MS Dhoni paints a calmful picture both on and off the field. The legend he is, Dhoni is the most successful skipper in Indian cricket with two World Cup trophies. When Virat Kohli took over responsibilities from Dhoni in 2017, he quickly acknowledged MSD’s role in shaping his career. “MSD will always remain my captain,’ said Kohli at that time.
Despite being away from senior team, several players often speak about missing Mahi’s presence in the field while playing. What makes it Mahi the most sought out player? Let’s ponder.
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Dhoni- A complete team man & perfect finisher!
Dhoni – the batsman could have added more centuries to his belt had he decided to bat a few places above his number seven position. He stayed there for over a decade since the team was not finding right finishers. Finishing the game is no mean task! It requires perseverance, match awareness and a player with a cool head. Dhoni of late was criticized for not finishing games well but the reality is that India is yet to find an able finisher in shorter formats despite trying out many options.
Reading the game well: In the 2011 World Cup final, Dhoni decided to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh to keep the left hand-right hand combination going. Muralidharan, the magician we all know was out there hungry to win a cup for his team in his last ODI. Yuvi having his own troubles against quality spin was at his peak of form but Dhoni decided not to take a risk in the final and played a captain’s innings to bring the cup home.
Grooming the youngsters:
Dhoni’s two biggest finds, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are ruling Indian cricket now. In their early days, both were slammed by both media and commentators. Kohli was questioned for his temperamental issues and Rohit was not scoring runs as he would have liked. Dhoni promoted Rohit to open the innings during the Champions Trophy and he rewarded the captain by becoming the second highest run-scorer. India never looked back for an alternative opening combination since then.
Virat Kohli was firmly backed by skipper Dhoni in his playing days when he was facing attitude related issues and the rest of the story is history.
Rebuilding and transforming Team India:
Dhoni had to rebuild the team from scratch following the retirements of the big four in Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. It could have left a big void in the batting lineup.
If we go through statistics, MSD stands out for providing the greatest number of opportunities to aspiring cricketers. He tried out many options and by the time Virat Kohli took over, there was a vast pool of talent available. He reinvented the Test team which was an experienced unit to a group of fighting players. Even though the initial results were not great, the same players after acquiring the wealth of experience helped India reach No: 1 rank in Tests.
The ultimate leader:
Under Dhoni’s tenure, the ODI side which often boasts of batting exploits was remodeled into a balanced unit. When we look through names, Dhoni never had the luxury of top performing bowlers like Bumrah under his captaincy. But the result was there to see. In the 2015 World Cup, the team bowled out their opposition in all their matches, except in the semifinals. That’s an outstanding result.