April 6, 2011

Captaincy

Dhoni among the all-time greats

Nikita Bastian

MS Dhoni ranks right up there with the best international captains – think Imran Khan, Mark Taylor, Arjuna Ranatunga – of the last three decades, says Ian Chappell, writing in the Hindustan Times. Like all good captains, says Chappell, Dhoni displays an aura that, no matter what is happening on the field, suggests to his team ‘all is well’.

Dhoni and Ranatunga both had moderate attacks, which makes their achievement in winning a World Cup even more meritorious … Neither Dhoni nor Ranatunga were ones to lament their lack of attacking options; they just devised plans to beat the opposition with the bowlers they had in hand. Dhoni even admitted after the semi-final he’d misread the Mohali pitch but that still didn’t stop him from finding a way to win with the attack he had…

Dhoni gradually brought his team to a peak during the tournament and they were at their best in the final. And, as good as they were, not even Imran, Taylor or Ranatunga put on such a commanding personal performance as Dhoni did in a World Cup final.

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph Tanya Aldred says Wayne Rooney could learn a thing or two from the calm-under-immense-pressure India captain, after the footballer received a two-match ban for his expletive-laden goal celebration.

Testosterone can take you a long way, but it doesn’t defend you from looking like a thug … On the same Saturday, over on the other side of the world, another man was under more pressure than even Rooney could imagine. A small town-boy, sturdy, stubbly and with a most magnificent nose, MS Dhoni was leading India in their pursuit of the cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka … The din was transcendental, the weight on Dhoni’s shoulders oppressive. Yet there he was, ridiculously, unbelievably, calm.

That six that won the Cup, high into the exploding Mumbai sky, was icing so pink and delicious it was almost sickly. Never will he play a more rewarding shot. And yet, though he gave himself perhaps a fraction of a second too long to admire the ball sailing into the night, there were no foul-mouthed celebrations to camera. Just embraces with team-mates and worthy handshakes with opponents…

Abhishek Ghosh remembers his one-time school-mate, a certain MS Dhoni, in Tehelka.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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