Happy Birthday MS Dhoni: Five times 'captain cool' MSD shocked fans with bold decisions that won India matches
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, during his captaincy reign, led the Indian team to three ICC title wins. Under his captaincy, India went on to win the 2007 T20I World Cup, the 2011 ODI World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy. Dhoni was known for making some of the boldest decisions that somehow always led to his team winning the match. Questions were always asked if the 'captain cool' MSD ever feels the pressure.
On his 40th birthday, here is a look back at five moments from MS Dhoni's career that became a testament to his captaincy:
India vs Pakistan, 2007 T20 World Cup Final
The final of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 saw a big moment when MS Dhoni gave the final over to Joginder Sharma instead of veteran Harbhajan Singh. The off-spinner had been hit for three sixes by Misbah-ul-Haq and despite one wicket in hand, Misbah was still in the middle and could have won the game for Pakistan. Joginder started off, and then he bowled a dot. Misbah hit the 2nd fair delivery of the over for a straight six. On the next ball, Misbah went for the paddle shot over short-fine leg but ended up hitting the ball into the hands of Sreesanth. India won the match.
2008 Tri-series against Australia & Sri Lanka
In 2008, MS Dhoni, ahead of the away Tri-series against Australia and Sri Lanka, made the call to drop two former captains Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid from the Indian team. The decision, as per reports, was taken to put the emphasis on fielding. It brought a change in culture in the Indian team set-up, with fitness being a key criterion today to make the team. Not to forget their first-ever tri-series win in Australia.
India vs Sri Lanka, 2011 World Cup final
In the 2011 World Cup final, Dhoni made the unforgettable call to promote him up the batting order at no. 4, ahead of Yuvraj Singh, who was in the form of his life. Dhoni came on to bat and scored an unbeaten 91 to help India win the match by 6 wickets. His match-winning six off Sri Lanka speedster Nuwan Kulasekara is still etched in the minds of millions of Indian cricketing fans.
2012 CB Tri-series vs Australia and Sri Lanka
In the 2012 series against Sri Lanka and Australia, MS Dhoni made a decision to rotate decided to rotate the trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Gautam Gambhir, in order to play better fielders in the team. The decision was criticised by the fans, as the trio had an impeccable record for India. India ended up not qualifying for the final but the poor show from the openers did point out that India needed an overhaul at the top of the order.
2013 Champions Trophy
In 2013, MS Dhoni decided to promote Rohit Sharma at the top of the batting order. Rohit had been struggling to find consistency for India but getting the opening slot made a world of difference to him. In the 2013 Champions Trophy, Dhoni put Shikhar Dhawan along with Rohit as the openers for India, and the two wreaked havoc in the tournament in England. With both openers performing for the team, India went on to lift the 2013 Champions Trophy.