Another chapter in Dhoni era
Could this be the start of a new phase in Indian cricket? The vibrant, young and enthusiastic bunch of players led by the daring Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who backs his players and has shown that he can do without the 'seniors' in the team, will in all probability shape the future of the game in the country for some time to come, at least in the one-day version.
VVS Laxman is long gone, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly no longer find favour in the ODI scheme of things. Their mind may be willing but the selectors have different ideas. Anil Kumble has retired from ODIs and Sachin Tendulkar has once again been ruled out due to groin injury.
The rub of the green has gone Dhoni's way from the time he took over as captain in the ICC World T20 last year. He led a young side to the title, captained India to series victory against Pakistan in India and with only Sachin Tendulkar as the senior in the side, Dhoni steered his team to a historic tri-series title in Australia.
And here in Bangladesh, Dhoni has none of the seniors, not even Tendulkar, who was phenomenal in India's triumph in Australia, their last limited-overs outing. A good performance by India will only strengthen Dhoni's ideology of doing away with the seniors even if he invites ugly stares.
Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh are key players in one-dayers and have more experience than Dhoni himself. It is high time they assumed the role of seniors and make the youngsters look up to them.
Dhoni believes in on-field performance and giving the youngsters a fair run. On the face of it, it might appear that Dhoni gets the team he wants, and generally gets his way, but with the kind of results he is getting, no-one can deny him what he asks for.
Young attacking middle-order batsman from Mumbai, Rohit Sharma said in a recent interview to HT that it helped having a youngster like Dhoni as the captain. "We youngsters have played a lot together. We know what each other is capable of. The most important thing is that we are enjoying each other's success. The young captain's thinking is similar to what the young guys think. We can speak freely to him about our problems and what we want to do. That's important. Dhoni is excellent as a captain, it's a great experience playing under him."
Manpreet Gony might have been the last choice as a replacement for the injured Sreesanth and the spot could easily have gone to Munaf Patel or VRV Singh. But Dhoni has watched Gony from close quarters when both played for Chennai in the Indian Premier League.
The selectors have themselves agreed that the IPL need not necessarily be the ideal platform to judge performance and form a basis for selection. But then, Gony got into IPL following his List-A performances for Punjab and North Zone. He is amongst wickets and this was perhaps the reason why Dhoni preferred the untested Gony, in consensus with the selectors.
India will arrive here for the Kitply Cup tri-series on Sunday, the opening day of the tournament, though they will be in action only from Tuesday, against Pakistan.