There were no “news leaks” floating around about retirement, there was no marketing to make a full-house farewell and nor there was any photo-op to bid farewell to the longer format of the game. Everything was same as it has always been.
A silent march, with stumps in his hands, and the same attitude which he has always carried on, he called it a day.
I won’t argue with people on whether he was better in tests than One dayers or he wasn’t in any or any random accusation which the anti-dhoni brigade will come up with.
You die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Was he slowly inching towards that ?
For someone who has admired him from the time he played in the India-A squad in Zimbabwe, and then being called in for the Bangladesh tour, it is difficult to imagine him being the villain. Not now, not ever.
It is not just the aggressive batting style, or his captain cool avatar but also the way he has carried himself off the field. He is an icon.
Its a little unusual to take in, that he has retired. But with him still being there for ODI’s is a relief.
Kohli is amazing batsmen and it would be great to see him lead the test side with his brand of aggressive captaincy.
To the captain, who carried the team of veterans as well as youngsters.
A young boy from a city in Jharkhand, a newly formed state struggling to keep up after its divorce from Bihar, was making some waves in the domestic circuit. A (thumbnail) picture. with a lanky sunscreen laden face, adorned one small section of the sports column in the morning newspapers’ local edition.
After century knocks against Zimbabwe, Kenya and Pakistan- A teams, this India-A player was slowly getting his due attention. Although the Indian Team selectors picked Dinesh Kartick as the wicket keeper, the one year started off with a series of great performances by this Jharkhand lad in the domestic circuit.
And after a year, he was finally chosen to be in the ODI team travelling for Banagladesh.
A Dream come true.
Not just for him, but for a state trying to make its presence felt. We all felt like our dream was getting realised.
But it didn’t came without disappointments. He got out to a duck.
In the second match he played, of the two balls that he faced, one went for a Six. This six against the Bangladesh attack was the signal of what was to come later.
Next series, it was Pakistan
148* laced with 4 mighty sixes and 15 powerful 4s in just 123 balls, was when the world came to know of Mahendra Singh Dhoni!!!
This was not the end; this was a start to the storm that had made its way into the Indian Cricket team.
Innings of 182 against Pakistan by MS Dhoni at Vizag
The Pakistan series got him, his first Man-of-the-Series award and was followed up by the Sri Lankan series. Promoted up the order, chasing 299 against Sri Lanka, with 10 sixes and 15 fours, he stood up high in the record books as the highest score by a wicket-keeper batsman as well as by an Indian. 183*.
Rest, as they say is History. History which is glorious and promises to add more laurels in the coming years.
T20 world cup, ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy, IPL championship, Champions League are just a few of the trophies that the Indian Cricket Team or the Chennai Super Kings have won. This has been possible because of just one man. The captain marvel or the Captain Cool, as many call him. Giving coolness a whole different meaning.
Taking decisions with the cool as a cucumber mind. Imagine giving the final over to a nobody like Joginder Sharma the final over in the 2007 WC or even persisting with Ishant Sharma, who was way too expensive the crucial death overs, and not to mention how well they worked!!
His having faith in the players even in times of terrible form isn’t limited to match-time situations. He is known to back Ravindra Jadeja and even Rohit Sharma. Notwithstanding the jokes, criticism and their visible bad form, he backed them all and we all can see the effects.
Ravindra Jadeja is the best example of how criticism can give rise to a hero. Imagine the “Sir” tag attached to his name just for ridiculing him is slowly turning out to be an honorary title. Who knows, the Queen might just make this come true!!
Of course, when you are doing well, in Dhoni’s case “Exceptionally well” where he is known to have a Midas touch, there will be haters. And yes, there are.
But deep down, even they agree on what this One man has achieved and is capable of achieving (Although there’s hardly anything left).
Proud to belong to the state from where you come. Blessed to have watched you play. Honored to have you as our Captain and Pleasure to be a Dhoniette.
Happy b’day Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the coolest captain to have ever lead an Indian Cricket team.