M.S.Dhoni Retires from International Cricket. (India twice win WC under Dhoni)

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M.S.Dhoni Retires from International Cricket. (India twice win WC under Dhoni)

Post by Harmer »

MS Dhoni announces retirement from international cricket

August 15 2020

The former India skipper and two-time World Cup winner made the announcement on Aug 15

Former India captain and two-time World Cup winner, Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday (August 15) via an Instagram post.

"Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired (sic)", read his post of the formal announcement.

The Chennai Super Kings captain, though, is expected to feature in the upcoming IPL 2020 in the UAE and was spotted earlier today arriving in Chennai for the team's brief training camp before they fly out to the middle-east.

Dhoni had earlier quit Test cricket in 2014 after the Melbourne Test on the tour of Australia and had handed over ODI and T20I captaincy to Virat Kohli in January 2017.

In nearly 16 years at the highest level, Dhoni led India through its most successful era and has the 2007 T20 WC, 2011 ODI World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy in his cabinet.

Dhoni's last ODI was his 350th for India, wherein he finished with a fighting 72-ball 50 against New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup which proved insufficient in the end. Dhoni, who finished with 10,773 runs at an average of 50.57 in ODIs, is the fifth Indian to surpass the 10k-run mark in the 50-over format. The wicketkeeper-batsman also has 229 ODI sixes - the most for an Indian batsman.

Dhoni took over as India's ODI captain from Rahul Dravid in 2007 and has won 55 percent of the 200 games he captained the national side (110 wins, 74 defeats, 5 tied, 11 NR). His 200th ODI captaincy assignment came in the Asia Cup 2018 encounter against Afghanistan after Rohit Sharma - the designated skipper for that tournament - was rested for the game, which eventually ended in a tie.

In T20Is, Dhoni played two shy of a 100 games, scoring over 1617 runs at a strike rate of 126.13. More importantly, he led India to glory in the inaugural T20 WC in 2007. He has a 58.33 win percentage in this format, with 42 victories in 72 games as captain.

Besides being India's most successful captain in the limited-overs format, Dhoni also redefined wicketkeeping skills and earned the reputation of being one of the finest stumpers in the world in the last few years. With 829 dismissals across the three formats in international cricket (634 catches, 195 stumpings), Dhoni finishes third on the list of wicketkeepers with most dismissals, only behind Mark Boucher (998) and Adam Gilchrist (905)

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Re: M.S.Dhoni Retires from International Cricket. (India twice win WC under Dhoni)

Post by Harmer »

The inauspicious beginning: MS Dhoni's international career started off on a disappointing note in December 2004. Playing Bangladesh, MS Dhoni was run-out for a duck and had a forgettable outing in his maiden ODI seri

The helicopter arrives: MS Dhoni promoted to No.3 in the batting order smashed the Pakistani bowling attack to smithereens. He amassed 148 runs off 123 balls in Vizag in 2005 to announce his arrival on the big stage

Painting Jaipur the Mahi way: Promoted once again in the batting order, MS Dhoni scored a memorable 183* against Sri Lanka in October 2005. He struck 15 fours and 10 sixes to dismantle the Lankan total. To this day, the knock happens to be the highest score by a 'keeper-batsman.

The Pervez Musharraf comment: MSD had blasted 72* off 46 against Pakistan in Lahore in the 3rd ODI in 2006. The then-president of Pakistan was in attendance and he had this to say: "A lot of placards in the crowd have suggested that you should get a haircut, but if you take my advice, you look good in this hairstyle."

Rise to No. 1 in ODI rankings: A knock of 59 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi propelled the man from Jharkhand to the No. 1 spot in the ODI rankings in April 2006. MSD took only 42 matches to get there and is still the quickest to be ranked No.1 in the ODI batting rankings.

Off the mark with a nought: Just like his ODI career, MS Dhoni's T20I career started with a duck - against South Africa in December 2006.
Off the mark with a nought: Just like his ODI career, MS Dhoni's T20I career started with a duck - against South Africa in December 2006.
T20 glory: An energetic Dhoni-led side lifted the title in the inaugural T20 WC in September 2007 by beating Pakistan in the final, making up for the disappointment of the early exit in the 50-over World Cup earlier in the year.

