So the test career is over.
No fanfare, no trumpets. No mess, no fuss. To our simple minds, this is just a practical decision from a practical man (or is there something murkier going on behind the scenes?).
We haven’t been particularly happy with Dhoni’s test captaincy in the past. However, rather than dwell on his ultra defensive tactics, his ugly-yet-effective style of batting or his general lack of interest in the test game, we’ve chosen instead to focus on our favourite test match memories of him:
1. Requesting Dada to captain the last few overs against Australia and asking Kumble to lift the Border Gavankar Trophy along with him in 2008: both lovely gestures from a man that showed little emotion.
2. When India became No.1 in test matches, a lesser man would have taken all the credit. Instead, Dhoni chose to highlight the contribution of all his predecessors calling it a journey that began under the others. Dhoni was his own man, he wasn’t insecure about his captaincy.
3. We remember his first test hundred (148 v Pakistan at Faisalabad) with fondness, knowing it was a featherbed where India would have eventually saved the game anyway. His 224 against Australia was a different class though. His captaincy was being questioned before the series. India were struggling in the first test. Dhoni decided to come out all guns blazing and launched a murderous assault in Bhuvi’s company. The result – a record score by an Indian wicket keeper which set up the 4-0 series win over Australia.
4. Reinstating Ian Bell after his ridiculous performance at Trent Bridge. Not many would have brought Bell back. Dhoni showed courage and more importantly in today’s times, an old-fashioned decency. Unlikely to happen in Virat’s reign.
Speaking of which, Viral takes over the test captaincy in Sydney. Surely, this is a step in the right direction but if the double-declaration in Adelaide is anything to go by, we’re not sure this change in captaincy will cure what ails Indian test cricket. Let’s wait and watch.
And yes, we’ll miss Dhoni’s ridiculous press conferences where one team mate supposedly stabs another. We really do hope Virat takes a leaf out of his book while dealing with the media.
With 27 wins (21 at home, 6 overseas), India’s most successful test captain walks into the long-form sunset.
We wish him well on the rest of his (limited overs) journey!