It was Dhoni all the way (Comment)

October 21st, 2008 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has that magic touch; whatever he touches turns into victories. In his debut as captain in the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa last September, India triumphed emphatically. His debut as India’s one-day captain in the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia was equally sensational as India beat the world champions 2-0, in February-March. When Anil Kumble was unfit for the third Test against South Africa at Kanpur this April, Dhoni was given captaincy. And India, who had lost the previous Test by an innings, won by 8 wickets on day 3.

Replace South Africa with Australia as the opponent and Kanpur with Mohali as the venue and it looks an instant replay. India under Kumble were lucky to save the Bangalore Test but a week later won by 320 runs. They not only defeated Australia but thrashed them. Thus, Dhoni has captained India twice in Tests and won both times by huge margins.

There were many heroes for India in Mohali. The opening batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautum Gambhir gave India tremendous starts in both innings, their opening bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma (who looks like a rock star and rocks the opposition) made prolific Aussie bats look mediocre, the living legend Sachin Tendulkar went past West Indian Brian Lara’s record Test aggregate (accompanied by fireworks), was the first to reach 12,000 runs in Test history and took some good catches as well, Sourav Ganguly, in his last Test series, reached 7,000 Test runs with a spirited century, leg-spinner Amit Mishra took 5 wickets in his Test debut and Harbhajan Singh took valuable scalps too.

But the real hero was Dhoni, the Man of the Match, who made it all happen. Kudos to him. Under him India looked winners from day-1. About time he takes over from Kumble in the third Test in Delhi.

The only dilemma for Indian selectors is Mishra or Kumble as leg-spinner and Dhoni or Kumble as skipper. The selectors should take a bold step and go for Mishra and Dhoni. It would be cruel for Kumble with his past achievements for India. But India should come first and sentiments later.

Australia have a job in front of them with both their batsmen and bowlers performing below par. And no spinner in sight. Take my word, it is a change of guard and India has a good chance to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and world supremacy. But only if Dhoni is retained as the leader.

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