From a small town, thrill seeking cricketer to the trademark calm, Mr. Cool has come a long way. Almost all modern era famous cricketers remind you of others from the past. In Dhoni, I could see no other. There is something about Dhoni’s sixers that advertise power.
It was just over the weekend I had watched MS Dhoni’s biopic. I was more stirred by the opening scene set in Wankhede Stadium during the 2011 World Cup final, than I had been by the actual match five years earlier!! In real life, Dhoni is one of the supreme one-day cricketers, a chillingly calm, calculating batsman for whom a run chase is a mathematical equation. It is a game he understands totally, in command of the nuances and strategies, capable and confident of making difficult decisions.
In the shorter (ODI) and shortest (T20) format of the game there is no greater genius than him. Street smart does not even begin to describe him. He is galli smart…alley clever…bylane canny. He is the shrewdest, most ingenious man on the ground. In fact English terms don’t do justice to his ingenuity. The right word to describe him is Jugaado. He can drive through a cul-de-sac & can bring democracy in China. Ok I stretched a little, but the fact is he always has a Plan B. And most of the times it works.
He smiles, he advises, he shows displeasure, he communicates with umpires, but while his messages are clear, no one could bet on what his thinking is. Dhoni is nothing if not practical. He stumped everyone once again (first being the Test retirement) by his announcement, preventing media speculations & BCCI’s conundrum about his future following Virat Kohli’s successful captainship in Test.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s greatest legacy will be his spirit of a champion, a spirit that believed in carving out victory when defeat seemed imminent. His cool is now legendary, but has there ever been a captain with greater situational awareness than him? I would say, Never!!
Part of second paragraph adopted from Mike Selvey’s column in The Guardian (Dec 20th 2014)