Dhoni is the best captain but not the Greatest

Dhoni keeping the wickets
Image by pulkitsinha via Flickr

Yes he is Period.The stats say is all – 2007 T20 WC victory, #1 Test status and now prestigious WC in 2011. No one else has done it in the past. He is the first one to do it. Dhoni is the best captain India has ever had; but he is not the greatest. He needs to prove himself. This is just the beginning.

But my debate does not end here – the question that everyone really wants to ask is “Why is Dhoni the best captain?” Many don’t want to get into this debate even. Some are avid fans and others don’t know how to think and rationalize. I can understand the fan because that’s what passion is all about. But either ways if a ration debate happens it will become clear that what Dhoni does is pure luck. Don’t get me wrong, I love this man and respect him for his results but not his ways. But, why he is the best captain has many things behind it than a simple fact:

  1. He has the best team ever that India has played in cricket. I cant recall a time when India had a strong bench in every department – bowling , batting, fielding, all-rounders. This is the period when we have bench in every department and people who are capable of replacing one another.
  2. Australia saw some major retirements in last few years – Gilly, Hayden and may more. Pointing is not playing well. But Australia is no longer invincible. Everyone is beating them left-right and center. England beat them in Ashes in Australia. Why is Dhoni great? If this logic applies, every captain should be a great captain because Australia is no longer in shambles.
  3. We played in SA and lost 3-2. What did he do? Nothing. because he could do nothing. We do not perform well in foreign pitches and we did fail again. In last 4 years we have played more matches at home than abroad. Last 2 T20 WCs we did pathetic – why because they were not played in India. What has Dhoni did to improve the team to play well abroad. Nothing. Where is his foresight and captaincy.

Now lets look at the decisions he made in the WC and lets understand the rationale behind it

  1. Bring Piyush Chawla in the squad when he was not performing. We had 2 spinners with same spin type who were performing better. Eventually the next series after WC Piyush has been dropped and others come in. Then during the WC campaign, Dhoni quoted – “I am playing Chawla because he needs the match more than the team”. With Ashwin going into the SA without any match practice – is that a rational decision. Not but Ashwin did great and it was his capability and Dhoni’s luck. Remeber Chawla never played another match after that. Why did he need another game?
  2. He brought in Sree in finals quoting – “Sree is lucky for us. We won T20 WC with him on the team”. I need not say more
  3. Yuvi was in the squad for his vintage. yuvi was in no form for a WC squad and there were players sitting on bench in much better form. Where was his captaincy to call out lets sit Yuvi out (if not for the WC at least a match or two). But, he went with what was safe and took a chance. Yuvi was man of the series; lucky for Dhoni. But not a rational decision.

I am happy that all is going well for India and I am happy for it. But, please stop propagating how “Great” Dhoni is. He is damn lucky and I am glad for it.Dhoni is where Tendulkar was in 1996 just starting to prove himself. He has at least 12 more years to go to show what he can do for India. Ponting did it for Australis over a long period and it is just getting started for Captain Cool. But it is a long road and I wish he does well and starts to do what makes sense; eventually luck will run out – Sachin, Yuvi will retire; Zaheer and Bhajji will loose their speed and turn. I would like to see what he does to prepare the team for that day. If we make Dhoni the captain of Bangladesh team he wont do that good, but he can be greatest given what he does around him with a sub-optimal team. Time will test him when great guns retire and it is then he has to come on top. It is then the luck will expire and leadership will come out.

Published by

Kapil Viren Ahuja

Christened Kapil Ahuja at birth, I took my middle name in year 2001 (dont ask why) I am Kapil Viren Ahuja who is a "Son to Narendera and Saroj", "Brother to Aparna and Manisha (Neelu)", "Husband to Preeti" and "Dad to Aabhya". Who is Kapil? Christened Kapil Ahuja at birth, I took my middle name in year 2001 (dont ask why) I am Kapil Viren Ahuja who is a ~ Son to Narendera and Saroj ~ Brother to Aparna and Manisha (Neelu) ~ Husband to Preeti ~ Dad to Aabhya My family defines most of who I am. But, I am not just that. I am also a Technical Evangelist at heart working in IT industry for last 10 years.

