Thursday, January 5, 2017

MS Dhoni quits as captain of ODI and T20 teams

As he slowly but surely walks into the sunset, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is making sure that unlike the first part of his career, his last few steps are well-rehearsed and well-timed. It may be argued that Wednesday evening is hardly the best time to make big-ticket announcement, but then when the man in question happens to be India's most successful cricket captain, even Father Times pauses.

That Dhoni will never lead India on a cricket field is hard to fathom, for, irrespective of whether he was donning Test match 'whites' or limited-overs 'blues', Dhoni was, and will always, remain a warrior. The fearlessness with which he approached battles made him a natural leader. It was only after three years that Dhoni was entrusted with the job of leading a bunch of 'T20 rookies' in the World Cup's shortest version in 2007, but Dhoni was already a leader of the emerging group of players in the dressing room by then.

Dhoni's quest for stardom began from the tribal hinterland of Ranchi, passed through Kharagpur, which boasts of the world's longest railway platform, and the Kolkata Maidan before he landed in the Indian dressing room.

An intensely private person, Dhoni is known to open up only in the company of his close friends and associates. A man of simple taste and an unshakeable belief in his own ability, Dhoni has always relied on his instincts while making decisions, both on and off the field. And, by his own admission, he, and his team, have gained much by keeping things simple in the mind.

In spite of his super stardom, his friends insist that their 'Mahi' has not changed at all. Dhoni, who started off as a ticket collector with the South Eastern Railway, has long traded his black coat for designer suits. The flowing golden mane, that once drew admiration from former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf, has been replaced by a spiky, well-gelled mop that has been greying at an alarming rate.

Much of the credit for polishing Dhoni's raw cricket skills must go to Greg Chappell, the hard-nosed Australian coach under whom he flowered as a batsman and metamorphosed from a goalkeeper to wicket-keeper , but the manner in which he continues to carry himself off the field speaks volumes about the man's confidence.

For a small-town boy, Dhoni has handled fame and his fortunes much better than many of his predecessors. In fact he is the first of the several small-town boys, who have enriched Indian cricket in the new millennium.

For a rustic boy, 'Helicopter Man' Dhoni has marketed himself well. After leading India to victory in the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni became the most sought-after Indian cricketer as various brands fells over themselves to promote their products.

In an action-packed 12-year international career, Dhoni has tasted unprecedented success in all three formats of the game, including the glamorous IPL. Off the field he has made his millions too. He is not done yet. If his sturdy frame permits, he can easily go on for a couple of more years and bow out in 2019 post the ICC World Cup that will be his fourth.

Dhoni Speaks at Press:

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