It was the year 2005, the hot month of March, the place was the Visaka Cricket Stadium (now Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium,Hyderabad) and the match was between the visiting Pakistan team and the India ‘A’ team. As is the protocol for any match, the spectators had to enter the stadium at least an hour before. As the Indian players came out to practice before the actual match started, we started searching for known faces, but other than Ambati Rayudu none was recognisable There was this one guy with long hair, a sleeveless jersey and a red cap, jumping around on the ground. This was none other than MAHENDRA SINGH DHONI…Never in my dreams I thought that I’m seeing a future Indian captain who would take India to the top in test match cricket. The Indians batted first and set a target of 190 for the visitors. MSD also batted at the end of the innings and once played his famous helicopter shot(not named at that time). It was amazing to watch a player play such a shot. The match was won easily by the Pakistanis. MSD didn’t get into the Indian team then,but he was already seen by the selectors and was to get his first chance pretty soon. 9 years down the lane and 90 test matches later he announced his retirement yesterday.It was a shocker actually, but then his main forte being the shorter version of the game the decision which he has taken is in the best interests of the game and his career. He is touted to be the most successful Indian captain ever beating the likes of Kapil Dev,Dada and others. He is “Captain Cool”,he has the Midas’ touch and is considered one of the great finishers of the game. Under his captaincy India has won 27 tests and that is more than anyone else according to statistics. The foundation was laid by Dada,Dravid and Kumble and Dhoni capitalized on that to bring India to the number one position.
Many might feel that Dhoni didn’t take a wise decision of quitting when on a tour and when one more match is yet to be played, but as a senior member of the team and as a captain, his decision must be respected. Now all his focus should be on the world cup 2015 and try to bring it home again. The greats of the game have expressed their views on the retirement and it is feels good to read the wishes and comments from them for a Indian player who came from a small town and achieved so much over the years. As Rahul Dravid said in an interview, Dhoni’s story truly has been an inspiring one for young lads coming from small towns who have dream of achieving something big in their lives.
Thank you MSD for bringing many glories to India in tests and hope that you continue doing the same in one-dayers and T20s.
HAPPY NEW YEAR friends.Have a wonderful year ahead!!Cheers….