A day after India captain MS Dhoni was slammed for allegedly trying to shield BCCI president N Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal, he has been retained as the captain for upcoming Asia Cup and World T20 Championship.
This despite the fact that Dhoni is now part of history as India's most unsuccessful captain on overseas tours. Former cricketers and experts say the five wise men of Indian cricket (read selectors) have no spine to replace him in one of the formats of the game in order to groom a future leader. Under Dhoni's leadership, India has lost nine out of 10 Tests abroad.
And this is the reason why former India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi is now calling for his head. "I'm indebted to justice Mudgal for bringing this muck into public domain. He has done a great job and it's up to our cricket administrators to clean up the system. And if Dhoni's name is being linked to this kind of controversy, what right does he have to lead the national team?" asked the legendary spinner on Tuesday.
Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi too took a dig at the skipper alleging that Dhoni was trying to shield Meiyappan and that the Chennai Super Kings franchise should be annulled immediately.
But former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, who played a role in blowing the lid off match-fixing scandal in 2000, doesn't agree. "Why should Dhoni step down?" he asked. "What happened to earlier cricketers who all surfaced in 2000 fixing probe? Why were they let off the hook?"
Prabhakar blamed the cricket administrators and investigating agencies for not taking any action against a player whose name cropped up in the 2000 investigations.
"I named India's top player and former skipper that time, but nothing was done. Instead, I was sidelined and made to feel like an untouchable. If nothing happened that time, then why Dhoni, who is leading Team India with distinction, should be made the fall guy?" asked Prabhakar, who was accused of being involved in match-fixing and was banned in 2000.
Another former India player Surinder Khanna hinted at the cartel, which is now ruling Indian cricket. "Till the time this 'godfather and son' are there at the helm, you can't expect Dhoni to step down on his own. He has his godfather to protect him and that's why he has been retained for Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. Whereas, it was time to hand over T20 captaincy to somebody younger," the former India wicket-keeper batsman said.
"It's a nexus, which is running Indian cricket. We have already seen how a cricketer of the stature of Mohinder Amarnath, who was man of the match/series in the 1983 World Cup, was replaced (as a selector) all of a sudden because he spoke about changing the captain in one format when India lost eight consecutive matches abroad last year.
"This certainly points fingers towards how the CSK coterie (read Srinivasan and Dhoni) is having a free run at the moment," added Khanna.
The big question now is who is going to bell the cat?
Bedi has put the onus on administrators like Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah and Rajeev Shukla to ensure that this game doesn't lose face in India.
"I'm going by what the media is saying what justice Mudgal has written. How can a leader earn respect from his teammates when such allegations are levelled against him? We've so many big administrators and they cannot pass the buck this time," he added.