Honouring One of Cricket’s Greatest Captains

There are a few things about MS Dhoni that stand out in his decision to step down as captain. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his love for the country. He’s as patriotic as they come.

First of all, he has stepped down as captain having captained the side in 199 ODI matches. And his record as ODI captain is second only to Ponting which, given Australia’s dominance in that period, is a creditable achievement.

He hasn’t sought a personal milestone by captaining this final ODI series. Nor has he sought a felicitation of sorts. His attitude, in that regard, has been consistent – he did something similar with his Test retirement.

I suppose the reasons why he wanted to step down could be the following: He knows he won’t be playing till the 2019 World Cup which is to be held in England. So he wants to give the new captain time to form his own team and feel comfortable in his role as captain of the limited overs sides.

India, in their upcoming limited overs fixtures, has just this series against England at home before the Champions’ Trophy to be held in England later this year.

Now MS could have stepped down after the Champions’ Trophy, and may well eventually announce his retirement after that tournament, but he may well have considered that the new captain may need a series to get the feel of the job before testing his skills in a major multi-team tournament in the country where the World Cup will take place in a couple of years’ time.

Dhoni, as always, has put the country’s needs and best interests above any personal milestone or agenda. And that is perhaps why Dhoni the limited overs captain will always remain one of the best ever.

If there is one thing MS Dhoni is well known for – it is for the surprising decisions that he takes. This is just another one.

Be it-

  • The Bowl-Out against Pakistan in 2007 T20 World Cup,
  • Bowling Ishant Sharma in the Champions Trophy 2013 final,
  • Giving Joginder Sharma the last over of the 2007 T20 World Cup final,
  • Promoting himself in the all important 2011 World Cup Final and finishing off the match,
  • Giving Hardik Pandya the last over vs Bangladesh in 2016 World T20.

These decisions that Dhoni has made in important games will go down as part of his legend and folklore. We may call them gut feelings, instinct, calculated risks or pure luck but they work more often than not and that is what leaders are known to do. They have the ability to see where things are going better than others and that is why their decisions often turn out right.

No one knows what is going on in his mind but one thing is for certain, for a man who doesn’t even wait for the umpire to give him out lbw, he definitely won’t hang around a moment longer than is required. One day while we will be left shocked, trying to analyse his decision in different ways as we are doing now, he will make his choice and walk away into the sunset smiling and not even look back.

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