" Cricket Etcetera was voted as the Best Cricket Blog by Google during the World Cup 2007 "

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dhoni is an idiot

One wicket separates India and yet another test defeat on English soil ( their 24th it will be, in 46 tests). For the time being, bad light has stopped play and that may well be the end of the Lord's test - though 3 hours of play still remain, and you can never be sure about the whimsical London weather. What happened before the umpires offered the Indian batsman 'lights' was pathetic...
Zaheer Khan threw away his wicket trying to get an easy boundary round his legs. RP Singh, India's choice of nightwatchman in the first innings tried to get out quite a few times before he finally did. But the biggest idiot of all is the man who may well be described in tomorrow's papers laudingly - "the man who held fort". Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be batting on 76, may be that innings may play its part in saving the first test for India, but if you were watching the match live, you had no option but to be livid with him.
Fearing 'lights', Michael Vaughan had emloyed a twin spin attack - himself and Monty Singh Panesar. India were more than a 100 runs away from victory, and it was a matter of time before bad light came into play. But our man Dhoni was busy playing shot after shot - almost every single delivery from Vaughan he played, he attempted to score a boundary. God knows what he was trying to achieve! That wasn't it; he just didn't know when to get the single so as to protect the no.11 from playing too much and getting out. Either he miserably failed to get the important single - Sreesanth had to negotiate a full over from the dangerous Monty or when he did get the single, it was in an alarmingly risky manner. Once he almost holed out at cover trying to get a single.
Cricket is often not a simple game of 'bat and ball'. I have always felt that cricket is as much a mind game - and that's where I find the cricket and the coach are very important positions. The captain can't bat for Dhoni, but he can do the thinking for him. I'm not doubting Rahul Dravid's cricketing intelligence, but if he ain't employing it or if he can't make his team listen and agree, then he ain't a leader good enough to lead my country.


Anonymous said...

dude he saved the match.

have u ever played cricket!

Amit Bajaj said...

just 2 questions and 1 sub-question to answer your question:

q#1 did u see the match?

q#2 have you ever criticised a politician/actor? have you ever been a politican/actor?

Citizen Shaker said...

i understand ur concerns, and without any animosity, there are two arguments against your post (i did both a bit, saw the match and played):

1. dhoni struggled in the beginning and was lucky to survive, but in the end he was hitting vaughan because he was in form. if u are saving a match, you don't block everythin, u still play strokes. indians have developed this defensive mentality, and between 2002 trent bridge (when sachin led a counter-attack) and 2007 lord's, we haven't really saved anything blocking. mind u, this also ensures getting easy runs, both for self and team, so vaughan also has less reason to continue because the target keeps getting closer. he got a leading edge because he tried to do the right thing, keeping strike as rp had shown the tail-enders could not be trusted.

2. no captain can make a batsman bat differently. a captain can set a field to execute some bowling ideas (depending upon the bowler's skill), and decide on the lineup, but the execution will remain an individual thing. suppose you are my captain, we all will know what to do (when we saving the match)..we will just go about it in our own way...dravid might keep blocking it, rp can be stupid and tried what he did, while dhoni will figure out his own way...thankfully his way proved somewhat right in the end..even in that durban match which we lost, he proved the biggest stumbling block...

Amit Bajaj said...

abhi, the comparison to India's past failures in defending matches blocking out is wrong in at least two ways:
1. India's past record overseas is not something to be proud of - to take a leaf out of those inglorious chapters would not be a very smart idea.

2. This was a situation (the dhoni/sreesanth one) unlike that i remember india facing. It was a case of playing out a few overs at most - the past examples are all of when we started the second innings and were supposed to play out a day or more. One good comparison that i can think of is when Merve Hughes and Allan Border, i think defended their team very well at Sydney (warnie's debut match) blocking their way out because by then they had just 1-2 wkts left and only a few overs to play, and more strikingly so, the bowling combination was similar - kapil dev was sending down gentle spinners alongwith ravi shastri a la vaughan n panesar.

And here's some empirical evidence:
( source:cricinfo)

Vaughan's 1st over: Dhoni failed to get a single and rotate strike, result: Idiot no.2 RP Singh had to face a full over from Panesar, got out.

Vaughan's 2nd over:
On the 4th and the 5th balls, Dhoni made no attempt whatsoever to rotate strike, instead scored great boundaries, which we didn't need.
On the 6th ball, trying to get a single, he almost spooned a catch at cover and then scampered for a single.

Vaughan's 3rd over:
Dhoni failed to find a single off any ball. Result: Sreesanth had to face a full over from Monty now.

Vaughan's 4th over:
Look at this …I have copied and pasted from the cricinfo commentary directly.

95.5 Vaughan to Dhoni, no run, spins into leg stump again, he makes room and plays it impatiently to midwicket, declining the single

Even after his very recent failures at rotating the strike, Dhoni was stupid enough to decline a single off Vaughan’s 5th ball. He did manage to get a single off the next ball, but his confidence in himself, as we have seen above was misplaced. Luckily for India, the umpires called off the match at this point of time.

Please also factor in ‘Michael Vaughan’ as a bowler. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of one of the leading batsman in world cricket today to be able to manage a single off Vaughan once in two balls. Not that, this is the main point of my grouse against Dhoni!

Citizen Shaker said...

At your insistence, checked it..I get what you are saying, but as far as I remember, Dhoni missing out on sixth ball was more a case of hard-luck (spooning a catch)..He might have tried it on the 5th balls, but I guess he remember what had happened to RP (when facing a tossed up ball)...

anyway, the series stands won..dhoni is the 20/20 captain..and while it is difficult to forecast with his home-grown technique, i trust his intuitive cricketing intelligence

Amit Bajaj said...

Thanks dude for making the effort...Much water has flown in the Thames/Orange/Damodar since that evening, so let's put this debate to rest here.

In case you missed out on this words of praise for India's T20 captain in today's HT, here they are: "Dhoni is from generation next, has a reputation for straight talking and is also believed to be a far more shrewd strategist than he is given credit for.."!!