“Dhoniii finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years. The party’s started in the dressing room. And it’s an Indian captain, who’s been absolutely magnificent, in the night of the final.”
Any cricket fan worth his salt, would have read it in Ravi Shastri’s most dramatic voice. It has been nine long years since India won the World Cup but the sight of MS Dhoni lifting Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara for a six at Wankhede is still fresh in every Indian cricket fan’s mind. Dhoni led India to World cup glory in 2011, four years after winning the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup 2007, and in 2013 he conquered the ICC champions trophy, which had eluded him until then. Under his leadership, India also secured the number one spot in Test rankings.
While Dhoni was India’s most successful captain his hitting prowess and wicket-keeping skills dwarfed many. With all due respect, there’s a reason that the likes of Parthiv Patel, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik found it hard to cement a regular spot in the Indian team. In an interview on Breakfast with Champions, Parthiv Patel shed light on how” Dhoni was so good over the years” that other wicket keepers found it hard to find a spot. Dhoni’s record speaks for itself, over 12000 ODI runs, 8248 test runs, and 1282 T20 runs, majority of which came batting down at number 6 and 7 positions. In addition to this, Thala possessed lightning-fast hands behind the stumps, having affected 444 dismissals in ODIs; third-most behind Kumar Sangakarra ( 482), and Adam Gilchrist (472).
MS Dhoni was a living embodiment of “ Invest in the process, detach from the result”. It is a prevailing fact amongst CSK fans that Dhoni-led them to 3 IPL title victories ( 2010, 2011 and 2018). But the third one is an interesting tale to tell, CSK was making a return to IPL after a ban of two years. Heading into the 2018 auction, CSK think-tank and their captain (MSD) decided to put their faith in their trusted core of Raina, Jadeja, Bravo, and Du Plessis. They added seasoned campaigners like Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh to the mix and were dubbed as “Dad’s army’, as most of their players were on the wrong side of the thirties. Shane Watson had a below-par IPL season in 2017 but Dhoni and CSK showed faith in him and he repaid that faith. Watson scored 2 centuries in the 2018 season, one of which came in the final.
Rohit Sharma called MSD “one of the most influential men in the history of Indian cricket’ and rightly so. It was MS Dhoni who scripted the masterstroke to promote Rohit up the order and the rest is history. Rohit scored 5 centuries in ICC World Cup 2019 and has 3 ODI double centuries.
Never to be known for accolades and milestones, Dhoni left the ODI and T20 captaincy in 2017 and continued playing so that he could help the team during its transition years. Dhoni bid adieu to international cricket on 15th August 2020 at “1929 hours’. Just like that, an era came to an end, one that will be written with golden words.
As an avid cricketing fan, it has been an honor and privilege to watch Maahi play. The greatest finisher in the history of the game, the most destructive batsman and the only person who could remain the same in the face of victory and defeat.
MSD you will always be our captain.
( Dhoni averaged 102.71 in successful run chases. Dhoni remained not out on 50 occasions in run cases and India won 47 of these matches. )