Dhoni and his Midas touch




My coach once told me, 6 years ago when Dhoni was rising through the ranks of Indian cricket, that he saw the very same MS Dhoni playing for Jharkhand in the U19 tournament and was smashing the bowlers all over the park and when he went up to him and asked him how it was possible, Dhoni promptly replied that it was fearlessness and the determination to carry the team home.

MS Dhoni and his Midas touch

MS Dhoni and his Midas touch

Today, we see Dhoni, skipper of the Indian team, with one T20 World Cup and a ICC Cricket World Cup in his kitty. In 2005-06 when India badly needed a wicketkeeper-batsman to relieve Rahul Dravid from the extra burden, Parthiv Patel failed miserably with the gloves, Dinesh Karthik floundered his chances by coming a cropper with the willow. But then, the man from Ranchi, walked in with long hair streaks in brown, and in long strides. It did not matter to the young Dhoni who was bowling at him, he fly-swatted the ball all around the ground and this inspired Saurav Ganguly to push him up the order to Number 3 where Irfan Pathan was often let to fly and pick up some quick runs. Dhoni answered the change with a bang. He took the bowlers to the cleaners, especially ones from Pakistan and Sri Lanka. You just cannot forget his whirlwind knocks of 148 against Pakistan and the swashbuckling 183 against Sri Lanka. Both left the bowlers devastated at the end of the day, and marked the arrival of a super star.

Surprisingly following the abysmal show at the Caribbean in the 2007 World Cup, after the seniors opted out of the T20 WC, the selectors were forced to go with the colts and handed the captaincy to the rising star, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He marshaled his resources beautifully and took some smart decisions in the crucial stages of the tournament and opened up a lot of eyes in the cricketing world by turning out triumphant in the inaugural edition of the T20 WC. After that memorable victory, there was no stopping Dhoni. He just stopped once to shorten his hair and portray a mature look. Commonwealth Bank Series, Series victory in the Caribbean are just couple of the many victories he has led the team to. IPL, Airtel Champions League were also led to Dhoni’s trophy cabinet.

Until 2012, whatever he touched turned into gold. But, 2013 has been Annus Horribilis for the Indian team under Dhoni. Although he has been incredible in the limited overs, his Test place is now under the scanner following a series defeat to the English who were touring India. He has not been consistent with the bat in the Tests and decisions taken by him in the tests have been baffling at times. Yes, he is adopting a novel approach, but when it is appalling from all angles, there is something wrong with the way he is thinking.

Pujara should have been given a chance way earlier than the England series. When we saw Raina struggling, Pujara should have been given the cap. Gambhir or Sehwag should have been dropped and Ajinkya Rahane must have been given a decent run. Even decisions to change field placements are sometimes ridiculous. I guess it is high time Dhoni steps down as captain in the Tests and concentrates on victories in the LOIs. He is brilliant enough to skipper the side to one more World Cup when the team flies down under for the 2015 WC.

Dhoni has indeed lost his Midas touch in the Tests is what we can say euphemistically about his current form.

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