The symbolism of Dhoni carrying Kumble on his shoulders at the Kotla today was not lost on anyone. For the team Dhoni will carry forward was a team that owes a lot of its “oneness” to Kumble, the captain. The one thing missing in Dhoni’s team of course, will be Kumble, the tireless player, India’s man for all seasons.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will captain India in the fourth and final Test against Australia in Nagpur later this week and is therefore expected to be confirmed as the skipper in the longer version of the game besides being the one-day captain.Chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth told journalists at the end of the drawn third Test match today that Dhoni will lead the Indian team in the next match starting on November 6.
He said Dhoni would also captain the team in seven ODIs against England later this month and a decision will be taken on the two-Test series against England before it starts.
And he did, even if he was criticised for that and everything else right through the 18 years that he represented India. Records and events show him as India’s greatest match-winner but time and time again, his momentous deeds were forgotten and he was used for target practice. Did all the criticism faze Kumble? “No,” he always stated publicly. “That’s a sportsman’s life”.
In private though, he would be frustrated with the state of affairs, but other than a recent column in HT last month when he made that anger obvious, that frustration was channelled into his bowling. “There’s no point in letting what people say get to you, though we’re all human, so it’s hard sometimes,” he would say. What made it better was the fact that the leg-spinner loved a challenge. Any challenge.