In reply to Tom Alter on MS Dhoni: Let's not break the bond between Indian cricket and its lovers
Dear Tom Alter,
I know that you are sulking with reasons best known to you. But let me clear some cobwebs out of your brain.
You said, writing in your Firstpost column, that “two players left a series overseas and were branded as traitors”, but you didn’t tell that the circumstances were different then. Dhoni didn’t leave the series; he retired when the series was done and dusted with Australia taking an invincible lead.
Earlier instances of players leaving could have been to prove a point to others (read: selectors or captains), whereas Dhoni did it to prolong his ODI career that he loves the most.
Then, you say this: “Mahendra Singh Dhoni chooses to exit before he is removed – and with arrogance, such blind faith in his image”. What you call as arrogance is just a matter of respectfully retiring, which not many Indian greats have managed to do. But I guess you have a blind faith in the earlier pattern of dragging careers till fans start to question and players are forced to retire. It is always said that a player should retire when people ask why and not when. You seem to be a fan of when.
Your third point is about Dhoni being his “bosses’ favourite and his brand image” . For your information, he is people’s favourite first and had made his name long before his alleged proximity with N Srinivasan.
When Sachin Tendulkar retired last year, did he break any contract? When Anil Kumble retired during the middle of the series, did he break any contract? I didn’t see any scathing comments from you then. Why you were silent then? A player has his prerogative to decide when to retire. Of all the things he has done, least would he bother to go and ask some Tom Alter to decide about his retirement timing. So, please don’t suggest him when to retire and what to do.
And then you insinuate that one of the reasons Dhoni was at the helm for long was because he is loved by corporates. Kohli is equally loved by corporates. So, would you say that he has been named as captain because of it? You wouldn’t. They were chosen to lead because of their leadership qualities and great performances. You are free to believe otherwise.
When was the last time you watched cricket? You say that “Dhoni had not played any competitive cricket for two months before the second Test, and we take him back as both captain and player”. So, by your logic, should a captain be changed after every off-season of two months. I would really like to know from you when did that happen in the long history of the game. Answer would be never or maybe once or twice. So, why should that apply to Dhoni? Answer would be best known to you.
Equally laughable is your comment that now the country has become all about image building and history doesn’t matter. Let me tell you some history that you have chosen to forget. Dhoni won two World Cups, one Champions Trophy and made India No 1 side in Tests.
Yes, I know you would like to remind people of the overseas losses under his captaincy. But let me enlighten you why India didn’t win matches overseas and why it may lose the last one of the ongoing series, at Sydney, too. It’s because with such a pathetic bowling line-up, even combined captaincy brains of Imran Khan, Steve Waugh, and Sourav Ganguly would find it hard to win matches. If Dhoni was not a good captain, he would not have won in India too.
It’s not Dhoni who broke the sacred bond, but it’s you who are trying to break the bond between Indian cricket and its lovers by painting a very grim scenario just before the World Cup. Such a damning article without even thinking of how it affects a player’s morale tells us how much you love Indian cricket. In my opinion, it is not Dhoni, but you who should be banned – from writing further on cricket.
Get well soon Tom. I will still watch the first interview of Sachin Tendulkar that you took and love every moment of it.
From an Indian Cricket and Dhoni Fan
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The article was originally published here.