Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a dangerous sense of humour. You can call him a smiling assassin. His reactions are sometimes complex in nature but behind a cool and beaming persona, lurks a man who can be highly critical of the establishment. Insiders call him the president's man. Dhoni has been captaining Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and it is no secret that he is N. Srinivasan's blue-eyed boy. If former Test star and national selector Mohinder Amarnath is to be believed, it was Srinivasan who helped Dhoni keep his captaincy after India suffered eight Test defeats on-the-trot in 2011-12. With every world trophy under his belt, there is no denying that Dhoni is India's most successful captain. But the success or failure of a captain is not calculated by the proximity to influential officials but to his team's performance on the field and in challenging conditions. It's human nature to easily forget the good and magnify the bad. So when India lost the first ODI in Johannesburg by 141 runs on Thursday night, the knives were out and Dhoni had to do some defending in a post-match chat with reporters.
In recent days, a couple of Dhoni's comments have been rather critical in nature. Known for his peaceful demeanor and diplomatic ways, Dhoni surprised reporters during his pre-South Africa departure press conference in Mumbai by saying "Gautam Gambhir was India's No. 3 opener." If that was so, why didn't the selectors put Gambhir on the plane to South Africa? It defies cricketing logic not to have a third opener in a rather inexperienced squad. And when Dhoni openly brands the left-handed Delhi veteran as "our No. 3 opener," it is most likely that the captain and the selectors were not on the same page when the ODI and Test teams were picked.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India officials refused to play a full tour comprising three Tests, seven ODIs and a couple of T20s over November and December, South Africa were clearly hurt in more ways than one. BCCI invited West Indies for an unscheduled series in November to give Sachin Tendulkar the luxury of an easy send-off at home. Effectively, it robbed cricket fans the mouth-watering opportunity of seeing the world's No. 1 Test team in action against the world's numero uno ODI outfit on fast and furious pitches of South Africa. The South African Board suffered financial damages and even had to cancel the traditional New Year's Day Test at Cape Town. The turn of events clearly indicated BCCI was upset with Haroon Lorgat's appointment as Cricket South Africa CEO. BCCI and Lorgat never shared a good relation when the latter was CEO of the ICC. Hence, this was BCCI's way of flexing its muscle.