13 years of MS Dhoni – A tale of calmness

Someone asked a cricketer, what is your mantra to be successful ? He reluctantly replied, “Stay humble. Stay grounded”. I’m not here to talk about that cricketer, I’m here as you may know already from the title – Mahendra Singh Dhoni. MS Dhoni in his 13 year old career and even before stayed humble and always grounded. Dhoni never changed his demeanour or his style. He was humble then, he is humble now. Such has been his career. So much under rated and keeping a low profile has been Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Even when numbers suggest he is one of the best limited overs cricketers ever, the poor guy has been hated, criticized, written off – but never ever ignored. But yes there are a truck load of fans who adore, applaud Dhoni. Some have been fans of his batting, some for his captaincy and some for his calm demeanour. The calmness in his conduct and the way he reacted to pressure cooker situations has won him thousands of fans.

The Debut

Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his entry into international cricket arena, this day 13 years ago. It was in a game against Bangladesh at Chittagong. Great players have a tendency to have a lacklusture debut, but in the end they make big careers. The story wasn’t different even for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni was run out trying to get off the mark. It was so un-characteristic of Dhoni, not something that defined Dhoni. But then, he was just 23 and had a long way to go. MS Dhoni was always a quick learner, he learnt from his mistake swiftly and in no time. When he made his debut, Karthik was still around and was considered as a favourite to don the role of keeper in the national side. But from there, he went on to be one of the best wicket keeper batsmen in world cricket at the moment. He is known as an astute thinker and one of the best minds that has played the game. He knew well in advance what to expect from the opposition. He controlled the team at the back of the stumps, for he believed as a keeper, he could have a bird’s eye view of the entire scene and help him in his job better. His antics through the stump microphone towards his fielders and bowlers made the news every time.

13 years later, we look at few of the records he has put across as a captain, as a batsman and as a wicket keeper.

Most Runs scored in One Day Internationals as Captain

PlayerTeamRunsĀ 
Ricky PontingAustralia/ICC8497
MS Dhoni**India6633
Stephen FlemingNew Zealand6295
Arjuna RanatungaSri Lanka5608
Graeme SmithSouth Africa/Asia5416
Mohammed AzharuddinIndia5239
Sourav GangulyIndia/Asia5104

 

Highest Batting Average inĀ  Successful ODI Chases (Min. 50 matches played)

PlayerTeamBatting Average
Virat KohliIndia65.29
Ab De VilliersSouth Africa57.94
Michael BevanAustralia56.50
Michael ClarkeAustralia53.92
Shane WatsonAustralia52.80
MS Dhoni**India50.23

Most 50+ scores as wicket keeper in ODI

PlayerTeams50+ scores
Kumar SangakkaraAsia/ICC/Sri Lanka114
MS Dhoni**Asia/India77
Adam GilchristICC/Australia69
Andy FlowerZimbabwe50
Alec StewartEngland30

Most Sixes in International Cricket

PlayerTeamsSixes
Shahid AfridiPak/Asia/ICC476
Chris GayleWest Indies/ICC454
Brendon McCullumNew Zealand398
Sanath JayasuriyaSri Lanka/Asia352
MS Dhoni**India/Asia337

Even when he struck gold as a batsman, the key quality that gave him longevity in the team was his improvement in his skill set as a wicket keeper. He made stumpings look so easy, as quick as anyone can get.

Most Stumpings made in International Cricket

Player

Teams

Stumpings

MS Dhoni**India/Asia172
Kumar SangakkaraSri Lanka/Asia/ICC139
Romesh KaluwithrnaSri Lanka101
Moin KhanPakistan93
Adam GilchristAustralia/ICC92

But what we adore MS Dhoni really was for his astute captaincy. He made many records tumble as a captain. He started off things with an ICC T20 World Cup 2007 victory in South Africa. After that next major success would be the the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia. He went on to make India No.1 in the rankings. Next major cup triumph came at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. This was a big moment for MS Dhoni. This was a realization for many Indian cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar. MS Dhoni also won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. But after an array of poor performances abroad, he had to quit test captaincy and test cricket. Clearly he knew well he wasn’t meant for the format. But let’s have a short look at his records as captain.

This is the case with cricket in India. Even when you have given your life towards cricket and won more plaudits than any other captain, it is those short failures which aficionados remember and are keen to ponder upon. Dhoni was not the usual guy who has ever represented India. The USP of Dhoni was his high level and degree of calmness. The opposition normally read faces and act accordingly, but from Dhoni what can you read ? Absolutely nothing. Losing cool when someone sledges you is common in Indian cricket. But not when MS “Cool” Dhoni is around.

Things have changed now. Dhoni is no more the captain,But he is still vital to this side. He is a crucial element, particularly in Kohli’s early days as a captain. He should serve Indian cricket as long as he likes to when you know the 36 year old is fitter and faster than some of the 23-24 year olds in the team!

Dhoni replying criticism from a reporter in his own way

**All Stats are updated till 23-12-2017**