'Dhoni's captaincy not up to the mark'

Former England captain Mike Brearley, one of the sharpest cricketing minds to have played the game, reckons that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy and wicket-keeping is not up to Test standard.

Brearley, writing in his column for ‘The Times’, said India have been a disappointment in the Test series even though their bowling has throughout been energetic and often skillful.

“In three of the past four Tests, including the one at Lord’s won by India, the pitches have been designed to suit England, and to test India’s batsmen, but much of the rest of their play, including slip fielding, has been, for the last three matches, poor,” the former England skipper said.

“Dhoni has batted with skill and courage, standing out above the rest. He seems able in his batting and in his captaincy to put much of the past behind him, and to avoid touchy or petulant reactions,” Brearley said. “But his wicketkeeping is not up to Test standard. Nor, I think is his captaincy,” he said.

Brearley also slammed India’s selection vagaries, saying the team has not seemed able to make sane and consistent judgments about the value of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Stuart Binny. “Binny played in three Tests, was clearly not rated by his captain as a bowler and cut a sad and solitary figure on the field,” he said. Terming Jadeja as a “poor man’s Monty Panesar”, Brearley said Ashwin was a better bowler and not only brought some skill as an attacking spinner but is also one of India’s more effective batsmen.

Brearley was sympathetic towards the Indian batsmen who he felt were up against some quality bowling on the “grassiest set of pitches” he could remember.

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