On 10th July 2019, when M.S.Dhoni walked back to the pavilion, Any hope of a victory also walked back with him. It was a long walk back & there was a clear grimace on the face. But also a fear struck most of the fans as THIS could have been the last time we see the great man turn out in blue. Sadly that fear turned out to be true. On 15th August 2020, He put out a message in his style, “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. from 1929hrs consider me as retired”.
Knowing whatever little we know about MSD, this was straight from his playbook. His retirement from Test cricket too was out of the blue. He did a press conference and next thing we know he was retired. But somewhere down the line, you feel this guy deserved a better farewell. Maybe with all the things 2020 has taken away from us, this is another I would like to add to the never-ending list.
When I start to remember his greatest hits, the three trophies that he lifted has to be the first memory that comes up. Each victory could have a 2000-3000 word article written on them. But in short, the T20 World Cup was very special as he led a young team to the pinnacle after the lows that we had from the 2007 ODI World Cup. The 2011 World Cup will always be etched in our memory especially that six at the end. The Champions Trophy in 2013 came at a time when Indian cricket was going through a tough time & really was a much-needed boost for our team.
Firstly, let’s look at his Captain Cool image. He was not only cool in the toughest moments but also used to think out of the box. There are many moments to be listed but one of the folklores would be the Joginder Sharma last over in the final & promoting himself up the order in the 2011 final. There are many such moments across his illustrated career where he showed that his mind works in different ways & is really effective.
His batting really evolved over his career. The helicopter shot would always be something we would associate with his batting. From being a swashbuckling batsman with long hair, smashing bowlers for fun to being the ever-reliable lower-order batsman for our team. Even if his finishing skills weren’t the same throughout his career, he would be remembered as one of the greatest finishers that our sport has ever seen. While Dhoni was at the crease, there was always hope. In Dhoni, We believed and on most occasions, he would not disappoint us.
I think one aspect where MSD never declined in his career is his keeping. He’s still one of the best in the business. His hands are lightning-fast and his odd technique makes it really much more admirable. Another aspect is that he was always there to guide young bowlers, especially spinners. We could always hear his chirping behind the stumps and even these players have again and again emphasized how his reading of the game helps them to bowl better. He was also really good with DRS that led to people referring to it as the “Dhoni Review System”. He was earlier reluctant to bring in this system but once it was in, there weren’t many who could beat him at this aspect.
One sad irony in his career is that it began as it ended. His career began with a run-out & ended with another one. The only soothing thing for the fans is that there’s still a bit of MSD left for us to enjoy, be it in yellow. It’s so cruel that we may not have fans to give him the much-deserved honours but sadly those are the times we are living in. Let’s hope there’s a last hurrah left for the big man.