IPL and Dhoni, a remarkable story in Indian cricket


By SR Suryanarayan

4 min read
Read later

MS Dhoni | PTI

The Indian Premier League is inching towards its final stages. The excitement continues on a high pitch, as evident from the throngs at every venue spread around the country. New heroes have emerged amidst the established ones, and in keeping with the spirit of this highly competitive cricketing extravaganza, unpredictability has been the high point to keep kindling expectations. Even though searing heat conditions prevail in most parts of the country, including the match venues, competitions have been calm and cool. In this setting, if there is anything extra, then it surrounds this one man who always draws something more to earn a unique place for himself! Who else but the Chennai Super Kings skipper and talisman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni?

MS Dhoni walks on the ground to thank the crowd | AP

It has been an unbelievable journey for this charismatic cricketing ambassador who remains such a source of joy for cricket lovers, in general, and for CSK supporters. Ever since the IPL was conceived and set on a roll, Dhoni and CSK have been names that have collectively inspired Chennai cricket lovers no end. Indeed, as the scene at the Arun Jaitley stadium in New Delhi, the other day is anything to go by, where ‘yellow’ was the prominent colour in the stands, the support for him is pan-Indian. After all, his impact on Indian cricket has been phenomenal. The only captain to have won all ICC limited-overs tournaments, Dhoni is also second in the all-time list of run-getters among keepers. CSK is just a sample of what his magic touch could achieve, having brought four titles to the Chennai team and who knows as he gets ready to draw curtains on his IPL career, he could do that with another trophy triumph since CSK is in the play-off stage yet again!

MS Dhoni signs on the shirt of former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar post IPL match against KKR | ANI

Yet for all this nothing symbolised his status as a legend more pronouncedly than the way another legend in the sport, Sunil Gavaskar, provided that little but touching gesture at the Chepauk stadium. CSK had, it seemed then, played its last match at home and that held true for Dhoni himself. Even though he had not given a clear ‘yes’ to whether he was making this season his final, the 41-year veteran had been giving enough indication to that effect. In fact, on that day, he had decided on taking a lap of the stadium, waving at the cheering crowd and acknowledging their unstinted support of all these years. That was when Gavaskar, who was doing on-field commentary duty, suddenly rushed to him and what is more, sought his autograph on his shirt! Not one to wear emotions on his sleeve, the little master, for a change, did not hide his feelings on that occasion for the achiever from Ranchi. “It was a very emotional moment for me,” he was to admit later. To the many at the stadium, this was a sight to behold as one legend to another caught in a bundle of emotions!

MS Dhoni | Photo: AP

Call him anything, aggressive, cool or unshakable, yet Dhoni has all these qualities and more. Most of all, he is a tough yet grounded cricketer who has learnt the value of struggle. Perhaps, it had to do with his coming up in life from a humble setting. The difficult times and the love of cricket have made serious impressions on his psyche. It was never easy for someone from a small town to break into the national side, and here was the man to break that myth. Quick to bring his own style into play, where fireworks from his bat were the theme, thanks to the growing popularity of limited-overs cricket. There was certain charisma that set him apart from the rest, from his herculean ability to send the leather to all parts of the stadium and over. His cool approach during the dying moments of competition, when every heart in the packed galleries of the stadium would be beating at a galloping speed, he would make impossible wins a possibility. Dhoni has done it many times and even lifted the 2011 World Cup!

So, when the IPL was launched, and the CSK management went for him with a huge purse, Mr N. Srinivasan, the owner and a clever watcher, knew what they were investing in. Dhoni grew with CSK and became a household name as it were for all cricket lovers in the metropolis and beyond. No wonder now, Dhoni considers Chennai his second home! Besides, Chennai’s M A Chidambaram stadium is one of his favourite cricket venues, wherein he scored his first and only Test double century against Australia in 2013.

Dhoni is off international cricket, and perhaps he has come or is nearing the end of this phase of life in IPL, the only active area he was attached to. Lately, he seemed more like a cricketer enjoying his presence in the middle than the action-maker with the bat! More often than not, Dhoni had walked to the middle when just an over or two remained in his side’s innings. But a standing ovation is what he gets in addition to the bonus that his adoring fans seek _ a few heaves of his bat that would either bring in a few boundaries or sixes! The finishing touch, as they say, and who else would do that better than the Finisher himself?

Add Comment
Related Topics

Get daily updates from Mathrubhumi.com

Disclaimer: Kindly avoid objectionable, derogatory, unlawful and lewd comments, while responding to reports. Such comments are punishable under cyber laws. Please keep away from personal attacks. The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of readers and not that of Mathrubhumi.