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Dhoni should step down and handover the captaincy to Virat Kohli
The Indian cricket team's tour down under is in doldrums. Defeat in a cricket match is nothing new, but the manner in which the Indian team was capitulated in the first four matches of the current series speaks volumes about the waywardness and cluelessness in the Indian cricket team.

South Africans are generally labeled as 'chokers' as they lose matches from winning positions more often than not. But they must be laughing seeing India lose from a position of 277/1 in 38 overs, needing 72 to win in 72 deliveries with 9 wickets in hand in the 4th  ODI at Canberra. India batted first in the first three matches and lost despite putting up 300 plus or close to 300 totals. The pundits blamed it on bowlers who could not defend such large totals.  But the 4th match, where India chased, exposed the frailty of the Indian team, not about capability, but about attitude.

Captain MS Dhoni, by far the most successful skipper for India ever, took the responsibility for the defeat. But that is not the end of the story. It gives a message that not everything is well in Indian dressing room.

So far the Indian team has scored 1215 runs in 4 matches, out of which Rohit and Virat have jointly scored 715 runs with two centuries each. Getting a century in international matches is a not an easy task. When not one but two centuries go in vain, one can understand the pain and agony Virat and Rohit must be undergoing. Adding to that the century of Dhawan in the 4th ODI also went in vain.

I cannot recall any previous series between any nations where five centuries by a team did not result in a single win in 4 matches.  

Dhoni led us to glory in 2008 T20 World cup and 2011 ODI world cup in addition to a Champions trophy crown. India rose to no. 1 in tests during his tenure, albeit for a short time. Whatever decision Dhoni took created miracles; be it the last over by Joginder Sharma against Pakistan in 2008 World T20 final or his promotion up the order against Sri Lanka in 2011 ODI world cup final. But everything has a 'use by' date. Dhoni's charisma is no exception to this rule. Of late his charisma is nowhere to be seen. Adding insult to injury, he has forgotten how to score runs. Retiring from test cricket did not help Dhoni either.  Of late his body language does not inspire any confidence in the team. So Captain Dhoni is much of a liability now rather than an asset.

Last year we lost in the semifinals of World cup, then toured Bangladesh only to lose 2-1 and then suffered 3-2 defeat to South Africa at home.  In addition South Africa beat India in T20 series as well by 2-0. But the trends reversed when Virat Kohli led India to a stupendous 3-0 win over South Africa in test series that followed the ODI series. While Dhoni's charisma is fading, Virat's charisma is showing results.

Dual captaincy across formats was very rare a decade ago. But of late many countries have different captains in different formats. India never had such a phenomenon till Dhoni retired from test cricket. Now we have two captains with more or less the same set of players. This gives rise to confusion and directly affects the attitude of players. It is therefore only prudent to make Virat as the captain of Indian team in all three formats. Dhoni can still play as a wicket keeper batsman till the time he is useful with the bat and behind the stumps.

With the current ODI series gone out of hand, the 5th match today at Sydney will only be of academic interest. Whether Australia end up with 5-0 or India salvage some pride by winning it and thus keep no. 2 position in ODIs, we will come to know.

What is important is the 3-match T20 series that follows the ODI series. The way Indian team is performing, a 3-0 whitewash in T20 series cannot be ruled out. With the world cup T20 scheduled to be played in India a month later, India cannot afford to lose matches like this. So the issue of captaincy should be sorted out quickly.

Virendra Sehwag once said, "It is not form that becomes bad, it is the time". Viru's statement is quite valid for Dhoni. His time has become bad and therefore he should step down keeping the team's interest in mind.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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