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HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014
Skipper MS Dhoni should reassess himself
Sourav Ganguly
August 20, 2014
First Published: 00:17 IST(20/8/2014)
Last Updated: 13:54 IST(20/8/2014)

It was a disappointing end to the series with another huge margin of defeat at The Oval. What started with a fabulous win at Lord's culminated into a sad end, a result which has taken aback a lot of Indian supporters.

What has also taken aback a lot of us, including me, is the massive drop in the level of the game as the tour went on. In sport, some win some lose, but as long as there is a fight and there is a competition, one accepts the losses.

No doubt there is a lot of talent in the dressing room - the likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara are players with enormous ability - but the reason behind their continuous failure with the bat must be on account of a huge drop in self-belief as the tour progressed, more than their level of batsmanship.

Once that starts happening the best will look like ordinary players. A five-Test series is a lot of cricket, and the pressure of poor scores coupled with big totals posted by England batsmen in the first innings made it difficult for Indian batsman to cope up.

Criticism apart, we must give them a little bit of space as they are young and in early days of their careers. But they must remember to learn from this and make sure they come out an improved lot.

They will play a lot of five-Test series in the future and should find a way to remain fresh throughout the gruelling tours.

The key to success in sport is to not just be intense but also to switch off when the game is over. For India, their bowling has not been their strength; it's their batting. They will be going to Australia in winter and will need to keep this in mind.

Skipper MS Dhoni too has to reassess himself. His batting form in this series was much improved, but his overseas captaincy is not getting better. As much as I believe he should still carry on in spite of the call for his head, he needs a massive improvement in his tactics.

His team has suffered far too many losses in the last four years, something which can affect any captain, but it is he who can change things.

He needs to be a lot more proactive rather than allowing it to drift. I thought he did the right thing by picking five bowlers at the start but he should have shuffled around the batting when things were not going right just to release the pressure on the batsman.

As I write this piece, there have been considerable developments in Indian cricket .The appointment of Ravi Shastri as director of the team, Sanjay Bangar as the assistant coach and a new bowling and fielding coach as well.

I am happy to see all of them getting a chance to show their credentials. There are a lot of good coaches in India and I think it's the right time they get opportunities. They have toiled with the 'A' sides and they deserve this.

Bangar got rewarded for his performance in the IPL and he will bring a calming influence to the dressing room. I am looking forward to their success in the one-day series.

(The writer is a former India skipper)


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