New Zealand batting great Martin Crowe has slammed the “illogical” captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the ongoing Test series in England and feels India would be better off without his leadership in the longest format.
“If he (Dhoni) did back down from Test cricket, India wouldn’t miss his strange, often weird, tactics. His selections are illogical when finding the appropriate balance in picking enough specialist players to out-skill the opposition over long periods,” Crowe wrote in his Cricinfo column.
“His manoeuvrings on the field as keeper and strategist are too often at odds with what the game situation demands -- Ishant Sharma bowling short at Lord’s the exception.”
India, 1-2 down with a match to go in the five-match Test series, are on the verge of losing yet another overseas battle under Dhoni’s captaincy. The wicket-keeper batsman is only three away losses away from equalling Stephen Fleming and Brian Lara’s dubious record of 16 overseas defeats, the most by a Test captain.
Crowe, also a former New Zealand captain, said Dhoni’s tactics only suit limited overs cricket and he should rather focus on India’s World Cup defence in Australia and New Zealand next year.
“He (Dhoni) has said before that Test cricket doesn’t really do it for him. It explains, one could suppose, why he is a resolute and effective limited-overs captain and player.
That’s what stirs him. Whether it be the bucks associated, or the pace of the game or both, he is suited to white-ball, coloured-clothes, short-form cricket, and thrives on it.
“In Tests it’s not the same. And now after a long run, 87 Tests to be precise, the question strengthens about how long he can continue like this as a Test player. Will he hang on for the coveted ton, just as Sachin Tendulkar did for the double-ton? Probably,” wrote Crowe.
On Dhoni leading India to World Cup again, Crowe said, “Dhoni could focus on his defence of the World Cup he brilliantly coordinated and won, back in 2011. With his limited-overs triumphs he shows a completely different energy, proactive and attacking; those are formats where he has to use the bits-and-pieces players he likes so much.
“He will need all his gumption and pull to do so again, away from home, with a lesser equipped team. It would be a worthy defence if he pulled it off.”