Dhoni, grow your hair again – be yourself again
Tom Alter is supremely confident that India can regain its numero uno position in Test cricket. For that, he wants Dhoni to shed inhibitions and lead by example.
Dhoni, let your hair down. You have done it all – won world cups, been number one, made your crores…
Now, grow your hair again – be yourself again – be what you really want to be. Open the batting for India in the fourth Test – come up the order as you did during the World Cup final and proved yourself.
Do it again, open with Mukund – let Gambhir and Sehwag watch. Attack the English, you can still do it, we know you want to… swivel and smash the ball to the fine leg, club it over mid-off, launch it with a flourish over long-on, pull it beyond mid-wicket – plunder; loft; launch; twirl; swirl; grow your hair again…
You have played the game, been the serious captain – reined yourself in, done the ads, listened to your managers and your agents, played the game and won. Now, be yourself again – be a young man from Bihar again – from Ranchi – from before Jharkhand – be yourself.
Open with Mukund – then Dravid, and Sachin, and Laxman – they will give you one more great Test. Then, Kohli and Raina – have faith in Raina – have him bat at your number – the ball will be older and he will shine. Then, Ojha and Kumar and Sharma and Patel. And watch RP in the nets – if he is fit, and bowling well, play him instead of Sharma to surprise the English. Attack them, they have the measure of Sharma now, maybe, just maybe RP will surprise them and Ojha is the surprise package. Mishra was too timid, too few runs to play with – we need something fresh and new – and you and Mukund as the opening pair will be just that.
And get Fletcher to smile, at least once, it will make a world of difference. We know you are missing Kirsten, we all are – he is the missing link, but he is gone, so get Fletcher to smile, to loosen up, it will help the whole team.
Grow your hair again – be yourself, twirl your bat, smile, take off your shirt and twirl it too. Attack the bowling…
And then, when you’ve scored a swashbuckling 87 and we have won the fourth Test and everyone is feeling better – do something even more daring…
Refuse to play in the Champions Trophy, we knew you are bound by contract and crores, but be brave – open the batting, grow your hair again – do not play the Champions Trophy. What an example you will set – you may have court-cases to face as a result, but let people know that you really feel about what is right and what is wrong.
And before you do that, win the One-Day series – attack – we all still love you, the Dhoni of our dreams, who created our dreams, who made them come true – number one Test team in the world? You made us that, no one can take that away from you.
You have made your mistakes; you know that in your heart of hearts.
Now grow your hair again – be yourself, twirl, swirl – let the nation be proud of you again; let yourself be proud of yourself again.
And instead of playing the Champions Trophy, take a little rest, let your hair grow, and then play Ranji Trophy, to get ready for the Aussies – we can be number one again – if you lead the way.
You can do it, if you want to…
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