At 30, Dhoni has delivered! Wish him
A composed mind probably defines Mahendra Singh Dhoni's success the best and sums up his impressive record, says Senior Associate Editor Bikash Mohapatra.
MS Dhoni is a leader by example. I have never seen a player give as much effort to every game. I've never seen him lose his temper. He loves taking responsibility and when the team loses, no one feels it more than him.
That was Gary Kirsten describing India's captain days before returning to South Africa.
The South African, who coached the Indian team for three years, most notably leading them to the No.1 ranking in Tests and the World Cup success after a 28-year-drought, probably didn't leave anything about Dhoni unexplained.
Image: MS Dhoni
Man with the Midas touch
The Ranchi-born player was an instant success with the bat, scoring a century in both, his fifth ODI as well as his fifth Test.
And when somewhat surprisingly entrusted with the task of captaining the Indian team, he delivered instantly, leading the Men in Blue to glory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007.
A 2-0 win over Australia in the Commonwealth Bank Series underlined his credentials further. And when incumbent Test captain Anil Kumble was forced to sit out injured in the third Test against South Africa in Kanpur (April 2008), Dhoni was the obvious choice to take charge.
It was a pressure match -- India already 0-1 down in the series, courtesy a thrashing at Motera. Dhoni kept his cool to ensure a favourable result, inside three days!
In the 11 Tests that followed thereafter, Dhoni conjured up an impeccable (read flawless) record, winning eight and drawing three, while leading Team India to the No.1 ranking.
Image: MS Dhoni and Anil Kumble
A drubbing at the hands of South Africa (again) in Nagpur (February 2010) ended that run, but Dhoni has since gone up to second in the list of Indian captains with most Test wins.
Besides, there was spectacular success on the one-day front, culminating with the World Cup triumph in April this year.
And that has made Dhoni, inside five years of assuming captaincy, one of the most successful leaders ever.
Captain Cool, Lucky Mascot, Astute Mind et al, the media has coined various phrases to describe the man.
Image: MS Dhoni
'The pressure is nothing new'
The man in question though understands very well what he needs to do in order to lead the Indian side.
'The hype and pressure is nothing new,' he explained once, when asked if he feels the pressure of expectations.
'It's been a part of Indian cricket for a long time now,' he continued, adding, 'You just need to keep your focus and not get affected by what is happening around you.'
A composed mind probably defines Dhoni's success the best and sums up his impressive record.
'Of all the captains I have played under, he's certainly the best,' admitted Tendulkar, a few days after being able to win that elusive world title.
'The maturity and alertness he showed was tremendous,' explained the Master Blaster, adding, 'He reads the situation well and works accordingly.
Image: Ms Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar
MS Dhoni has earned it
'He understands the situation and doesn't show frustration. And that's good for any captain.'
A compliment of this magnitude coming from arguably the greatest batsman of this generation is no mean feat.
But MS Dhoni has earned it!
As MS celebrates his 30 birthday, join us in wishing him more success, particularly on the upcoming tour of England, and the struggles that will follow.
Image: MS Dhoni