10 thoughts on “Dhoni is the best captain but not the Greatest”

  1. Well, normally i don’t prefer to get into such debates… we are winning games and that brings people together in our country, which is the best thing about it. And if we are winning under Dhoni’s captaincy, I will say he is great, he is good….and if tomorrow some other person brings similar kind of joy and togetherness i will love him/ her for the same reasons….no need to debate on it….totally uncalled for…


  2. hey kapil,

    “He brought in Sree in finals quoting – “Sree is lucky for us. We won T20 WC with him on the team”. I need not say more” ??

    i know you’re upset with those who are blindly praising dhoni…. but.. don’t let it bias your mind to this extent.

    there is a difference between quotes given to the media in jest… and cricketing logic.

    whatever his reason for bringing in sree.. it was certainly not luck. i’m sure you know that too.

    anyway, it is a good and different angle which your article presents.



    1. Hi Ankur – you are right to an extent. But, a captain of a national team says something on TV or to media, that has to mean something. How can he be a leader when he makes such comments and that too in a World-cup captain. It is just so mis-leading and upsetting.


      1. 🙂 i think you’re taking things too seriously. i can understand if you find faults in his on field judgements… but simply picking up a line from the entire media session… and then basing your view point on it does not make sense. it may appear as if you want to sensationalize your article.

        i feel he handles the media quite well.

        anyway, it’s just my opinion… and you should continue to keep yours… otherwise the world will just appear white.. a boring white without a speck of grey or black.




  3. Hahaha, very funny dude, leaving yuvi is really foooooooooolish thing, if at all, according to u, leaving a player whoz not in form is gud, then u will not have even a player in the dressing room, & the FAITH on YUVI(who is a legendary player who plays for the TEAM INDIA) by DHONI is the thing which made difference, & those small differences made us CHAMPIONS, as any other INDIAN CAPTAIN(till now) didn’t have the ability to READ the CURRENT SITUATION & use those AVAILABLE RESOURCES to BRING those small differences MADE HIM, THE BEST CAPTAIN…… & simple thing, DO U BELIEVE THAT, we had a stronger TEAM in 2011 WC squad than a team of 2007?????, if so, none can discuss anythng, & u may not remember that 2007 T20 WC cup took place in SA, & COMMON WEALTH BANK SERIES took place in AUSTRALIA, & CSK gng to atlest semis in every IPL, & CSK didn’t have THE BEST PLAYERS, rather DHONI brought the BEST out of the GUD PLAYERS,….. & BROTHER, he became BEST as he brought MANY GR8 wins for TEAM INDIA, not because of WINNING 100 %(u have mistaken him), in fact NO ONE brought more WINS than DHONI, & thus he became BEST….. u should count NO OF WC WINS, nit the LOSES, because history counts only that,… & thus he became BEST….. & i’m getting sleep, if i continue to say examples like these it will take some days….. so, gd n8 😛 😛


    1. My friend – you should read the post which breaks up the how India reached #1 in tests (https://bizarreprodigy.com/2011/05/26/deep-dive-indias-route-to-test1/). It may just surprise you.

      As much as I am happy to see India win WC, I am totally dis-appointed to see India still fail overseas. We as a team have been always good in subcontinent and Dhoni did nothing additional to create that difference.

      In his reign (i dont know if by planning or by chance) we played way too much cricket at home. Out first visit to England after WC saw up drop to #3 or #5 (i dont remember exactly at this moment).

      I believe that Leaders are not who can produce wins who can do something different – Dhoni did nothing additional. I will not hesitate to grant him “The best captain for India” – but he has done nothing to be “The Great”. Just concluded CLT20 and England series just goes to show that he crumbled in pressure and had no answers.

      It is now that I am waiting for him to bounce back. It is now that Dhoni is to be tested (http://blog.kapilvirenahuja.com/2011/08/28/india-oscilates-number-3/).

      It is just that we all look at our team as a fan not as a critic.


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