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Dhoni: The finisher

India skipper MS Dhoni is doing just as fine in his primary occupation; it's just that one has to look beyond his glittering captaincy record to notice it, reports Subhash Rajta.

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2009 00:20 IST
Subhash Rajta

The halo around his captaincy has somewhat eclipsed his feats as a wicketkeeper batsman. India skipper MS Dhoni is doing just as fine in his primary occupation; it's just that one has to look beyond his glittering captaincy record to notice it.

For instance, he has the highest average for any Indian with more than 50 matches under his belt in the ODIs; he has already effected maximum dismissals by any Indian wicket-keeper, and just a few days back, he completed the double of 4,000 runs and 100 dismissals in ODIs. The fact that he got to the 'double' quicker than anyone else, even Adam Gilchrist, the best wicket-keeper batsman ever, should put the feat in perspective.

But stats, no matter how impressive they may be, will always fall short in bringing out the actual worth of the Indian skipper. It's just not possible to quantify the sense of calm and well being his very presence in the middle brings to the team, and millions of its fans.

Of all positives he brings to the team, his ability to adapt to varying conditions (as a batsman) and circumstances is of utmost value. Whether it's fast and bouncy Australian tracks, or low and slow Sri Lankan pitches, he's the first to knuckle down and find a way out.

Then, he has that uncanny ability to shift gears whenever the situation demands. He converts himself into a pusher and nudger of the ball from the ferocious hitter that he is, while allowing others to play their natural game.

Dhoni’s ability to finish off the games is also remarkable. He is a picture of poise and composure even in tough situations, and that explains his high average in Indian wins. He averages 74.30 in Indian wins, much higher than Michael Bevan (65.25), arguably the best ODI finisher of all time.

The Indian skipper has also become far more reliable behind the wickets. He has already effected more dismissals than any other Indian wicketkeeper, and is going neck and neck with his illustrious counterparts.

So clearly there's much more to Dhoni than just his captaincy.