This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Annesha Ghosh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Dhoni Is Far From Finished”: Why We Shouldn’t Blame India’s ODI Loss On Him

More from Annesha Ghosh

By Annesha Ghosh:

After a 3-2 defeat to South Africa in the One-Day International series, courtesy a scintillating batting performance by the Proteas in the decider at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday (25th October, 2015), critics are expected to unleash their swords, yet again, on India’s limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for everything that hasn’t gone right for the team so far.

Image source: WordPress
Image source: WordPress

What was touted to be a cracker of a finale, turned out to be a one-sided show of supremacy, abetted by some exceedingly ordinary bowling and sloppy fielding on the part of the Men in Blue. In the post-match press conference yesterday, a visibly unhappy Dhoni expressed his disappointment at the inconsistent runs of form put on display by his frontline pace bowlers throughout the course of the 5-match ODI series.”If you see any other nation, Test or ODI, the fast bowlers come and in one or two years, they graduate to the next level. They become their striker bowler. They know their strength and bowl according to it. We aren’t able to do that. Once you put in a lot of effort in an individual and if he doesn’t come good, then again a vacuum gets created where you are forced to look for individuals,” rued the Indian skipper.

Apart from lack of consistency amongst his available resources, particularly in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma, Dhoni’s woes as a captain have been compounded by injuries picked up by some of his most bankable players. While Mohammed Shami had to be ruled out much before the start of the series, a painful side-strain sustained by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin — arguably India’s best bowler across all formats this year- during his second spell in the Kanpur ODI, further reduced Dhoni’s options, robbing the bowling attack of the little teeth it possessed.

In the run-up to the ODI series, much was talked about if Dhoni should promote himself up the order, given the element unreliability surrounding the middle-order that is now beginning to gather more currency in the mindspace of the followers of the game with each passing fixture. Following his innings of 92 not out that guided India to a 22-run victory in the second ODI at Indore, a seemingly relieved Dhoni had articulated this concern at the press conference: “Once I left Tests I thought now I want to enjoy my ODI cricket. I want to bat up the order but when I see my team, I find it very difficult to just promote myself. Who is going to bat at No 5, 6 and 7? I find it very difficult to put pressure on some of the youngsters in the team. After playing so many ODIs, if I can’t do it, then there are not many in the team who would do it. It’s something that I have to do.”

Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina’s abysmal form, coupled with a general lack of consistency in the performances of star batsmen Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Virat Kohli ensured that the South-African bowlers could guide their team to a measly 5-run and 18-run victories in closely-contested games. Given that 5 out of 6 top and middle order batsmen in the Indian line-up have averaged under 50, as opposed to a 65-plus average by the South African trinity of de Kock, du Plessis and de Villiers, it would be incorrect to train the guns at the Indian captain on account of the generic unsatisfactory batting performance by the team and pin all the blame on him, now that the series has been concluded.

After the 2-1 series loss to Bangladesh earlier this year, and now, with the T20 and ODI series defeat at the hands of the mighty Proteas are far from being a purple patch for one of the finest finishers in world cricket and India’s most successful captain. Dhoni is far from finished.

Even when detractors came out all guns blazing at the 34-year old skipper, with former cricketer Ajit Agarkar insinuating that Dhoni has increasingly become “a liability” for the team and going on to question his place on the side following the T20 series defeat, Dhoni, staying true to his style, chose to let his bat do all the talking.

In what was panning out to be a collective catastrophe fuelled by the failure of the top-order in the Kanpur ODI, Dhoni’s aggressive, unbeaten knock of 92 gave India something to play for and subsequently helped register their first win ever since their first encounter against the visitors on October 2 in the Mahatma Gandhi- Nelson Mandela Freedom Series.

As has been the congenital propensity of the larger lot of Indian cricket fanatics, one may expect the whole of India to go for Dhoni’s blood one morning and yet the minute he plays a match-winning innings, he’s showered with praises galore. In an international career spanning more than 10 years, with over 12,000 runs to his credit, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has become an old hand in this game of bouquets and brickbats. Judging the merit of the man and the amount of cricket left in him solely by his recent run of performances can, therefore, by no means do justice to the contribution of the player and captain who has, in the past, led Indian cricket to the pinnacle of glory, winning the inaugural World t20 in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup; guided the team to the semi-final of the 2015 edition Down Under and also triumphed in the Champions Trophy in 2013.

Even as he begins to embark on his journey into the sunset, safeguarding the team’s interests bit by bit, one can expect Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue answering his critics in his trademark fashion, breathing fire with his willow and taking the fight to the opposition, every time he walks out onto the cricket field.

You must be to comment.
  1. Avinesh Saini

    Kanpur ODI was won by the spinners. Dhoni was part of the reason India lost the first ODI.
    But it is the lack of bowling resources that need to be blamed.

More from Annesha Ghosh

Similar Posts

By Namrata Vijay

By shakeel ahmad

By Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below