T20 glory: An energetic Dhoni-led side lifted the title in the inaugural T20 WC in September 2007 by beating Pakistan in the final, making up for the disappointment of the early exit in the 50-over World Cup earlier in the year.

Dhoni's brigade overcomes Pakistan: MS Dhoni's second series as ODI skipper in late 2007 saw his team beat their arch-rivals in India in a bilateral series after 20 years.
Dhoni's brigade overcomes Pakistan: MS Dhoni's second series as ODI skipper in late 2007 saw his team beat their arch-rivals in India in a bilateral series after 20 years.

The CB series triumph: India won the Commonwealth Bank series in 2008 beating Australia 2-0 in the best of three finals. Dhoni himself played a nice little cameo in the second final to boost the final target

Wicketkeeping record: On 24 August 2008, MS Dhoni reached 155 dismissals as a wicketkeeper, going past Nayan Mongia as the wicketkeeper with most dismissals for India in ODIs.

Champions of Asia: MS Dhoni added some more silverware to his rich collection of trophies as skipper by defeating Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final in Dambulla. In a must-win encounter against Pakistan, Dhoni added 56 valuable runs which proved to be pivotal in India winning that match and advancing to the final.
Champions of Asia: MS Dhoni added some more silverware to his rich collection of trophies as skipper by defeating Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final in Dambulla. In a must-win encounter against Pakistan, Dhoni added 56 valuable runs which proved to be pivotal in India winning that match and advancing to the final.
On top of the World: MS Dhoni launched a six over long-on to send an entire nation into frenzy. India were crowned World Champions after 28 years and the Indian captain was majestic on the night of the final of the 2011 World Cup with a match-winning effort of 91*. The stature of MS Dhoni, the cricketer, went to a different level as he inscribed his name in golden letters in the history of Indian cricket.

On top of the World: MS Dhoni launched a six over long-on to send an entire nation into frenzy. India were crowned World Champions after 28 years and the Indian captain was majestic on the night of the final of the 2011 World Cup with a match-winning effort of 91*. The stature of MS Dhoni, the cricketer, went to a different level as he inscribed his name in golden letters in the history of Indian cricket.

Destiny's child: MS Dhoni was in the middle of a controversy in the IPL before Champions Trophy 2013. He silenced his critics in trademark Dhoni fashion by helping India win the tournament. In the process, Dhoni became the first skipper in the history of the sport to win all the ICC trophies.

Oh, Dhoni, you beauty!: Shaminda Eranga to bowl the final over of the Tri-Nation series in 2013; 15 runs off the final over needed. India has one wicket in hand. What does a half-fit hobbler in the form of Dhoni do? He slams two sixes and one four to snatch a win for India from the jaws of defeat.

Semifinal exit in the 2015 World Cup: India failed to defend their World Cup crown as Australia ended their seven-match winning streak in the semis at SCG. Dhoni fought hard with a valiant 65 but that wasn't enough
Semifinal exit in the 2015 World Cup: India failed to defend their World Cup crown as Australia ended their seven-match winning streak in the semis at SCG. Dhoni fought hard with a valiant 65 but that wasn't enough
The (almost) decade long reign comes to an end: On January 5, 2017, MS Dhoni decided to give up ODI captaincy and handed over the baton to Virat Kohli, the heir apparent.
The (almost) decade long reign comes to an end: On January 5, 2017, MS Dhoni decided to give up ODI captaincy and handed over the baton to Virat Kohli, the heir apparent.
Rolling back the clock: Dhoni and Yuvraj shared a 256-run partnership in Cuttack after India were reduced to 25 for 3 to script a series-clinching win against England in January 2017. That was Dhoni's last ODI ton.
Rolling back the clock: Dhoni and Yuvraj shared a 256-run partnership in Cuttack after India were reduced to 25 for 3 to script a series-clinching win against England in January 2017. That was Dhoni's last ODI ton.
End of a long wait: MS Dhoni's maiden T20I fifty came in February 2017 against England in Bengaluru - a 36-ball 56 - more than 10 years after his T20I debut. The game, incidentally, was Rishabh Pant's maiden T20I.

