Dhoni was losing his “finishing touch” as batsman and a certain staleness had crept into his leadership. Staying on as skipper would have only brought Dhoni under pressure every time India lost. Giving up captaincy will allow the selectors to look ahead(Keshav Singh/HT)
Dhoni was losing his “finishing touch” as batsman and a certain staleness had crept into his leadership. Staying on as skipper would have only brought Dhoni under pressure every time India lost. Giving up captaincy will allow the selectors to look ahead(Keshav Singh/HT)

MS Dhoni’s journey has encouraged boys from the heartland to dream big

The man who started as a football goalkeeper and became India’s first cricketing mega star from the hinterland, put power over proper shots in batting and confounded the purists while making the keeper’s role his own for a decade
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2017 09:28 PM IST

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s cricket career has been about turning the unconventional into the normal. Thus, it isn’t entirely surprising that he quietly bade adieu as limited-overs skipper instead of seeking a grand occasion. Two years earlier, in Melbourne, Dhoni had given no inkling that he was retiring from Test cricket altogether while addressing a post-Test news conference. The announcement came minutes later.

Although Dhoni is on the final stretch as a player, everyone expected him to lead in the ICC Champions Trophy this summer. After all, forward planning is crucial, and the buzz is around triumphant Test skipper Virat Kohli. And Dhoni will be 39 by the next World Cup in 2019.

Read | Mahendra Singh Dhoni quits Team India’s limited overs captaincy: 5 reasons why

However, Dhoni has been unlike many great players who drag their feet in the twilight of their careers. And his outstanding career has showed that professional sport need not always be about fitting in.

The man who started as a football goalkeeper and became India’s first cricketing mega star from the hinterland, put power over proper shots in batting and confounded the purists while making the keeper’s role his own for a decade.

Dhoni was India’s best natural athlete in cricket after Kapil Dev. He stood out for his acumen and an undemonstrative approach that earned the nickname “Captain Cool” and respect of the all-time greats he led.

Read | ‘Mahendra Singh Dhoni has made a great sacrifice for Virat Kohli’

But Dhoni was losing his “finishing touch” as batsman and a certain staleness had crept into his leadership. It was obvious that key bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav were all responding brilliantly to Kohli’s leadership. Staying on as skipper would have only brought Dhoni under pressure every time India lost. Giving up captaincy will allow the selectors to look ahead.

Dhoni’s leadership, especially in the shorter formats, will be cherished. The man who played the “helicopter” whip-shot and once was India’s endorsement king, was rarely demonstrative on the field.

The ODI numbers of Dhoni are outstanding — 9,110 runs at an average of 50.89 with nine centuries and 61 half-centuries, besides 359 victims behind the stumps and one scalp as bowler. But he has seldom played for statistics and giving up one short of 200 ODIs as captain is an example.

Read | There’s no one like MS Dhoni, says Sushant Singh Rajput

As India captain, Dhoni saw the team become the No 1 Test side in 2009, after winning the World T20 on captaincy debut in 2007, the 2011 World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013.

Continuing in the post would have meant fielding more questions about his future. The touchiness about his captaincy last year saw him ask a bemused journalist to come and sit with him during a press conference to ask about his future.

As Dhoni walks away, he can be really pleased about one thing — encouraging boys from the heartland to dream big.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
In this case, the farm unions had several opportunities to claim victory but refused to do so, swayed by radicalism, only to see the gains of the movement being possibly frittered away (Bloomberg)
In this case, the farm unions had several opportunities to claim victory but refused to do so, swayed by radicalism, only to see the gains of the movement being possibly frittered away (Bloomberg)

The politics of protest | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 07:38 PM IST
This is the tricky balance in a democracy, where citizen rights and civil liberties must be respected, decision-making should be participative and representative, but the authority of the State and law and order must also be preserved
Close
The Madhya Pradesh (MP) Police showed unusual efficiency in arresting Mr Faruqui; the judiciary has not granted him bail, with a high court judge saying such people should not be “spared”. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Madhya Pradesh (MP) Police showed unusual efficiency in arresting Mr Faruqui; the judiciary has not granted him bail, with a high court judge saying such people should not be “spared”. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Why Munawar Faruqui matters | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 07:38 PM IST
Make no mistake — this is an emblematic case, which brings to question India’s commitment to free speech, rule of law, and judicial fairness
Close
This newspaper has consistently warned against maximalism shown by farm groups — and their unwillingness to reciprocate even as the government has stepped back, substantially, on the farm laws (PTI)
This newspaper has consistently warned against maximalism shown by farm groups — and their unwillingness to reciprocate even as the government has stepped back, substantially, on the farm laws (PTI)

Farm protests turn anarchic | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 07:33 AM IST
On Republic Day, even as India displayed its cultural diversity and military might on Rajpath, farm groups — which had been permitted to hold a tractor rally after the official ceremony concluded, on specific routes, peacefully — violated each of their promises and unleashed anarchy on the streets of Delhi
Close
Justice P Ganediwala held that since there was no skin-to-skin contact, this did not fall within the ambit of Pocso (Bhushan Koyande)
Justice P Ganediwala held that since there was no skin-to-skin contact, this did not fall within the ambit of Pocso (Bhushan Koyande)

