Dhoni likely to lead Test side

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhoni3_ap.jpg' class='caption'> The national selectors will meet in Mohali today to name India's new Test cricket captain.

Updated: November 08, 2007 16:05 IST
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New Delhi:

The national selectors will meet in Mohali today to name India's new Test cricket captain.

There are strong indications that Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be handed the reins of the team in the longer version of the game as well. But it is going to be a tricky decision for the selectors.

The key question is -- How has Dhoni fared since being made the Indian Twenty20 captain and is he the best choice to assume the role of leader of the Indian cricket team in the longest format of the game?

Showing off the new face of Indian cricket, is Dhoni, who has taken less than three years since his debut to assume leadership of the Indian Twenty20 and ODI teams.

"I need 14 players who are ready to stand in front of a truck if I ask them to," said Dhoni.

The players too show obedience. "We are ready to do what he asks us to," said Robin Uthappa, Member, Indian Cricket Team. While Sreesanth adds, "He gives permission to react."

The T20 World Cup not just showcased Dhoni's fearless side, but also proved his mettle as a leader capable of gelling the team together as one cohesive unit.

Be it captaining three former India captains, the decision to pick Gautam Gambhir over Virender Sehwag for the first ODI against Pakistan or pushing himself up the order to mend a top order crisis, Dhoni is not scared of taking tough and on the spot decisions.

His captaincy record is slowly but surely shaping up. Dhoni has so far captained India in eight ODIs, leading his side to victory in three of them.

His Twenty20 record is no doubt a better one, where India won six of the nine matches played under him.

A dip in his batting got his detractors talking about him, feeling the pressure of captaincy. But the Guwahati's Man of the Match winning knock of 63 against arch rivals Pakistan put a cap on all that.

Now with Rahul Dravid having relinquished captaincy and Sachin Tendulkar having turned down the Test captaincy, Dhoni has top billing to be India's next Test captain as well.

But still some believe it is too much too soon. "Dhoni needs more test practice," said Ravi Shastri, Chairman, National Cricket Academy.

It is not just Ravi Shastri, but former India coach Greg Chappell too who feels the man with the new haircut needs at least another year of experience under his belt before being made Test captain.

So a huge dilemma for the selectors is to choose between youth and experience. All the answers will come up by Thursday evening.

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