End of a long wait: MS Dhoni's maiden T20I fifty came in February 2017 against England in Bengaluru - a 36-ball 56 - more than 10 years after his T20I debut. The game, incidentally, was Rishabh Pant's maiden T20I.

Stumping record: On 3rd September 2017, MS Dhoni became the first wicketkeeper to effect 100 stumpings, going past Kumar Sangakkara's record of 99.
Stumping record: On 3rd September 2017, MS Dhoni became the first wicketkeeper to effect 100 stumpings, going past Kumar Sangakkara's record of 99.
Second fifty: A 28-ball 52 against South Africa in 2018 was MS Dhoni's second and last T20I fifty, which came in a losing cause.
Second fifty: A 28-ball 52 against South Africa in 2018 was MS Dhoni's second and last T20I fifty, which came in a losing cause.
Captain again: MS Dhoni captained India for one last time after Rohit Sharma was rested for the game against Afghanistan. This happened to be Dhoni's 200th ODI as captain of India with the match ending in an exciting tie.

Captain again: MS Dhoni captained India for one last time after Rohit Sharma was rested for the game against Afghanistan. This happened to be Dhoni's 200th ODI as captain of India with the match ending in an exciting tie.

The redemption act: After a pale 2017 and an indifferent 2018, MS Dhoni scored three consecutive fifties against Australia in early 2019 and won the Man of the Series award as India clinched the ODI series 2-1.
The redemption act: After a pale 2017 and an indifferent 2018, MS Dhoni scored three consecutive fifties against Australia in early 2019 and won the Man of the Series award as India clinched the ODI series 2-1.
Last innings: MS Dhoni's last T20I innings came in Bengaluru. It was a 23-ball 40 against Australia during a 100-run association with Virat Kohli.
Last innings: MS Dhoni's last T20I innings came in Bengaluru. It was a 23-ball 40 against Australia during a 100-run association with Virat Kohli.
The final act: MS Dhoni's last ODI outing was worth 50 runs in a thrilling semifinal of the 2019 World Cup. But it came to an end through a direct hit from Martin Guptill which ended India's hopes. Incidentally, Dhoni was also run-out in the 2015 World Cup semis which India lost.

The final act: MS Dhoni's last ODI outing was worth 50 runs in a thrilling semifinal of the 2019 World Cup. But it came to an end through a direct hit from Martin Guptill which ended India's hopes. Incidentally, Dhoni was also run-out in the 2015 World Cup semis which India lost.
A legendary career: MS Dhoni ended his ODI career with 10,777 runs at an average of 50.57 with 10 hundreds and 73 fifties.

A legendary career: MS Dhoni ended his ODI career with 10,777 runs at an average of 50.57 with 10 hundreds and 73 fifties.
Pulling down the curtains: On August 15, 2020, MS Dhoni announced on Instagram - "Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired"
Pulling down the curtains: On August 15, 2020, MS Dhoni announced on Instagram - "Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired"
Last edited by Harmer on Sun Aug 16, 2020 3:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: M.S.Dhoni Retires from International Cricket. (India twice win WC under Dhoni)

Post by Harmer »

MS Dhoni - A career in numbers
August 15 2020


Dhoni averaged 102.71 in successful run-chases!

MS Dhoni has bid adieu to international cricket more than a year since his last assignment in the 2019 World Cup. The wicketkeeper-batsman from Jharkhand enjoyed a remarkable career both behind the wickets and in front and leaves the game as one of the best to ever grace the game, especially in the 50-overs format where he left an indelible legacy both as a player and as a captain.

His career highlights include winning T20 WC in 2007, World Cup in 2011, Champions Trophy in 2013 and captaining India when they were the number one ranked side in Test cricket. On a personal capacity, he has won the ICC ODI Player of the Year award multiple times as well as was adjudicated the Man of the Match in the final of the 2011 World Cup. He is India's second most capped player across formats with 535 appearances and is the third most successful wicketkeeper in terms of dismissals (829) behind Mark Boucher and Adam Gilchrist. He stepped down from the Test team during India's tour of Australia in 2014/15.

Career

Format Mat Runs Avg SR 100s/50s Dis Cat/Stu
Tests 90 4876 38.09 59.11 6/33 294 256/38
ODIs 350 10773 50.57 87.56 10/73 444 321/123
T20Is 98 1617 37.60 126.13 0/2 91 57/34

Here is a look into his ODI career through numbers.

