Blamegame Part I: Captain Cool Faces Heat

The test series whitewash saw England creating new records. India on the other hand has its own unwanted share of records. But more than the defeat, the way of defeat haunts India more. Do remember India here necessarily refer to the top-shot players who represented India in the Whitewashed series. Batsmen, bowlers, captain, BCCI and probably the Coach too all share equal responsibility for this defeat. Let us see why!!

We will analyze the roles of bowlers, batsmen, BCCI and other factors too. Let us start with the fancied Indian captain, whom many call the best-ever man to lead India in Cricket and has even found respect in Management related Leadership discussion across India.

Food for thought
Will Dhoni Skip Champions League T20!!

Dhoni – The Captain Cool with Lady Luck
His smile always enveloped his tension, till English summer of 2011. After a mediocre series of West Indies, as a player he did not feel any need to improve his performance. After all his performance has ended India’s 28-years World Cup wait, making him the most desired son of India. And on that glory many feel, probably he himself too, that he can live for another 5-years minimum at the helm. His performance was never in question since he became captain. His winning record gave Indians the winning momentum in Twenty20, ODIS and Test Matches and even in IPL. He was giving the luck to win. So even for almost 2 years when he did not perform much no eyebrows raised. Who could question the winning captain!!

But, after the tough series of West Indies, the series against England at least broke some of the myth. It is not the first time India has faced whitewashed. In fact India has also faced 5-0 sweeps in Test Cricket. Yet, the only difference was Indians were never confident about their team earlier. Probably for the first time a visit to England inspired confidence of winning so much that even the Indian fans in England booked 80% of the tickets in most of the matches, expecting to celebrate live the victory march after every test with Indian team. Indian captain also expected the same.

Probably that is why he was sure that without any proper plan and without his performance too India can win again, as it has since last 2-3 years under his captaincy. Unfortunately for them, England knew they were facing World Number 1 team, and they had the hunger and plan to snatch the Upset Victory!! But even they never expected a 4-0 whitewash!! Could they have even dreamt of a whitewash at the start of series!!
Dhoni, as a captain may not be blamed. The fact is that his lady luck just got tired of being used all the time during last many series and tournaments. It wanted the real Dhoni- the destructive batsman who was ready to face even the new ball coming at the top of batting order – to win by performance.

During the English tour, even before the start, the signs were ominous for him as Captain to make amendments. Rather he chose to neither work on his performance or his Captaincy skills.

His Performance
He was so confident of his performance to never come under scrutiny that despite a below par performance against the so called second class Test Cricket Carribean players, he used his authority to rest rather than get some batting practice in the only tour game of the series scheduled before the all-important first test match of the series, despite knowing first test has been India’s most challenging since India started playing international Cricket. He probably thought that his match saving undefeated 76 at Lord’s and another score of 92 during the tour of 2007 was enough experience to excel as a batsman even in 2011. Unfortunately after 8 innings he realised that some tour games could have been useful. Probably he forgot that he skipped whatever tour games were available before the Test series.

His Denial of reality
After every poor performance of team, as ever he was behind the team. Poor guy had not much option also as he was himself not performing, barring the two innings of Edgbaston where also he could not convert his 50s into centuries, unlike the English batsmen who batted merrily on the same pitch.

Dhoni’s reasons were startling. Too much of cricket!! Fatigue!! Bowlers could have put some more pressure!! Zaheer’s absence is hurting!!

Can the captain of Number one team repeat the same reasons for four tests!! He had the courage to do that. After all he has won the World Cup. What else India wants from him!! He forgot India wanted some respect even in defeat. His reasons just defused the confidence among Indian fans making them go erratic even at times crossing the line against Indian players in public places.

When the captain of the team keeps parroting that due to too much of Cricket players are unable to perform, probably he is fooling himself and considering it not even worth to accept the ground reality. He knows his place is secure, so does some other players in the team.

Questions for Dhoni To Find Answers
He could count merrily that his bowlers have bowled 900 overs in last few weeks. But he forgot to count how many wickets they managed in that many overs. And after all why were the same bowlers used again and again then!!

Why he could not count that among his players those who performed were the players who had landed in England after West Indies tour, which was preceded by IPL and World Cup in which almost all the team members played in. Those who did not perform were the players who had come after complete big rest.

Tendulkar had a complete holiday time, as he desired. Gambhir and Zaheer were returning after complete rest. Sehwag had more rest than he could have thought of. Raina, Ishant and Praveen Kumar are too young to demand rest after one or two months of cricket. Dhoni himself had a brief period of rest before he joined West Indies tour. What more rest they needed!!

And if players do need rest, will they skip Champions League Twenty20 starting just after the England series!!
And the bigger demanding question is if Dhoni is right, then why the players did not take rest!! They could have skipped IPL!! They can decide to skip International tour asking for rest and BCCI could merrily excuse them too. But they could not afford to skip money-laundering machine IPL!!

Money over Nation
Everyone knows money is preferred over other things in the world. But should it be made so blatant that Indian captain and his team prefers money over national duty!!

The man has grown too big for his boots. No doubt about that. He can decide to skip the age-old official dinner and at the same time participate in auctioning to raise funds for his own personal reasons. What else does he need to do to get the boots he needs now to remind him that his first priority is serving the country!!

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