On India’s cricket captaincy

The captain needs to be someone who absolutely, disgustingly, hates to lose. Who has a thin enough skin to be bruised by ineptitude. Who seeks the best from his team, no matter what.

Dhoni was all of this and more. “If my boys give everything on the field and then lose, I can’t complain”, said he a long time ago, when he began as ODI captain. We couldn’t complain either. It’s a game, meant to be won and lost. It’s the fire in the belly that counts.

But that captain has long lost himself somewhere, among his plethora of excuses. The difference between Ganguly’s lowest and Dhoni’s is that Ganguly still cared and hurt, pushed his boys as much as he could, and blamed his own boys when they lost. Dhoni doesn’t, any more. He’s too happy to find external reasons for his losses, and that attitude has sunk in, hasn’t it? How many times under previous captains did we hear players–the same players–make silly excuses for their ineptitude?

“We played poorly; we need to improve; we need to find solutions.” That’s missing, and that’s a problem.

I wonder if Virat Kohli hates losing as much as he loves winning.

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