Sunday, April 3, 2011

M.S. Dhoni - An Appreciation

It isn’t every day that we get to see greatness unfold before our eyes. At the Wankhede Stadium yesterday, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, confronted it, toyed with it and irrepressibly grabbed it to enter the temple of heavens and with it took a place in the pantheon of World Cup winning captains.

The hallmark of a great sportsman lies in his sense of timing – his ability to churn out his best when it’s most needed. Up until the Final, Dhoni’s scores meandered around the mediocre, his captaincy was adequate if not inspiring – with his choices concerning the selection (or non selection) of R. Ashwin, particularly coming under intense criticism. But stand by his decisions he did, and come the final, he seized greatness with nerveless serenity.

When Virat Kohli fell to a quite magnificent return catch by Tilakaratne Dilshan, Yuvraj Singh – later to be declared the man of the tournament – was expected to walk in. But, Dhoni, not a single feeble thought in his mind, strode in to the middle and clutched the initiative in an inspired and brilliant partnership with Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir, who had till that point, in company with Kohli, nudged and nurdled away at the Sri Lankan total, was reinvigorated by Dhoni’s presence. Together the pair found gaps in the field against the spinners with remarkable precision and ran between the wickets like a dream.

Muttiah Muralitharan – Sri Lanka’s champion spinner playing his last international game – and Lasith Malinga – who had accounted for both the Indian openers – were treated with adequate respect if not complete reverence. When Murali erred, though, Dhoni punished. In fact, the off-spinner was hit for three boundaries by Dhoni, each of them crashed through the offside with extraordinary accuracy.

When Gambhir, fell three runs short of what would have been a hugely memorable century, Dhoni was joined by Yuvraj with 52 runs required off as many balls. But the pair went about the rest of the chase with commanding assurance. In the first ball of the 43rd over, Dhoni slashed Thisara Perera over point for a brutal six – the noise of which continues to reverberate in my ear. In the 48th over, with 16 runs still required, he dealt to Malinga, perhaps, the cruellest blow he has received all tournament – a brace of astonishingly powerful whips to the long leg boundary.

And then in second ball of the next over came The Moment – the winning runs – a moment of untainted ecstasy. The victory settled by another violent blow from Dhoni’s blade off Nuwan Kulasekara – the bat coming through in its unusual yet hugely effective arc and striking the delivery with astounding fury. Even as the ball was deposited into the stands, and with Yuvraj Singh rushing to embrace him, Dhoni stood there eyes glazed, just for a jiffy, until the enormity of it all began to sink in. Yet there weren’t any histrionics from him – as if the moment was always inevitable. He clinched greatness over the course of his beautifully paced innings, but the cherry on top of it – that glorious swoosh for the win – will remain captured in a perpetual mesh of delight.

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1 comment:


Hai suhrith First of all we will congratulate TEAM INDIA.Dhoni is a thinking cricketer.Accepts his mistakes in public it is avery very rare quality.just compare dhoni and afridi both don't have great time with the bat.But afridi promoted raazaq before him in the crucial semifinal however dhoni took upon the responsibility showed to the world why he is hailed as great by the media and former cricketers. the win is so great for four reasons without taking away the credit to the other world cup winners like 1983 1985 and 2007 team wins.we never expected them to win.1.Team india was under constant pressure through out the cup as favourites and to overcome huge exepectations the team has proved to the world that they deserve to be called as no 1 in the world.2.without any contributions from the so called superstars the team has won in the final.3.Host phobia had been overcome.4.MSD took the blame as well as fame in his own assured cool manner.M.RAJA SEKHAR