MSD – A Captain Forever

After starting his career with a duck on debut, M.S. Dhoni took it to heights which only a handful of others can match. Made his way into the national side when the wicket-keeping was not an issue and neither was there much space in the batting line-up. Not many selectors preferred him but still he made it through to impress them all.
It took him a mere five ODIs to register himself in the record books with a magnificient 148 against arch-rivals Pakistan which made the record sound even more special. He later went on to break his own record against Sri Lanka in that very year on his way to a decorated career. He soon became the finisher India were looking for since ages. He had a knack of impressing people with whatever he could. From his hairstyle to his helicopter shot, everything Dhoni did won a millions of hearts for him.
It was the world cup of 2007, expectations were high from an Indian side that boasted of so many big names. It, however, turned out to be a nightmare. A defeat against a lowly Bangladesh meant India were knocked-out in the group stages at the hands of their minnow neighbours. Dhoni’s house was vandalised in protest, Indian cricket was facing a turmoil.
It is often said that ‘when goings get tough, the tough gets going.’It was then in the T20 world cup that Dhoni stepped up and became the ‘captain cool’ that his nation needed the most. The team was fragile and inexperienced and surely not the ones any of us would term as ‘Champions’. The captain however showed glimpses of what was about to come. In his very first tournament as a captain, he crowned India with the world champions tag.That was just a start though. With an inexperienced side backing him, Dhoni led the way to historical victories against almost every opponent. Captain cool never looked back. Revenge for 2007 was sweetly taken with a signature six from his own bat in 2011 to gift his nation the world cup glory.
Now, that he has stepped down from captaincy officially, it remains to be seen if he can actually keep himself out of captaincy when on field. When Dhoni takes the field against England in the first ODI with only a ‘wk’ suffixed after his name, it will be interesting to see who actually leads the side, Kohli or Dhoni still. It won’t be surprising to see Dhoni screaming out his coded
instructions to the bowlers. Neither will it surprise anyone when Dhoni would wave his hand to spread a magical field even when Kohli will have the ‘c’ with him on paper. A surprising batting order change would only leave people wondering who did it, Kohli or still Dhoni.
What would stop him from still leading the side he created on his own. He can retire from captaincy only on paper but not on field. Kohli too won’t mind Dhoni doing what he is supposed to do. Dhoni will only dictate the mantra for kohli to recite it and use it when Dhoni actually steps down. Until the day Dhoni dons the blue jersey, he will only be the captain he has been since ages. We might even see Kohli waving his hand to set a field but surely then Dhoni would have whispered the magic in Kohli’s ears back in the dressing room itself. No matter who has a ‘c’ written in front of their name, till the name ‘MS Dhoni’ appears in the team sheet the captaincy will remain with him only.
Ever since 2007, MS Dhoni was, is and will always remain the captain we always wanted. Even if he retires he’ll be remembered as a captain and not as a player. From giving Joginder Sharma the last over to keeping an underperforming Ashwin in the side, Dhoni has won the gamble almost everytime he played one. Taking more blame for a defeat and less credit for a victory was what made this man special!
He is still the only captain to win all three limited-overs ICC trophies. What makes it more special will always be him making 128 million people believe that India can win. He didn’t just lead eleven players, he lead millions of hope which banked on him. MS Dhoni, in every sense of the word, will remain a captain forever!

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