The dual system continued for another 10 years with Sonia Gandhi as party chief and Manmohan Singh as PM.
India’s most successful cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had an interesting comment to make after he stepped down as the ODI-T20 skipper. He said he did not believe dual captaincy was good for India, this after having split the captaincy himself by abruptly retiring from Test cricket two years ago. The dual arrangement continued without hiccups, much as it had in earlier days when Anil Kumble was the Test captain and Dhoni got the limited-overs job only because at least three senior players had then rejected the idea of playing in the inaugural T20 worlds in 2007. Suffice it to say Dhoni made history with the opening he got. The celebrated captain has, besides winning a phenomenal number of trophies, also vacated the hot seat at the most appropriate time giving his successor in all formats, Virat Kohli, a clear two years to plan the campaign for the 2019 World Cup.
Ironically, even as Dhoni was philosophising on the split leadership, the Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu was extolling the virtues of dual control. While we may lament that there is too little cricket in politics and too much politics in cricket, a case could also be made of India being far too big to be made over to one person. Mr Naidu was making the point that, between 1998 and 2004, the country ran smoothly under A.B. Vajpayee as Prime Minister and himself as party chief. The dual system continued for another 10 years with Sonia Gandhi as party chief and Manmohan Singh as PM. Students of history might, however, contend that the arrangement was not so much dual control as a single strategic point of command outside the official realm wielding an all-powerful remote control. The jury is still out on Dhoni’s one-leader formula even as we delve into history to check whether a single point of command suits India best in all spheres.