Former cricketers express surprise at Dhoni’s decision

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni receiving the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2010 from Sunil Gavaskar after the series win against Australia at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on October 13, 2010. File photo: Bhagya Prakash K  

Former Test cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar and Dilip Vengsarkar on Tuesday expressed surprise at Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to quit the longer format of the game with immediate effect with one more match to go in the four-game series against Australia.

Sunil Gavaskar said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement news was as surprising to him as to anybody and he never expected the ’Captain Cool’ to quit Tests altogether.

“The decision comes as a huge surprise. Though it is not sudden. I was expecting him to step down from captaincy after the Sydney match but did not think he will retire as a player.

I still think that he had 2 or 3 more years of cricket left in him,” Gavaskar told NDTV.

A spate of overseas Test losses forced the 33—year—old captain to call it a day from the longer format after India’s draw at the MCG, which did not save the Border—Gavaskar Trophy from staying with Australia. Gavaskar said the pressure of captaincy can sometimes get too much.

“In a captain’s life sometimes the burden gets too heavy.

This Test match (Melbourne game) was like that. There are times when you try everything and nothing works. And probably that time had come for Dhoni,” he said.

On reacting to Dhoni’s post—match comment of allowing this team some more time and the series a “learning curve” for many a young player, Gavaskar said it was a case of pure excuse.

“This is like a student who is failing in Standard I for long. Unable to move into Standard II. It’s been a long long learning curve for the team. Especially the bowlers. We have had enough patience with the bowlers.

“The batsman no doubt have done well. And if the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, keep going the way they are going, India will certainly do well.”

"Decision understandable"

However, both Borde and Wadekar said the decision was understandable, especially with the country not doing well overseas under Dhoni’s leadership over the last few years.

“To me it was a real surprise. I thought he will play for one or two more years in Test cricket as he’s a very fit person,” said former captain and ex-chief selector Vengsarkar.

“It came as a surprise, didn’t it, that he quit midstream. It (decision to quit) could have been taken earlier. But perhaps he thought it was the right time to hand over the mantle to the next man,” Borde said.

“I think he has quit in the larger interest of the game,” Borde added.

Wadekar too felt Dhoni could have waited till the end of the series before announcing the decision.

“The decision was extraordinary. I feel he should have waited till the end of the series (after January 6—10, 2015 fourth Test at Sydney). He has already missed the first Test (at Adelaide because of a prior injury),” Wadekar said.

But the former India skipper, who had to quit as captain as well as player in 1974 after his side was humiliated 0—3 in England, said Dhoni’s record as Test captain of late has dipped in overseas conditions.

“His performance as captain overseas in Test cricket has not been good,” remarked 73-year-old Wadekar.

Vengsarkar, while conceding Dhoni’s captaincy record overseas has been “average”, pointed out that he just did not have a bowling attack capable of dismissing rival teams twice away from home.

“His overall record overseas has been average, but India does not have the bowling attack to take 20 wickets in overseas conditions,” the 116-Test veteran said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 12:04:50 AM |

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