On 23rd December 2004, MSD marked the beginning of his career with a run-out which at that time didn’t really bother the scorers. The day of 9th July 2019 saw yet another runout to the ‘Captain Cool’, but time it did disturb the scorers and also brought 1.3 billion Indians to tears. We have witnessed an era of Indian Cricket unfold between these two run-outs.
From the electrifying cheers of “SACHIN! SACHIN!” to those screaming “DHONI! DHONI!”, my generation grew up watching Indian Cricket grow. The transition of “MAHI MAAR RAHA HAI!” to “DHONI HAI TOH MUMKIN HAI!”, has been an iconic affair for Indian fandom. Like any other story, this too has had its ups and downs, the ups outnumbering the downs.
It wasn’t long ago that “Jo Anhoni Ko Honi Kar De Woh Hai Mahendra Singh Dhoni”, became a catchphrase in every Indian household, especially since 2013. Dhoni became the first captain to have won all the three ICC trophies – T20 WC (2007), World Cup (2011) and Champions Trophy (2013). He also led India to the #1 spot in the ICC Test Rankings. In his international career of nearly 16 years, Dhoni led Indian Cricket through one of its most successful phases.
It is often said that teams eventually find a replacement for every player that leaves. I choose to differ with that in this case. We might have Virat as the captain, Pant or Saha or Karthik as the wicket keepers, and Pandya as a finisher but you can’t find another Dhoni, who was a combination of all those in one player.
Dhoni became the ODI captain in 2007 and won majority of the games since then, not to forget the World Cup and the Champions Trophy. He also set the wicket keeping benchmark at a higher level. With 829 dismissals across all formats in International Cricket, he finishes 3rd highest on the list, only behind Mark Boucher and Adam Gilchrist. Known for his uncanny styles of implementing runouts, Dhoni also holds the record for the fastest stumpings. With a lightning speed of 0.08s he broke his own record of 0.09s which was the previous fastest.
The announcement which came at 7:29 PM last night left me in tears, and I’m sure many other MSD fans felt the same too. All Mahi fans wanted was to see him play in Blue for one last time for the coming T20 World Cup, but thank you COVID for taking that away from us too. All we can hope is he will continue playing in Yellow (#THALA) for some time at least. As disheartening as this already was, Suresh Raina also bid goodbye to International Cricket. It’s truly an end of an era in Cricket. We will miss seeing #7 in Blue.
Sachin had a grand farewell test match. If not anything grand, I expect BCCI to organize a farewell match for the Indian Legend after the IPL. He deserves a better goodbye from the International Arena.
Some statements of Cricketing legends on MSD:
“If 15 Runs Are Needed Off the Last 6 Balls, Pressure Is On The Bowler & Not On MS Dhoni.” – Ian Bishop
“The coolest man in world cricket – MS Dhoni delivers when it most matters!” – Michael Vaughan
“He has that uniqueness to respond to a tough situation with ease. He does not involve himself much emotionally, and that’s his quality. India is lucky to have a captain like Dhoni.” – VVS Laxman
“If I am supposed to select a team, Sachin will be the opener and Dhoni will be the captain.” – Steve Waugh
“He is a great leader by example. Someone whom I have always admired.” – Rahul Dravid
“The best compliment for me is when someone says they’ll pay to watch me play, And I can say that I’ll pay to watch MS Dhoni bat. MS is not the next Gilchrist. He’s the first MS Dhoni.” – Adam Gilchrist
“When I die, the last thing I want to see is the SIX that Dhoni hit in the 2011 World Cup Final.” – Sunil Gavaskar
“Dhoni is the greatest captain of our country. His record is proof of that.” – Sourav Ganguly
“I would go to war with Dhoni by my side.” – Gary Kirsten
“I am really gifted to play under the leadership of MSD.” – Mike Hussey
“Dhoni is the only one in this World who can smash Yorkers for SIXES.” – Wasim Akram
“Dhoni has the respect of all other playing nations. I’ve found him to be a really strong leader.” – Glenn McGrath
“I am learning the ropes of captaincy from MS Dhoni.” – Dwayne Bravo
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni retires from international cricket. The story of cricket will never be complete without him.” – Shoaib Akhtar