Melbourne: Ever since he was named captain of the Indian team, MS Dhoni has been viewed as the man with the golden touch, but if recent Test matches are anything to go by, then the Indian captain is not only struggling with the bat but with his strategies too. Therefore, Captain Cool is facing a lot of heat from cricket experts.
Like any other batsman, Michael Hussey was too anxious to score his first run on Day 3 of the first Test, but his job was made easy by Dhoni. A backward point and a deep backward square leg meant Hussey was allowed to take an easy single. But he is a middle-order batsman.
Of late, India have become generous to the tailenders as well. And that has cricket experts criticising the team and the captain. Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody said: "I can't understand how they can give easy singles to number 10 and 11."
Ian Chappell went to say: "This is absolutely a blueprint on how to lose a Test match."
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly too made his opinion clear. "MS Dhoni has been indifferent this morning.. saw him do similar things in England and India lost 4-0," he said.
No wonder then, 2011 has seen Indian bowlers struggle against number 10 and 11. In fact of the top 7 totals by the last two batsmen in 2011, four have come against India. England tailenders had added 97 runs in Nottingham, while South Africa tail added 79 in Cape Town. West Indies wagged their tail as well in Kingston and added 74 runs. 74 runs that Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson scored batting at number 10 and 11 in Melbourne is the latest addition to that list.
And skipper Dhoni is well aware of the tail trouble. "It's something we need to keep an eye on. Even in the first innings their lower order put decent runs on the board. In games like these, both the innings together, if the amount of runs goes to 90 or 100 for the tail, it's a big amount of runs to chase. We need to come up with ways to get the tailenders out."
But India's problem in dismissing the tailenders may not be just because of Dhoni's negative tactics. One must also realise that after Anil Kumble's retirement India are struggling to find a bowler that can polish off the tail on a regular basis.