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Dhoni doesn't warrant a guaranteed Test spot

By Ian Chappell
Tuesday, January 17, 2022

In sport, there are losses and shattering defeats; India suffered the latter at the WACA and it should prompt some dramatic action. Instead of overseeing a gradual regeneration process over the last couple of years, the selection panel is now faced with a complete overhaul. In fact, if Indian cricket is going to be completely honest, the overhaul needs to start with the selection panel itself. They have outlived their usefulness.

The first thing the BCCI need to unearth is a strong chairman who will take tough decisions.

The only good news to come from the WACA after two-and-a-half days of total capitulation was the form of Umesh Yadav and Virat Kohli, two of the younger members of this shattered team. This should be a vital clue to a new chairman; invest in youth.

The trouble is, he'll be forced to invest in youth without a lot of experience to guide them through rough times. If tough decisions had been taken when they should've, players like Kohli, Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin would now be cricketers with a few Tests under their belt, capable of guiding the new members about the pitfalls of the long version of the game.

Time to look for new captain

The other major problem a new selection panel will face is finding a new captain from beneath the wreckage. MS Dhoni is no longer the answer in Test cricket.

He has failed dismally to rally the troops in two disastrous overseas campaigns and his suspension from the Adelaide Test is almost a blessing in disguise. His own form, not just with the gloves but also with the bat no longer warrants a guaranteed place in the Test side and Wriddhiman Saha has a glorious opportunity to make a big impression in the fourth Test.

As for finding a new Test captain, there are no obvious choices from those players who are likely to remain.

Virender Sehwag is tactically good but his method of playing is not one designed to set a good example to younger players. He's also likely to find it more and more difficult to replicate his outrageous onslaughts on overseas tours as he ages.

Pick players who can succeed overseas 

Gautam Gambhir may have been looked upon as a potential captain but his method of poking at balls outside the off-stump is not designed to succeed on overseas pitches. This is the dilemma the selectors face; they have to find players who are likely to have success outside India if they want to produce a team that will be competitive wherever it travels.

Twelve months ago, India's current tormentors found themselves in an identical situation; Australia had been shattered by a comprehensive loss to England and the road back appeared to be long and steep.

Australia's comparatively quick regeneration has been based around a strong pace attack and Michael Clarke's positive leadership.

This is the quickest way for India to bounce back from the two abysmal overseas tours.

The bowlers are crucial because the hardest part of winning Test matches is taking 20 wickets but the leather flingers can't do it on their own; they need to be backed by a proactive skipper and sure-handed and athletic fielders.

There's not a lot India can do for Adelaide in the way of starting the regenerating process, as they are restricted to choosing from the tour squad.

However, it would be a step in the right direction if they fought Australia tooth and nail at the Adelaide Oval instead of totally capitulating as they did at the WACA.

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