Ever wondered what it is like to be a superhero? Seems fun, right? But you must have heard this age-old saying — “With great power, comes great responsibility.” That applies to cricket as well.
Being the captain of the Indian cricket team is like being a superhero in itself, with the responsibility of 1.2 billion Indians. That was the responsibility that MS Dhoni had on his shoulders for almost a decade.
Captaining the Indian team is not child’s play. So when the God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, says that “Dhoni is the best captain I have played under,” you know Dhoni did an outstanding job.
Not just team-mates’ words, but even the trophies in his closet are proof of his success. Winning just one ICC event is a dream for any captain but he has won all three – the ICC World T20, the ICC World Cup, and the ICC Champions Trophy.
Such was the impact of his captaincy skills that Gary Kirsten, the World Cup winning coach, once said, “I will go to war with MS by my side.”
But somewhere amid Dhoni captaincy skills, we all forgot what a wonderful batsman he is. A batsman who has batted at number 5, 6, or 7 for almost all his career in ODIs, with an average of 51, tells us the importance of the runs he has scored.
Only a few men like Adam Gilchrist (96.95), Vivian Richards (90.20) and Kapil Dev (95.07) have a better strike rate than Dhoni.
Players like Sachin Tendulkar(18,176), Sanath Jayasuriya (13,430) and Ricky Ponting (13,695) may remain ahead in terms of runs scored, but it’s difficult to think that these legends could have donned as many hats as Dhoni did. He was a batsman, a keeper, a captain, and a finisher – and he did all of this well over such a long period of time.
Even after all this contribution and success though, Dhoni has tasted one thing that came along with it – CRITICISM. It’s not like no other player has been criticized, but there seems to be something between criticism and MS Dhoni. And this bond has just gotten stronger and stronger over time.
It all started with his appointment as Team India’s captain for the World T20 back in 2007. The decision to appoint him as captain over other senior players in the team was criticized by the media and fans. However, Dhoni answered his criticism in style and won India their first World T20.
Then, there was the point in his captaincy career when he was blamed for dropping senior players from the ODI squad. This was when the World Cup was just a year away.
Similarly, Dhoni was also blamed for supporting CSK players while making selections for Team India. But Dhoni’s answer was simple — a World Cup trophy after 28 years and taking India to the No. 1 Test ranking for the first time.
The most recent point of criticism? His fading finishing skills and his slow batting. But he has answered the critics about his finishing skills in the recently concluded IPL.
His slow batting in England recently gave his critics another chance to have a go at him. But believe in Dhoni on this; the way he has answered his critics over the years, he will come back and come back as hard as it gets.
MS once said, “Till the full stop doesn’t come, the sentence is not complete.” So keep watching him.