Cricket is a big deal in India. It has long stopped being a mere sport. Anything and anyone associated with it automatically becomes front page news. And of all the multitudes of people who have taken a dip in that glamour, the most astounding, most valiant dive will always remain of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. And if there was just one name that could come even close to his stature – be it in the love that the country gave, the feeling of confidence that he induced or just in the knowledge of the fact that this person is the bloody best in the world at what he is doing – if there was ever a name that could come close to challenging the might of Tendulkar, it was Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
I know he’s not retiring from Cricket, only Test Cricket, and yet it saddens me. MSD has been a dominating presence on the field, and I can only imagine what it would be like to share a dressing room with him. Over the years, his calm and composure have rubbed off on the younger talent – most evidently on the next Captain, Virat Kohli. We have seen Virat from being brash and brutish hurler of abuses to the steady run getter who prefers answering with his bat. And I have a feeling MSD has a lot of credit to claim there.
After the 2007 World Cup fiasco, Indian cricket seemed to be in tatters. It was then that the big hitter from a small town in Jharkand came to the fore and let a batch of young Indian cricketers to their first international success in a long time. Within 5 years from then, he led India to top position in ICC Rankings in both Tests and ODI.
MSD, in his time, might not have broken mighty records; he might not have piled up mountains of runs; nor will he have had glittering figures to his success score card. Those he may not have achieved. What he did do though was building a team. He nurtured and tended and built not just the spirits of those eleven men in the dressing room but of the millions outside of it as well. He brought to Indian Cricket a sense of calm that is most associated with a confidence of a hunter. A calm of concentration, grit and being at peace with your surrounding. A true Zen.
MS Dhoni’s sudden decision to retire from Test Cricket comes as a shock to the cricketing world. Theories abound of why he has chosen this moment and allegations of ulterior motives are being thrown around. Nothing could ever have been disrespectful to someone who has done so much for his country. The love and adulation the other players have for him is proof enough of what the real worth of the man is.
In these moments, let us not debate why he did it. Instead let’s stand and applaud the best captain the Indian cricket has ever seen.
In the meantime, let us not forget that he’s still going to play ODIs and T20. Let us hope that MSD’s that career will be long and fruitful and maybe he’ll bring us a couple more World Cups before he decides to step down for good.
Here’s to a man who did what he did, in the best interest of the Nation.
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