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Dhoni Makes Smooth Transition
by Gulu Ezekiel
Nov 17, 2007
Captaincy seems to be fitting wicket-keeper MS Dhoni like a glove. He has made a smooth transition from rookie to captain of the ODI and T-20 side and deserves full credit for winning the first home series against Pakistan in 24 years.

Following the defeat at the hands of Australia last month, the pressure was on Dhoni in the high-voltage contest against Pakistan. But Dhoni always looked in command of the situation and was in good batting touch as well.

Even though Australia won the series 4-2, it was closer than the score-line suggests. Now victory against Pakistan will give Dhoni and the team plenty of confidence ahead of the Test series.

India go into the Tests with a new captain as well. But unlike Dhoni, who made his international debut just three years ago, Anil Kumble has a wealth of experience behind him.

After the sensational triumph in the inaugural T-20 World Cup in South Africa and now with victory against Pakistan, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh have emerged as the exciting new face of Indian cricket, with Robin Uthappa not too far behind.

'New' maybe a misnomer in Yuvraj's case considering he made his ODI debut back in 2000. But the fact that he is just 26 means he has got plenty of cricket ahead of him.

The left-hander is yet to establish himself in the Test side and could lose out to VVS Laxman once again for the final batting slot in the Playing XI for the opening Test in New Delhi next week.

Yuvraj though is far too talented to be kept out for long and could well be a future Test captain as long as he can keep his cool in the midst of all the hysteria that surrounds young cricketers in India. In this regard he can certainly take a leaf out of Dhoni's book. The new captain's composure since he took over has been commendable.

Pakistan's woes have been piling up since the World Cup debacle and the exit of their stalwart Inzamam-ul-Haq that has caused obvious fissures within the team. But one should not under-estimate them ahead of the Test series. They came back strongly to draw the Test series 1-1 when they last visited India in 2005.

This time though India should feel confident of claiming the Test series as well given the two teams' relative strengths and the obvious lack of morale in the Pakistan camp.

It would be about time as the last time India beat Pakistan in a home Test series was way back in 1979-80.
 
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