At the very base of this article, we need to understand that not all of Dhoni’s statements are rational and pragmatic. One of the major reasons why Dhoni has had the respect of all the players, who have played under his captaincy, has been his shrewdness to deal with the press and the media, and stand by the team irrespective of the results.
Being the leader he is, he has done very well by not exerting pressure on his own players by talking rubbish about them in the press conference, like Roberto Mancini (former Manchester City FC manager) did with players like Samir Nasri, and subsequently diminish the confidence of his personnel.
Coming to the subject of what is dealt with here, it’s a pretty audacious statement from India’s most successful one-day captain, when he says, “India are a settled unit” just before departing to another overseas tour. Yes, just like Indian sides of yesteryears, Dhoni’s Team India canter to victories at home, and are pretty close to calling themselves ‘invincible’ in their own backyard, but the timing of such a statement should be up for some talking point in the cricketing fraternity in the days to come.
It hasn’t been too long since India returned home from their tour of South Africa with nothing to show for their no.1 status in the one-day format, and literally throwing away some astute and spirited showing in the Test series with a no-show on the last day of the Durban Test match.
India’s Test side is going through a transitional phase, yes, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and to an extent, Murali Vijay hardly exhibited naivety in India’s tour of South Africa, but you can’t forget the fact that, 3 of the 4 aforementioned players were on their first tour of South Africa with the national side.
5 of the 11 players, who played in both the Test matches in South Africa weren’t even 10 Test matches old, and Zaheer Khan is already into the twilight stage of his cricketing career. So, it doesn’t make sense to me, when you call a team with such dynamics – ‘A settled unit’.
Coming to India’s one-day setup, India went on to win 6/7 limited overs series in 2013, but 5 out of those 6 series triumphs were back at home-yard. When they toured South Africa at the rear of 2013, the old frailties started resurfacing again.
Even though I see India putting up a brave defense of their world title next year, I wouldn’t call India, a settled unit as yet. Yes, there’s Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who are certain to be part of the side, which will defend the world title Down Under, but I am skeptical of players like the mercurial Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ishant Sharma. India’s one-day setup has gelled well and their performances have often been indicative of defending world champs , but how much can they translate their sumptuous home form into overseas wins remains to be seen. Hopefully, the tour of New Zealand can be the start of the end to India’s overseas woes.
Bottom Line: MS Dhoni is hardly justified in calling Team India, a settled unit!