If one speaks about the most successful captains of India, the first name which comes to mind is MS Dhoni. The man helped India win 3 ICC titles. One has to be either crazy, or MS Dhoni to captain their first international tournament like the world cup and still led the team to the title. One of the rarest people to lead the first tournament with a title win and the last tournament with a title win, MS Dhoni decided to step down as CSK captain, leaving the fans in despair.
Although he had last captained an international match back in 2016, he was still the captain of people's hearts and seeing him lead the Chennai Super Kings team gave the fans enough happiness for the rest of the year. Irrespective of whichever team one supported, their second favourite team was always CSK, and the reason was Thala. He is the only captain to lead the same team for 14 seasons of the IPL. For fans CSK means Dhoni, the two are synonyms.
Likewise Team India from 2007 to 2016 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the same. He took Indian cricket to a different level altogether. His strong shoulders carried the weight of billion expectations for a long period. And the calm head over his strong shoulders made a billion expectations transform into billion smiles. The title win of the inaugural T20 world cup, the 2011 world cup victory, the 2013 Champions Trophy title is all a result of that calm head.
His captaincy was more than just about his calm personality. It was about the perfect field placements, the perfect rotation of bowlers, giving the right set of instructions to the bowlers, taking anyone perfect reviews, and back your players till the time they prove themselves. His captaincy was about playing fair, and the following spirit of the game. And he did that. His decisions were trusted and appreciated by other teams as well.
He set the bar of his captaincy so high, that reaching that level is a Herculean task for any one. This is why, even when Virat's India dominated the world cricket, became the number one team in the world, it was not appreciated by few as it was still compared to Dhoni's Indian team. Well, what can one really do if the previous captain has won his team all the major ICC event titles in senior cricket in just 6 years?
Apart from just the Indian captain, he has done wonders with his team CSK. The only captain of the team since the inaugural edition of IPL, he has led the team to 4 titles, and his team has reached the finals on 9 occasions. A staggering win percentage of over 60% is an outcome of having the complete leader who can deal with pressure, and bring the best out of his players. An entire generation has watched him leading the CSK from 2008 to 2021, and hence when in the upcoming IPL one will not see Dhoni coming for the toss in the match, one will feel dejected.
What makes it sadder for the fans is the fact that all of them were eagerly waiting for him to lead the team in his way in the next week, and the sudden decision has shattered their hopes. The unpredictable MS did the same thing, what he did during his Test retirement, left quietly as the skipper. One would see Dhoni in action picking those quick stumpings, and hitting long sixes, but the feeling of Dhoni leading the side is a sight that everyone will miss dearly.
The 15 years of Dhoni as a leader will always be in the hearts of the fans. The one and half decade experienced some amazing captaincy from the living legend. The contribution from Mahi as a captain to Indian cricket and CSK is huge, and will always hold a special place in fans' memory. His journey from a Ranchi boy, to one of the greatest captains of world cricket, will inspire millions of youngsters worldwide. And he will always be remembered as a true leader who led from the front. His decision of stepping down as a captain despite leading the side to win the title will help cricketers learn the values of selflessness. With all the heart and soul, we thank him for his contribution to cricket as a leader and look forward to him in the IPL as our favourite finisher.
Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)
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