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A timely abdication

A timely abdication
Highlights

The Men in Blue dressing room will never be the same again. Irrespective of how one views the bolt from the blue delivered by India’s most successful and decorated cricket captain, what makes it clear is that true to his trademark ‘close to the heart’ mindset, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has displayed his maturity of thought while reading the writing on the wall. 

The Men in Blue dressing room will never be the same again. Irrespective of how one views the bolt from the blue delivered by India’s most successful and decorated cricket captain, what makes it clear is that true to his trademark ‘close to the heart’ mindset, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has displayed his maturity of thought while reading the writing on the wall.

It is quite certain that he read between the lines and saw through the body-language of both the administrators and the current crop of players. Heart in heart, he knew that the message was troublesome, because despite his exalted position, there is this gathering storm within the circles, which was strongly in favour of having a full-time captain for all three formats of the game.

That is the unkindest cut that he had to reckon with, the ‘shocked’ reactions of the big guns since his dramatic announcement, notwithstanding.

Now that Dhoni has made it clear that he would only be available as a player, the selectors must have heaved a sigh of relief if not for anything at least for ensuring that the coronation of Virat Kohli would be a smooth affair.

What delayed the inevitable was in addressing the Captain Col factor and ensuring a smoother transition. For all his achievements and exploits as a Test captain, Kohli still needs the experience Dhoni brings along in the slam-bang variety.

Ironically, it will be a new experience for Dhoni when he takes to the field on January 15 in the first game of the ODI series against England. It is perhaps the first time since succeeding Rahul Dravid at the helm of affairs that he will be a member of the playing eleven and not one marshalling the recourses. His usefulness as a player has been exemplified by MSK Prasad, Chairman of the national selection committee, who contended: "As a wicketkeeper-batsman, he can still make an invaluable contribution to the team's cause."

It perhaps comes as a genuine consideration for Dhoni but the captain who took India to the pinnacle of glory in all formats needs to be guarded and cautious in his approach. May silently wish that Kohli comes out of Dhoni’s shadow, once and for all.

Moreover with the likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik captalising on the few opportunities that have come their way, it implies that given the quest to have a new-look and all-youthful blend under Kohli, Dhoni may find it difficult to retain his spot if he fails to maintain a high degree of consistency. The ‘elders,’ who are now praising Dhoni, will be first to gun for his head if he fails to perform.

Erudition ought to have been in his quitting the game before he is shown the door. Even Kapil Dev was subject to a such a humiliating exit. Meanwhile, grapevine has it that Dhoni’s resignation coming when there are vacancies one too many in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is more than a mere coincidence.

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