Dhoni needs to take risks: Dravid

Batting great backs skipper to continue; Crowe wants Kohli to lead in Tests

Dhoni needs to take risks: Dravid

Former captain Rahul Dravid has backed the underfire Mahendra Singh Dhoni to stay on as Test skipper for at least a year but added that he would need to take a “few risks” to win abroad.

“I think he’s got to realise this very quickly, that if he wants to win Test matches abroad, he’s got to risk it all. He’s got to take that chance that he’s going to have to lose some Test matches. The only way you can win abroad is to take a few risks, take a few gambles,” Dravid said.

Dravid said that Dhoni’s captaincy has been defensive in critical situations and felt he doesn’t trust his bowling attack enough. “I think he (Dhoni) doesn’t trust his bowling attack as much as I think he should. I saw that even in the Test match in Durban, where he didn’t take the new ball till 146 overs. In fact, he was forced to take the new ball.

“He sort of didn’t trust his fast bowlers to be able to take wickets. He kept playing with the older ball because he wanted to control the runs. So I think that is a slightly defensive mindset that he’s got into,” the batting great told ESPNcricinfo. 

Away from home, Dhoni has captained India in 23 Tests, of which they have won five, lost 11 and drawn seven, and asked if the selectors should continue with him, Dravid replied in positive. “In Tests, I always saw these four Test (tours) as Dhoni’s opportunity to redeem what has been a pretty poor overseas record for him. He’s achieved everything else. He’s won one-day tournaments, he’s won a World Cup, Champions Trophy, he’s taken India to No 1, he has a great record in India, (he) just hasn’t had the results outside of India.

“And I think he deserves the right, the chance to play out this year, and assess it at the end of Australian series. End of that series, we’ll really know where Indian cricket stands and where Dhoni stands, both as a player and as a captain. Luckily, in some ways, we’ve got Virat Kohli, who’s playing beautifully, so it’s not that you don’t have somebody waiting in the wings.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s former skipper Martin Crowe feels India’s chances of defending the title at next year’s 50-over World Cup could improve if Mahendra Singh Dhoni hands over the Test captaincy to Virat Kohli.

“I would say that if India want to defend the next World Cup, I think MS Dhoni needs a rest somewhere, at some point, not necessarily from playing, but maybe it could be by not captaining the Test side for a period leading into the World Cup, to refresh him so that he can hit the ground running for that World Cup. So there’s a couple of things to ponder there,” Crowe said.

However, Crowe called Dhoni an “incredible” player. “I think he’s an absolutely gifted player, a marvel at times, given all the formats that he plays, but I do wonder sometimes about how he regards Test cricket. Just a point that I’d like to throw in there. Overall, MS Dhoni is an incredible cricketer, and I think that the main fact is that he probably can’t keep doing every format from here on in.”

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