- June 2, 2023
Cricket, a game founded way back in the 19th century, has witnessed several legends come and go. However, amidst them all, there is one who stands out as the legend of the legends – the former Indian captain who led his team to victory in three major ICC tournaments. Winning all three trophies is an achievement that defies normalcy, and this abnormal feat was accomplished by none other than the Indian cricketing legend of the legends, MS Dhoni!
The Legend of the Legends Emerges
The legend of the legends, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is renowned for his excellent captaincy, wicket-keeping, and batting skills. In the 2003/2004 season, he scored 362 runs in 6 innings with an average of 72.40, catching the attention of Indian legends like Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri. Although his debut against Bangladesh was underwhelming, he was selected for the Pakistan series, where he showed his potential as a batsman.
In a crucial match against Sri Lanka, His unbeaten 183 off 145 balls helped India chase down a target of 299, securing a victory. In the subsequent Pakistan series, Dhoni scored two half-centuries and a match-winning 77 off 56 balls in the final match, helping India win the series 4-1. The wicketkeeper’s consistent performances in ODIs propelled him to the number one spot in the ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen, surpassing Ricky Ponting in just 42 innings.
2007 ODI World Cup: Nothing More Than A Disappointment
The batter’s excellent form continued as India prepared for the 2007 Cricket World Cup with 3-1 victories over West Indies and Sri Lanka, with the batter recording averages of over 100 in both series. However, India suffered a shocking early exit from the World Cup, losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the group stage.
The former captain, who was touted as a key player for India, failed to deliver, scoring just 29 runs in the tournament and being dismissed for a duck in both losses. The disappointment was compounded on him when his under-construction house in Ranchi was vandalized by political activists, leading to increased security for his family.
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2007 T20 World Cup: India Truimpt To Victory
In 2007, the BCCI was initially reluctant to participate in the ICC’s experiment of a World Cup in the shortest format. Following India’s lackluster performance in the 50-over World Cup, a second-string team led by him was sent for the World T20. While seasoned players like Tendulkar, Ganguly, and Laxman stayed away, the team boasted experienced players like Sehwag, Gambhir, Harbhajan, and Yuvraj.
The tournament saw the emergence of new heroes like Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, R.P. Singh, and Joginder Singh, who became the last-over hero of the final. After a disappointing ODI World, MS Dhoni led the Indian side to win the world cup in the shortest format. The legend of the legends not only did excellent captaincy but also played an important role in batting by scoring 154 runs in the season.
2011 ODI World Cup: MS Dhoni Wins It For Team India
The 2011 Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka will always be remembered as a historic moment in Indian cricket history. The legend of the legends led his team to victory, becoming the first captain to win both the T20 and 50-over World Cups. However, just before the tournament, The Indian skipper suffered an injury during a warm-up match against South Africa. The injury was serious enough that he missed the opening game of the tournament against Bangladesh. There were concerns about whether he would be able to play a crucial role in the team’s campaign.
Despite the injury, the wicketkeeper was determined to play in the World Cup final. His calm and composed leadership, coupled with a captain’s knock of 91 not out in the final, made him a hero in the eyes of millions of Indian cricket fans. It was a remarkable display of courage and determination, and his leadership qualities were once again on full display. His performance in the final is a testament to his skill as a player and his ability to lead his team under pressure.
2013 Champions Trophy: The Legend of the Legends Is Unstoppable
In 2013, The right-hander led India to victory in the ICC Champions Trophy, becoming the first and only captain to win all three major ICC tournaments. His captaincy, along with his tactical acumen and decision-making abilities, played a key role in India’s success in the tournament. Despite a slow start to the tournament, the wicket-keeper leadership helped India gain momentum and they won the final against England by five runs (D/L method) to lift the trophy.
While the captain was only able to score 27 runs in the tournament and was out for a duck in the final, his contributions as a captain and wicketkeeper were crucial. His innovative field placements and astute bowling changes helped India restrict the opposition and his calm reaction under pressure proved to be invaluable. The right-hander batter’s performances in the tournament earned him the honor of being named the captain and wicketkeeper of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ by the ICC.
Captaincy In Tests
Under the former captain’s leadership, India became the top-ranked Test team in the world in 2009, a position they held for nearly two years. He was also a prolific Test batsman, with an average of 38.09 and six centuries to his name. He was known for his calm and composed approach on the field, and his ability to lead his team to victory even in tough situations.
Despite facing criticism for his team’s performances in away Test matches, His legacy as India’s most successful Test captain remains intact. He led India to a total of 27 Test victories, including memorable series wins against Australia, England, and South Africa. His contribution to Indian cricket as a captain and player is unparalleled, making him one of the most beloved and respected figures in the sport.
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The Best White Ball Captain?
