M.S. Dhoni – An Appreciation

Written by  //  April 3, 2011  //  Sport  //  4 Comments

It isn’t every day that we get to see greatness unfold before our eyes. At the Wankhede Stadium yesterday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, confronted it, toyed with it and irrepressibly grabbed it to enter the temple of heavens and with it took a place in the pantheon of World Cup winning captains.

The hallmark of a great sportsman lies in his sense of timing – his ability to churn out his best when it’s most needed. Up until the Final, Dhoni’s scores meandered around the mediocre, his captaincy was adequate if not inspiring – with his choices concerning the selection (or non selection) of R. Ashwin, particularly coming under intense criticism. But stand by his decisions he did, and come the final, he seized greatness with nerveless serenity.

When Virat Kohli fell to a quite magnificent return catch by Tilakaratne Dilshan, Yuvraj Singh – later to be declared the man of the tournament – was expected to walk in. But, Dhoni, not a single feeble thought in his mind, strode in to the middle and clutched the initiative in an inspired and brilliant partnership with Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir, who had till that point, in company with Kohli, nudged and nurdled away at the Sri Lankan total, was reinvigorated by Dhoni’s presence. Together the pair found gaps in the field against the spinners with remarkable precision and ran between the wickets like a dream.

Muttiah Muralitharan – Sri Lanka’s champion spinner playing his last international game – and Lasith Malinga – who had accounted for both the Indian openers – were treated with adequate respect if not complete reverence. When Murali erred, though, Dhoni punished. In fact, the off-spinner was hit for three boundaries by Dhoni, each of them crashed through the offside with extraordinary accuracy.

When Gambhir, fell three runs short of what would have been a hugely memorable century, Dhoni was joined by Yuvraj with 52 runs required off as many balls. But the pair went about the rest of the chase with commanding assurance. In the first ball of the 43rd over, Dhoni slashed Thisara Perera over point for a brutal six – the noise of which continues to reverberate in my ear. In the 48th over, with 16 runs still required, he dealt to Malinga, perhaps, the cruellest blow he has received all tournament – a brace of astonishingly powerful whips to the long leg boundary.

And then in second ball of the next over came The Moment – the winning runs – a moment of untainted ecstasy. The victory settled by another violent blow from Dhoni’s blade off Nuwan Kulasekara – the bat coming through in its unusual yet hugely effective arc and striking the delivery with astounding fury. Even as the ball was deposited into the stands, and with Yuvraj Singh rushing to embrace him, Dhoni stood there eyes glazed, just for a jiffy, until the enormity of it all began to sink in. Yet there weren’t any histrionics from him – as if the moment was always inevitable. He clinched greatness over the course of his beautifully paced innings, but the cherry on top of it – that glorious swoosh for the win – will remain captured in a perpetual web of delight.

About the Author

Suhrith Parthasarathy is a journalist currently living and writing in New York. Suhrith grew up in Chennai, India and studied law at the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata. He practiced as an attorney for two years before giving up the law for journalism. He is presently studying for his masters at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. You can find him on Twitter (@suhrith) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/suhrithparthasarathy)

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4 Comments on "M.S. Dhoni – An Appreciation"

  1. Anand Hariharan April 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm ·

    The previous time the WC was won chasing, Arjuna Ranatunga played a sneaky cut shot off Mcgrath, to seal victory for SL. This time, Dhoni hit a powerful, emphatic six to finish things off. Very symbolic of the current team and their attitude towards the game!

  2. Anisha April 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm ·

    A sensational knock, indeed! I’m more stunned by how, in retrospect, all his seemingly weird selection decisions have been totally vindicated (or at least forgotten). For instance, I read in cricinfo’s interview of Kirsten that the 7 batsman approach was non-negotiable – something we had discussed after the England game when we though we needed better bowlers.

    Again, the mark of a great sportsman, I suppose: everything he touches turns to gold :)

  3. Noufal yohan February 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm ·

    You die, you die. You don’t see whichis the better way to die.
    — Mahendra Singh Dhoni

  4. Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm ·

    Full Name Mahendra Singh Dhoni
    Date of Birth July 7, 1981
    Place of Birth Ranchi, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India
    Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
    Other Names / Nick Names Mahi
    Batting style Right-hand batsman
    Bowling style Right-hand medium
    Role Wicket-keeper, India captain

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