His retirement, another special act from Mahendra Singh Dhoni!
On the anniversary day of India's independence, Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to make a landmark decision, to retire from International cricket forthwith. As has been his wont, Dhoni did it in his own special style. If sixes were what used to be associated with him in all his daring and dashing batting that had lit up the faces of millions as he coasted India to victories in the most thrilling fashion, this time around, he liberated his critics perhaps of the agony of knowing when and where he would finally quit the game by taking the social media as the tool!
Not just that but in keeping with his image as a 'cool captain' he did it from the cozy environs of his team hotel in Chennai. Dhoni had only arrived the previous day for the Chennai Super King short duration practice session before the team was to move base to the UAE where the IPL is scheduled from September 19.
Back in 2014 when he announced his retirement from Test cricket in the midst of the away Australia series, it was the BCCI which circulated the news not him and that took the press corp by surprise. Expectedly, it was another surprise from Dhoni. But it did not take long before social media and twitter exploded with reactions and emotions. Understandably. For not in recent times has a player caught the imagination of the fans as he had done with his willow and his on-field demeanours.
To say he virtually changed the Indian cricketers mindset may not be wrong for if anything he brought out that innate strength, self belief and the abilities of an Indian cricketer and how! Dhoni was the mastermind in helping Indian cricket touch the peak by becoming the number one Test nation in the World.
In his leaving, it can be said, an era, one of the best in fact, in Indian cricket history has come to an end. Most of all it must be said, it was Dhoni who brought out the thrills of a limited over cricket format with his ability to chase down totals with the kind of resoluteness, assurance and a touch of chutzpah that was something unique about him.
Every generation had a hero when it came to cricket. If it was Kapil Dev who was the mighty warrior of the eighties with the pinnacle being the achievement of leading the country to the ODI World Cup triumph in 1983 beating the toughest team of that period, the West Indies then thereafter came this doughty man from Ranchi. Like Kapil, Dhoni too had defied the trend by coming from a centre not earlier thought of as a region for high profile cricket talents. Dhoni fought his way, his willow doing all the impressive talk and as it happened, among other things, 2011 saw India once again annex the World Cup.
What is more, Dhoni himself had carved the moment with his grandstand six to signal the win over Sri Lanka and unleash the kind of frenzy not just in Mumbai but the whole of India. Four years earlier he had led India to the 2007 T20 World Cup triumph. In fact he happens to be the only captain to win all three ICC trophies_ the T20 World Cup, the ODI World Cup and the Champions trophy. Needless to say cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni had done immensely to lift the sport to a new high in the country.
Yet for all this, who would have dreamt that this gritty man would rise to this level one day. As they say opportunities do come but how well one utilised them form the key. Dhoni grabbed them with both hands so to say. From youth level to Ranji and then zonal, Dhoni displayed his resolve, his intent and also exhibited his penchant for the big hitting. It did not take long before the powers that be saw in this long-haired cricket talent, something special. Not only did he become special but his image of a long-haired cricketer caught on.
Not just that he gave a new dimension to fitness. At nearing 40 now if he could still run like someone half his age and perhaps faster, not to forget the dynamite-power in his shoulder, is it a surprise at all that people are crazy about him? The rest as they say is history now. Not just a household name but a proud cricketing celebrity with a reach that defies words. Suffice to state he has carved a niche for himself. And the story may not end there!
In a month's time the IPL is set to roll out in the UAE and has not Dhoni done a great service in raising the interest for the event already! Considering the impact he has made in the shorter version of the sport and grabbed the interests of fans and those mega advertisers, Dhoni has done a world of good by his decision which will make him be the one big point of cricketing interest additionally in the desert this time! Dhoni is not going to be seen anywhere else anymore with regard to cricketing action and his fans know they cannot afford to miss his heroics in UAE.
When Dhoni is around, be sure, surprises will not lag behind, is the dictum. The IPL's thirteenth edition could prove that. All said it was a great tenure for 'Mahi' something that will continue to be talked about for generations.