M.S.Dhoni made a surprising statement on the eve of the Kolkata test in the current series against England. Normally Dhoni is not prone to make statements, publicly, rash or brash - he is a reticent, cool headed person normally. Perhaps he was under undue pressure from the public and the media the two able watch dogs of Indian cricket. But neverthless it is surprising, to put it mildly, if we look at his statements closely.
He said, that the home team has the prerogative to prepare tailor made pitches, and it doesn't matter if India wins or loses. Firstly, though by admission the home team makes pitches to suit it, this is a convention, and cannot obviously be the rule. Secondly if one admits the former, then obviously again, it is winning which matters most. Dhoni's statement is a contradiction in terms, it should matter that India wins and NOT loses; that is the objective of the preogative sought - that the home team prepares pitches which will suit its conditions.
The statement came in the wake of the chief curator at the Eden Gardens, who refused to take 'unofficial' orders, and wanted the same in writing! He had more than a point there, and one can't help but admire the moral guts of the man, who in a way refused to kow tow to the 'bosses'. I wish our country could show some more exemplary examples of individuals with courage, who do not rush with the madding crowd, and do little to blandish favours...
But Dhoni did an u turn, he defended the action, and tried to make little of it by saying callously, with an air of bravado, it doesn't matter whether we win or lose! Of course it does matter! The ultimate goal is winning, but not winning at all costs. Dhoni's remarks were redolent of a desperation, something which he normally does not do. As I said earlier he is generally very cool and level headed, going about his job, whether it is captaincy, keeping, or batting in a workmanlike manner. He has become a point of admiration for possessing such qualities, which befit the leader or the captain.
There have been whispers, for a long time that all is not well in the Indian cricket team, with Sehwag being one of the recalcitrant features. There may be a basis to it, but cricketinng teams of countries are now becoming more complex ridden, what with separate teams being used for the three forms of cricket. And, if you have the same captain heading all the three teams, his job becomes not only more onerous, but he becomes a manager and administrator as well.
But Dhoni's remarks are fraught with contradiction and desperation. And that is the sign that is worrying, and a sign of troubled times for Indian cricket, swamped as it is with the love of the lucre.