Dhoni entered the Indian cricket scene in the 2004 series in Bangladesh following his rich exploits for India A in Kenya earlier that year. He soon hit the straps with a century in just his fifth ODI - 148 against Pakistan in Vizag in early 2005. He followed it up with the unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in Jaipur later that year and consolidated his position in India's middle order.

He forged a successful partnership with the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the lower middle order which has been India's soft underbelly up until then. The Yuvraj-Dhoni duo was the backbone of India's middle order on which India achieved huge success in the ODI format in that period where they strung together a record successive 17 successful run-chases. He aggregated 3000+ partnership runs with both Raina (3585) and Yuvraj (3105) at averages of 56.90 and 51.75, respectively. In the first phase of his career, Dhoni fulfilled the role of the power hitter who often provided the impetus to the innings in the final overs.

Dhoni - career in three phases

Phase Mat Inngs NO Runs Avg SR 100s/50s HS
Debut - Sep 2007 84 75 19 2477 44.23 96.27 3/14 183*
Captaincy debut - WC 2015 178 153 47 6022 56.81 86.55 6/44 139*
Since April 2015 88 69 18 2274 44.58 82.03 1/15 134

Following the T20 WC win in South Africa in 2007 under his leadership, Dhoni was handed over the reins of the ODI team in late 2007. Dhoni revamped his batting as he changed from a power hitter to a more risk-free consolidator in the middle order. This new batting approach was more effective, had far-reaching effects and kind of established Dhoni's vestige as the doyen of run chases in the 50-over format.

The eight-year period since he took over captaincy till end of the World Cup in 2015, it turned out to be the purple patch of his career which largely defined his legacy in the game. In this period, only four players scored more runs than Dhoni of which three were predominantly top order batsmen - Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Virat Kohli - while the fourth, AB de Villiers, batted mostly at #4. Dhoni scored more than 5000 runs batting at #5 or lower at a superb average of 53.98.

Along with being one of the best ODI batsmen of the era, he was among the best wicketkeepers in addition to being tactically one of the most astute captains in limited-overs cricket. It was in this period that he led India to its three major series wins - starting off with a tri-series win in Australia in 2008 with a relatively young side followed by India's first World Cup win in 28 years in 2011, and that was followed by a Champions Trophy win in 2013 in the midst of spot-fixing scandal which engulfed Indian cricket around the time.

Most ODI runs between Oct 2007 & Mar 2015

Player Mat Inngs Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s
K Sangakkara 201 193 8368 169 47.81 82.31 19 53
T Dilshan 188 182 7352 161* 44.82 88.79 21 34
V Kohli 158 150 6537 183 51.47 89.73 22 33
AB de Villiers 136 129 6315 162* 61.91 102.76 18 36
MS Dhoni 177 153 6022 139* 56.81 86.54 6 44
H Amla 115 112 5692 159 55.26 89.92 20 28
M Jayawardene 192 179 5509 144 33.18 81.76 9 36

His powers as a finisher in ODIs waned considerably in the period post the World Cup in 2015 as his game was found out, especially A he took considerable time to get his eye in. Flashes of brilliance came in between but that was far too few. In the 88 ODIs in this period he averaged 44.58 at a strike rate of 82.03. What was significant was his dip in numbers in run-chases in this phase - average of 44.16 and a strike rate of 72.20, but India lost 17 of the 34 times he batted in a run-chase in this period. In a way, his final innings of India in the semifinal of World Cup 2019 best exemplified Dhoni's struggles in the last few years of his career.

The master of ODI run chases

Dhoni in his peak was synonymous to the best finisher in ODI cricket. Sachin Tendulkar apart, no other player has been part of more successful run-chases in ODI cricket than Dhoni's 116 appearances. He batted in 75 of those games and remained unbeaten in 47 of those - averaged a barely believable 102.71 in these games. In nine of the 47 innings he remained unbeaten at the end, he sealed the game with a six, the most famous of them being one off Nuwan Kulasekara in the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede.

