India's tour to England just ended and what a disastrous summer it was. The Men in Blue captained by the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni failed to win a single match on tour (warm up matches are not included) and returned home empty-handed. With nine injuries on tour, the Indian team became successively depleted in resources and morale. It was almost like a second-string Indian team with no heart.
MS Dhoni was the man with the Midas Touch. It was always an increasing success curve for India's poster boy. His first claim to fame was India winning the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007. He announced the arrival of a new leader on the cricket map. Soon, he became the ODI Captain and subsequently the Test skipper. Under him, the Indian Cricket Team showed a remarkable streak of consistency, something which was missing all these years. The Indians won matches with amazing regularity. His success reached greater heights and people were left to wonder how much more he could grow. In the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008, he led Chennai Super Kings to the final. However, in the third edition, in 2010, he led the Chennai Super Kings to their first IPL victory. Subsequently, the team emerged victorious even in the Champions League Twenty20 2010. Even on national duty, India defeated a series of teams both home and away. They became the No. 1 Test side and retained the place for more than a year before the English horror.
Undoubtedly, the pinnacle of his achievement was India's victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He ably motivated a team with an excellent mix of youth and experience and led the team to the zenith. He was praised for his cool-headed way of looking at things. MS Dhoni never lost his composure even in the tensest of situations. He was one man who could never be flustered. It was if Dhoni could never put a foot wrong. He even figured in the "Time 100 2011" List, a list of the 100 most influential people.
Nevertheless, all good things come to an end, don't they? And the English summer tour which just concluded showed how a success story can come crashing down. India failed to win a single match on tour. They were affected by a spate of injuries (9 in all) and the hurried replacements sent in were not match fit to say the least. It was a collective failure in all departments and by the end of the tour, the body language of the Indians said it all. Even Dhoni's motivation couldn't pump up the team.
The tour has brought Dhoni a lot of negative repute. However, I feel that Dhoni is not much to blame in this. The team lacked sufficient bench strength and the whole board of selectors should take collective responsibility for not properly grooming a good reserve set of players. Look at the Australian side which dominated world cricket for a decade and a half. That team had excellent reserves. Even if a few players were injured, the team always looked threatening as always. This is what lacked in the team. The absence of a genuine all-rounder too was genuinely felt. And, for the first time, MSD looked so grim and devoid of life in the press conferences. This terrible tour has surely taken a toll on him.
But don't lose hope! Captain Cool has the uncanny knack of turning things around when they are at their worst. He sees the silver lining in the clouds and the light at the end of the tunnel. He will surely use the upcoming tournament, Champions League Twenty20 to prove all his critics wrong. Who knows, we might just see the Chennai Super Kings win the tournament for the second consecutive time!
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one man you can never write off and the next time he dons India's colors, be sure to except a blitzkrieg from a resurgent Indian side. Leave your thoughts below and let me know.