The call for MS Dhoni to step down are growing louder after the disastrous series in England.
It is perfectly alright to demand a change in captaincy. But, who is best suited to replace Dhoni at the helm in Tests?
The only one who comes close is his deputy Virat Kohli. But it is not the right time for the Delhi youngster to take over the reins in Tests, after scoring only 134 runs from 10 innings in England and averaging 13.40. By giving Kohli the captaincy now will only burden the 25-year-old further when his prime concern will be to regain confidence with the bat. Maybe, if Kohli had scored runs in England like Murali Vijay did, he might have been considered for captaincy. But not in the frame that he is in right now.
There is no one else in the team who has the mental calibre to lead the team. Dhoni has been criticised for the way he has led the side. Yes, some of Dhoni's decisions have been questionable. But then, what is the support staff doing? Should they not bring him back right on track in those situations? Also, when things have clicked with his unconventional ways of leading the side, why were not questions raised then?
With the tough tour of Australia coming up in the year end, and before that the three-Test home series against West Indies, having a young captain in Kohli will not be the right thing to do. Dhoni is still the best choice to lead the side in Tests. Dhoni has grown well into the role, pulled the team up after defeats, gave an encouraging pat to the overawed youngsters and always led from the front.
Dhoni has not let the captaincy affect his batting. He emerged the second highest scorer after Murali Vijay with 349 runs and averaging 34.9 with four half-centuries and took 17 catches. What more can he do when the top-order fails collectively? What can Dhoni do when his fielders drop catches? What can he do when the bowlers are not penetrative enough?
Remember Dhoni has taken the team to No1 rank in Tests, Dhoni needs a better deal than be chucked out of captaincy rightaway. Gundappa Viswanath says Dhoni is still India's best captain. "Who else is there," he asked. "We cannot give it to Kohli as he has struggled for runs in England. Dhoni is still a cool captain and has to continue. Even in tough circumstances, he look like leading the side."