MS Dhoni, undoubtedly, is one of the greatest captains that India has ever produced. Be it handling the senior players like a pro or handling the transition phase with utmost patience, he has done it all. The wicket-keeper batsman has seen several ups and downs in his career but always tried to contribute in the best interest of Indian cricket.
When you closely observe his captaincy style, he is a man who believed in four-year plans. He always targeted a World Cup and wanted to build a team accordingly. However, in the process, it got inevitable for him to let go off a few senior players. Some of the talented wicketkeepers in the country couldn’t get a chance as he was the best behind the stumps. Thus, MS Dhoni is always accused of shortening the careers of a few players.
Here are five players whose careers were possibly shortened due to MS Dhoni
1. Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag.(Photo Source: Twitter)
In the initial days of MS Dhoni’s captaincy career, Virender Sehwag was one of his most lethal weapons in the team for the opponents. The opener often got the team off to lightning starts irrespective of the format. Even though he didn’t get a big score always, Sehwag used to dent the opposition enough by the time he got out.
It was all going well with Viru until the 2011 World Cup. But later in the tours of England and Australia, Sehwag couldn’t create the same kind of impact. His aggressive game didn’t do him much good and he didn’t have many runs behind him.
Post the World Cup, Sehwag played in 50 innings across formats and scored just 1,486 runs at an average of nearly 30. He was struggling with his hand-eye coordination and the numbers weren’t good enough for international cricket. Thus, he was dropped from the side.
2. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group via Getty Images)
Virender Sehwag’s opening partner Gautam Gambhir was at the peak of his career when MS Dhoni took over the captaincy. In 2008 and 2009, Gambhir was unstoppable and scored runs all across the globe at a highly consistent rate. He was even the No.1 Test batsman during this time and provided the team with great starts.
His contribution in the 2011 World Cup final can never be undermined. However, post this tournament, just like many other cricketers, Gambhir’s career took a dip. In the one-dayers of the Australia tour in 2012, MS Dhoni decided to use the rotation policy initially. Only two of Sehwag, Sachin and Gambhir were included in the playing eleven.
He played 83 international innings after the mega-event in 2011 including a few under Virat Kohli in Test cricket. Gambhir, though, could only score 2,386 runs at an average of 30 and scored just two centuries. Thus, MS Dhoni was left with no option but to drop him from the team. Many accuse Dhoni of sacking Gambhir without a strong reason.
3. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Yuvraj Singh’s father, Yograj Singh, will be behind Dhoni for the rest of his life. Recently, he accused the wicket-keeper yet again that his son lost the place in the team due to his politics. Yuvraj Singh was the hero of the dream campaign for Team India in 2011.
He was the ‘Man of the Series’ in the tournament and won games single-handedly both with bat and ball. But little did he know that his life would come to a pause due to cancer. Yuvi was destined to become one of the greatest cricketers in India and possibly amongst the best all-rounders the world has ever seen. He had to stay away from the game for a while due to the obvious reasons.
Post his cancer treatment, Yuvraj made several comebacks into the Indian team. However, on none of the occasions, he could seal a spot with impactful performances. After the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj played a total of 52 innings for India across formats under MS Dhoni. However, he only scored 1106 runs at an average of 24 across all the formats. He remained unbeaten on 6 instances and scored 7 half-centuries. He wasn’t as effective with the ball either and picked up 23 wickets.
4. Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
For almost a decade, Harbhajan Singh was the ace off-spinner for India. He used to compete for a place in the side with the likes of Anil Kumble. In his career, Harbhajan witnessed several ups and downs and was also a part of some of the most memorable victories for India.
However, post-2011, the competition for the spinners in the side increased manifold. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha emerged onto the international scene. They were clearly dominating the veteran and Ravindra Jadeja was also finding his feet at the highest level around that time.
Bhajji, quite clearly, couldn’t pick up as many wickets. With the doosra gone out of hand due to the bowling action rules, one of his most lethal weapons was gone. Moreover, he found it slightly tough to succeed on overseas pitches. After the World Cup, he picked up 47 wickets in 36 innings across formats including 24 from 20 innings in Tests. He didn’t have a single five-wicket haul and had to be axed from the team.
5. Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
The case of Dinesh Karthik is slightly different from the others on this list. The Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman was considered to be an absolute star in his circles during his younger days. As many of the cricketers, including Ravichandran Ashwin, say, they used to watch him in awe while he batted.
Karthik made his international debut ahead of MS Dhoni. However, he couldn’t create much of an impact at the highest level initially. Then the management decided to try out Dhoni as the wicket-keeper and he succeeded almost instantly. Dhoni had these lightning hands behind the stumps and was a fierce striker of the ball.
Thus, with his place cemented in the team across formats, Karthik could only get in as a pure batsman or a back-up keeper. However, he couldn’t really compete with the other wicket-keepers. He got a few opportunities in the team as a pure batsman but Dinesh could never really make a huge mark.
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