After India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered to step down as captain of the team due to India’s shock defeat to Bangladesh, many former players have backed Dhoni stating that he should continue as captain of the ODI team.
Former Indian captains like Bishan Singh Bedi, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Wadekar and players like Chetan Chauhan, Chandu Borde, Syed Kirmani and Kiran More strongly backed Dhoni, saying that there was no urgency to replace him as the captain and that he is still the best captain India has right now.
“I don’t think Dhoni should be replaced. He recently led India to the WC semifinals and this series is the first series after that. He should continue as captain,” Vengsarkar told PTI.
Bedi, known for his no-nonsense opinions on Indian cricket, did not want to hold Dhoni responsible for India’s loss to Bangladesh.
“I am not blaming an individual, rather it was a team lethargy that cost India the series. Regarding Dhoni’s captaincy issue, I can’t say much. Nothing is coming out clear at the moment. See what he spoke to the media was just out of sheer frustration. He was just being sarcastic,” he said.
“That’s part and parcel of being a leader. You are lauded when victorious and criticised in defeat. He has already left the Test captaincy. About ODIs, I don’t know. But it’s the first time I have seen him ruffled and that’s not a good sign anymore,” Bedi added.
Former India skipper Wadekar said that Dhoni was still the best person to lead India in the limited overs format.
“I think he’s still the best bet for captaincy in ODIs and T20s. I suppose he should be retained as captain. It was amazing (the loss). They perhaps did not take Bangladesh seriously. They probably did not get enough time to prepare for ODI series,” said Wadekar.
Former Indian wicket-keeper Kirmani also backed Dhoni to continue as captain of the ODI team.
“I would like to continue with Dhoni. He’s a great performer. You need not be harsh on him just because he lost a series to Bangladesh. It’s just a passing phase. I think there’s always a general feeling that a captain should be removed. All these things come up when a captain loses a series or is in bad form,” he said.
“England had earlier changed captains but that did not translate into performances. It’s after all a team effort. You have to win a few and lose a few. It’s a learning process.”
Chandu Borde said the defeat to Bangladesh was an exception and he would like Dhoni to remain as the captain.
“Dhoni should continue and this is a one-off upset according to me. But it will take some time to recover.
Bangladesh surprised us, didn’t they. Our boys did not show any intent while the Bangladesh players’ body language was excellent,” he said.
Former opening batsman Chetan Chauhan said that he believes that Dhoni is still capable of leading the ODI and T20 side.
“I would not like to hastily arrive at a decision based on one particular series. Also I would want Virat to captain only in Tests this season. For me, Dhoni should remain the captain in ODIs and T20’s till next year’s World T20 in India. One can think about a change of guard after that. He is still a capable leader and good player.
“Exhaustion may be a reason but the only one decision in his captaincy that baffled me was dropping a class player like Ajinkya Rahane. That did not make any sense to me,” said Chauhan.
Another former wicket-keeper Kiran More feels that there should be no immediate change in the leadership and Dhoni should continue as the skipper.
“I think Dhoni is still the best and has a lot to deliver for India. It’s one of those things and it can happen to anybody. I think the whole team looked jaded. They need to work out what’s the best for the players.
“All these things are unnecessary and we need not panic and rather we should try out different combinations and bring on new faces. We have a few problems in the bowling department. I’m disappointed with Jadeja; he had a poor IPL so he should have been given a break. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too did not look best. We also need to look for a good leg spinner in the team,” said More.
Former wicket-keeper Vijay Dahiya, on his part, said that there was no immediate need to change the leadership in the ODI format.
“No need to press the panic button. Any change in ODI captaincy I feel at the moment is uncalled for. Dhoni knows how to play according to situations. I would like Dhoni to continue as after retiring from Tests, he has enough time to concentrate on the other two formats and may be rework his strategies,” Dahiya said.