Blink and you are gone! You cannot relax for one moment or let your guard down, especially against the spinners, that is what batsmen must have felt with MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
We can all recall multiple instances of breaking into a chuckle or a guffaw listening to MS Dhoni talking to his bowlers from behind the stumps and telling them what was going on with the batsman and what the bowler should do. And as if it was already in the script that it would happen, it did, sometimes on the very next ball, leaving everyone stunned, be it the batsman, the commentators or those watching on TV.
I am sure over the last couple of days you have read/heard about the knocks MS Dhoni played where he took India over the finish line or snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but here are a few instances where his wicketkeeping skills outwitted the batsman and left them scratching their heads.
1) India vs Bangladesh, 2016 T20 WC – It was the last ball of the match and Bangladesh needed two runs to win and one to tie the match. A loss would have meant an exit for India from the tournament. Fortunately for India, they had MS Dhoni, and after Shuvagata Hom missed the delivery by Hardik Pandya, Mustafizur Rahman and Hom tried to steal a bye to make it a tie but MS Dhoni was too quick for them. He collected the ball and instead of throwing the ball to the gathering fielders, he ran to the stumps and took them down, catching Mustafizur short and keeping India's hopes alive.
2) India vs New Zealand ODI, 2009 – It was the third ODI between the two nations and India put up a mammoth 392 for New Zealand to chase down. One of the most dangerous players for the Kiwis over the last few years had been Ross Taylor, but MS Dhoni’s instincts caught him short of his crease. Having survived an LBW shout, Taylor tried to steal a single but the ball went only as far as Yuvraj Singh, who fired a bullet throw which was heading wide of the mark. Dhoni instinctively redirected the ball towards the stumps catching Taylor short.
3) India vs New Zealand ODI, 2016 – It was seven years later but the protagonists and the outcome remained the same. In the fourth ODI of the series, batting first, the Kiwis were trying to score as many runs as possible. In the 46th over, Ross Taylor tried to convert a one into two, and had it not been for MS Dhoni’s brilliance, he would have done it. It was an okay throw by Dhawal Kulkarni from the fine-leg but had it not been for the 39-year-old’s brilliance, it would have gone down as just a random delivery. However, Dhoni collected the ball, and without looking, threw down the stumps from about 3-4 meters and once again caught Taylor short.
4) India vs Bangladesh ODI, 2015 – Is there anything that MS Dhoni cannot do? He found another way to dismiss another batsman. This time it was Mushfiqur Rahim who was on the receiving end. The Bangladeshi batsman cut the ball to deep cover and tried to take a couple. Rohit Sharma fielded the ball and his throw wasn’t bad but it wasn’t going to achieve anything. Dhoni though collected the ball in front of the stumps and threw them down, throwing the ball between his legs without looking. Rahim was caught short and it was a perfect example of what thinking on your feet can do.
5) India vs Australia ODI, 2016 – MS Dhoni has always had fast hands; you can see numerous examples of that on social media with the stumpings he has affected. One of those instances was on display during the third ODI against Australia in January. Chasing 296, Australia were 150 for two when MS Dhoni showed a moment of sheer class and skill. The former India captain stumped George Bailey with the blink of an eye. Bailey may have gotten back in his crease with someone else but with MS Dhoni on the prowl, he had no chance.Published 17 Aug 2020, 17:18 IST