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Australia v India: Dhoni's captaincy under the microscope

December 07, 2014 12:35 IST
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- Dhoni reads limited over games like no other, but has struggled in the longer version

- Pressure of leading a team representing a country of 1.2 billion cricket fans, arguably the most difficult job in the game

Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Ravindra Jadeja

Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Ravindra Jadeja during a nets session. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Tours of Australia have traditionally been tests of character for visiting Indian cricketers and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will no doubt be put through the wringer when the four-Test series starts in Adelaide on Tuesday.

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Dhoni, having recovered from a thumb injury, joined his team mates on Saturday and is expected to lead them in Adelaide after the series was pushed back following the tragic death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes.

Virat Kohli had been in line to lead the team in the first Test but with the match being rescheduled Dhoni has had enough time to recover.

Dhoni took over the captaincy of the limited overs side in 2007 after Rahul Dravid cracked under the pressure of leading a team representing a country of 1.2 billion cricket fans, arguably the most difficult job in the game.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India speaks with coach Duncan Fletcher

Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India speaks with coach Duncan Fletcher during a nets session. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Under Dhoni's captaincy, India won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007 and the 50-over World Cup four years later and remained the top ranked Test team for a year and half in between.

But India's most successful captain has also presided over a series of dismal away performances. When India beat England at Lord's in July, it was their first away Test victory in over three years.

Dravid is among those who have vouched for Kohli's leadership qualities after the 26-year-old led India to a 5-0 ODI whitewash of Sri Lanka last month.

"I think he's (Kohli) got a good cricket brain," the former India captain told a cricket website. "He's spent quite a bit of time learning from Dhoni.

"If he can bat well in Test matches and have that certainty about himself as a player, then I have no doubt that he's the obvious candidate to take over from Dhoni once he's finished."

Dhoni reads limited over games like no other, but has struggled in the longer version where his usual pro-activeness deserted him and he would often wait for the game to change course rather than force the issue himself.

Arch-rivals Pakistan inflicted a morale-sapping 2-0 defeat on Australia in the United Arab Emirates in November, while the hosts are also fretting over the fitness of their own captain, Michael Clarke.

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Source: REUTERS
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