Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the most successful captain of Indian cricket has announced his retirement from international cricket, with a phenomenal career of 16 years and a tale of achievements. A Small town boy not coming from cricket centres of the country , understood the game like nobody did, performed the way like nobody did, graced the game like nobody did & achieved the heights that nobody did.
Fate occurred to Indian Cricket when a 23 year old batsman from Ranchi debuted in an ODI against Bangladesh in December 2004. Future of Indian Cricket seemed bright when this batsman scored his maiden ODI hundred of 148 against Pakistan the following year, in his 5th international ODI match. It was a delight to see the way he hit the ball, the strength and the resolve. In the same year he scored 183 not out against Srilanka, his highest individual score and highest by a wicketkeeper in ODIs.His maiden test hundred also came against Pakistan in Faisalabad.
The best surfaced when he was given the command of the Indian Team. His understanding of the game, his calmness, his process oriented approach, his unwavering attitude, his approach to big games made way for unprecedented heights for Indian Cricket. He built and nurtured a team that was ready to go into a final like any other match.He made them along with billions of fans to believe that they deserve whatever they aim for and nothing was out of reach.His captaincy career started in September 2007 with the inaugural T20 world cup in South Africa where he led the team to clinch the title by defeating archrival Pakistan in finals. It was under his captaincy that for the first time India was able to be on top in test ranking in 2009.In ODIs he led India to win all three ICC events- T20 world cup in 2007, ODI world cup in 2011 and Champions trophy in 2013, only Indian captain to do so.
The list of achievements is long and so are the attributes instrumental for those achievements. He transformed the Indian Cricket team from the one faltering under pressure to the one acing through the finals.Many of the players played under him will attribute their success to the grooming imparted by him.He knew how to take best out of other players.His commitment to game was so high that in spite of being captain and scoring so good batting at no 3 , for the teams’ sake he mostly batted at no 7. If he would have batted up in the order, his personal numbers would have been much higher but that’s not Mahi. He didn’t play for himself rather teams’ win. His monks like calmness gave him the focus that read the game well and made the right decisions in time. His wicketkeeping was impeccable and the world witnessed many instances where he showed the off limits intelligence and cleverness behind the stumps.
Dhoni retired from test crickets in December 2014 with 4876 runs from 90 matches.He kept on playing limited over formats and went on becoming the fifth all time run scorer for India in ODIs only behind Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli,Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid- all top order batsmen.He scored 10733 runs from 350 ODIs. His overall numbers for all the formats are- 538 matches, 17266 runs,16 centuries, 577 catches & 161 stumpings.
MS Dhoni gave unprecedented heights to Indian cricket. He made us believe that nothing is unachievable. The mind can achieve what it aims for.He is also a fine example of how to handle the success. How to have more humility with more success.How to stand in corners of a trophy picture when you yourself have contributed most for that trophy. He will always be an inspiration and someone to be looked for whenever someone wants to believe that big dreams can be fulfilled.