked whether India needs a change in captaincy.
But his captaincy record of the past two years shows that the skipper needs to introspect.
In the last two years, India`s winning percentage in Tests stands at a poor 33.33.
Of the 21 Tests played in this period, including the just-concluded Kolkata Test, India have won just seven, lost 10 and drawn four -- an abysmal stat given that this team was placed at the top of the ICC rankings not too long ago.
Majority of these wins, five, have come on home turf and given the current stat of affairs, this record too would be affected.
Away from home under Dhoni, India have lost eight of the 13 matches they have played, managing just two wins in the last couple of years.
His batting average in the ongoing series is a poor 18.40 with a highest of 52.