Welcoming a life without MS Dhoni
I woke up this morning overwhelmed with what this festive new week might hold for me. I don't think the Indian cricket team would have been feeling much differently as they prepare for life ahead without MS Dhoni.
When the BCCI announced the Dhoni-less squad for West Indies and Australia T20 series, it turned out to be a strenuous decision to come to terms with. Words like 'dropped', 'axed' and 'retire' started floating in no time, for when the legacy is above the realm of imagination, it takes just as hard a fall.
Dhoni is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the all-time greats of limited overs cricket. He has achieved everything he could in 50-over format but it was T20 where MS Dhoni started his long, illustrious journey. Take me back to the WT20 2007 and I'd happily and proudly admit that that is when I fell in love with the cricketer and the captain, MS Dhoni. His flamboyance fueled the emergence of T20 cricket in India.
11 years on, it is hard to fathom that the legacy might have come to a quiet end. It's the Mahi way, isn't it? The selectors might have put one of the strongest tales of T20 cricket to rest. But was it the correct decision?
"I think the selector has already explained what happened and I don't think I need to sit here and explain it more. I wasn't a part of that conversation but it is not what people are making out of it. I can assure you that he [Dhoni] is still a very integral part of this team and it was only about giving chance to others.", said Virat Kohli after the conclusion of the ODI series.
Apparently, Dhoni has set his eyes on the Cricket World Cup 2019 and nothing beyond because the next WT20 tournament is in 2020. Virat's statement almost insinuates that Dhoni wants the management to breed another crop of WK-batsmen for the WT20 because he would hang his gloves...err boots before the tournament.
This makes the decision to sideline Dhoni a noble one.
However, it's MS's form before the World Cup '19 that has been the point of discussion in the nation. The flamboyance has slowly turned to archaic cricket in ODIs. With the WC so close, you'd want MSD to play as many games as he can before the cricket fiesta commences in England next year.
But keeping Dhoni out of the side has snatched a lot of chances for MSD to get his form back. So is it the right decision? Like Dhoni needs time on the crease before he starts accelerating in an innings, you'd think that he would require the same when it comes to regaining form and overcoming his bad patch.
Dhoni might have needed the same format that kick-started his career to rejuvenate it at dusk.
And to say he was dropped, might be a little over-the-top for he has done well in the shortest format of the game while derailing in the 50-over game.
It's also been Dhoni's year in the IPL when he registered his second-best season and led his beloved Chennai Super Kings to a title win.
Now, however the Man with the Midas Touch has set his eyes on the World Cup and everything else in his career has started to blur. It's a hard pill to swallow, but you'd want to give the possible replacements in Dinesh Kartik and Rishabh Pant enough game time if they are to fill in those huge boots of MS Dhoni.
India play their first T20I at home without MS Dhoni today. Welcome to life post Dhoni. It will be tough at first but it will reap rewards that are far greater.