AUSvIND: Are we seeing the last of MS Dhoni in ODIs?: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the most successful captain of Team India, would be leading the team into the fifth and final encounter in the ongoing ODI series against Australia at Sydney on Saturday, 23rd January 2016.
Having been battered and bruised in the first four games, the visitors would want to play for pride and avoid the humiliation of a 0-5 whitewash.
Indians were unsuccessful in defending big totals of 306 (Perth), 308 (Melbourne) and 295 (Brisbane) in the first three games and miserably failed to chase 349 at Canberra, where they fell short by 25 runs, the high-point being the team collapsing from the position of 277/2 to 323/10, losing 8 wickets for just 46 runs.
Though the team lacks the sting in its bowling, the batting unit has been doing reasonably well in the first three games putting up big totals.
With scores of 18, 11, 23 and 0, the skipper himself has not been leading from the front. His instinctive captaincy skills seem to have deserted him as he could get nothing go in his favour.
Having led Team India successfully in Tests (taking the team to the numero uno slot), ODIs (winning the World Cup 2011) and T20Is (winning the World Cup 2007), he was undoubtedly the best leader Team India, ever had.
All these are becoming yesteryear tales with slump in his form and the recurrent defeats in all formats of the game.
Dhoni quit the longer format, midway through the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15. This was followed by a disastrous Tri nation ODI series in Australia, a decent World Cup 2015, a miserable ODI and T20I series in Bangladesh and a humiliating ODI and T20I series against South Africa at home.
After he blamed his cheap dismissal as the reason for defeat in the fourth match (at Canberra), Dhoni has been appointed captain until the end of the World T20, but with the lead-up to that tournament filled up with T20Is against Sri Lanka (at home) and the Asia Cup (T20 format in Bangladesh), India do not play any more ODIs until after the IPL season.
Going by the schedule for the next few months that comprises only of T20 cricket and the rumours of Dhoni”s retirement floating around, the fifth and final ODI at Sydney could possibly turn out to be the final outing in the 50-overs format for the 2011 World Cup winning skipper.