Ensure justice for child sexual abuse survivors | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 06:17 AM IST
There can be no room for ambiguity in child abuse cases and any loophole which allows for this must be plugged at once
Close
This liberal democratic design has served India well. But the Republic can only work well if all pillars of the Constitution function in letter and spirit (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
This liberal democratic design has served India well. But the Republic can only work well if all pillars of the Constitution function in letter and spirit (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Celebrating the Republic | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2021 06:16 AM IST
As India marks its 72nd Republic Day, it is instructive to go back to the scale of achievement of the founding moment of modern Indian constitutionalism
Close
The government must be applauded for this imaginative diplomacy, aided in no small measure by the structural advantage of being the world’s pharmacy (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
The government must be applauded for this imaginative diplomacy, aided in no small measure by the structural advantage of being the world’s pharmacy (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

India’s vaccine diplomacy | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 06:09 AM IST
India started its vaccination drive against Covid-19 on January 16
Close
At the root of it is both the BJP and Trinamool’s belief that they have the first right to claim Bose. (Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)
At the root of it is both the BJP and Trinamool’s belief that they have the first right to claim Bose. (Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)

The political battle over Netaji | HT Editorial

By HT Editorial
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:37 PM IST
To be true to the present, both sides must be truthful about the past, instead of making one of India’s icons a subject of political wrangling
Close
On Thursday, the day when the index crossed 50,000, India’s price-earnings multiple (a measure of whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued) was 34.36. (REUTERS)
On Thursday, the day when the index crossed 50,000, India’s price-earnings multiple (a measure of whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued) was 34.36. (REUTERS)

Decoding the 50,000 mark

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:46 PM IST
The occasion of Sensex, the benchmark index of BSE crossing 50,000 (it has since fallen below that level), has been used by analysts to don their cheerleader costumes and predict that it could touch 100,000 in the next five years
Close
Farmers take part in a protest against the newly passed farm laws on the outskirts of Delhi, December 17, 2020 (REUTERS)
Farmers take part in a protest against the newly passed farm laws on the outskirts of Delhi, December 17, 2020 (REUTERS)

Farmers should shed rigidity

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:19 AM IST
The government retreated. Protesting groups should have reciprocated. In a democracy, farm groups exercised their right to protest — but they should not take over the rights of a sovereign Parliament and an elected government, and dictate terms from the streets.
Close
The room for dissent in the party is limited even as leaders can see clearly that its electoral prospects — in both state polls and 2024 elections — remain dim (HTPHOTO)
The room for dissent in the party is limited even as leaders can see clearly that its electoral prospects — in both state polls and 2024 elections — remain dim (HTPHOTO)

The Congress must get its act together

By HT Editorial
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:20 AM IST
The CWC is itself a part of the problem, for it is a body of nominated individuals, many with limited or non-existent mass base who have thrived on patronage politics.
Close
Along with domestic priorities, the Biden presidency will have to deal with the most important strategic challenge of the times— the belligerence of China (AFP)
Along with domestic priorities, the Biden presidency will have to deal with the most important strategic challenge of the times— the belligerence of China (AFP)

The 46th President of the US | HT Editorial

UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 07:30 PM IST
Joe Biden’s elevation as the 46th President of the United States (US) marks a moment of victory for all those who believe in liberal democracy, civilised politics within the rules of the game, responsible leadership, and the inclusion of various social groups, including minorities, in the power structure
Close
Delhi’s air quality slipped into the “severe” category on Tuesday, for the sixth time this month (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Delhi’s air quality slipped into the “severe” category on Tuesday, for the sixth time this month (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

The persistence of the pollution threat | HT Editorial

PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 07:22 PM IST
As Parliament prepares to take up a full-fledged Bill for approval to back the newly formed Commission for Air Quality Management by law, it is time to re-evaluate the non-meteorological reasons that are responsible for bad air in the National Capital Region
Close
India's Shardul Thakur (C) bowls to Australia's batsman Cameron Green on day four of the fourth cricket Test match between Australia and India at The Gabba, Brisbane, January 18, 2021 (AFP)
India's Shardul Thakur (C) bowls to Australia's batsman Cameron Green on day four of the fourth cricket Test match between Australia and India at The Gabba, Brisbane, January 18, 2021 (AFP)

A new team comes of age

UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 06:10 AM IST
There may be no greater test of character in sport than a Test match run chase
Close
A medical worker inoculates a nurse with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, January 18, 2021. (AFP)
A medical worker inoculates a nurse with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, January 18, 2021. (AFP)

Autopsy of a pandemic: Hold China, WHO accountable

By
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 06:11 AM IST
The findings of a new report are an affirmation of what has long been regarded — but not acknowledged — as damaging negligence by Beijing and WHO
Close
Farm unions have not responded to the government’s offer to amend the laws, or to the Supreme Court’s directive to cooperate with a committee meant to examine the issue in detail (PTI)
Farm unions have not responded to the government’s offer to amend the laws, or to the Supreme Court’s directive to cooperate with a committee meant to examine the issue in detail (PTI)

Don’t let challenges turn intractable | HT Editorial

UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 06:20 AM IST
Both the China ingression and the stance of the farm unions are disparate issues, born out of their own specific histories
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP