Dhoni has tough challenges ahead of himself as a captain and player

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{/source}Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team have taken a well deserved rest and the captain has claimed that his team is up and ready for the tough challenge that they have ahead. The good news for India is that they will not travel outside the sub-continent for a good two years and that may just provide the respite that India needed.

But going by the way Indian team is struggling, the coming series will not be as easy as they should be keeping in mind the way India has dominated cricket in sub-continent.

India will play Sri Lanka in a five-match one-day series and a one-off T20. The two countries play a lot of cricket against each other and are familiar with each other’s style of play. Both these countries play well in sub-continent and it will be a tough challenge for MS Dhoni’s men to beat the resilient Jayawardene’s team.

However the biggest challenge for Dhoni will be when the number one Test side, England will visit India. They have arguably the best bowling line-up in the world and they have stamped their authority in whatever conditions they have played in. Dhoni and his fellow batsmen will have to be on their toes to combat the challenge that they will face.

India have been going through a rough patch, their last two Test series were disastrous and they were outplayed in the previous three one-day series. Dhoni is going through his toughest time as a captain and will have to surpass many challenges to get India back to the winning ways. Let’s have a look at some of the challenges that Dhoni will face in the coming one-day and Test series.

Getting the correct batting order
: Indian batting great Rahul Dravid announced his retirement recently and with that India have lost one of the world’s best number three batsmen of all time. Indian batting struggled in the last three Test series that they played abroad and one should remember that it was Dravid’s century that won India the only Test match that they won in West Indies. Dhoni will need to find a replacement for him and that would not be easy. New Zealand is not a tough team and India have always been dominating in the sub-continent, but India should be looking to find a player who can bat permanently on that important spot. Cheteshwar Pujara is the prime contender for the number three spot, but the other two options in the form of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane had a disastrous outing against West Indies A and that aggravates Dhoni’s problems.

Selecting the best pace bowlers: Indian bowling has been their major weakness in the past couple of series. Barring Zaheer Khan no other bowler has bowled consistently. Umesh Yadav bowled some good spells in Australia but was wayward in some spells. Indian bowlers failed in to pick wickets in seamer-friendly conditions in both Australia and England and there was number of changes that were made in the fast bowling department. India desperately needs a settled pace bowling pack.

Selecting the right spinner in the team
: R Ashwin has replaced Harbhajan Singh in the team and it looked the right move till the time Ashwin bowled in foreign conditions. He was very effective in India, but was ordinary in Australia. He looked lost against some good players of spin and went for runs. He couldn’t even manage to bowl six balls on line and paid for his inconsistency. India has always relied very heavily on their spinners and they need a spinner who can bowl well outside the sub-continent, because in India almost all the Indian spinners do well.

Getting his old flair back as a captain: MS Dhoni was flat as a captain in India’s tour of England and Australia. He failed to react to the situation and waited for the opposition to make mistakes. Dhoni needs to improve his batting as well because he hasn’t made any mark as a Test batsman off late. From the team selection to the bowling changes, Dhoni has struggled to make the right calls in the recent past. India will pay a weak side and they need to get the maximum out of them.

By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network