Does Team India Need A Sabbatical?

The 40-run defeat at the hands of the Kiwis gave MS Dhoni an acrimonious tag of being a bad ‘journeyman’.

The 40-run defeat at the hands of the Kiwis gave MS Dhoni an acrimonious tag of being a bad ‘journeyman’.  Dhoni has made himself available in the ‘prestigious’ context of having the most (11) away Test defeats, breaking the record (10) held jointly by MAK Pataudi, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly until now.

What else, the batsmen are misfiring again (taking the 1st innings downfall) besides Rohit Sharma, the rest made a silent exit to the pavilion. The 2nd innings where Team India had a mountain to climb, even though Shikhar Dhawan’s gritty knock of 115, and few shockers from the umpires, added more misery to Team India. If it is fair to say that MS Dhoni and Alastair Cook are two sides of the same coin, the former has the excuse of going on firm even though his side has been bereaft of failures away.

In his post-match presentation Dhoni said, “The bowlers bowled fantastically well to get us back. One of the best that I have seen our bowlers bowl especially on a good wicket. They kept it tight and bowled wicket-taking deliveries at the same time. They need to continue doing that. When you go and not look at what you want to achieve at the end, you can slowly graduate into bigger goals.” So what goals is Dhoni talking about here? Defeat after defeat and Dhoni still wants his ‘youthful’ brigade to learn more. Tours to Australia and England await, and both the countries will be ready to pounce like a hungry tiger. Dhoni cited poor umpiring in the 2nd innings as one of the many reasons for the loss. But for any reason, if the visitors could have chased that record target, many bookmakers back home could have gone on strike.

A food for thought for Dhoni and his team – could the availability of DRS made any things merrier for the visitors? Over the years, BCCI and MS Dhoni himself have always been downbeat about the technology in cricket but just imagining if it was available, the dismissals of Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni could have turned the tide towards India. The skipper further commented, “I don’t think we batted really well in the first innings. In the second innings, quite a few of our batsmen batted really well. We had few unlucky wickets. Ajinkya’s decision was a tough one at a very crucial time.”

Whatever the reasons are, Team India seems to have bottled up these days. Those days of ‘winning mentality’ have vanished in thin air and loss after loss have left many Indian fans wondering, a sabbatical perhaps?

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