“Dhoni finishes off in style…..a magnificent strike into the crowd…..India lifts the World Cup after 28 years….the party starts in the dressing room and it is the Indian Captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final”. Those were the words which came out of an overjoyed Ravi Shastri after Dhoni hits that magnificent six to give India a memory which every Indian would cherish for his lifetime. It’s been 6 years since India won the World Cup but that memory can give goosebumps to any Indian cricket fan. To say India is a cricket-crazed country is an understatement. We are nuts about the game. We worship our cricketers when they’re successful. And the same happened with Mahendra Singh Dhoni too, the man who made the dream of 125 Crore Indians come true.
From a duck on International debut to becoming India’s most successful captain, From a thrill-a-minute swashbuckler to a captain whose trademark is his calm, Dhoni has come a long way. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the greatest finishers in limited-overs cricket and the greatest captain of Indian National Cricket team so far.
Since he took over as captain in 2007, Dhoni led India in 199 ODIs, and over the nine years he captained, Team India achieved almost everything that an Indian cricket fan was waiting for, from winning the T20 World Cup in 2007 to being the World Champions in 2011, and from winning ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 to being the No.1 team in all the three formats.
The strains of captaining an international cricket team, especially one as high-profile as India, can be extremely demanding. MS Dhoni’s legend is based on his leading India to victory in many top tournaments – he is the only captain to win all three top ICC events, the World Cup, the World T20 and the Champions Trophy – also equally impressive was the manner in which he ensured his own standards as a batsman through most of his tenure as captain. Dhoni is already amongst the best ODI players in the history. His finishing skills in particular are enviable. Give him the most difficult task and he will, more often than not, finish it with ease. In 2008 and 2009, he was named the ICC ODI Player of the Year. And over the years, he has maintained an ODI average of above 50 which is enough to prove that how good a batsman he is.
The worst thing about time is that it changes, even if a person doesn’t want it to. He is still lightning between wickets. The undoing of the glove remains. The focusing of the eyes has become more intense. Even now, that remains the only external indication of some form of stress. But the only thing that has changed now is that he is no more the captain of the men in blue.
Cool is now legendary, but has there ever been a captain with greater situational awareness than him?