After that knock, during which he struggled to accelerate, the 36-year-old’s spot in India’s T20 team was questioned by ex-India players Ajit Agarkar and VVS Laxman, even as the team management – skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri strongly defended the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman.
On Sunday, former India batsman-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar waded into the argument in a typically frank and forthright manner when, writing a column, he said that “like it was with Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, the cult of Dhoni seems to be coming in the way of clarity and honest discussion of team selection.”
“It’s in our DNA in India, isn’t it? We do not just make icons of our sporting heroes, we also give them God-like status. All this fanfare and worship is perhaps all right from a distance, but when they start influencing cricketing decisions, especially selection, it becomes a matter of concern,” wrote Manjrekar, before giving examples of other great cricketers in the past like Kapil and Tendulkar, who too struggled to perform towards the end stages of their careers, but escaped criticism largely because of their demi-god status.
“Kapil bowled at half his pace towards the end of his career, and though his bowling average was an impressive 27.15, his wicket-taking ability had gone down drastically: a mere 26 wickets in his last 24 innings. Undoubtedly his career dragged on longer than it should have. Worse it deprived a young and fiery Javagal Srinath the opportunity to be on the big stage when he was ripe,” Manjrekar said, before illustrating batting legend Tendulkar’s case.
“Tendulkar averaged 27 in his last 25 Test innings, but let alone questioning his place in the side, even a discussion about his future in the Indian team was sacrilege. Indian cricket is the loser when such things happen. This is a different age and I would have hoped that we had evolved from the Kapil and Tendulkar days.”
Source : timesofindia