Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the greatest players in the cricket world, and everyone admires it. The idea of playing under Dhoni is a dream for many players, and the way young players get inspiration from him is simply sensational. Today, the cricket legend turns 40, and we look back at the five decisions Dhoni took as a captain that left the cricket fans and the world in shock.
1) Trusting Joginder Sharma in the final over
The first-ever ICC T20 World Cup Final and a young enthusiastic captain, Dhoni, has a big job in hand. He has to choose between inexperienced pacer Joginder Sharma or turn towards the experienced Harbhajan Singh. Dhoni turned towards Joginder Sharma to defend 13 runs in the final over against an in-form Misbah-Ul-Haq. The first ball was wide, and the first legal ball goes for a six. The pressure is back on the bowler and Dhoni. Everyone was wondering why Dhoni chose Joginder over Harbhajan. The next ball was match-defining as Misbah tried being creative and went for the glorious shot, Sreesanth catches the ball, and India won the game by five runs. Going to the pacer paid off, and everyone applauded the captain and the bowler for their actions.
2) Promoting himself up the order in the 2011 WC Final
The 2011 ICC World Cup final took place between India and Sri Lanka in front of a packed Wankhede stadium. India was in trouble as they had lost three wickets at about 111 runs and were chasing 275 against the prime Sri Lankan bowlers. Dhoni promoted himself up the order and came to bat before the man of the tournament and in-form Yuvraj Singh. The reason for this change was that he knows how to face Muttiah Murlidharan, the Sri Lankan mystery spinner, since the two have played each other as a team for CSK in the IPL. The change was a magnificent one as India lifted its second World cup under Dhoni. He scored a match-winning knock of 91 and was awarded the man of the match as well.
3) Testing Rohit Sharma as an opener
Rohit Sharma is now one of the most complete and sought-after openers in world cricket. But his meteoric rise in Indian cricket started only in 2013 when he was selected as an opener in the ICC Champions trophy. This was the first time he had ever opened the batting in cricket. Everyone doubted this move by Dhoni, which tended to prove others wrong in the end as Rohit and Shikhar became India’s best openers after Sachin and Sehwag. To date, the duo opens together, and Rohit has dedicated all his success to Dhoni for such a move.
4) Backing Ishant Sharma in the Champions Trophy Final
Ishant Sharma is one of India’s tallest bowlers, but sometimes because of his pace, he can be hit for boundaries consecutively. This was the case in the rain-hit match between India and England in the Champions Trophy final. England was cruising to an easy win by chasing a total of 129 runs. Ishant Sharma stepped up after his torrid start and took two key wickets to turn the match in India’s favour. This over proved to be vital as India bounced back to win the game by five runs.
5) Removing his right glove for the last ball
When two runs are required from three balls in a T20 game, the odds and the confidence are against the bowling team. But when you have a person like MS Dhoni in your line-up, you don’t need to worry about anything. Dhoni explained to Hardik Pandya what to bowl, and he executed the moves to perfection. The situation was that Bangladesh required two runs of one ball to win the game. Hardik bowled a legal wide short ball, and as Dhoni’s right glove was off, he was able to execute the run-out, and India won the game from the barest of margins.
It is fair to say that when Dhoni takes a decision, he must have thought this through, and only if he believes it is possible will it be accomplished. On his birthday, we relived these epic moments of his illustrious career and hope he executes such things in the IPL as well.
There’s a reason they call him Captain Cool 😎
— ICC (@ICC) July 7, 2021