New Delhi, In the backdrop of Team India’s dismal show in two back-to-back overseas tours, former skipper Sourav Ganguly has suggested that M S Dhoni be dropped as a Test captain and retained to lead only ODI and T-20 teams. But Dada’s views were vehemently opposed by Kapil Dev as they participated in a discussion on Headlines Today’s flagship programme ‘Centrestage’.
“If Dhoni has to be captain of the Test team, he has to perform better. Look at his performance. He will not be picked for a Test team,” Ganguly said in reply to a pointed question by Executive Editor Rahul Kanwal. Rooting for Sehwag, he said,” Sehwag is a great Test cricketer and a certainty in Tests. See his record as a Test captain. Before Adelaide, he won all that he led. I don’t see Sehwag being dropped from Test matches,” a candid Ganguly said when asked whether India’s performance should lead to a churning in the team. “Sehwag is a great Test player and a certainty.” Sourav said it be wrong to judge Sehwag for his captaincy of Delhi Daredevils which has failed to make a splash in IPL so far.
To buttress his point about the Indian captain being a better one-day player, Sourav said,” Look at his performance in the tri-series. It was a different Dhoni.” But he went on to say,” India has lost too many Tests overseas, eight in a row. Is that not a sign enough for making changes?” In the same breath, the Prince of Kolkata though said Dhoni should be retained as skipper for One-Day and T-20 Teams. “If India has to move forward, selectors have to identify players for different formats of the game.”
As the debate raged on the eve of Indian team’s selection for the Asia Cup, Kapil Dev differed with Dada. “Dhoni has been one of the best captains in recent times and has achieved quit a bit as captain. He has been able to motivate the team which has won laurels.” In a strong counter to Sourav’s suggestion for making Sehwag Test captain, Kapil said: “Despite being a brilliant player, Sehwag has not given me an impression of being a motivator. It will be wrong to change Dhoni at this stage.” Countering Ganguly’s remarks on Dhoni’s performance in Tests, Kapil said,” Cricket has changed. What about the top players who failed to perform? Nobody is talking about their failures. It’s wrong to blame the captain.” Ganguly agreed that the rule needed to be applied to every one equally.
Both Ganguly and Kapil evaded pointed questions on who would be their choice as replacements in the Indian team. But Ganguly said players like Manoj Tiwary deserved a chance. “Non-performers need to go. Otherwise, how do you give opportunity to the likes of Tiwary?” Hailing Virat Kohli’s heroic knock at Hobart, Kapil said it should help the players develop self-belief in themselves.
Ganguly, however, said it had come “a bit too late in the series”. To a question, both said it would be too early to hand over captaincy to him. “He can be a good vice captain material to learn the tricks of the trade,” Kapil said.