Why MS Dhoni must not be put under pressure ahead of the 4th ODI against New Zealand
The man who has given India numerous victories with his captaincy. The man who has re-written the rulebook of wicket-keeping. The best ever finisher in world cricket. The coolest mind of the game.
All these claims and titles go along with results and records for the Indian cricket team. Despite all of the various elements described above, there is no doubt that MS Dhoni is a man who is an easy target for haters.
It is true that in recent times, he has not been able to get us across the line as often as he used to. That being said, Dhoni was the lone ranger who took us very close to the finish line in a lot of these matches. Funnily enough, haters tend to single out the man’s failures in the matches, when more often than not, it was most of the batting line-up that crumbled.
Even Captain Cool can feel pressure
The ongoing New Zealand series saw the much-awaited return of Captain Cool, and all eyes were on the man who recently had his biopic released successfully. Although he is known to not express much on the field, one can only imagine the pressure playing in his mind.
As the series stands at 2-1, the team is getting ready for the 4th ODI taking place in Ranchi - the hometown of this cricket giant.
So if you think he has been handling well, the pressure from the fans, just try and think what must be going through his head ahead of the match being played at his home ground.
Having been surrounded by quite a few Dhoni critics and haters for a very long time (despite living in a tiny city like Geneva, mind you) and seeing a lot of that “trolling” on Twitter and Facebook, it amazes me how vis-à-vis his batting, the reactions from the fans online are often “All Or Nothing.”
For instance, if he fails, he will typically be the scapegoat for the loss (despite many other factors coming into play), and if he wins, he will be seen as the hero who was bound to do the job for India.
Looking at it from the critics’ perspective, even if we accept those occasional failures from Dhoni the batsman, could we think of any alternative who can strike as much fear in the opponents as this man?
Moreover, even if the team does find a replacement who can bat as a “finisher”, there is no denying that it would miss the world-class wicket-keeping skills from the skipper. Quick as lightning, always on his toes, Dhoni gets his victims with some unorthodox but incredible skills from behind the stumps.
Allow Dhoni to enjoy the moment
Hence my main question: aren’t the fans being a bit too hard on Captain Cool? Rather than expecting so much from the man, can’t we give him some space to breathe and play his natural game?
Yes, it is indeed natural that supporters will eagerly look forward to seeing him play in Ranchi in front of his home crowd. But this being such a special game for him, the best thing a real supporter can do for him is to allow him to be in his element on this special day. To cheer for him in his good times, but stand by him in the bad ones, like a real fan would.
So rather than hoping for a big knock or a massive series victory (which I also tend to hope for naturally), we should just let MS Dhoni enjoy the moment. For a man who has scored over 9000 ODI runs for India with a 50+ average (despite playing so low in the batting order), it is the least we could do in return.
(Video courtesy: Puneet Chaudhary YouTube channel)