August 24, 2011

Former Pakistan skipper found the Indian captain aloof and his batting form a big worry against England.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s demeanour was hardly inspiring during the Test series against England, according to ESPN-STAR Sports expert Wasim Akram.

The four-nil drubbing against England has done no good to Dhoni’s reputation as a captain and former Pakistan skipper Akram is just not amused at the way Dhoni handled things during the Test series that concluded at The Oval on Monday.

In an exclusive chat with Mobile ESPN from London on Monday night, Akram, like other cricket pundits, was unhappy with the way Dhoni failed to lead India by example. Captain Cool has suddenly lost a few admirers and Akram is definitely one of them.

At The Oval on Monday, India lost seven wickets for 21 runs after Sachin Tendulkar (a lucky 91) and Amit Mishra (a defiant 84) held the Indian fort with a 144-run partnership. One of the culprits in this frequent middle-order capitulation has been the skipper himself. Dhoni was out for three, Stuart Broad once again exposing the captain’s batting limitation against a moving ball.

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“His batting form is of great concern. In this series Dhoni repeatedly got out in the slips region. He may have got a couple of 70-plus scores in the third Test at Edgbaston, but what good are these runs when your opponent has amassed a 700-plus score?” asked Akram.

Akram feels a dressing room can never be a happy one until and unless a captain and coach communicates with the team and lifts their morale. Dhoni’s body language was definitely not motivating enough, felt Akram.


“I feel Dhoni needs to be even more involved in the game. New coach Duncan Fletcher is not a magician and will take time to settle down,” Akram said.

The serious lack of planning by the BCCI (for example, RP Singh arriving late for the third Test) and the communication gap between the team management and the Board bigwigs was eloquently clear. Akram agrees too.

“According to me, it seemed that no one had any idea in the Indian camp about what was going on. Dhoni did not look too involved with on-field proceedings. I know this has been his style, but when your team is getting thrashed, ‘Captain Cool’ can’t afford to freeze! At times, you have to change your style to get the best out of your players. This result should be eye-opener for Dhoni,” said Akram.

In spite of the criticism, Akram backed Dhoni as Indian skipper. Removing him is not a quick-fix solution, he felt.

“Our cricketing culture in the sub-continent doesn’t support a losing captain, but here is where we need to back Dhoni. He can surely prove the critics wrong in the ODI series. While that will work to India’s advantage, Dhoni can pick up his pieces as well,” said Akram.

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By: Soumitra Bose and Sunil Taneja
Courtesy: ESPN STAR

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