Day to celebrate Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successful captaincy: Sachin Tendulkar | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Day to celebrate Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successful captaincy: Sachin Tendulkar

Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his brilliant reign as India’s limited overs captain after MS Dhoni decided to resign from his position on Wednesday.

cricket Updated: Jan 04, 2017 23:46 IST
Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his brilliant reign as India’s limited overs captain after MS Dhoni decided to resign from his position on Wednesday.
Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his brilliant reign as India’s limited overs captain after MS Dhoni decided to resign from his position on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

Typical to his style of captaincy, when he would stump his opponents with a surprise move, Mahendra Singh Dhoni stunned the cricket world on Wednesday by stepping down as India’s limited-overs captain.

Always a surprise package, he had also declared his innings in Tests when no one expected: bang in the middle of the Test series in Australia.

This time the announcement came minutes after the Indian cricket board had announced the date of their selection committee meeting to pick the team for the three-match ODI series against England.

Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his brilliant reign as India’s limited overs captain.

“Congratulations to MSD on a wonderful career as a captain leading India to success in both T20 and ODI World Cups. I have seen him emerge from an aggressive player to a steady and decisive captain. It’s a day to celebrate his successful captaincy and respect his decision. Wish MSD the very best as he continues entertaining us on the field with his exploits,” Tendulkar wrote on his congratulatory message.

Calling it a great decision, former India wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More, under whose tenure as chief selector Dhoni was given his first break, said: “Dhoni knew it was the right time to hand over the limited overs captaincy to Virat. He did it at the right time in Test cricket too.”

“Giving up captaincy is not easy. He has set a great example in Indian cricket, it shows he will do what is best for Indian cricket,” added More. “When you go, go out on top.”

If More gave him his first break, it was former India captain Dilip Vengsakar, whose selection committee discovered the potential of a natural leader in Dhoni, first giving him the reigns of the team at the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.

Vengsarkar was most impressed by the fact that he was leaving captaincy on his own terms, but was skeptical of Dhoni’s decision to continue just as a player. The Mumbai stalwart’s main concern is the motivation level after having touched all heights in his career. “I don’t know what’s the idea to continue as player, what motivation (he will have),” said Vengsarkar.

Talking about his committee’s decision to go for Dhoni as captain even though he was nowhere in the picture in 2007, Vengsarkar admitted it was a call based only on potential: “As a selector you see the potential. At that time who would have thought he would become one of India’s greatest captains. He was an outstanding leader of men, a great player and a great ambassador of Indian cricket. He came on his own terms and is leaving on his own terms.”

There is genuine concern how Dhoni will adjust to the role of a player for it will be the first time since becoming skipper, he will be playing under someone else. Ever since he was appointed India captain, he has led most teams he has played in. There was no such issue in Tests as he quit playing too.

More believes he won’t have any problem. “He has not been sacked, he has left it on his own. His stature in the dressing room will only grow. Also, he will take the right call when to quit as a player too.”

Analysing the decision former India opener Chetan Chauhan felt Dhoni took the call looking at India’s preparation for the 2019 World Cup. “He perhaps realises that he can’t stretch himself as captain till 2019 World Cup. So he made way for Virat Kohli. This is a great sacrifice,” said Chauhan, while describing him as an elegant captain who took very calculative decisions.

Former India captain Gundappa Viswanath agreed. “Dhoni must have noticed that Virat is doing really well, and there is nothing wrong in playing under him. He has done well recently as a batsman (in the last ODI series versus New Zealand) and will still be an asset to the team.”

Dhoni was a man for the big tournaments and big games. His impact in limited-overs cricket is unmatched and he leaves on a high after leading India to the semifinals at both the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 ICC World T20 Cup. As More summed it: “His impact was like Kapil Dev had in limited-overs cricket in 1983.”