End of a "Cool" Era
From a ticket collector in Kharagpur to a most successful captain of the team of the most worshiped sport in the country, his journey have always been like an inspiring story. But in the longer format of the game, he, too, needed to face the harsh criticism. But as a true warrior he didn't give up easily. He stood up along with his boys and fought hard. That's why nobody thought, two days earlier, that he would be announcing his retirement from the game after one another overseas test series loss against Australia after losing the third boxing day test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy at Melbourne, Australia. But as he's famous for taking surprise decisions at crucial times on the field, he surprised all the cricket lovers across the globe by announcing sudden retirement from test cricket off the field as well.
In 2008, on an advice from none other than the legend Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, was given the rein of test captaincy against Australia. The tour's fourth test at Nagpur was his debut test as a captain and India managed to win the test easily by 172 runs with Dhoni scoring 56 and 55 in both the innings of the test match respectively. India wrapped up the series 2-0 too. That was the start of an era of India's domination in the most classic format of the game. Indian team who was infamous for not winning at overseas got a huge transformation under captaincy of Sourav Ganguly and Dhoni somehow managed to do it as well in his first half of test captaincy.
As a captain, he is popular for taking surprising decisions at crucial times of the game which challenges the orthodox culture of the game. In 2007, first ICC T20 cricket world cup, he gave the ball to Joginder Sharma, a slow pacer in the team to bowl in the final over of the tournament's final game against the arch rival Pakistan. Many pundits were saying that he should have given the over to the spinners but he had his own thinking while leading the side. In 2013, ICC Champions trophy, Ishant Sharma, who was not bowling well in the game, given an over by Dhoni to bowl at crucial time. After giving two boundaries on first three balls of the game everybody thought the match is over for India but after that the two important wickets fell down and all the transformation happened in the game which India managed to won by an extremely fine margin of 5 runs.
But his performance as a test captain in overseas of the team, is the topic which make us to think back again on his role as a captain of the Indian team. On home venues, under his captaincy India has won 21 off total 30 matches and lost only 3 and six times India drew with the opposition. On away venues, out of same total matches Indians managed to won only 6 and have lost 15 times with 9 draws. Which clearly means that Indian team at overseas under MS Dhoni as a captain is not as lethal as Indian team at home. This has always been a serious criticism for Dhoni since he lost test series at England and subsequently in Australia by 4-0 whitewash just after winning the World cup in 2011. After that India went on to downgrade the performance under his captaincy at South Africa, New Zealand, England and in current tour of Australia as well. However in England, team managed to win historic test match at Lord's and managed to drew with Australia at MCG which was first in last 17 years at the venue.
He has always been famous for his cool attitude towards the game in any format of cricket. His thinking and tactics for the game is way too different that the mindsets of the traditional cricketers. He is the first Indian captain to win the ICC test championship mace as Indian team managed to reach the top of the test ranking in a calender year. He also is the first captain in the world of cricket to win all the ICC international world titles including the ICC World cup 2011, ICC T20 World cup 2007 and the ICC Champions Trophy. His thinking has changed the look of Indian cricket in many ways. He has given chances to many cricketers who finally managed to cement their places in the team with their outstanding performances. One such example is Rohit Sharma. He has said in an interview given to the bcci.tv, on asked that why his touch to the game is different than the others, he said that I always listen to the heart's voice. But the six sense would be giving you the right indications only if you know the thing well. As he's been playing cricket since many years, he studies it well and therefore he thinks according to the situation. That's also why his decisions looks amazing to us.
A newspaper wrote that Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri's relationship is responsible for the sudden announcement of retirement of MS Dhoni but I think whatever the reason is, he has taken a right decision. We always acclaim Sunil Gavaskar for taking the decision of retirement at the right time. Dhoni has done the same. He took all the responsibility for the loss against Australia and India's test performance at overseas which all the leaders should do and then announce his retirement. His name in the IPL match-fixing case may have been the reason for his sudden retirement from the test cricket, according to various newspapers.
Dhoni has always been a quality test player for India and have also the best Indian team captain Indian have ever produced. We should give the respect to that player and need to support Virat Kohli as a future test captain leading the side which is going through the period of transition.