Captain Blunder

Dhoni’s persistence with Ravindra Jadeja is just a new chapter in a long line of mistakes he has been making as skipper.




Ahmedabad:
His face is plastered all over the city; that trademark grey hair and beard, rimless glasses and bandhgalas are on every other hoarding.

This is undoubtedly the land of Narendra Modi, and on the day he assumed chief ministerial charge for the fourth straight time, the Indian and Pakistani teams trooped into the city ahead of their second T20 International to complete a hectic Wednesday for Ahmedabad.

In a way, MS Dhoni shared a similar charisma on the cricket field, virtually unchallenged about his leadership qualities. That was until crisis hit him hard, with series defeats to England at home and away, a 0-4 whitewash at the hands of Australia, failing to win the World T20 — and he slipped low in the popularity ratings, getting a few wrinkles and grey hairs on a face that was virtually unflustered in any situation.

In the last year, Dhoni’s leadership has come under severe scrutiny; several decisions have been openly challenged, and there has even been talk of revolt. The latest in this series is his fascination for Ravindra Jadeja.

ALSO READ:


Dhoni seems to prefer him in all formats, having just rolled him out as India’s 275th Test cricketer in the fourth Test at Nagpur without significant result, and since then, added him again in the T20 and ODI squads with little justification.

Dhoni saw a batsman in him for the first T20I against England, and then saw a bowler in him in the first game against Pakistan in Bangalore.

But the fact remains that Jadeja has disappointed on both fronts, and this isn’t a first time he’s doing so.

Dhoni’s persistence with Jadeja isn’t new. In the run- up to the 2011 World Cup, the India skipper afforded plenty of chances to Jadeja, making him bowl in every possible situation — as a runstopper, death bowler and an attacking option — but failed to elicit any success anywhere.

There was a similar case with Yusuf Pathan being persisted with despite lack of results, and he eventually won the race over Jadeja for a spot in India’s ultimately successful squad, but it was because of his ability to thrash the opposition with his big- hitting. Yusuf was subsequently dumped as failed experiment but Jadeja is still enjoying a good run from the selectors.

Even with his batting, Jadeja is unlikely to ever make his case in this Team India, because with all the quality that the 23-year-old possesses, he’s unlikely to come up the order as an attacking option ahead of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj, or by being more technically competent than Gautam Gambhir, Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma.

Jadeja has played 58 ODIs at an average of 28.6, and has taken just 57 wickets in them. In the 14 T20Is he’s featured in, the all-rounder has scored 74 runs at an average of 10.5 and taken just seven wickets.

Yet Dhoni excluded R Ashwin for the Bangalore game because the “conditions didn’t suit” the spinner and included Jadeja without explaining how the conditions suited the bits-and-pieces player better.

Jadeja batted at No. 8 in the game against Pakistan — no position for a proper batsman proper to walk in — and was introduced as the sixth bowling option, who nevertheless ended up as the most expensive bowler in India’s first-ever defeat to Pakistan in a Twenty20 fixture.

The Saurashtra player has been a virtual bully in his own backyard, scoring 331 in Rajkot and 303 in Surat to aggregate 794 runs in five matches this season. But the more telling statistic is that he has a mere 22 runs in two games away from home.

Dhoni has been playing musical chairs, dropping Rohit and Ashwin by turns to accommodate Jadeja, but it remains to be seen how he repays the faith in the remainder of the series and brings the smile back on his skipper’s face.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

Delhi lose opener Vijay in pursuit of 167-run target. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »