It was a smooth transition. From being vice-captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become the captain of the Indian one-day team up to the one-day series against Pakistan.
Dhoni has been named skipper for seven ODIs and one Twenty20 international against Australia and five one-dayers against Pakistan that precede the three-Test series against the neighbours.
Left-handed batsman Yuvraj Singh has been named the vice-captain.
The selection committee that met here on Tuesday felt that Dhoni was the right candidate to lead India.
“Dhoni was the best choice,” said chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar. “He has all the qualities of a captain. He has been around with the team for some time and is also an explosive batsman.”
Vengsarkar said a few names were discussed for captaincy but did not reveal them. He denied the captaincy was offered to anyone. This proved wrong the speculation that Sachin Tendulkar had been asked if wanted the role and that the selectors were only waiting for his nod.
“We did not offer captaincy to anyone else at all,” asserted Vengsarkar.
Dhoni, the 26-year-old wicket-keeper from Ranchi, was named Dravid’s deputy for the recent one-day series in the UK and his subsequent elevation to the top was only natural.
Vengsarkar said the selection committee contacted Dhoni and south zone selector Venkatapathi Raju in Durban before taking a decision.
“He will be supported by three previous captains (Dravid, Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly),” Vengsarkar said. “Mohammed Azharuddin captained a side that had five former captains. I don’t see a problem,” he said.
All-rounder Irfan Pathan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh returned to the one-day side for the first time since the World Cup disaster. The 15-member squad for the first three ODIs against Australia did not have major changes, with Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel and Rohit Sharma expectedly being omitted.
The selectors have still not thought about the Test captain. “We will see Dhoni’s performance and decide later,” said Vengsarkar. Tendulkar is the front-runner for the post.