MS Dhoni, an absolute stalwart, not just of Indian cricket, but one of the greats to have ever graced the game. He has achieved everything that is there to be achieved in the game of cricket. There aren’t too many who contributed more to the game than him. Already, a living legend. But does he get the kind of respect he deserves from the Indian fans?
We are really judgemental of Indian cricket. We do not waste too much time in putting on our critic hat and pour our opinions on the cricketers. We did the same to Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the best batsman ever in the game, then how would MS Dhoni be spared? We love our cricket and we tend to think that it’s our right to make our judgments on the cricketers.
But the mindset is horribly wrong. We don’t even realize what the cricketers go through and how much they have sacrificed to reach there. Dhoni has won more matches for India than anyone else but we still write him off each time he gets out cheaply or fails to finish a game. It’s alright, at the end of the day, he is also a human and everyone commits mistakes.
The actual fact is that his humbleness and the calmness allows the critics to judge him on every front. Had he been a part of any other side, he would have received much more respect. Any other side would give anything to have a leader like Dhoni but he gets trolled by his own countrymen. Such a shame!
The greatest captain
Dhoni is arguably the best Indian captain in the history. It’s not a mere speculation but the stats suggest the same. Under his leadership, India won 27 Tests out of 60, the next best being Sourav Ganguly who won 21 out of 49 followed by Virat Kohli winning 16 out of 26.
In ODIs, he led the side to 110 wins from 199 games followed by Mohammad Azharuddin with 90 wins from 174 matches. Additionally, India emerged victorious in 41 T20Is out of 72 matches under Dhoni. There is no one even close for comparison with him in the shortest format of the game.
These are just numbers which do not show what he was able to achieve. World T20, ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asia Cup, Commonwealth Bank tri-series down under are the biggest trophies that lie in the cabinet of Dhoni. In Test cricket too, India achieved No.1 ranking and stayed at the pole position for a while. There is no other captain in the history of the game who has achieved so much.
These were international achievements and the IPL triumphs mostly remain unnoticed. He led the Chennai Super Kings side to 2 IPL victories and 2 Champions League triumphs. Is there anything that’s remaining? Well, this should be enough to give him a legendary stature. But wait! There is more to it.
The best finisher
There has enough been said about this and undoubtedly, he is the best finisher in the game. If you make a list of the matches he won from close situations, it will account for such a high number of knocks that plenty of players don’t even manage to play those many games in their careers.
The way he promoted himself above Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 ODI World Cup Final against Sri Lanka at Wankhede and absorbed the pressure of expectations from a billion fans to make the side the champions, was a remarkable performance, something which may not happen again.
The close last over finishes, setting up the targets in the first innings, he has done it all on countless occasions. As long as he is at the crease, the faith remains that India can win the match.
Wicketkeeping remains underrated
His stature in batting is as such that the other aspect of his game goes highly unnoticed. Keeping the wickets is a tiring job and can get to anyone. Whenever he won the matches with his bat, before that, he had kept the wickets for hours and we don’t talk about it at all. It requires immense concentration from a wicketkeeper to remain focused all day and Dhoni has done it second to none.
He has the fastest hands in the game and the videos of his stumpings are all over the internet. He has the safest hands and hardly ever spills a catch. Inflicting the run outs by deflecting the ball onto the stumps has proved to be the turning points in so many matches in favor of India.
Dhoni is irreplaceable
Ravi Shastri one said that the Indians would realize his worth he hangs up his boots. The former Indian cricketer nailed it with his statement because there is no one currently who can fill in his shoes. Once he retires, there is bound to be a huge void that is close to impossible to be filled.
At the age of 36, he is still the best wicketkeeper going around. His batting may not be close to where it used to be but he is still good enough to be a part of the playing XI. Despite the decrease in the prowess, every now and then, he pulls off a match-winning performance which proves that there is still a lot of cricket left in him.
He seems to be pitching in for the 2019 ODI World Cup post which he might call it a day. So, that’s just under 2 years of Dhoni for us to witness. We the fans need to cherish every moment he steps onto the field because the time flies quickly. It seems like yesterday that he won the inaugural World T20 for India and now there are speculations of his retirement.
Let’s give him the time to work out his own game. He deserves that after what he has achieved in his career. MS Dhoni deserves a lot more respect and he knows better than anyone how he feels about his game. Let’s just celebrate a great cricketer of the country who would soon disappear from the game quietly like he did from Test cricket.
The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Kidderminster Cricket Club
Old Trafford, Manchester
Riverside Ground, Durham
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