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When Captain Cool became autocratic

Mahendra Singh Dhoni rarely loses his cool and composure. But one saw the Indian skipper getting worked up a bit during India's win over Sri Lanka on Saturday. Nilankur Das reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2009 01:24 IST
Nilankur Das

Mahendra Singh Dhoni rarely loses his cool and composure. But one saw the Indian skipper getting worked up a bit during India's win over Sri Lanka on Saturday.

He was seen running up to his bowlers when they wavered from their line and length. Every time Thilina Kandamby or Chamara Kapugedera smashed a boundary during the powerplay, Dhoni would run up to Ishant, with Zaheer Khan also joining in occasionally.

"You give an opportunity to the bowler, asking him to bowl according to your plan and field setting. But when it doesn't work, you turn into a dictator from a democratic captain. You become like a king and say 'no more powers, this is the field and you bowl according to it,'" Dhoni said after the match.

The Indian skipper said the bowlers should have a plan and should stick to it, especially during the powerplays when batsmen are trying to go for boundaries. But that wasn't happening when Sri Lanka gathered 48 runs, leaving the otherwise calm and composed Dhoni fuming. Ishant and Zaheer erred in line most of the time when Kandamby either moved towards the leg or towards the off stump, conceding some easy runs.

"They were scoring in boundaries. As a captain you don't want that. It was tough for the bowlers, especially because the batsmen were set. The margin of error was very, very little. I felt the bowlers were a bit confused about the plan. By the time a bowler reaches the start of his run-up, it's important for him to make up his mind as to what delivery he's going to bowl and set the field accordingly. If you have just one thought, you can execute it better. It's always better to have a plan. It might be a bad method, but it's better than being confused," Dhoni said. "You can confuse the batsman with a particular field, but if the ball is not bowled according to the set field, the possibility of leaking a boundary is much greater," he said.

Dhoni said it's always better to give priority to what bowler is thinking. "If the bowlers think themselves, they will get better with experience. They will grow and mature so much faster if they learn by themselves, instead of looking up to the skipper for directions.