It all started in December 2014
It was a heartbreaking news for all Indians when MS Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket midway through the India-Australia series. The storm hasn’t settled yet even after five years as the fans are still speculating the reasons and consequences of Dhoni’s decision.
Another big announcement came in January 2017 when he stepped down as skipper of the Indian Cricket team in T20s and ODIs. Again, there were speculations and attempts to read between the lines by the media and the fans alike.
Dhoni: A cricket legend
After proving himself in domestic tournaments, Dhoni was selected for India A team’s tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya. His shining performance impressed the then captain, Sourav Ganguly. It marked the beginning of the “Dhoni Era.”
Dhoni had played the roles of wicket-keeper, batsman, and skipper in his charismatic career of 15 years. He has two world cup wins, two Asia cup wins, and one champion’s trophy win as skipper.
Sourav Ganguly – The Prince of Bengal
Sourav Ganguly replaced Mohammad Azharuddin as the Captain after he was found guilty of match-fixing. Ganguly would go down in history as one of the most successful Indian captains of all time. He was the most obvious choice to lead India at that time. Dhoni started his career under Ganguly’s captaincy. Dhoni was always a fast learner and learnt the critical aspects of the game and captaincy by watching the Prince at close quarters. Ganguly was instrumental in bringing out the best in Dhoni.
The infamous Greg Chappell episode cost the Prince first his captaincy and then his place in the Indian squad. The crown first went to Rahul Dravid and then to Anil Kumble for a short period. Both were the pillars of the team but lacked the killing spirit.
The Dhoni Era
Dhoni succeeded Rahul Dravid as captain in 2007. Dhoni knew that he should phase out veterans like Kumble, Sachin, Dravid, and the Prince himself to have complete control over the team. He made a statement to the selectors that ODI cricket needs young and active players.
After the exit of the veterans, he then started picking his men, Raina, Ashwin, Yuvraj, Ishant, Murali Vijay, and others. In his attempt to safeguard power, he phased out two potential aspirants for the throne, Sehwag and Gambhir.
Bishen Singh Bedi once said, “Dhoni was the most powerful Indian captain ever. He always got the team or pretty much anything he wanted.”
In his unstoppable march, he was in the good books of Srinivasan, head of BCCI. As captain, Dhoni gave a new image to Team India. It ranked top in almost all the formats of the game and defeated nearly all the opponents. This era is appropriately called Golden Era of Indian Cricket.
The wheels of fortune have come full circle for MS Dhoni now. Team India recently washed out touring South Africa in 3 test series, proving their supremacy once again. But the Daddy Cool is missing from the squad. Dhoni is not a part of Team India for a considerable time now. He is said to be enjoying a well-deserved leave. Although he served with the Territorial Indian Army for 15 days as an honorary lieutenant Colonel, he is evading cricket. WHY? The problem has become more critical after the selection of Ganguly at the helm of BCCI. What will be the future of Dhoni? What will be Ganguly’s stand in the matter? Dhoni was instrumental in Ganguly’s exit, and now, Dhoni’s future lies in the hands of Ganguly.
The suspense gets tenser
When asked about Dhoni’s return to Team India, Ganguly, in a recent press conference, said that it all depends on Mahi himself. He should make up his mind. He should prove his worth in the eyes of selectors. Ganguly will then give his opinion. All eyes are now on The National selection committee meet which is on 24th October. Dooms day is not very far. It will reveal Ganguly’s stand. Team India has done well in the absence of Dhoni in the SA series. New talents are coming up. Will Dhoni succeed in proving his worth amidst this competition? Will his idea of “young legs for team India” boomerang on him? Only time can tell. Although a legend, every player needs to retire. Even legends like Vivian Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, etc had retired when the time was right. Maybe, this is the ideal time for Mahi to retire? Again, only Dhoni himself will be able to say.
Meanwhile, the Nation is waiting. We are waiting for Ganguly to play his part in the good interest of team. We urge him to make his decision by giving due respect to a true legend, our very own Captain Cool.