Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led his team to World Cup triumphs in all forms of cricket. His ability as a leader though is far from being perfect, according to former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.
Known for his attacking and innovative cricket, Dhoni has been widely regarded as one of the best captains in cricket today. Ponting though feels the Indian skipper has failed the ultimate test - winning consistently in alien conditions. "In ODIs and the matches held at home, he is happy to put fielders at boundaries and waits for the batsman to make mistakes with the support of the pitches which helps his set of bowlers. But these things don't work in away tours," the former Aussie player was quoted as saying in an IANS report. "Especially in Test matches, in places like Australia, England, you need to build the pressure from the beginning and don't allow the game to continue. You not only need to restrict the flow of runs but also pick up wickets. So, it becomes troublesome for him."
The Indian team is scheduled to play a full-fledged tour Down Under from December 4. With World Cup in February, the team will hope to fine-tune their strategies. The four Tests though would be a big challenge for Dhoni, feels another Australian legend - Steve Waugh. "In the five-day game, Dhoni looks jaded and worn out. Seriously, for Tests, India should start grooming Kohli and other guys to take over from him," he said.
Waugh though appreciated Dhoni for achieving greatness in ODIs and T20Is despite a busy calendar each year. "He is a highly competitive guy and handles the pressures in One-Day Internationals (ODI) and Twenty20 Internationals really nicely. But the Tests are a different ball game."
Former Australian captain Allan Border echoed Waugh's thoughts and said Dhoni needs to improve as a leader in Tests. "I don't have any doubts about his commitment for the Test match. He is a very competitive guy. Also, he is leading India in all forms of cricket which is a huge task. But in these circumstances, the seniors of the team must contribute to the thinking part," he said.
Border, Waugh and Ponting led the Aussies to World Cup triumphs as captains. While Dhoni has done the same for India, the three Australians feel Tests abroad will continue to be the biggest challenge for Indian cricket's braveheart.