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Why the Border-Gavaskar trophy is crucial for MS Dhoni

CRICKET-IND-NZL

It is an exhilarating feeling to experience a victory, a true domination not marred by recklessness and absurdity. It was an exhibition of thorough professionalism attained with relative conviction. Things are back on track and Dhoni would be worrying about a few less grey hairs, for a couple of days at least.

It is a critical position for team India as they face the hazard of falling into the trap called complacency and callousness. Hyderabad will be an acid test of sorts for team India as to see whether they can keep their heads after an emphatic victory without slipping back into the old routines. It does have its set of predicaments in certain divisions. The openers, for instance, floundered their chances and it would definitely be a cause for worry.

There are other issues besides the obvious ones. The bowling was a one-man show as Ashwin spun a web to gain the upper hand, even as the other bowlers were quite colourless; a major alarm that would give the skipper a few sleepless nights.  Knowing Dhoni, he would be analysing the short comings even before the experts could give it a thought. Dhoni has seldom been the traditional player that we have grown up witnessing in Indian cricket. His thought process is on a completely different platform, not to mention his style and charisma that are quite weird and attractive to the fans. So is his batting.

Having cracked the codes to absorb pressure like a sponge that soaks up all the water, he has been exemplary in his last two outings as a batsman. A skipper ought to disregard his role as a leader when he walks out to bat. He should have a clear head to face the bowlers without the pressure of captaincy. He did just that as he catapulted the Indian lead within the span of three sessions to tilt the match in our favour. It was domination par excellence as he launched a scathing attack, a retort to all the struggles he had to brave as a captain in the last eighteen months.

His ability as a skipper and as a batsman was questioned. Willingly or not, he was fabricated as the root cause of all of India’s predicaments. The critics lashed out at him for not having the courage to lead the side through the tribulations. A better man would have crumbled under the pressure, but he wouldn’t. The stand-off with the seniors did not help either. Those who were supposed to be his trusted lieutenants turned against him. The script was unwritten as it was etched two years back, subsequent to the World Cup victory, to be precise.

The sagas of his World Cup victories have been sung for a zillion times already and his reputation as a skipper is vouched for by rival skippers as well. He brings about a queer persona that stumps the straight thinking cricketers. A major chunk of the World Cup victory would belong to the man from a small town as he rightly had the honours to conclude the tournament on his own terms.

The phase after the World Cup was gruesome and laborious for the team. The experienced players bailed, citing injuries, and Dhoni was forsaken with a bunch of tawdry talents, mixed with the ‘ancient’ seniors. They were the saving grace though, to be honest. If not for a man called Rahul Dravid, India’s reputation in Tests would have sunk to the bottom in England, as it eventually did in Australia.

The players accountable for the defeats did not have the courage to put their hands up even as they were over the moon when India tasted victory. They seemed pretty indifferent and all the fingers were facing in the same direction, Dhoni’s. It is a well-known fact that Indian cricket and its fans have always been partial to their cricketing heroes. When the team wins, they are worshipped as demi-gods, and when they lose the cricketers would be humiliated in a fashion in which even a murderer wouldn’t be treated.

Whenever the team lost, the blame would invariably land on the skipper, through no fault of his. His statements were misinterpreted and his judegment of the team and tactics were put under the scanner. His reputation took a beating and people were beginning to speculate on his sacking and retirement with such audacity that the skipper would have never imagined. It was a pity to see the skipper who won us two World Cups being treated in such a manner.

Alas, the situation has changed for good. MS Dhoni has seized the initiative and has blasted his way back to the top. The last four months have been pretty good for Dhoni the batsman. He has altered his batting style and has added a few good shots to his erstwhile repertoire. He has grown more aggressive in nature and is not afraid to take the aerial route – things that were the definition of “Being MSD” in the past. It is a welcome change to be able to perceive Dhoni in such a form and it augurs well for the team.

The chances are looking bright for team India, especially after Dhoni’s mammoth knock in Chennai. A series win is crucial to team India, especially after the drubbing against England and Pakistan in home soil. It would change the perspective of MS Dhoni the skipper as the struggle persists to hoist his name back on the board.

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