The Telegraph
Thursday , February 20 , 2014
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‘It’s time to look beyond Dhoni’

- Amarnath backs ‘obvious choice’ kohli

Calcutta/ New Delhi: Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath feels time has come to remove Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy as his “defensive approach” has resulted in the country’s prolonged failure on foreign soil.

“Dhoni is a defensive captain who allows opposition to make a comeback in the game. His record is good on home pitches only like any other Indian captain. There is nothing special about it. It’s time to look beyond him. We need aggressive captains like Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi to win matches abroad,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy has never been a big fan of Dhoni. In fact, when he was the national selector Jimmy had called for Dhoni’s removal as captain after the disastrous Australia series in 2011-12.

[The Telegraph had reported on September 28, 2012 that Jimmy’s call for Dhoni’s head was one of the reasons for the 1983 World Cup hero’s removal as national selector after serving only one year. “Amarnath wasn’t afraid to call for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s removal as captain after the disaster in Australia. Dhoni, it may be noted, has the absolute backing of Board president Narayanswamy Srinivasan. The move, made at a selection committee meeting, was quickly shot down,” the report had stated.]

India had lost successive overseas Test series in England (0-4) in 2011 and Australia (0-4) in 2011-12 and more recently in South Africa (0-1) and New Zealand (0-1).

India’s last overseas Test win came against the West Indies at Kingston in June 2011. Dhoni’s dismal away record stands at five wins out of 23 Tests, while losing 11 games.

“A captain has to bat higher up the batting order. Not a single Test captain in the world bats at No. 7. What kind of example you are going to set? I sincerely feel that this is high time to relieve him from Test captaincy and although he is a match winner in ODIs, they should look at an option in shorter format as well,” Jimmy said.

Asked about his choice for future captain, he said Virat Kohli looked good to shoulder the responsibility.

“Gautam (Gambhir) was an option who had the experience, but since he is out of contention now, Virat is an obvious choice. He has shown leadership qualities at various levels. I think there should be different captains for different formats,” the 63-year-old said.

Jimmy also lashed out at coach Duncan Fletcher whose appointment, he thinks, hasn’t yielded desired results.

“I don’t understand what is the use of having him (Fletcher) if he is not delivering. Everyone is talking about the players, captain but nobody is raising questions on coach and support staff. I think Indian team needs an Indian coach.

“A coach’s job is to help players to play to their potential and in the past we have achieved laurels with our own coaches,” the former selector said.

Jimmy blamed the poor technique of batsmen and lack of practice matches for the flop show in South Africa and New Zealand.

“Our batsmen found it difficult to adjust outside the subcontinent and their poor technique is responsible for this. They carry on playing the same shots which they play in the subcontinent. Barring Virat, no one was impressive, but they will learn from experience. Virat’s footwork and technique is superb,” he explained. “I also feel that it is must to have some practice matches on every tour so that the players could adapt.”