Monday, June 15, 2009

Jaded Dhoni instrumental in India's knock-out from ICC T20 World Cup 2009


It had to happen someday. But I sincerely felt that "now" is too early for the captain of Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to have fallen off the high pedestal wherein he was elevated by the fans after his team won the inagural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.

If India could neither defend a total of 150+ which they scored against West Indies on 12th June nor overhaul an England total of 150+ on 14th June, in my opinion, it is more to do with Dhoni, the captain, than any other reason(s). With the two consecutive defeats for India in the Super Eights league, India now finds herself dethroned as the ICC T20 World Champion.

Like Dhoni, as captain, was credited with an aggressive team which jelled and played well together as a team under his inspired leadership in 2007, it is only fair that Dhoni should also share a large part of the blame for his team's defeat & ultimately getting knocked out of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009 in England.

Here are my list of reasons which point out that Dhoni, as captain, failed to "think" and play:

1. Team composition: First and foremost, Irfan Pathan should not have been dropped for England match because he can also bat & bat well than Ishant Sharma. Instead, Ishant Sharma, who has been very off-colour as also leaked runs aplenty in the competition, should have been dropped to pave the way for R.P.Singh's entry into the side.

2. Under-utilising R.P.Singh: Dhoni has, for reasons best known to him, under-bowled R.P.Singh - he bowled only 3 overs and has taken a wicket also for just 13 runs. To make matters worse, Dhoni allowed Ishant Sharma to bowl his full quota of 4 overs, even though he kept on leaking runs (36 runs @ 9 runs an over) without bothering any batsman.

3. Forgetting part-timers: Its strange that Dhoni has not even bothered to try out his part-time bowlers like Rohit Sharma, who, with his slow off-spinners bowled well during IPL2 in SA and even has a hat-trick to his name in that competition, or his trusted death-overs specialist and Chennai Super Kings team-mate, Suresh Raina's slow offies. It is also surprising that Dhoni didn't even turn to Yusuf Pathan's off-spinners in this match though he was among wickets in the previous encounters when he was given a chance. The only part-timer he tried in this match, his new deputy Yuvraj Singh, didn't do well in the two overs he bowled conceding 20 runs without taking a wicket.

4. Stopped thinking: I felt that Dhoni's mind stopped working altogether in this competition, or, at least, in this match. Otherwise, how can one explain the fact that Dhoni didn't even try to do something slightly different just to unshackle England batsmen when they were going great guns in the first ten overs or, when India was batting, to unsettle their bowlers. He could have tried to continue with the left-right combination of batsmen even after Rohit Sharma got out by sending a right-hander at one down. Or at least at two-down. But, there was a parade of left handers from Gambhit, Raina, Jadeja, and Yuvraj, that from the 2nd over (when Rohit got out) till the 14th over (when Dhoni came in at No.6), England's bowlers didn't have to think or bother too much with bowling other than spraying short-pitched deliveries at left-handers aiming their body or shoulder or neck or head. The left-right combo could have forced the English bowlers to try to bowl the same short-pitched deliveries at both left and right handers by making some adjustments, which might have forced them into committing some errors, thus giving the batsman some chance of free-scoring, which was never allowed to happen.

With due credit to England, especially their bowlers, who bowled with a plan and a lot of discipline (which department also was anathema to Indian bowlers, especially, Harbhajan Singh, who foolishly leaked 10 runs with two last-ball wides in the 18th & 20th over), India lost the match more due to Dhoni, the captain, being mentally fatigued or jaded, which prevented him from thinking or doing things slightly differently, which otherwise he tends to do.

Even though Dhoni says "You can't blame it on tiredness. Its not an excuse", it is a fact that Dhoni & many of his team-mates are physically and mentally tired due to continuously playing for the last several months. Though, as professionals they are expected to cope with such a hectic schedule, it is a different matter that a human mind may stop thinking once it is fatigued or become jaded. The only way to make it start thinking properly again is to give it a rest by being away from cricket for a while & get freshened and then come back for playing.

BCCI would do well to immediately address this issue - of giving periodic rest to its players like Cricket Australia does - so that Indian cricket fans are not treated by its talented cricketers to a lame fare and that too in the ultimate show-piece of a World Cup event.

4 comments:

Vijay said...

You got it exactly right. I too felt RP Singh was under utilised. He was the top most wicket taker in the IPL and he not being used in Swinging English conditions is ridiculous. Also Sehwag's absence dented India's chance in a big way.

Though all of us enjoyed IPL, it proved too costly for all of India's players, as they were mentally and physically tired after playing non-stop cricket for more than 2 months.

We didn't expect India to win the cup in 2007. But they brought it home. Now we have too much expectations and they have failed to deliver. Life is a full circle :-)

But singling Dhoni alone is not fair. Sending Jadeja up the order couldn't have been an individual decision. What if, Yuvi is sent up and he was out. But Jadeja consumed hell a lot of balls. He didn't even rotate the strike.
Bhajji just didn't bowl with discipline. I always felt that the 10 wides he bowled would prove costly and it exactly happened that way.

Tail Piece: Just can't understand, why Indian Cricket Team has to travel all the way to the Carribean to play just 4 ODIs. Give the boys a break. May be they should send the Tier-2 team and test Bench strength, instead of sending the same guys again.

Arun Kumar said...

Dude, thanks for your views. you have analyzed well .

i feel the entire team has lost the memento. the body language is also not good the winning attitude is missing .

the dhoni team needs this kind of failures, let s hope at least they would do better in the next series

ஈ ரா said...

Arunji,

Valid points...

what abt Sehwag's injury?

Kameswara Rao said...

Arunji,

Though your points are valid.. It cannot be said b'cos of the IPL... fo the SA Players / Gayle - Bravo /
and NZL & SL players all played in the IPL at this level you cannot blame I feel that we expected too much from them this does not mean that last year Victory was a fluke and all but things have gone in their mind too much and it had a telling effect...

Kamesh