Why the 'maybe' feeling has not taken leave of us- an open letter to MS Dhoni
The tweet from Virat Kohli four days back sent my heart racing. As the current Indian skipper posted the throwback picture of yours from the World T20 in 2016, the cricketing world started chattering about your retirement.
Maybe, Dhoni might not play for India again. Maybe this was Kohli’s way of paying tribute to Dhoni. Maybe this, maybe that. Well, it has always been ‘maybe’ with you, isn’t it?
But then, there is this sense of fear that envelopes me now. You are 38 now Mahi, and things are starting to creak a bit. Fifteen years is a long time, especially in sport, especially in a country like India where every move a cricketer makes is big news.
You have won every possible accolade that the game has to offer, you might have surpassed all your childhood dreams. But then, there is this cloak of mystery around you that intrigues us. And this cloak envelops you tightly even today.
In the World T20 in 2007, you tossed the ball to little known Joginder Sharma over the experienced Harbhajan Singh, and it proved to be the game-changer. It was the first view that the world got about the enigma that you are. Maybe you thought that Joginder was the right man for that moment. Maybe that was your way of surprising the opposition.
And of course, the 2011 World Cup final will be etched in our minds forever. When Virat Kohli fell with the match in the balance, the whole of India expected the in-form Yuvraj Singh to arrive. But then, we saw the skipper make his brisk walk to the middle. You had not had the best of tournaments with the bat and runs had evaded you. But then, you came out and scored a blistering 91*, allowing a cricket-mad nation to lift the World Cup after nearly three decades. Maybe you thought that you were the best man for the situation, maybe you wanted to step up in the biggest of stages. Maybe you wanted to prove a point.
Then came your retirement from Tests in 2014. Not even the staunchest fan of yours could have predicted that move. But then you bid adieu to the longest format of the game, at a time when age was on your side. Maybe you felt that it was the right time to move on.
And then Mahi, came that morning in January 2017, the day when we got to know that you had relinquished captaincy. Maybe it took too much out of you. Maybe you felt it was the right time to allow Kohli to settle into the job.
Then, came that fateful moment on 8th July 2019. The day when Martin Guptill caught you inches short of the crease in the semi-finals of the World Cup. It was the day when the hopes of millions of Indians evaporated into thin air. Maybe you should not have gone for that second run, maybe you should have waited for another over…..
Well, we are now in a tricky situation, Mahi. We know that you might not continue for long, yet we do not know how long you will continue.
Maybe you want to play the T20 World Cup next year. Maybe you will have a farewell series at home. Or maybe, just maybe, you have silently decided to move on, and might not play another game for India.
We await your next move Mahi, and this question of ‘maybe’ has still not taken leave of us even today."
An Ardent fan of yours
Also see – World Test Championship Schedule