Highest average in successful run-chases (20+ innings)

Player Mat Inngs Notouts Runs HS Avg SR 100s 50s
MS Dhoni 116 75 47 2876 183* 102.71 88.00 2 20
V Kohli 89 86 30 5388 183 96.21 97.76 22 22
M Bevan 75 45 25 1725 107 86.25 66.42 3 12
D Chandimal 27 22 12 853 111 85.3 77.54 2 5
AB de Villiers 64 59 28 2566 136* 82.77 96.90 5 18
J Root 45 41 16 1942 133* 77.68 87.95 6 8
M Hussey 51 27 17 741 75* 74.1 74.62 0 4

India lost only 38 of the 153 ODIs when they chased a target under 300 when Dhoni was in the side. In the 108 chases that Dhoni batted when the target was below 300, he averaged 60.48 with 29 scores of 50 or more and remained unbeaten a whopping 46 times.

Dhoni in ODI run chases

Target Inngs Runs 50s 100s Avg SR
250 -299 51 2041 15 2 61.85 86.26
200 - 249 37 1253 11 0 59.67 77.59
< 200 20 456 1 0 57.00 65.24
There are 35 cricketers who led their country and kept wickets simultaneously in ODI cricket. Dhoni leads the list with 200 such instances with Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed at a distant second with 50 matches donning the twin hats. Dhoni scored 6641 runs in these 200 matches with six centuries - 4885 runs more than the second-placed Kumar Sangakkara. Dhoni's average of 53.55 as wicketkeeper-captain is dwarfed only by AB de Villiers' 71.45 but the latter took the dual responsibility in just 30 ODIs - just about a seventh of what Dhoni did.

Indian cricket emerged from a perennial bridesmaid to a world beating unit during Dhoni's career. Having lost 16 of the last 17 completed finals, Dhoni led India to wins in all three major ICC events, Asia Cup as well a tri-series Down Under. As the stats and trophies underline, Dhoni leaves behind a successful legacy as a captain, batsman and wicketkeeper.

Some of the records held by Dhoni in white-ball cricket

1 Dhoni remains the only captain to win all the three ICC trophies - T20 WC in South Africa in 2007, World Cup at home in 2011 and Champions Trophy in England in 2013. His 332 matches at the helm across formats happen to be the most by any player. For more numbers about his captaincy, please refer here

444 Dismissals made by Dhoni in ODI cricket - third-most in the history of the format behind Kumar Sangakkara (482) and Adam Gilchrist (472). Dhoni took 321 catches behind the stumps and effected 123 stumpings - the only player to effect more than 100 stumpings in the format.

183 Dhoni's unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in Jaipur in 2005 is the highest individual score made by a player designated as a wicketkeeper in ODIs. It remained his career-best in the format and also is the joint second-highest individual score in a run-chase in ODIs.

11 Players scoring more runs in ODI cricket than Dhoni's 10773 runs. 8324 of these runs came batting at number five or below - more than 2000 runs ahead of any other player batting in these positions. He scored seven hundreds batting at number five or below which is the joint most in ODIs alongside Yuvraj Singh and Jos Buttler.

84 Instances of Dhoni remaining unbeaten in ODIs - the most by any player. Of the 84 instances, 50 came in run-chases of which India went on to win 47 with one ending in a tie and two in defeats.

3484 Partnership runs for Dhoni with Raina in ODIs - the most by a pair for the fourth wicket or below in the format. The duo has batted together 71 times for the fourth wicket or below and averaged 57.11 per stand, hitting nine century partnerships.

91 Dismissals by Dhoni in T20 Internationals - the most by a wicketkeeper. He has pouched 57 catches and effected 34 stumpings - both the most by a wicketkeeper in the format.

6 Dhoni led India in all the six T20 WCs so far held - no other player from a full member team has led their respective side in more than three editions. Dhoni led India to title glory in the inaugural edition in 2007, was runners up to Sri Lanka in 2014 and reached semifinals the last time the event was held in 2016.

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Re: M.S.Dhoni Retires from International Cricket. (India twice win WC under Dhoni)

Post by Harmer »

My best of msd

Cricbuzz

My favourite Dhoni memory
August 15 2020

India's modern chasing narrative began on October 31, 2005 in Jaipur.

