MS Dhoni announced his retirement from Test match cricket following the series defeat in Australia. With one match to go it was a very surprising and ‘no muss no fuss’ end to Dhoni’s Test match career, one that suited his style well.
MS Dhoni captained India through a roller coaster of series’. His career began on a massive high with India winning eight of their first 11 Tests under his leadership. Dhoni went on to guide India to the become ICC no.1 ranked Test side, win the Champions Trophy, the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup. He was one of, if not THE most remarkable captain India have ever had.
Over the past six years, Dhoni has played a remarkable 398 international games (including IPL and Champions League). He has played 90 Test matches for India, scored 4876 runs and effected 294 dismissals. MS Dhoni had an incredible career and on top of all his achievements, he was attempting to transition a very young Indian side. During Dhoni’s reign, four of India’s greats retired, making his accomplishments look even more monumental.
When Dhoni retired, he handed over the torch to Virat Kohli. Kohli has been India’s star performer over the past few years, especially in ODIs where he has pulled India over the line on several occasions. During his captaincy of the first Test at Adelaide he scored two centuries and brought India within touching distance of a win. He is a fiery and hot-headed captain, the complete opposite of Dhoni which may be a good thing now there seems to be a slightly more settled side with the likes of Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane performing well.
However it is unfair to call Dhoni a defensive captain when he was trying to build an entirely new team without the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid. Especially when India had no solid pace attack, with Ishant Sharma bowling all over the place and Umesh Yadav plagued by injuries. Only recently has India’s bowling attack looked threatening enough to take 20 wickets abroad (though not including Steve Smith though who has been Australia’s lifeline as current leading run scorer for the series and currently averaging 145.25).
The fourth and final Test of the series will be a real Test for Kohli and Smith, Australia and India have a long history of smashing each other… only in their home series’. The last overseas win was by India in Perth and since then it has been 14-0 from 1 Tests to the home side. Over 10 years ago was the last time either of these teams won a series in the others’ home country. Australia under the leadership of Adam Gilchrist won the series 2-1 in India.
Without Mitchell Johnson playing the Sydney Test, and with their new aggressive captain, India have their best chance of breaking the streak before Australia are given another shot.