Every cricket fan in India knew it was bound to happen, yet Dhoni’s stepping down as the captain of the ODI and Twenty20 team has broken many hearts. Dhoni, India’s most successful captain in limited overs, batsman and wicket-keeper, is one of the most popular sportsperson in India who transformed the team into a formidable power. The flamboyant batsman cum wicket-keeper made the announcement just days before India meets England in ODIs and T20s. Nevertheless, he would still be available for selection as a wicket-keeper batsman. It is expected that Virat Kohli, who is currently leading team India in Tests, would take over the mantle from Dhoni.
As Dhoni hangs his boots, we bring to you some Dhoni moments of Indian cricket:
2007 ICC World Twenty20
In mid-2007, the Indian cricket team was at its lowest ebb after a shocking exit from the ODI World Cup after losing to Bangladesh. With the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa just a few months away, the expectations from the team were low. Taking a chance, the BCCI appointed Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the captain. The long haired and fitter-than-most Mahi not only captained the team well, but also created magic with the bat in crucial matches. In the finals, India got the better of arch-rival Pakistan, thereby registering a victory in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20.
2007-08 Commonwealth Bank Series
In the Commonwealth Bank Series, which was held in the beginning of 2008, Dhoni proved that 2007 ICC World Twenty20 was not just fluke but a result of his capable leadership, batting and wicket keeping. Dhoni once again led from the front when the Indian team, composed of experienced players and youngsters, lifted the trophy by thrashing the mighty Australians in their own backyard.
2011 World Cup
Being the host of the tournament, Dhoni and his men had the home advantage in the 2011 World Cup but the pressure of winning the cup was also intense. But, like always, Captain Cool maintained his composure and not only displayed astute leadership but also performed with the bat. In the finals, Dhoni scored 91 off 79 balls, and got India its revenge for the 1996 World Cup semi-final loss by defeating Sri Lanka. This was the second time that India had won the ODI World Cup, the first was won in 1983 by Kapil Dev and his team.
2013 Champions Trophy
Just two years later, a resurgent Indian team entered the Champions Trophy. Dhoni and his men dominated the league matches to secure a place in the finals. England, despite having the home crowd behind them, couldn’t get the better of Team India.
Failure in the World Cups (2014 and 2016 T20 World Cup and 2015 ODI World Cup)
A loss to Sri Lanka in the finals of 2014 and heartbreaking defeat by West Indies in the semi-finals of 2016 T20 World Cups were rare occasions where MS could not lead his men to victory. However, Dhoni gave the spectators a glimpse of his wicket-keeping and leadership abilities.
A run-out in the finals over and the spectacular stumping of Sabbir Rehman were just a few exciting highlights of the match against Bangladesh whom they defeated by just one run. In the 2014 T20, most of the time Dhoni did not get an opportunity to bat but when he did, he got significant runs for India. In the 2015, India made it to the semi-finals but could not get passed the Australians who posted a formidable 328.
– He was the most successful captain winning in 27 tests matches.
– He scored 3,454 runs as skipper in 60 tests.
– He was the first wicket keeper to captain Team India.
– India became the first ranked side in the ICC Team Rankings under his captaincy.
Memorable innings of Mahi
– 2011 World Cup: He scored 91 runs against Sri Lanka in the finals.
– 2005 ODI Series against Sri Lanka: He scored 183 (not out) against Sri Lanka
– 2005 ODI against Pakistan: Dhoni scored 148 runs of 123 balls against Pakistan.
2013 7 match ODI series: Dhoni scored 139 runs (not out) off 121 balls against Australia.
2009 Seven Match Series: Dhoni scored 124 runs off 107 balls against Australia.
Dhoni is no longer the captain but he is definitely needed as a member of the team. With 2019 World Cup just two years away, Dhoni’s presence will greatly boost the team’s spirit and his sound advice and leadership abilities would surely bring the team a step closer to the World Cup trophy. We are sure a number of cricket fans would be hoping for the same. So, do send us your thoughts on how long should Dhoni continue to keep playing International cricket.