Our writers pick one enduring memory each from MS Dhoni's stellar white-ball career

Aayush Puthran: The don of the chase

There is a reason, a very good one, to why Dhoni has had a massive reputation while chasing down totals in ODIs. India have successfully chased 47 times while he has been unbeaten. That narrative around Dhoni, however, began on October 31, 2005, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.

Having made his debut less than a year ago, he had already given an account of his free-stroking, big-hitting skills; unorthodox and rustic in his strokeplay but effective when he had hit his maiden century against Pakistan earlier that year. However, he was yet to be tested as a batsman under pressure.

Chasing a stiff 299 for a win against Sri Lanka, Dhoni was promoted to No 3 at the fall of Sachin Tendulkar's wicket in the first over. It was a reasonably good batting wicket, but totals of such nature weren't chased down easily in those days. And to add to the complexity, the opposition had the likes Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan in their ranks. But nothing was to deter Dhoni that day.

In successive half-century stands with Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, he outpaced his partners. And unlike his sedate and composed celebrations in later years, he unleashed a gun move on bringing up his century. He smashed 15 boundaries and 10 sixes, and en route his stunning 183, shattered and equalled several records.

India chased down the target with ease, with six wickets in hand and 3.5 overs to spare. The second-highest score of the innings was Sehwag's 39.

In years to come, he would evolve into a much smarter and effective finisher, and most importantly, into a batsman who controlled the second half of India's innings and one who would take the game to its peak pressure points and then outsmart and outbat the opposition from thereon. Of the 51 times he was unbeaten while chasing, India lost only twice. And it all started 15 summers ago.

Pratyush Sinha: The missing MS

MS Dhoni's love for camouflage extended far beyond his choice of clothes. He wasn't the kind of captain who endorsed a win with his giant presence in the middle, but instead preferred the quiet behind the smokescreen, allowing the younger players to take the centrestage. Even if you aren't a cricket fan who tunes into every India game, it's not difficult to come to that conclusion. All you need is a google image search for three of India's greatest limited-overs wins this millennium, all sweet-smelling of Dhoni's captaincy tics if not his runs.

When India won the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni was at the far left of the frame, leaving the trophy to Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina in the middle. And at the 2013 Champions Trophy, he's just as invisible as Virat Kohli is not, the latter dancing to the tunes of Gangnam Style as his captain stows himself away in the corner. But the 2007 T20 WC is the most telling of them all, when Dhoni the captain was still wet behind his ears and learning the ropes. But it's difficult to mark that down. Because he's hardly visible in the team picture, blocked in some by the trophy, in some others by Robin Uthappa's hands, and in the rest by his own unwillingness to be at the forefront. He had done enough of it when the cricket was on.

Prakash Govindasreenivasan: MS, The Great Gambler

There's something exciting about a ballsy gamble. More so, about one in such an incredibly high-stakes match. The team selection had already ruffled quite a lot of feathers and set raging debates in motion, but the collective sighing of disapproval hit crescendo when he decided to walk out to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the nervy run chase of the 2011 World Cup final. The same Yuvraj who was in the form of his life, all through the tournament.

This Dhoni decision unfurled a flurry of thoughts - the last time he pulled a rabbit out of his hat, in the form of Joginder Sharma's 20th over, he won India a world title. But, the ordeal ahead this time around, rendered such optimism-based statistics worthless. Here, in the centre of a deafening Wankhede stadium, the task was herculean. The move, it was later known, was backed by solid cricketing reason - of shielding Yuvraj from two off-spinners - Muralitharan and Suraj Randiv. And yet, the thought of tinkering with a settled line-up at such a crucial moment of the game needed a serious sense of self backing, specially in a tournament when runs rarely came off his blade.

I took a quite few decisions tonight, if we hadn't won I would have been asked quite a few questions: Why no Ashwin, Why Sreesanth. Why no Yuvraj, Why did I bat ahead?!

There was no need for answers, for he sealed it like only he could. The six off Kulasekara remains etched in the memory of thousands who witnessed it on that night, but that he'd pulled it off with such a massive mental baggage, summed up all the years of his deservedly-decorated leadership.

