NEW DELHI (TIP): Former India skipper Rahul Dravid believes MS Dhoni, while still the best man to lead the country in Tests, needs to change the way he captains if he is to turn around India’s fortunes. Acknowledging the team’s poor run and the fact that the captain is under “enormous pressure”, Dravid wrote in his column for a website. “What it (a turnaround) will require from him (Dhoni) is a change in the way he captains, a recognition that he can’t do everything all the time, and the willingness to ask for and accept help.” Dravid believes there are no alternatives to Dhoni as Test captain, so he must give up the captaincy in T20s and pick and choose ODI assignments . “There’s a lot of talk of split captaincy these days. It won’t be a bad model for India to adopt, if only to keep Dhoni fresh as Test captain,” Dravid wrote. “Dhoni has got to recognize that he can’t continue to captain and play all the time, because it is making him stale. The pressure of international cricket is huge — it lends itself to a lot of fatigue — and Dhoni has been in the job a long time now. “To start with, Dhoni could easily give up the India T20 and Chennai Super Kings captaincies . He should certainly play ODIs and T20s for India, because he is invaluable to the side. Giving up a couple of captaincy roles might give him more time in the main India job and the freshness to keep doing it. “It would also give India an opportunity to perhaps give someone like (Virat) Kohli a chance to be T20 captain, break him into the job and see how he goes.
There is another option for Dhoni as well, which he has resorted to in the past: to miss the odd ODI series and prepare himself for the big competitions.” Dravid also says Dhoni must change his captaincy style to suit the changing requirements of the team. “He must also recognize that he needs to change a very successful leadership style — almost change direction — because the team is changing. ” Dravid suggests that unlike in the past, when he had experienced batsmen and bowlers to aid his “instinct” and “gut feel”, Dhoni must adopt a more hands-on approach to the Test captaincy. “He led on instinct and gut feel, and it worked brilliantly for him. Now Dhoni is captaining a team with young guys, who need more communication and guidance.
One of the criticisms directed at Dhoni has been that there is very little communication about plans and roles either. “He is not one for bowling plans and bowlers’ meetings. When you have senior bowlers like Zaheer, Kumble and Harbhajan, the captain need not worry about all that because the bowlers know what to do. The younger bowlers coming in now, like Ashwin and Ojha, need to know what the plan is…they need to discuss strategy and planning well before they go on to the field.” Given the series of overseas tours in the coming years, Dravid says, “I don’t think anybody expects him (Dhoni) to have great success in the immediate future. People recognize that this is a period of transition and that there are going to be tough days.
What they need to know, though, is that the way forward has been clearly mapped. If Dhoni wants to lead India, the job is going to demand a lot more energy and involvement. He is the man for it at the moment, if he can find that second wind.” On why there are no alternatives for Dhoni as Test skipper, Dravid says, “At one point we felt Gautam Gambhir could take over the job…yet what goes against him today is the fact that he has not scored too many Test runs in the last three years, and he averages under 32. Virat Kohli is the only other alternative leader, and he ticks the box of being an automatic selection in all three formats. Yet I believe it’s a little early for him.”