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27 May 2024

Dhoni gets vote of confidence from ex-skippers

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AFP)

By Reuters

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's offer to step aside as India captain if a "better" candidate can be found is a noble gesture given the team's woeful run of test form, but several former skippers believe the wicketkeeper remains the best man for the job.

Under Dhoni, India won the Twenty20 (2007) and 50-over (2011) World Cups and also became the top-ranked test team, prompting many observers to hail him the country's greatest ever leader.

In less than a year since India hit those heady heights, that assessment has been revised after India's eight consecutive overseas test defeats, seven under Dhoni, and some believe the side need a new captain in the longer format of the game.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, however, is not among them.

"Captain-bashing is a favourite pastime of cricket pundits in the Indian subcontinent and the media just loves it," Akram wrote in his column for


"I believe Dhoni is the best man to lead India and will remain so in the immediate future," wrote the former player, considered one of the greatest left-arm bowlers the game has seen.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar agreed.

"In my view, he is still the best bet," Gavaskar told NDTV channel, hailing Dhoni's announcement to pave way for a more suitable candidate after his team got blanked in Australia.

"Dhoni must have deeply felt it, the 4-0 loss. So what he wanted to say is that he is ready to play under a captain if the BCCI (India board) can get one, and that is exactly what you expect from a team man like him," Gavaskar added.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh also saw no logic in the demand to replace Dhoni.

"...there is no point in changing captains for the sake of it," Waugh wrote in a column that appeared in Wednesday's Times of India newspaper.

Especially if it meant entrusting swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag with the duty, as has been suggested in the Indian media.

"I don't think Sehwag has shown the inspiration, responsibility and form to assume the mantle right now, and truth be told, I'm disappointed with the way he has not shouldered his responsibility in the series," Waugh said.

With Dhoni serving a one-match ban because of the team's slow over rate in the previous test at Perth, Sehwag led India in the fourth and final test at Adelaide, where Australia won by 298 runs to complete the rout.

Akram too laughed off the suggestion.

"What did Sehwag do to salvage India's pride at Adelaide? I sometimes see streaks of {Pakistan all-rounder) Shahid Afridi in Sehwag. That dreadful propensity to self-destruct," he said.