The man with the lightning gloves
The man with the lightning gloves
Kumar Abisekh Das: The evolved MSD

The man with the mane was gone by now. Replacing him was a man with a calculator in his head. One of the foundation stones of the Ferrari being bargained for a high-mileage sedan started off at Adelaide in February 2008 during a run chase against Sri Lanka in the CB series.

India were chasing 240 and were reduced to 99 for 4 in the 24th over when Dhoni joined Yuvraj Singh. Yes, that dreaded middle order pair once gain. Dhoni was happy to tick the singles off and allowed Yuvraj to be the aggressor. Singles and doubles were going to be the currency of the day.

But Yuvraj got out with India still needing 82 to win. Dhoni had Irfan Pathan for company and a wobbly tail was o follow. Dhoni decided to take the game deep. He decided to rely on singles and thwarted everything thrown at him from the Lankan attack comprising Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga and Muttiah Muralitharan. Irfan got out with 24 still needed. But the Dhoni touch took over and ensured India won in the final over with 2 wickets to spare. It was a seamless transition of a man who could thwart attacks to dust into a more dependable batter who would soak in everything thrown at him under pressure. Taking the game deep became a trend post that with Dhoni shunning his machismo in favour of percentage cricket. Dhoni 2.0 was kind of discovered on this very day.

Bharath Ramaraj: The man with the lightning gloves

Alert, nimble and neat movements - MS Dhoni's glove-work while 'keeping to spin was almost surgical in nature. Even if the batsman was an inch out of the crease, he was in trouble if Dhoni was the man behind. One such moment of sheer brilliance behind the stumps came in the second ODI of the 2006 ODI series between India and South Africa in Durban. At 150 for 3, the home side was in the ascendancy and India needed a spark from somewhere in the field.

The wicketkeeper effected a superlative stumping off Dinesh Mongia to send the dangerous AB de Villiers back to the pavilion. De Villiers, renowned for playing shots in a 360 degree-arc, decided to premeditate and crack the reverse sweep. However, Mongia imparted a hint of turn as the ball spun past de Villiers' reach. Dhoni had already anticipated de Villiers' initial trigger movements and moved towards the off-side. As soon as the right-handed batsman couldn't make the connection and found himself out of the crease, Dhoni whipped off the bails and effected the stumping. For Dhoni to collect the ball from outside off and then to remove the bails before the agile de Villiers could even get back to the crease was an early indication of Dhoni transcending the keeping manual with his street-smartness.

Kaushik Rangarajan: A leader, in success and defeat

In chilly Birmingham at the fag end of yet another wretched tour of the British Isles in 2014, Dhoni typically found himself at the business end of a T20I game. The task at hand was to score 17 off the final over bowled by Chris Woakes. Dhoni clubbed one ball over mid-wicket for six, hared away for a non-existent double and reduced the equation to 9 off 4.

Then he miscued one and denied Ambati Rayudu a single, hit a four off the next ball before rebuffing non-striker Rayudu's energetic plea to cross over yet again. He had taken it upon himself to score the five needed off the final ball, knowing fully well that failure to do so will only mount the scrutiny on him. As luck would have it, another miscue meant only a single was possible and India ended the tour with another defeat.

"I shoulder the responsibility for the defeat.It was a difficult task and one of those days when it didn't go our way. I thought I'm middling it, I have a good chance but it didn't pay off."

That was Leadership 101. It's easier to self-congratulate in success and pass the buck in adversity. Not all calls will go your way, but you still have to have the stomach to make the hard ones. Dhoni took the tough call, it backfired and he took responsibility. Classic.

Ganesh Chandrasekaran: The detached, decision-maker

This might lose the test against objectivity, for his retirements can be seldom separated with the work we do. But despite the minor shockwaves that it can create in the chat windows, the newsrooms of the new normal, the sheer lack of fanfare around calling it time is something that'd always separate him from many others. Whether it was his retirements from Tests which came through a press release soon after his press conference, or stepping down from ODI captaincy again through a media release and down to his latest farewell through an instagram video, he's called time when he sees fit. You'd wonder if this goodbye would have been different had the T20 WC been held as per originally scheduled, but you'd never know now. What it does provide is a thought-worm on detachment in decision-making - the best of his career-traits bottled for one lasting memory of his time donning the blue.

Ⓒ Cricbuzz
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