MS Dhoni: Nonchalantly dislodging a bail to end an illustrious career
“Thanks. Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired” – That and a four minute Instagram video was how a man with 538 international matches, 17,266 runs, 16 hundreds, 108 fifties, 359 sixes and 829 dismissals announced his retirement. Not to forget that his CV states that he is the only captain till date to have won all three major ICC tournaments.
However, like Mahendra Singh Dhoni has often celebrated a victory by uprooting a stump as a souvenir to go along with a smile, his retirement came without any extravagance. There will probably be a press conference somewhere down the line, but who knows! For now, we will all have to live with the fact that there will be no grand farewell for a player who scaled the same heights as Sachin Tendulkar, if not more!
Dhoni began his international career by being run out for a duck and it is nothing more than a coincidence that his last innings ended via a run out as well. What he achieved in between, as a player, a wicketkeeper and as a captain will be hard to achieve for any player who wishes to have a successful international career.
Combine all three aspects of his achievements together and you can be sure that nobody will get anywhere close to it.
Dhoni came in at a time when India was still struggling to find a ‘decent’ batsman-keeper. The Rahul Dravid experiment had been good but was not a long-term option. With all due respect,
Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik are very good keepers and have since evolved into very reliable batsmen for their domestic and franchise teams. However, with India struggling to find a balance between bat and ball in ODI cricket, they needed a solid batsman-keeper than the other way round. When he entered the team, the thing people noticed most was his long hair and his not-so-copybook stance. The run out for a duck on debut did not make things any easier.
Having made just 22 runs in his first four ODIs, then captain Sourav Ganguly promoted Dhoni up to number three in the game against Pakistan. Dhoni wasted no time to grab that opportunity and smashed an unbeaten 148 off 123 balls, paving the way for a comfortable India win. He went on to score his maiden test hundred against the same opposition as well. The search for the ‘all-rounder’ had ended and India knew they could play five proper batsmen with Dhoni at six, whenever there would be the need for an extra bowler.
It was only during the 2007 World T20 when the senior players like Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly decided to opt out that Dhoni was given charge of a young team. Looking back at it, one can only thank the seniors for making that decision. While Dhoni had already made his name as a destructive keeper batsman, this was the beginning of the ‘captain’ who took Sourav Ganguly’s ground work to the next level and achieved things nobody could have dreamt of.
They say it’s a tough job being a keeper and a batsman. Hence, neither of some of the other wicketkeeping greats like Mark Boucher and Adam Gilchrist were given the additional responsibility of captaincy. Dhoni, though, was a cut above the rest. His uncanny ability to not get pressure of the result get to him is something legends have been in awe of.
He took a few harsh decisions, emphasized on the fitness of players and more importantly backed his instincts. Every person who has either played or has been involved in a non-playing capacity in a team captained by Dhoni has spoken of his tactical genius and his lack of interest in elaborate team meetings and analyzing numbers.
Nobody managed resources better than Dhoni. As I was going through the tributes on twitter this morning, the one common aspect which all his teammates and opponents have spoken about is about his ability to get the best out of players. Be it trusting Joginder
Sharma with the final over of the 2007 World T20 final to nurturing Kuldeep Yadav from behind the stumps, he knew what made a player tick.
In many ways, Indian fans hung on to the hope of seeing Dhoni one last time in the blue during the 2020 World Cup. However, with the pandemic pushing that the next year, those hopes had probably diminished. At 39, he probably could have another couple of IPL seasons left. But knowing Dhoni, you never know when he quietly uproots the stumps off his IPL career too.
Some of the Indian players who retired in the past decade or so have spoken about how Kapil Dev winning a world cup inspired them to become cricketers. One can be rest assured that
Dhoni’s achievements would have inspired many more!
Thank you Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Thanks for the entertainment and the memories of a lifetime. As of 1929hrs, yesterday, consider a part of all of our cricketing lives as Retired.
Dhoni scored 4,876 runs in 98 matches with 256 catches and 38 stumpings in a Test career that he called an end to in 2014. In ODIs, he scored 10,773 runs with 321 catches and 123 stumpings, last turning out for India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. In T20Is, he aggregated 1617 runs with 57 catches and 34 stumpings. He scored six centuries in Tests and 10 in ODIs.
Dhoni spent 656 days as the top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings from 2006 to 2010 and was the ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
He was in the ICC ODI Teams of the Year in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and in the ICC Test Teams of the Year in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. He won the ICC Spirit of Cricket award in 2011
©Cricket World 2020