April 4, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

Dhoni: India's hero of the day

Akhila Ranganna

MS Dhoni's form had been scratchy right up till the World Cup final but he was able to put that behind him in the game that mattered the most, writes Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald. He dared to push himself up the order, didn't falter, guided his partners,and finally opened his shoulders to complete the victory.

In the critical hour and despite modest returns, Dhoni dared to back himself. That is leading from the front. Even in the toughest times, too, he managed to convey composure. Throughout, his players felt their captain remained on the bridge and the situation was under control.

Cricket folklore is littered with game-changing decisions, but Dhoni’s promotion of himself to No 4, after a mediocre run with the bat, will become the stuff of legend, writes Derek Pringle in the Daily Telegraph.

It might have been different had Nuwan Kulasekera not dropped Gambhir when he was on 30, after misjudging a catch at long off, but once Dhoni strode purposefully to the crease and began to hit the ball with such decisive power and purpose, you sensed it was always going to be India’s night.

Dhoni, apart from all else, writes Stephen Brenkley in the Independent is a man who recognises destiny when he sees it.

India and Chappell did not turn out to be a comfortable fit for each other, but Dhoni is some legacy. He is a natural leader because it comes naturally to him. Nothing seems to change his outward facade and he makes Andrew Strauss of England, himself a placid captain, look like a king of melodrama.

India's win over Sri Lanka in Mumbai stirs so many emotions that the final's script could have been written in the stars writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian. It's almost as though destiny was fulfilled.

So it came to pass, almost as precisely as planned when first the subcontinent was awarded the World Cup and Mumbai the final. In hindsight, as the day dawns over the Arabian Sea, it seems inconceivable that anyone but India should have taken the trophy. The astrologers were right with their predictions. Well, almost. There was a fairytale for the sainted Sachin Tendulkar, but not in personal performance for he was too readily undone by the ferocious maverick Lasith Malinga. Tendulkar was carried shoulder-high around the ground in celebration by his young team-mates as though a symbol, draped in the Indian flag, of how he has carried the hopes of a nation for so long.

In the same newspaper Barney Ronay writes that the World Cup final had a bit of everything – including huge sunglasses – but it was also an expression of a new continent-size confidence.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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