New Delhi – India's latest away series defeat at the end of a dismal tour of New Zealand triggered calls for a change in leadership and a warning that financial muscle does not translate to on-field success.
A majestic triple century from Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum in the drawn second Test in Wellington ensured that India lost the series 1-0 – their fourth consecutive series defeat on their travels.
The reverse in the Test series, which followed a 4-0 drubbing for Dhoni's World Cup champions in the preceding one-dayers, left India without a win on the month-long tour.
India have now lost 10 of their last 12 Tests abroad Ä the other two were drawn Ä a record that included two successive 4-0
whitewashes in England and Australia.
Former Test captain Bishan Bedi blamed the cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has teamed up with England and Australia to ensure that the game's three most powerful countries have greater control over its governance and generate more money.
“Money can buy many a cricketer or votes, but money can't buy a team performance,” the outspoken Bedi said on Twitter.
Bedi also said it was time to review the performance of Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher, who took over from South African Gary Kirsten after India's World Cup triumph in 2011.
“The top heavy team management is stagnating and needs a fresh look for now and the immediate future,” Bedi wrote in another tweet.
The Cricinfo website said India, who are to tour England and Australia again later this year, needed to look beyond Dhoni as a Test captain.
“Have India reached the stage where they could do with a Test captain who will be more authoritative in big moments?” said its commentator Sidharth Monga.
“Dhoni is a great ODI batsman, a very good ODI captain and Test captain at home, but in overseas Tests he always seems to lose the big moments.”
The Times of India suggested that young batsman Virat Kohli should be asked to lead in Test matches.
“The time is ripe to make Virat Kohli, the future of Indian cricket, the captain,” said a blog by Times of India writer John Cheeran after Kohli scored a second innings century in Wellington.
Leading commentator Harsha Bhogle questioned the International Cricket Council's Test rankings that had India at number two behind South Africa despite its poor away record.
“India must think the ICC rankings are very generous,” he said. “No away win for three years and still number number. It does it say a thing or two about the rankings too?”
Former Test bowler Karsan Ghavri blamed the batting-friendly pitches in domestic cricket for the defeats abroad.
“Batsmen may get a lot of runs at home, but they get exposed when confronted with fast and bouncy wickets abroad,” he said. “We need to make challenging pitches in domestic cricket.”
On their return from New Zealand, Dhoni's men will take part in the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 tournaments to be held in Bangladesh from this month. – Sapa-AFP