“……and Sreesanth takes it, India wins the World Cup”
The golden chapter of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s captaincy era started from the 2007 T20 World Cup where his conjuration brought the team a period of capricious glory. From becoming the first captain to win the inaugural T20 World Cup to taking team India to new heights and ending at near supremacy in the world’s best T20 league, IPL, Dhoni appears on every page of the great statistical compendiums.
Probably one of the greatest captains the sport has ever witnessed Dhoni stands out differently in the limited over games. One may not be amazed if Mike Brearley thinks to rewrite his book, Art of Captaincy if he has seen Dhoni placing a fielder right behind the umpire near the 30-yard circle to get our the mighty Pollard. Even Harsh Bhogale praised Dhoni by saying, “When he retires he should write a book on field placements’.
Every match the team played under his captaincy saw a new version of Dhoni’s ludicrous nature with astute skills of perception. His chirping behind the stumps to his teammates, even though his culture is now carried by Pant, was a blessing in disguise for the bowlers and fielders to stay attentive. The most entertaining commander-in-chief, Dhoni was even equated to the unit of speed (m/s) when he brought a billion smiles back after whipping the bails lightning-quick to stump Shabbir Rahman in T20 World Cup 2016.
Like I always say, Wicket-keepers are truly the game’s underclass, noticed only when they make a mistake. They are always out of focus and yet they are the most important players on the team. And no team can afford to lose a regular wicket-keeper and when the keeper is Dhoni himself one can never imagine a team without him.
As a batsman Dhoni, some of his blistering knocks can never be forgotten. Runs can never be accepted as the true indication of a player’s greatness. A fighting inning of 30 or so under different conditions is lost in cold statistics, yet its merits may far outweigh many centuries that are recorded in a particular season. Who can forget those 17 runs whacked off Irfan Pathan’s bowling in the last over, those incorrigible 24 runs in the last over (4 sixes) off Akshar Patel?. He could win a match devastatingly. It is said that he was a slow starter. Like other great batsmen, he would have bad innings but could equally kill two bowlers in the last 6 overs of other matches.
Misleading suggestions are sometimes heard that a cricketer after the age of 33 is tottering on the brink of decline. When looking at Dhoni, everything is proved wrong. In this wonderful kaleidoscope of all the IPL glories, one can find a world of inspiration in MS Dhoni.
Indian Premier League has seen Dhoni’s dominant supremacy in all seasons. He captained Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiants in 204 matches and has won 121 of them. 116 for CSK and 5 for RPSG. MS Dhoni has captained Chennai Super Kings for 12 seasons leading the team to four titles. Under his leadership, CSK has reached the finals on nine out of 12 seasons. And after carrying the Banton for 12 long years it was now time to pass on the huge responsibility on the young shoulders like Jadeja. CSK may not have Dhoni one day but surely he has left behind his legacy for young guns.