Did BCCI chief Srinivasan save MS Dhoni’s job?

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Dhoni 1New Delhi: MS Dhoni might be on Cloud Nine now, but he came close to losing his captaincy in January 2012, had BCCI president N Srinivasan not stepped in. Following the 0-4 loss in the Test series to Australia, the selectors were all set to remove him from captaincy for the tri-series that was to follow, when Srinivasan intervened. “It is not proper to discuss selection matters.

But the constitution of the BCCI does say that the president has to approve the national team,” Srinivasan said in a television interview on Monday. In a meeting in Chennai, the selectors had finalised Virat Kohli’s name for captaincy for the tri-series involving India, Australia and Sri Lanka, when Srinivasan stepped in.

It’s understood that there was a heated debate between Mohinder Amarnath, the then North Zone selector, and Srinivasan, following which the decision was overturned. Amarnath, later, paid the price, losing his post in the selection committee after which he went public on the issue.

Reacting to murmurs that Dhoni should be relieved of captaincy in the shorter formats now, Srinivasan said: “The selectors are there to take a call. We have an experienced group of selectors. It is for them to decide. But personally I feel that Dhoni is discharging the duties (captaining in all three formats) well.” Dhoni’s batting, too, came in for a special mention when Srinivasan said that “the innings he played in the Chennai ODI against Pakistan in a losing cause was brilliant.” “During this season, his innings against England (99 at Nagpur) and the double hundred against Australia were game-changers. He has always been an outstanding player. He gave us two World Cups. He is a very experienced captain. Everybody will agree that given the glorious uncertainties of cricket, Dhoni has sailed well,” he said. He also said that the Board was behind the captain when the team was going through a rough phase. “All the Indian players are aware that the board is behind them. The BCCI has given confidence to the players that they should play their game. We will watch their back.”

When the world around him was falling apart and some selectors wanted to sack him as skipper, BCCI president N Srinivasan put his foot down and gave Dhoni his vote of confidence. While the 4-0 win over Australia has undoubtedly revived his leadership, life was far from being a bed of roses for the man till very recently.

TOI lists the trials and tribulations of the Indian captain

April 2, 2011
A storeyed and emotional World Cup campaign comes to the most dramatic end when the skipper hits the winning runs in the final against Sri Lanka to end a 28-year wait. He’s proclaimed as the ‘Miracle Worker’ and the master of his own destiny.

June 2011
Captains India to a 1-0 Test series win against West Indies, but earns flak for pulling out of a chase in Dominica when the team could have made it 2-0.

July 2011
Embarks on a disastrous tour of England where the players are under prepared and unfit and loses key players like Zaheer Khan to injury. The fabled Indian batting, barring Rahul Dravid, flops and the bowlers resemble a club-class outfit as India lose 0-4.

October-December 2011
Stars with the bat in a comprehensive whitewash over England in the ODIs and registers a thumping 2-0 win over West Indies at home in Tests.

January-February 2012
Leads India to another 0-4 humiliation in Australia and the team fails to make the finals in the Tri-series there. Reports of rifts between him and some senior players emerge after his rotation policy fails miserably.

March 2012
Leads team to Bangladesh to defend the Asia Cup, but defeat to the hosts means team doesn’t even make the finals.

November 2012
India lose a home series to England for the first time in 28 years and that too after winning the first Test. Throughout the series, his captaincy is branded as poor and defensive. His frequent run-ins with curators too is criticised.

December 2012
Post the defeat to England, it emerges that selectors had thought about sacking him in Australia itself and were keen on elevating Virat, but were stopped by BCCI chief N Srinivasan. Mohinder Amarnath spills the beans on national TV. Some experts even moot split captaincy for India.

January 2013
Loses ODI series at home to Pakistan which triggers huge speculation about his future as captain.

February 2013
Is named as skipper for the Test series vs Australia. Plays a blinder in the first Test which paves the way for a 4-0 series win. His pro-active, dynamic leadership is lauded.

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