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The Mahi Way: Legend of MS Dhoni

Pravir Rai
ANALYST
Feature
1.55K   //    23 Feb 2018, 12:10 IST

Dhoni wit
Dhoni with the 2011 World Cup trophy

There are only a handful of people on whose life a movie has been made. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the only person, on whose life, a full-length Hindi movie was made, while he was still playing cricket.

Dhoni, popularly known as ‘Mahi’, has been a pillar of strength for the Indian cricket team since the time he burst onto the international cricket scene. If Sourav Ganguly taught aggressiveness and developed an appetite to win matches, Dhoni translated those lessons into action by winning World Cups for India – both in the One Day and T20I formats.

Although his debut series against Bangladesh in 2004 was ordinary, he announced his arrival very soon on the international arena by thrashing 148 in 123 balls against Pakistan a few months later. From then on, he never looked back, and grew from strength to strength in all the three formats of the game.

He was made the Indian captain for the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa and became the second Indian captain after Kapil Dev to win a World Cup when India defeated Pakistan in the final of the tournament. This also marked the arrival of ‘Captain Cool’ Dhoni, and after that he successfully led India to numerous series wins in India and abroad in all formats of the game. Under his Captaincy, India won the ICC ODI World Cup in 2011 too. He is the only Indian captain to win two World Cups.

Unorthodox, yet admirable

I have always liked batsmen who are classical in their approach and have sound technique and footwork. This is because of my fascination with Sunil Gavaskar. However, Dhoni is probably the only batsman whom I admire, who is unorthodox and has more of a ‘gully cricket’ style of batting. This is because of the sound temperament he displays on the cricket field, and the confidence he generates in the mind of the audience that he will win the match for India.

After Sir Vivian Richards, I have only seen Dhoni hitting a good ball for a six, and that too, at will. I have lost count of the numerous matches he has single-handedly won for India.

Dhoni
Dhoni hitting a six

When Dhoni first started playing, his wicket-keeping skills were not that impressive, but he worked hard and is now considered one of the best wicket-keepers of all time. Dhoni has the knack of judging the line and length of the ball at the time it hits the legs of a batsman and he utilizes the Decision Review System (DRS) for a LBW decisions in favour of India. This unique ability has proved to be a shot in the arm for his Captain and Team India.

Dhoni is the only Indian player who has the ability to convert singles into doubles and doubles into triples while batting. It is this ability of his, which has won India matches even when the opposition bowlers are wreaking havoc.

The contribution of Dhoni to the Indian Cricket cannot be deciphered only from the statistics, although they are exquisite. One has to be an avid cricket watcher to decode the value he has brought to Indian cricket by virtue of – the calculated risks he has taken on the field, the amount of new talent he has nurtured, and placing the team’s interests above personal achievements.

There is one attribute which I am trying to learn from him viz. the ability to stay calm under pressure, and channelize all the negative stress to perform exquisitely in highly charged situations.

In every sport, players come and go. Only few players create an impact and provide ebullience to the audience. They go beyond numbers. In football, there is Diego Maradona, Pele and Lionel Messi. In basketball, there is Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and others. In cricket, there is Sir Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and of course, MS Dhoni.

Glowing tributes paid to Dhoni by legends

“When I die, the last thing I want to see is the SIX that Dhoni hit in the 2011 World Cup Final”

Sunil Gavaskar

“Dhoni is the only one in this World who can smash yorkers for SIXES”

Wasim Akram

“I would go to war with Dhoni by my side”

Gary Kirsten

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Pravir Rai
ANALYST
I am an IT professional and a writer.
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