Mar 19, 2011

An Open Letter to Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Dear Mahi,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying your great run as India Captain. To be honest, I was skeptical to address you as ‘Mahi’, mainly because I am not very fond of such nicknames. But I thought calling someone by his/her surname (Dhoni, in your case) is a bit rude, especially while writing a letter. And I am sure, you would also prefer to be called Mahi than Mahendra.

I know it’s tough not to be with your family on occasions as big as Holi. Due to the very fact that you and all your team members are away from your homes on this occasion of festivity, my heart goes out to all of you. The situation is more precarious for a man like you who is missing out on the first Holi of his married life. My best Holi wishes to you, your wife and the entire family.

Tomorrow is a big day for India. You and your boys will play the West Indies in the last league match. This is your last chance to regroup and perform as a unit before the knock-out stage begins. I wish to suggest some changes that you may consider to bring about in the team composition.

Hopefully by now, your fascination with Piyush Chawla might have ended. And you also must have figured out that 2 off-spinners formula is indeed the way forward, specially against a team like West Indies (because it has a lot of left-handers). England proved it the other night by using Swann and Tredwell. I plead to you to include Ashwin in the playing XI.

Why do you worry about 'variety' in your 'bowling attack', when you do not have a 'bowling attack' at first place? It’s a "bowling defense", to put it in mild terms. Your bowlers are expected to defend any score between 350-400, and also make a match of it when the batsmen score around 300-mark. If you still insist on variety, let me tell you that Yuvraj’s left arm slow balls surely offer ample variety.

Also, I would like you to accommodate Suresh Raina in the side. I remember Ian Chappell suggesting to drop Gambhir to accommodate Raina. He reasoned that India’s batting looks ‘top-heavy’ (His observation was proven correct in the last game). I may not suggest you to drop Gautam but you must take a call on Yusuf Pathan. Raina is an asset in the field and can also bowl a few overs. His versatility with bat will be crucial in crunch games. Yes, he may not impact a game in the way Pathan might, but he inspires more confidence in a cricket lover than Yusuf does.

This was about the team composition. Now, few things I would like to tell you directly. Look, I have nothing personal against you. You are a wonderful man, a good leader and have brought laurels for your state and the country. Your fans accuse me of getting 'personal' with you, but let me assure you that I do not relish being critical of you. I just happen to be very affectionate towards cricket and slightly 'more aware'. Sometimes, I look beyond what’s there on view and in the process end up making harsh remarks. I care for the feelings of billions of Indians, young & old, male & female, rich & poor.

You must be realizing by now that you are not merely captaining a cricketing side. You are carrying the lantern of hope of this entertainment and thrill starved country. Our last major achievement in one-day cricket was way back in 1983. Ironically, the game has grown leaps and bounds since then but we have managed to reach finals only once. We are a nation desperate to find icons and idols. The country spotted you and found solace in your stylish mane. You have lived up to your billing most of the times, but you are seemingly faltering this time around.

You appear to be autocratic in team selection. You are inflexible and smartly term it as “going by instincts”. Some of your decisions in this world cup have been baffling to say the least. Your persistence with Chawla, ignorance of Ashwin, not handing out the last over to Bhajji, promoting Yusuf unnecessarily, taking singles on first bowl when batting with tailenders, are just a few of them.

You have no idea, what does this cup mean to India! Or if you have the idea, you better realize your responsibility. Your team’s performance has a bearing on everything, from sensex to bedroom. A shopkeeper’s sale, a priest’s earnings, a temple’s footfalls, a bar's business every damn thing is directly proportional to you and your team. My very own love relationship is at stake too.

And also, there is a 38 year old man in your dressing room who has occupied that place for some 22 years now. Day after day, he has been investing his soul, heart, body and mind in cricket and in this country. He is still trying his best, he would continue to do the same till his last day on cricket field. He has undergone a lot of agony, availed tremendous pressure over the years from that 1996 world cup semi-final to your recent loss to South Africa few days back.

I am not trying to make you emotional. True, the cup needs to be won for a billion of fans but what’s the harm if the aspirations of a national hero get served in the process? How can you expect to fulfill a billion hopes when you can’t take care of the sentiments and emotions of a single man?

I am tired now. Hopefully, you will take this letter in good spirits and revert back soon. I wish you and your team all the best for tomorrow's game. I will go and do some preparation for Holi now. I just hope holi ka rang aur gujiya ka swad kahin feeka naa pad jaye.

Yours Lovingly,

ASICF (A Stupid Indian Cricket Fan)


  1. Ashish, this is undoubtedly one of your best blogs. You've explained every single thing with such finesse that every SICF will relate with this blog. I just hope 'Mahi' reads this letter ASAP and revert back. I'd love to read it. Also, I expected a bit more about the God in this blog, but to each his own.

    Superb post! :)

  2. Thanks Naman...I am glad that first comment to this post finally arrived..I also like reading this post myself...It was fun writing it..:)

    And yes God will make an appearance on my blog..Just need one good reason...Which I know he would provide very soon..:)

  3. "Your persistence with Chawla, ignorance of Ashwin, handing out the last over to Bhajji, promoting Yusuf unnecessarily, taking singles on first bowl when batting with tailenders, are just a few of them."
    You got it wrong....iTS NOT bHAJI...It was Ashish Nehra! You are writing it to DHONI! You should have re checked it before you posted it. Be credible ! :P :P

  4. Okkk..maya..I appreciate that you read it and that too minutely..:P:P

    To err is human...:P:P..I take it this tym..:P:P..I ll Hit back! :D

  5. and yes...the error was not as big as Bhajji replacing Nehra..:P:P..I just missed out no the word.."NOT"..It was a typo..:P

  6. hahahhaahahaha:D Dhoni wouldnt have any IDEA about the typo :p :p :D

    Anyway, i wish you all the best! :p

    Happy Blogging! :)