Cricket is more than a sport in India. It’s a way of life and fans treat players in that regard. While fans are more respectful of legends of the game, the fact of the matter is that what a player is doing now is far more important than what he has done before.
For Indian captain M.S. Dhoni, it has all practically already been written. Three straight losses against England – especially in the fashion in which the team lost – is a telltale sign the team is far overdue for a new leader and captain.
Not just Dhoni, however, as coach Duncan Fletcher is just as responsible for the team’s disheartened performance in England.
“I must say his (Test) captaincy has been very poor of late, especially in this series. Then again, who would you replace him with? We don’t have a replacement available,” said Dilip Vengsarkar. “Not only the captain, there’s a dearth of quality Test talent at the moment, which is the real tragedy of Indian cricket. The selectors can’t be held responsible. They didn’t have other options apart from those 18 players who were picked for England. This was the best available squad but it failed to perform.”
While Vengsarkar aims to stay balanced with his criticism of Dhoni, the honest truth is that Dhoni hasn’t impacted the team in a positive way lately. Whether that’s a result of talent or not, keep in mind that India was able to play well enough in the first two tests of the five-Test series against England.
In addition to Dhoni’s recent ineptness, coach Fletcher will be replaced sooner than later. Since joining the team in 2011, when India was the No. 1 ranked Test team in the world, the squad has continued to disappoint.
How bad has India been internationally since then? The team has lost 13 overseas Tests since Fletcher became coach, including a home defeat against England.
“The BCCI must review Fletcher’s performance with immediate effect. He has been given too long a rope but where are the results? He and his team of support staff owe us an explanation about why the players keep repeating mistakes. It’s BCCI’s prerogative to decide whether they will continue with Fletcher. We don’t want a knee-jerk reaction, but Fletcher must be questioned. If the Board doesn’t take up the cudgels now, then god save Indian cricket,” Vengsarkar said.