In an otherwise very successful tenure as Team India’s captain, MS Dhoni had endured a very brief unsuccessful phase right after he led India to glory in the 2011 World Cup. India had suffered crushing losses in Test series in England and Australia.
England thrashed India by 4-0 and replaced the MS Dhoni-led side as the number one ranked Test side. In Australia, the scoreline remained same as pressure increased on MS Dhoni. In fact, the selectors were so unhappy with the former India skipper that they wanted to sack him midway through the tour of Australia.
The selectors wanted to replace MS Dhoni as the ODI skipper before the tri-series in Australia. But MS Dhoni remained the captain and although he failed to guide the team to the final of the tri-series, he retained his position. He eventually stepped down at the start of 2017.
The man who saved MS Dhoni’s captaincy:
Former BCCI president N Srinivasan has revealed he was the man who asked the selectors to retain MS Dhoni as the ODI captain. Srinivasan’s comments came just a day after MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket. He was the BCCI president during that time.
“This was 2011. India had won the World Cup. And (then) in Australia, we didn’t do well in the Tests. So, one of the selectors wanted to remove him (Dhoni) as the ODI captain. The point is, how do you remove him as the ODI captain? He had won the World Cup (just a few months ago). They (selectors) had not even thought of who would be his replacement. There was a discussion and then (before the formal meeting) I said there was no way in which he would not be a player.
“In fact, it was a holiday. I was playing golf. I came back. Sanjay Jagdale was the (BCCI) secretary at that time and he said, ‘Sir, they (selectors) are refusing to choose the captain. They will take him (Dhoni) in the team’. I came and said MS Dhoni (would be the captain). I exercised all my authority as the (BCCI) president,” Srinivasan told The Indian Express.
Former India batsman Mohinder Amarnath, who was a member of the selection panel back then, had spoken about Srinivasan blocking the “unanimous decision” to sack Dhoni as captain. “The Board president did not approve the unanimous decision to replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” Amarnath told CNN-IBN in 2012.
As per the old BCCI constitution, team selections needed the Board president’s approval. Lodha reforms have empowered chief selector to take final call on selection matters.
Srinivasan then went on to defend his decision, saying that he didn’t see any logic in removing Dhoni from ODI captaincy based on the team’s results in Tests.
“See, there was apparently some prejudice somewhere, which reflected. He (Dhoni) has won the World Cup for you. After 1983, India won it again and you say, ‘I don’t want him to be the ODI captain’! Left to them (selectors), they might have (dropped him as a player). I don’t know. I think that was the most unfair (move) and I am glad that I stood my ground,” Srinivasan said.
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