Pressure on MS Dhoni: Wins and losses part of game, as are physical limits
Dhoni has played 334 matches since his debut. The team has had mixed fortunes in the 18 occasions when he has been absent. Now, a 'tireless' skipper's body seems to be begging for a break.
India skipper MS Dhoni's injury is being attributed as one of the possible reasons - along with a tiring schedule - for India's twin losses in the tri-series in West Indies. While he is a maverick skipper whose absence is sorely missed, the team has otherwise had mixed fortunes without his guidance and cricketing skills.
Dhoni has missed international matches on 18 occasions since April 2006 - matches he was otherwise picked to play in. Closer to the present, the team lost the last three matches that Dhoni missed, by huge margins - the Adelaide Test in January 2012 by 298 runs in which he was banned for slow over-rate, an ODI vs Sri Lanka in Brisbane by 51 runs and the recent match at Kingston by 161 runs.
Overall, Dhoni in this period of a little over seven years has missed 8 Tests - 4 due to injuries, 3 because of fatigue and 1 due to an ICC ban - and 27 ODIs - 1 due to injury, 21 because of fatigue and 3 due to ICC bans. While India has won 4 and lost 4 Tests in his absence, the side has also secured 17 ODI wins as against 10 losses.
Virat Kohli - India's stand-in skipper - recently said that the team misses 'a calm Dhoni' in crunch matches. The fact that the wicket-keeper batsman has appeared in 334 matches for India since his debut in December 2004 however, shows quite clearly that a grueling timetable does make an impact on the body - regardless of wins, defeats and levels of fitness.