Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s stepping down as the captain of the Indian limited overs teams was not entirely unexpected. With the ICC World Cup just over 2 years away and Dhoni hitting the age of 38 there was every chance that he would have to make way for Virat Kohli. By quitting the captaincy, Dhoni in fact has given himself a better chance of being on the flight to England in 2019. Being wicketkeeper and captain is never easy as it can take a toll on the wicket keeping aspect of the game and as we have seen one mistake can cost a match. Dhoni can now focus entirely on his keeping without worrying too much about field placing or bowling changes and would be better off without that additional responsibility. His batting also would be even better as he will simply be fulfilling the role that Kohli assigns him be it at the top of the order or slightly lower where he can come in and smash everything in the final few overs. If anything, we will probably see more hundreds fromDhoni as he did early in his career before becoming the captain.
There could be more resignations in store as Pakistan will look to have a new skipper after their performances in the three Test match series. Misbah did well in England but on the Australia tour he has flopped badly and has not looked capable of playing the kind of innings that rescued Pakistan time and again in the past. He is remarkably fit for a 42 year old but with no major tours coming up for Pakistan they will look to blood someone new and give him time to settle down. Azhar Ali looks the best candidate with his fine performances in the series in Australia. The ageless Younis Khan has been magnificent but he also doesn't have much time left so Azhar Ali seems to be the best bet. He is the one-day skipper for Pakistan already so he knows that the expectations of the Pakistan supporters and with more experience should settle down in the job. What selectors are generally worried about is if the additional responsibility of leading the team can affect the speciality of the player be it batting or bowling and if that doesn't happen then the skipper can stay for a lengthy period. Too much chopping and changing is never good for any team and it also shows selectorial incompetence more than anything else and so the Pakistani selectors would be looking for a candidate who is going to be around for a long time.
In South Africa the hosts have demolished the Sri Lankans who have looked hapless as they struggled on the bouncy pitches in South Africa. Kagiso Rabada who made such an impressive debut in India has grown in strength as a fast bowler and with Kyle Abbott and Vernon Philander also joining the party they have swept theLankans aside quite comfortably. Quinton de Kock’s blistering batting also has taken the game away just when the big hearted Lankan bowers have got the team back in contention and after a pretty ordinary last year theProteas have bounced back in style.
In New Zealand the Kiwis have been ruthless against Bangladesh winning just about everything and with the momentum with them they should do well in the Test series to follow.
Azhar Ali for his superb batting is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.