Ms Dhoni: One of the greatest
On April 2, 2011, India faced Sri Lanka in the World Cup finals in Wankhede stadium. India was in a spot of bother at 114/3, in walked Dhoni ahead of Yuvraj Singh much to the surprise of the everyone who was watching the finals. Dhoni till that point was not in best of form with the bat, he averaged 30 in seven innings before the finals. That day Dhoni showed us all that every day is a new day the past form doesn't count the only thing that counts is how you play on that particular day. Dhoni was on strike with India needing 4 runs off 11 deliveries and then this happened: Dhoniiiii finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the World Cup after 28 years. The party's started in the dressing room. And it’s an Indian captain, who’s been absolutely magnificent, in the night of the final.’ (the voice of Ravi Shastri)
A LOOK BACK :
* Dhoni's cricketing career started in a club called as Commando cricket club in 1995. He became a regular wicketkeeper for the club team.
*In 1998 Dhoni played his first professional cricket game for the Central Coal Fields Limited (CCL) team. He was selected by Deval Sahay, who was the Ranchi District Cricket President at that time.
*In 1998-1999 he played for Bihar U-19 team and scored 176 runs in 5 matches.
*In 1999-2000 Bihar U-19 qualified for the finals and lost to Punjab U-19 in the finals. Based on Dhoni's performance he made it through the East zone U-19 team for the CK Nayudu trophy
*Dhoni made his Ranji Trophy debut in 1999-2000 at the age of eighteen.
*Dhoni became a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Kharagpur Railway Station in 2001.
*Dhoni was a part of the India A side that toured Zimbabwe and Kenya in the 2003-04. He scored 362 runs in the tri-series involving Kenya, India A, Pakistan A. He won the Man of the Series too.
*Dhoni made his ODI debut on 23rd December 2004 against Bangladesh.
*Dhoni's first international catch came on 26th December 2004, the batsman being Nafees Iqbal. Dhoni made his first stumping on 27th December 2006 against Bangladesh off Tendulkar bowling and the batsman was Rajin Saleh. Dhoni's first six came against Bangladesh on 27th December 2006.
*Dhoni's first century came against Pakistan on 5th April 2005. He scored 148 off 123 deliveries. On 31st October 2005, he smashed 183* against Sri Lanka in Jaipur.
*Dhoni made his test debut on 2nd December 2005 against Sri Lanka. In the year 2007, he was made the captain of the national side and helped India win the 2007 t20 world cup.
*On December 2009 India became world number one in test match cricket under Dhoni's captaincy. On April 2nd 2011, Dhoni's Unbeaten knock of 91 along with Gambhir's 97 helped India lift the world cup.
*On 22nd February 2013 Dhoni became the only Indian wicketkeeper to score a double ton in test match cricket. Dhoni and co lifted the Champions Trophy in England on June 3rd, 2013.
*In the year 2008 and 2009 Dhoni won the ODI player of the year. Dhoni was named the captain and wicketkeeper of the 2010 ICC test team. In 2011 he won the Spirit of the Cricket award. In 2013 Dhoni won the LG's People's Choice Award. He was named the captain and wicketkeeper of 2013,2012,2011 ICC ODI team. In 2011 he was awarded the CNN-IBN Indian of the year in sports.
*Dhoni received Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2007, He was awarded Padma Shri in 2009. In 2018 Dhoni was awarded Padma Bhushan.
THE FAST HANDS:
Dhoni has always been an unorthodox wicketkeeper and has never been a classical wicketkeeper, even being unorthodox and being an out of box keeper he has been successful. His unorthodox way of keeping along with the innovations that he brought into the field of keeping made him the third-best wicketkeeper in terms of dismissals in all the formats with 788 dismissals and counting, he is just behind Adam Gilchrist(905 dismissals), and Mark Boucher( 999 dismissals).
Dhoni is a smart, clever thinking keeper, he has lightning-quick hands and whips the bails off in a flash. Due to all these factors, Dhoni has the most number of stumpings with 178 stumpings across all the formats. He is also the first wicketkeeper with 100+ stumpings in ODI cricket.
The innovations that he has brought in keeping has been unreal and something makes you think is this guy(Dhoni) human or what? One such incident is when Dhoni just guided the throw from fine leg to get Ross Taylor run not. The other incident occurred during IPL 2016 when Mann Vohra tries to guide the ball to the third man region and Dhoni will lift his right leg and will block the ball from getting past.
Dhoni is not a dynamic and aerobic keeper like Adam Gilchrist, Kumar Sangakkara who can dive into thin air to catch a traveling ball, but when it comes to keeping up to the stumps there is no one in this universe who could be better than Dhoni.
What makes Dhoni faster than other keepers when it comes to stumpings?
While standing up to the stumps generally keepers tend to collect and move in the direction of the ball in order to reduce the impact of the delivery and to collect it cleanly, then they have to change the direction of their hands in order to make a stumping whereas Dhoni literally moves his hands towards the ball, collects it and flicks his wrist or moves his wrist backwards in order to reduce the impact of the delivery and then whips the bails off without the need of changing the direction, this reduces a lot of time and makes him faster than everyone.
After Dravid stepping down as captain no one expected Dhoni to be the next captain and with senior players opting out of the inaugural t20 World Cup, no one expected India to be successful in the tournament but Dhoni and Co clinched the title and surprised everyone. Dhoni was never expected to be a successful captain when he was given the captaincy but eventually, Dhoni became the only captain to win all the ICC trophies (ICC t20 World Cup 2007, ICC World Cup 2011, ICC Champions Trophy 2013) and to hold on to the test mace as well.
Dhoni ended up captaining 331 matches for India across formats which is most by any captain
Dhoni has a winning percentage of 53.78. India won 110 matches in ODI's under Dhoni's captaincy which the second most number wins for a captain (Ricky Pointing has 165 wins in ODI's as captain). Dhoni has the most number T20 wins as captain.
Dhoni has captained India in 94 series across formats in which India has won 46 series. Under Dhoni's captaincy India won 12 test series which is most under any Indian captain and in ODI's India won 24 series under Dhoni's captaincy which is also the most by any Indian captain.
Dhoni is the only captain to win 3 IPL titles and two t20 champions league titles for CSK. Dhoni has captained a combined 159 matches for CSK and Rising Pune Super Giants which is most by any captain. Under Dhoni's captaincy, his team has won 94 games out of the 159 games in IPL.
Dhoni as a captain has always been surprising. Some of the best moments in Dhoni's captaincy are 1. Giving the last over to Joginder Sharma in World Cup t20 2007 finals against Pakistan 2. Giving the ball to Ishant Sharma to bowl the 18th over in the Champions trophy finals 2013 instead of Umesh Yadav (who had figures of 2-0-10-1) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar ( who had figures of 3-0-19-0).3. Promoting himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the World Cup 2011 Finals at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Dhoni gave Rohit a second chance to open the batting against England in 2013 at Mohali and that innings of 83 made him a regular opener in the side. After that match-winning innings when he was asked about the mastermind behind sending him to open the batting Rohit said the following: He (Dhoni) just came up to me and said ‘I want you to open the innings as I am confident that you will do well. Since you can play both cut and pull shot well, you have the qualities to succeed as an opener’,” Rohit said.
“He told me that I shouldn’t be scared of failures or get upset by criticism. He was looking at the bigger picture as the Champions Trophy was scheduled in England that year,” said Rohit, the only player in world cricket with two double hundreds in ODIs. According to Rohit, Dhoni’s reading of a player’s ability is peerless.
The qualities like resource management, player selection, quick prediction of conditions, reading player's ability etc., makes him the greatest captain in the history.