MS Dhoni. His name itself is a brand that defines Indian cricket. Dhoni is arguably the most popular and also the most scrutinised cricketer from India.
There was a time in Indian cricket when the team was made up of only city kids. Due to excellent infrastructure and good scope for the game of cricket in some cities, many small town boys would not succeed defeating them in the Ranji Trophy. But this man from Ranchi changed everything. MSD pursued a dream, which many feared even to see.
Since childhood, Dhoni idolized Sachin Tendulkar. He started his career as a Ticket Collector in Indian Railways but his hard work and never-say-die spirit brought him to International arena in 2004.
It was in 2007 when Dhoni was first exposed to the experience of being Captain of the National team. It was a time when India was taking their first steps ahead in the new format of the game: T20 cricket. Resting the seniors in an inaugural World T20 campaign was a big call from MS, as this allowed criticism to come his way for the very first time as the newly selected Captain.
Any criticism that went his way, he handled quite brilliantly. None of it was enough to shake the captain. Eventually, MS ended it well by winning the inaugural World T20 in South Africa. Cricket pundits stated then “A star was born”.
Since then MSD never looked back and continued his merry way in the sport and went on to achieve pretty much everything the game had to offer.
The carefree batsman who used to play with his own home-made technique destroyed bowling attacks from around the world. Having some of his most unorthodox shots in the business kept him in the limelight. As time passed, Dhoni became more mature and nourished & nurtured his game in such a way that he became known as the “best finisher” in cricket.
The 35-year-old who retired from Test cricket some years ago is still on top of his limited overs game, which he proved by scoring his first List A hundred for Jharkhand in Kolkata as part of the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy.
Dhoni scored 129 off 107 deliveries and led his team to their first win of the tournament this year. His innings was studded with six sixes and ten boundaries which helped Jharkhand cross the finish line against Chhattisgarh.
The Indian icon's career-best in domestic one-dayers couldn’t come at a better time. The team was struggling on 43/5 until Dhoni came to the crease. Though it was not a typical Dhoni innings, he survived a few close calls before reaching his first century for Jharkhand. However, he delivered when it was needed the most. He kept his calm and proved to his critics that experience always comes in handy.
This was Dhoni’s 17th List A century, which included 10 in ODIs and also first in domestic one-dayers since 2005. Dhoni was in shape and looked fitter than ever; no doubt he had a point to prove in the upcoming matches. In a press conference held after the match, Chhattisgarh captain Mohammad Kaif said, “I have been watching Dhoni from his debut match and always felt you cannot become a ‘Dhoni’ just by practice. He has natural abilities which we saw yesterday and I believe he is still good enough to play all formats of the game. He is still hitting the ball really, really hard.”
Dhoni’s good run with the bat will come handy in future for his IPL franchise, as he is no longer the captain of the team so he can play his natural game without the extra pressures of captaincy, which he has been taking for a decade.
This is also a good thing for Virat Kohli, in the upcoming Champions trophy, as this dangerous batsman whose confidence is sky high and is in good form will play the role of backbone of the team.
Keeping in mind that he has limited amount of cricket, which he will play in the next 6 months, MS Dhoni will try to make it count.
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