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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014
Time to show responsibility, install a new leader for India's Test team
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
London, August 19, 2014
First Published: 00:01 IST(19/8/2014)
Last Updated: 00:30 IST(19/8/2014)
Indian players watch the presentation of the trophy to England after the Test match and series on the third day of the fifth Test against England at The Oval. (AFP Photo)

Even Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were not spared the axe. And they never led teams that have played as poorly as those MS Dhoni has captained. The humiliation at Old Trafford and The Oval is unacceptable. He has long since outlived his utility as Test captain. The powers in the Indian cricket board though have conveniently looked the other way. But it's a professional environment and tough calls have to be made.

Indian cricket is not a private club. Sentiments of the entire nation are attached to the team. No doubt, the cricket fraternity is being taken for a ride. How could there not have been a review of the team's performances after losing eight Tests in a row in 2011-12?

Read: Duncan Fletcher's role, MS Dhoni's captaincy questioned

With the resources at the Indian cricket board's disposal, results must come. Winning and losing is part of the game, but the lack of fight is simply unacceptable. The results are a reflection of a system that is crying for change. It has to be more open, more democratic.

OPAQUE METHODS
It's not about what the Board president thinks is right for Indian cricket. Clearly, his vision is not working. He has to get the best brains in the game together and chalk out a plan for the future.

There are personal interests involved. That N Srinivasan's T20 franchise also controls Indian cricket is no secret. But it's important to keep the governance of both separate. And now that Srinivasan heads the ICC, fair play not only needs to be done, it has to be seen to be done.

What happened in England is nothing short of a national disaster. Indian fans at The Oval were left embarrassed, taunted by England supporters.

Read: Ravindra Jadeja-James Anderson spat proved the turning point

The argument that there are no replacement options for the captain's post is bogus. When you take up the responsibility of running cricket, it's your job to somehow find alternatives. Till you try, you will never know. And what can be worse than losing inside three days?

TIMING WORRY
It is a valid argument that if he is replaced now, it will affect India's World Cup preparations, but Dhoni's Test job has to be reconsidered. Dhoni is a great fighter and never allowed his batting to slip though the 'keeping suffered. But as the leader of the team, he is equally responsible for the team's performances. The Board will have to find whether the lack of results is due to poor inputs from the coaching staff or poor captaincy.

Dhoni's captaincy is like India's performance on this tour. The first part, with Gary Kirsten, was a roaring success; with Duncan Fletcher, it's been a disaster. If there had been a review after the whitewash in 2011 in England and Australia, may be the team would have been saved of this humiliation all over again.

If there are no captaincy options in the team, may be the Board will have to recall someone and get him to lead for a year till a current player is groomed. Someone like Virender Sehwag has a commanding presence in the side.

There have been examples of other boards appointing such captains during emergencies. Bobby Simpson for Australia in the late 1970s and Mike Brearley for England are two great examples.

In court cases and Parliament, the BCCI can hide behind technicalities, arguing that it is a private body. But can it be denied the team was representing the country in England?


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