India out, Dhoni suddenly uncool | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India out, Dhoni suddenly uncool

MS Dhoni has apologised but India isn’t placated. Social networking sites were clogged with messages from fans blaming Dhoni for India’s exit from the T20 World Cup. Umesh Sharma on the HT website wrote, “Dhoni should be stripped of captaincy and should be made to sit out of if he does not perform.” Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 16, 2009 01:13 IST
Anand Vasu

MS Dhoni has apologised but India isn’t placated.

Social networking sites were clogged with messages from fans blaming Dhoni for India’s exit from the T20 World Cup. The Hindustan Times site is full of messages from irate fans. One TV channel ran a poll asking provocatively, “Should Dhoni be forgiven for the T20 debacle?”

Some of the outrage was orchestrated, though. On Monday, Dhoni’s effigy was burnt in his hometown Ranchi, but apparently it was ‘arranged’ by two channels.

What Dhoni, 27, and other members of the team could be worried about is a repeat of 2003 when India were struggling in the early stages of the World Cup. Then, Mohammad Kaif’s home in Allahabad was tarred and cars parked at Rahul Dravid’s residence in Bangalore stoned.

When India crashed out of the 2007 World Cup, police provided security at cricketers’ homes. Protestors affixed photos of Ganguly and Tendulkar on donkeys and burnt effigies after garlanding them with slippers. In Varanasi, fans took out a mock funeral procession that ended with a photo being burnt and the ashes immersed in the Ganga.

The latest exit – and one way to look at it is that the team has merely lost two Twenty20 matches – has burst the bubble of invincibility around the defending champions and especially that of captain Dhoni. In a format where the dividing line between victory and defeat is thinnest and usets common (Zimbabwe beat Australia in the 2007 World T20, the Netherlands beat England in the opening match of this tournament) even experts struggle to pinpoint exact reasons for defeat.

Fans, however, have begun the post-mortem. “Dhoni should be stripped of captaincy and should be made to sit out of if he does not perform,” wrote Umesh Sharma on the HT website. “Playing Ravindra Jadeja in place of Irfan Pathan is an unpardonable mistake which left cricket lovers of India in tears,” was another message. “Dhoni's apologies mean nothing. We won’t accept your apologies,” wrote Zia Khan. Amid all this, the financial implications of India’s exit are being calculated. The fall out: Indian corporate houses could opt out of buying advertising spots for the semi-finals.

While 10-second spots usually sell for between Rs 4 and 5 lakh, the premium for semi-finals could have been as high as seven lakh, but it doesn’t seem likely after India’s defeat.