Team India one-day international (ODI) and T20 captain MS Dhoni has resigned. And with this decision he has inked yet another first in Indian cricket – quitting without actually being ordered or forced to call it quits by the BCCI powers-that-be. To put things in perspective, how many players have left voluntarily? Virtually, none. From Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly to Sachin Tendulkar, all had to be virtually led to the exit door. The first time Dhoni did this (retire) was when he quit the captaincy of the Test team. In both instances he has caught his fans, the team itself, BCCI honchos and his esteemed colleagues with whom he has shared the ups and downs of his cricketing career through the years.
However, there is a story behind this – presumably. After all MS Dhoni was handed the captaincy of Team India when no one in their dreams had thought that this member of India’s favourite team would ever be crowned skipper. And yet that is exactly what happened – courtesy to a large extent cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar who floated Dhoni’s name at a very critical time in Indian cricketing history when the team was in trouble. This was eagerly accepted by BCCI. There were a lot of older, veteran players, who were still in the team. They had large egos. But ultimately, the decision to anoint Dhoni was proved right when he brought more laurels to the country than anybody had ever done before him. He did this by crafting Team India in his own image – confident, strong, aggressive and yes, irreverent and never hesitant in taking decisions that shocked everyone but which brought triumphs aplenty.
Today too Dhoni did not give an inkling about what he was going to do. He had already given a thumbs-up to the young India in the team by stepping down as skipper of Test team and thereby allowed the immensely talented Virat Kohli to take the helm. Looking back, it was a master-stroke. After all, Kohli has been on a huge winning streak, defeating team after team in a number of Test series on which he has stamped his authority personally and got other players to contribute way over their potential. In fact, Kohli has been able to get 2 immensely gifted players to fire on all cylinders – R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, whom even Dhoni himself was not able to turn into weapons of attack.
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So what is making Dhoni take these steps of resigning from a post most of India considers the ‘best job’ in India? His gift is to ‘see’ into the future. For instance when he made Joginder Sharma bowl the final over in both the semis and finals of the T20 World Cup in 2007 – Sharma was considered the weakest bowlers in Team India then. The move ensured India created history. Then who can forget the fact that Yuvraj Singh repaid the belief Dhoni had in his abilities to win trophies with his smashing performances – the best being 6 sixes in an over in a T20 WC! On another occasion he asked Virat Kohli to bowl an over in a match that India was losing – while the move was successful in that it led to the fall of a wicket, still the match was ultimately lost. And the biggest fact that shows that Mahi, as he is also known as, can ‘see’ ahead in time is his quitting as Test captain – who could have foreseen this Team India would literally soar under Kohli! To say the least, and this will surely please Dhoni, as he was proved right in taking this decision, is the fact that when he retired, it was good for Team India!
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Now that he is just an ordinary Team India player, hopefully he will be picked as a batsman-cum-‘keeper in the shorter formats of the game, it remains to be seen how well he has retained his foretelling gift. Surely, Dhoni would have retired from all forms of cricket if he thought that he had lost his cricketing ‘gift’! Since he has not, we can only wait with bated breath for the man to do his magic and leave the world pop-eyed and enthralled!