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Will Dhoni give up Test team captaincy?

Last updated on: August 18, 2014 16:07 IST

Will Dhoni give up Test team captaincy?

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni is keeping his fans and critics guessing over his future as captain of India's Test team.

On Sunday, gave an open-ended reply to a query over his readiness to quit the captaincy after another Test debacle on foreign soil, having lost the series 1-3 to England at the Oval in London.

"You will have to wait and watch to find out whether I am strong enough to cope with this loss or not,” Dhoni said, when asked if he was mulling over his role as the team’s leader.

Asked if he had done enough as India’s captain, Dhoni gave a curt one-line reply.

"May be, yes!"

Of later, questions have been raised over Dhoni’s performance as skipper.  

Despite being the side's best batsman in the Manchester and Oval Tests, the Ranchi batsman has come under scrutiny for his captaincy.

- Coverage: India's tour of England

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Image: India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters

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'Whatever strategies I have learnt in that series I tried to implement in this series'

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India lost 8-0 in 2011 in England and Australia, and now in 2013-14 they lost consecutive series in South Africa, New Zealand and in England again.

The question, though, remains if the team management has taken any lessons from the 2011 debacle, when they lost 4-0 in England.

"The team has changed completely from back then," said Dhoni.

"Whatever strategies I have learnt in that series I tried to implement in this series. As a skipper, when you try to manipulate the field you need to see the strengths of the fast bowlers. Our bowlers are different from English bowlers, who keep hitting the same areas.

"They might be a bit boring, but once they get that chance they start attacking you. We have not put enough runs on the board and you may have spent 30 or 40 minutes, but when you look at the board there wouldn't be many runs."

It again comes back to India's batsmen not doing the job and not supporting the bowlers enough by putting runs on the board.

One of the reasons could be that this young lot had never played a five-Test series earlier.

- Coverage: India's tour of England

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Image: Mahendra Dhoni looks on after India lost to England, on Day 3 of the fifth Investec Test on Sunday
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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'Failure of openers kept exposing our number three batsman'

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But after his batsmen failed in five consecutive innings, he did not mince words while assessing the poor show in the last three Tests.

"It's a reflection of the batting order that has not done well. Murali Vijay has done well, but right from the first Test we have not been able to get a good opening partnership,” Dhoni said of his batsmen.

“Cheteshwar Pujara had to come to the middle early, in the third or fourth over itself, because of that in every innings. It kept exposing our number three batsman, and Virat Kohli went through a lean patch," Dhoni added, as he assessed the performance of his batsmen.

He said that once a team plays with six batsmen, it gets difficult if one loses too many wickets upfront.

"If you are playing with six batsmen, including the keeper, it makes it a bit tough if you lose that many wickets upfront. When the lower order scored runs we made 300-plus totals and once they too got out cheaply then we struggled to put runs on the board," he said.

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara is bowled by Stuart Broad
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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'Bhuvneshwar was a bit tired by the fifth Test'

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Dhoni made no bones about the fact that lack of resistance was very disappointing.

"Yes, we are disappointed that we couldn't offer any fight in the last three Test matches. Hopefully, the batsmen will take positives out of this defeat when they come back here (England). All of them are young and good enough to come back here, and do better," he added.

He, however, had good words for his bowlers.

"It was a long series, yes. After the second or third Test I realised that it is important to give rest to the bowlers. Ishant Sharma got a break because he got injured," he said, adding that Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was adjudged India's 'Player of the Series', was tired by the end of the series.

"Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the only one who played, and if you see his bowling in the first Test, and compared to the last Test, definitely, he was a bit tired. But, at the same time, we never really had anyone who could replace him.

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Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar celebrates dismissing England batsman Gary Ballance at Lord's
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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'Once the batting began to slide a bit it became tough for the bowlers'

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"We tried Pankaj Singh in place of Ishant and Mohammad Shami made way for Varun Aaron, who had more pace to show for."

Dhoni said that once the batting form deteriorated, it became difficult for the bowlers to keep India in the game.

"I think everybody was eager to keep performing because overseas performance means a lot. But once the batting began to slide a bit it became tough for the bowlers to cope up, because not many of them have played more than 15 or 20 Test matches, and maybe 8 or 10 outside the sub-continent.

"The last two Test series were of two matches and not many of them have played five-match series. But when it came to eagerness and preparation they were right up there," he said.


Image: India's players look on during the presentation after losing the fifth cricket Test match and the series against England at the Oval cricket ground in London on Sunday
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters

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