Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy is as much under the scanner as coach Duncan Fletcher’s job as India begin their new season with a limited overs series in Sri Lanka starting on Saturday.
After India failed miserably in England and Australia last season and flopped in the Asia Cup in March, calls for Dhoni’s removal as captain have got louder. However, with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir inconsistent with the bat and Virat Kohli too young to be saddled with the extra responsibility, Dhoni is set to lead the team at least for the first half of the new season.
Thus, it was interesting to note the captain’s thoughts on the art of captaincy on the eve of India’s departure to Colombo. “It is true that a captain is as good as his team,” Dhoni said, echoing Gambhir’s favourite line.
“For instance, if you put the best captain in the world at the helm of a mediocre side like Alaska, just to use a name, he won’t be able to achieve anything.
“For me, a captain’s key role is to channel the resources that are available to him and guide them. If he can get the best out of his team, he would have done justice to his job.”
Dhoni, who turned 31 last week, looked fresh at the two-day preparatory camp on Monday and Tuesday, having enjoyed a long break after the IPL.
“A 45-day break is the longest the team has had since I started playing international cricket in 2004,” he said.
“The longest break we had before this was when we were eliminated early from the 2007 World Cup. Such a break always does a world of good for the players. Everyone is looking fitter and their body language is always positive.”
The just-announced Pakistan series, however, already appeared to be on his mind. “It will be a tough series,” he said. “Once we go out on the field, our job is to do the country proud. We are sure it will be a competitive series.”