Thursday, January 24, 2008

I cannae stand it anymore

I have to confession to make. I'm starting to get sick and tired of MS Dhoni as a test bat. Last night's 6 off 54 was the latest example of the kind of chicken-scratch innings I've come to expect from him, wherein he comes in, plays shots straight to fielders, blocks endlessly, and seems to have no attacking shots whatsoever. I don't mind the hard-hitting batsman occasionally turning cautious when the occasion demands it, but he should still remember his main strength are his offensive strokes. Otherwise, he is condemned to get out when he makes his first attacking move. Whats more galling is that Dhoni is getting a free-ride on the basis of his one-day form. Dhoni hasn't played a straighforward attacking innings in tests since his 148 at Faisalabad. The two attacking innings he has played have come in hunting-for-declaration settings (Antigua 2006, the Oval 2007). Other than that there has not been much to distinguish his other efforts from what he he played last night. Why don't India simply play Dinesh Karthik, who is a better test bat (his technique is better, he takes more singles, his strokeplay is superior). As things stand, Dhoni's achievements in one-days and T20 ensure he stays in tests, while Karthik occupies the sidelines (lets not forget that other than a small blip against Pakistan Karthik has even been successful as a opener, thus indicating no shortage of technique). Dhoni's value down the order lies in him playing attacking cricket, or a slightly modified version thereof. At the moment, if everything isn't stacked up for him (cf Antigua 2006 or the Oval 2007) he looks so hopelessly out of depth that it is embarassing. But I doubt anything will be done about this. Once again, we have managed to confuse tests with one-days and it isn't doing anyone any good.

As Dhoni walks out today, he should remember that his value lies in putting opposing teams on the backfoot, not in making them feel that they are always in with a chance.


Blogger Straight Point said...

i share your concerns SC,

somebody have to sit with him and ask some uneasy and tough questions after the test series is over about how he wants to shape his test career...

coz any other guy would have been dusted to death by now...

i also wonder why all bold decisions are limited to ODIs only...why selectors cant see the obvious...may be he being the brand is saving him from clutches till now but he better shape up coz by this account he will expend his brand value...

but reverse can also happen...he will play one of his swashbuckling innings in one of ODI that are coming p and everything will be forgotten...

5:42 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Hi SP:

I'm not sure anyone is going to have that conversation with him. He is a bit of a sacred cow, beyond reproach. The best person to do it is Dhoni himself. But other than pride, theres no reason for him to. Its unbelievable, the free ride he is getting. His reputation as a "great closer" in one-days is what is keeping him in the team (you'll notice that his strike-rate in ODIs has gone down as well)l


7:38 PM  
Blogger bwyan said...

Hear, hear.

Sure, he's a great competitor, a good 'keeper and was a positive captain in the T20 arena but, by the same token that it is possible to have different captains for different forms of the game, why persist in retaining the same wicketkeeper for both forms. The answer seems entirely to do with that modern phenomenon of "hype", I suspect...spray enough of it about and even the selection committee can succumb...:o)

Besides, Karthik has been dealt a poor hand for too long now. Both his talent and attitude deserve better than he has received....

10:17 PM  

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