According to Nasser Hussain, one of England's finest captains, a captain should always think there is something – either on or off the field – that can turn things around for you.
Going by what happened on the last day at The Oval and the three weeks prior to that, it's clear that it isn't the case with MS Dhoni. Yes, it's an open secret that Dhoni is a defensive Test captain, almost a reactive captain than a proactive one, but what this series showed was that Dhoni, the Test captain, has past his sell-by date.
Some of his selections throughout the series defied logic: not playing R Ashwin in the first three Tests, sticking to Ravindra Jadeja till the last Test just because "he didn't have options", to mention a few. His tactics on the field at various points during the last three Tests, particularly on the third day at The Oval, seemed one of a captain having already resigned to the fact that the damage was too big to be repaired.
"Dhoni led the team poorly. His selection policy, strategy, field placing and bowling changes lacked common sense. He made some glaring mistakes match after match for which India paid heavily. " Dilip Vengsarkar said.
Losing a Test series is no crime, losing the manner in which Team India did in England is. Losing 14 Tests overseas as captain is. India have lost 13 of the last 17 overseas Tests under him. Nothing flattering here.
It thus wouldn't be entirely harmful to Indian cricket if the Test captaincy is handed over to a new mind at this point, the front-runner being Virat Kohli. Fresh ideas and a more aggressive approach is the need of the hour, and like it worked for South Africa with a young Graeme Smith, it might well for India too. And let's face it, things just cannot get worse than this for the Dhoni-led Test team. So even if the team loses in Australia under Kohli, we'll at least be looking at the future and giving Kohli the much-needed experience to be a leader, a privilege Dhoni enjoyed at the start of his captaincy career.