He was put under the scanner throughout the World Cup, with his unconventional, unorthodox methods getting a fair amount of criticism, some very unfair, some may be justified. The strength of the man in his belief and decisions is so unshakeable that he does not seem to care, carrying on doing
what he thinks is best for the team.
On Saturday night, with cricket's biggest prize at stake and the hopes and demands of an unforgiving nation resting squarely on his shoulders, Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a giant leap forward, and created history.
He did this on his own terms, taking a controversial selection decision yet again and making risky bowling changes, which the best of captains would desist from taking. And when India were looking down and out, he walked in ahead of the man in form - Yuvraj Singh - a decision, which if it had backfired, could have possibly cost him his captaincy.
It was the last throw of the dice from a man who believes in the dictum that the greater the risks you take, the better the results would be. It was a decision which only the brave and courageous would take, knowing fully well that a failure would mean death, but success would grant immortality.
It was a night when a gambler, never touched by the fear of failure, created magic, to satisfy the thirst of a nation, which would have clamoured for his blood had he failed.
If ever there has been a captain who has taken the responsibility of failure on his shoulders, it is this man. And that is why, on the greatest day for Indian cricket - well the second greatest day after June 6, 1983 - Dhoni should be credited with having played a major role in helping India claim the Cup.
There were many stars on this night. The brave Gautam Gambhir, who anchored the innings when in crisis, the unflappable Zaheer Khan, whose crafty, incisive spells throughout were the cornerstone of this win and the flamboyant Yuvraj, who finished the job which he had begun so well more than a month back, when the World Cup began.
So what if Sachin Tendulkar failed and did not get his 100th hundred. For him, winning the World Cup will always be a greater achievement than achieving a personal milestone, no matter how great it may be.