MS Dhoni chose to pass on the upcoming Test series in Sri Lanka and deserves plenty of praise for this. It is perhaps the first time in Indian cricket history that a player so young and on the rise has willingly stepped aside from a Test tour. Firstly, it reflects a clear sense of self-confidence in the man. Secondly, it is a sign that he suffers from no insecurity whatsoever. A welcome sign in India’s ODI and T20 captain and possibly future Test captain. It appears that he has come to realize that with the cricket being played virtually throughout the year, it is impossible to feature in every game and still maintain top quality performance. Besides he has come to the realization that maximizing participation in the short term could come at the expense of longevity at the top in the long run. A shrewd sportsman’s brain at work, no doubt.
Interestingly, Dhoni’s decision comes in the wake of Ricky Ponting’s recent comments about Test cricket being under threat. Dhoni decision does raise some interesting questions. Has Dhoni started a trend where the younger generation (which thus far swears by Test cricket as being the ultimate) begins to focus more on the shorter versions of the game? Is Test cricket going to be relegated to veterans cricket of sorts? Does the money tied to Test cricket need to be increased by the Board? Does Test cricket need some fresh thinking to come up with new rules — four day Tests, limited number of overs etc.
No matter what the repercussions of this decision, Dhoni deserves credit for taking this step. The likes of Saurav Ganguly who still aspire to drag themselves into the ODI team would do well to learn from Dhoni.