MS Dhoni: A once in a generation player
To any Indian fan, if you ask one moment that comes to their mind in the past decade that certainly defined Indian cricket in the truest sense, for most of them it would be the picturesque scene of India winning the World Cup in 2011 at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The memory is still afresh and that six from MS Dhoni, with Shastri describing it as, “And Dhoni finishes off in style”, still makes the day for many. But it is hard to digest the fact that after being at the helm of Indian cricket for more than ten consecutive years, India’s most successful captain is nearing the twilight in his career.
Let’s get a close look at some of his traits that defined the real MS Dhoni in the years so far.
The man with a Midas touch
It is a proven fact that MS Dhoni did wonders for his team as a leader, his records speak volumes about his leadership skills. It was his ability to spot the young talent and back them until the very end that stood out for him.
Often it is said in regards to MS Dhoni as the ‘Man with the Midas touch’: the reason being that being his wits, something that empowered him to take brave decisions that sometimes appeared to defy the logic of the game. Be it asking Joginder Sharma to bowl the final over of the WT20 final in 2007 or the courageous decision to promote himself in the batting order in the WC final in 2011, such decisions like these in a way define his explicit reading of the game.
Be it losses or victories, Dhoni has always been in the background as a leader, allowing youngsters to cherish, and at the same time, giving them space to infer from their mistakes.
A hero for many budding cricketers, the man himself is still a treat to watch just by the way he conducts himself on and off the field.
‘Captain Cool’, as he is often called for always been ‘calm as a cucumber’ (barring few moments where he allowed emotions to get the better of him), depicts the inner side in him.
“The coolest man in world cricket, MS Dhoni delivers when it matters most,” said the great former English captain Michael Vaughan in Dhoni’s praise. This has been the 'Mahi way' of leading his side to glories, be it the two IPL trophies and Champions League title for the Chennai Super Kings, the World Cup victories for India in the T20 and ODI format or the Champions Trophy triumph in England, MS has always shouldered responsibility with pride.
The Ultimate Finisher
The wicket-keeper batsman began his career batting at as low as No. 7, but when his captain Sourav Ganguly recognized his talent, he was promoted to No. 3 in one of the games, and the flashy looking batsman didn’t disappoint his captain.
The swashbuckling batsman scored his maiden century, mustering 148 runs against arch-rivals Pakistan in Visakhapatnam in a match-winning the cause. It took him some time to find a permanent spot in the side, but once he did, it was as if he was born to adorn the role of a finisher that the Indian team was in desperate need of.
Along with Yuvraj Singh, the man who had his own charm in his heydays, the duo scripted many victories with their quick-fire knocks in the lower-middle order. Such has been the influence of this hard-hitting batsmen that cricket pundits from around the globe to compare MS’s heroics to Michael Bevan's, who himself was a great finisher in his times.
Can he continue until the 2019 World Cup…?
Dhoni’s contribution to Indian cricket is immense and unmatched. Even a book on his career won’t justify his achievements as a player and as a skipper with Indian cricket. Although, with every passing day, questions arise whether he could continue until the 2019 World Cup, given his dipping form and the age factor which is not by his side.
About two years after he called it a day in Tests in 2014, Dhoni even stepped down from captaincy in limited overs format. Carrying on his reigns is the ‘Modern Master’, Virat Kohli. For him lies a huge responsibility, though it is impossible to fill in the void left by Dhoni’s resignation, even his presence until the next World Cup could certainly be a factor of boost for this young Indian side.
It would be a picturesque end to Dhoni’s international career if India could manage to lift the World cup next year, as he deserves every bit of it for carrying the nation for such a long time.