The two-time world cup winner’s captaincy in One Day Cricket is unparalleled among Indian captains. His 59.57% win percentage and 110 wins in 199 matches make him the most successful Indian ODI captain. As the format gets shorter, the wicketkeeper’s leadership skills shine brighter. He holds the record for the most number of wins by an Indian captain in Day Internationals and is known for his cool, calm, and composed demeanor on the field.
Under the former captain, Indian cricket was once again elevated to great heights, culminating in the team’s victory at the 2011 One Day World Cup. This momentous achievement was just one of the three ICC trophies that the Indian batter lifted as captain, the other two being the Champions Trophy and the inaugural T20 World Cup.
Speaking of T20 cricket, the captaincy of the right-hand batter was exceptional in this format as well. With 41 wins out of 72 matches, he holds the record for the most wins as a T20 captain. He took on the challenge of developing a young Indian team and led them to victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup. His leadership in both ODI and T20 cricket will go down in history as some of the most successful and memorable moments of Indian cricket.
The Most Selfless Cricketer?
The Indian captain’s contributions to Indian cricket go beyond his leadership skills. He is widely regarded as one of the most selfless cricketers in the game, always playing for the team’s success rather than his records. Despite that, he has amassed an impressive record in white-ball cricket.
In his 15-year ODI career, the batter scored a staggering 10,773 runs in 297 innings at an average of 50 and a selfless strike rate of 87. His T20I stats are equally impressive, with 1,617 runs in 85 innings at an average of 37 and a strike rate of 127. He always rose to the occasion when his team was in trouble, leading from the front and taking them over the line.
While his Test record may not be as impressive as his white-ball stats, with 4,876 runs in 144 innings at an average of 38, His contribution to Indian cricket cannot be denied. He remains a legend of the legends in the cricketing world and a true icon of the game.
The right-hand batter’s wicketkeeping skills were exceptional, and his numbers speak for themselves. With 444 dismissals in ODIs, he ranks third in the format’s history. However, it’s his 123 stumpings that set him apart from the rest as the highest by any wicketkeeper in ODI cricket. No other keeper in the format has even managed to reach the 100-stumping mark, highlighting Dhoni’s mastery of the craft.
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In T20Is, Dhoni’s wicketkeeping continued to shine, as he recorded 91 dismissals, including a remarkable 34 stumpings, which remains the highest for any cricketer in the format. His quick reflexes behind the stumps and his ability to read the batsman’s movements made him an invaluable asset to the Indian team.
Indian Premier League
Besides his leadership, the Indian batter was also a valuable asset for his team Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. He was the most expensive player in the first season auctions, bought for US$1.5 million. Under his captaincy, CSK won the IPL title four times and the Champions League T20 twice, while finishing as a runner-up in five seasons. He also contributed with the bat, scoring 4978 runs at an average of 39 and a strike rate of 135, often rescuing his team from tough situations.
The retirement of the legend of the legends from international cricket marked the end of an era in Indian cricket. He had been a consistent performer for India for over a decade and a half, and his contribution to the game has been immense.
Despite not playing any international cricket for over a year before his retirement, he had left a lasting legacy as one of the greatest cricketers of all time. His decision to retire came at a time when Indian cricket was going through a transition, and his absence from the team would be felt for a long time to come. Nonetheless, his retirement was a moment of reflection and gratitude for his fans, who had watched him lead India to many memorable victories over the years.
However, he took his retirement back in 2020, he continued playing for CSK in IPL. Deepak Chahar, His teammate in Chennai Super Kings, corrected a journalist who claimed that this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) would be the former India captain’s last competition. Chahar said that no one had said that this would be the former captain’s final IPL, and hoped that he would continue to lead the side for as long as possible.
Last year, the former captain stepped down as the captain of the Chennai-based franchise and appointed Ravindra Jadeja in his place. However, the change did not go over well as Chennai continued to perform below par in the cash-rich league. He once again took over as the captain midway through IPL 2022 but was unable to work any miracles, and the team ended in ninth place on the point table, winning only 4 out of their 14 fixtures. The IPL is set to begin on March 31, with Chennai Super Kings taking on last year’s winners, Gujarat Titans, at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi stadium.
The legend of the legends would always be remembered and honoured for his great services to his country. From his humble beginnings as a ticket collector to leading the Indian cricket team to multiple victories in ICC tournaments, the wicketkeeper has left an indelible mark on the sport. His contributions to Indian cricket, both as a player and a captain, have been immense. He has also been an integral part of the Indian Premier League, captaining the Chennai Super Kings to multiple titles.
As the IPL 2023 approaches, fans are eagerly anticipating the performance of this legend of legends, hoping to see him continue to inspire and entertain on the cricket field.