Two Good Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has put out a DND (do not disturb) message on his Twitter account, though I am not too sure how many people are going to respect it.

There is an old story about Dhoni that he is really not fond of playing in the West Indies. Whether it is the time difference or something else is not clear, but even during the tri-series, Dhoni had kind of ‘retired’ halfway through the first match.

When the Board of Control for Cricket in India sent a press release two weeks ago that Captain Magnificent was going to take a break due to injury, it seemed hard to believe. In the normal course, anyone dealing with a hamstring injury would have given his body full rest and recuperation.

Not Dhoni, who despite missing three matches, decided to show he was going to muscle out the Sri Lankans in a final which seemed going the other way till the last over.

There are finishers before Dhoni who have caught the eye with their own style of finishing a match. While a batsman like Michael Bevan was clinical in his approach when he finished matches for Australia, Dhoni has been brutal. The sheer weight of his 2kg bat has been the talking point, as even people like Sachin Tendulkar who prefer a ‘heavy’ bat use one lighter by half a kilogram.

In the good old days, when batsmen like Gordon Greenidge and Clive Lloyd wielded the willow with disdain, bowlers feared where they would tonk the ball.

In Dhoni’s case, one really cannot calculate where he is going to smash the white ball in ODI cricket. Match after match, Dhoni has shown he is a master of the close finishes, be it while playing for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League or ODIs.

Frankly speaking, had it been any other cricketer battling an injury, he would have decided to return home and watch the action on television.

The world of cricket knows it is hard to keep Dhoni away from the thick of action, which is why he decided to stay back in the West Indies. It is this insatiable appetite for success that helped us see Dhoni play the role of The Terminator just after the high of winning the Champions Trophy.

Today, nobody is talking about the risks which Dhoni took when he played the final. I have seen time and again, tennis players risk injuries and step on court as given the hectic schedules, a break is a rarity. But for cricketers like Dhoni who are worth millions of dollars from head to toe, to disregard injury and play was a bold decision resulting in a beautiful finish.

His own batting apart, the Dhoni I know as the master captain of Team India is a revelation. It seems just like yesterday he had finished the final against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup final and slinked away from the pop of flash bulbs. Twenty seven months hence, Dhoni has changed so much in this team.

The seniors have been quietly phased out like ageing airplanes and someone like Yuvraj Singh, who was given the chance to blossom in 2011 is now no longer part of Dhoni’s scheme of things.

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, young and energetic bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and spinners Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin now are the skipper’s trump cards in varying playing conditions.

What is worth raving about is the way Dhoni has pressed for changes in his own way and impressed on selectors to listen to him. Today, there are a few whispers in the corridors of power that selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil took the big decisions! As paid selectors, it is their job to pick the best men for the task and they would have been told clearly by the skipper what he wants. When N. Srinivasan was in command, he was condemned for planning with Dhoni. Now that Srinivasan is on the sidelines, Dhoni knows he is under more intense scrutiny.

When Team India left for the Champions Trophy, media ran reports on Dhoni’s varying business interests and how he had piled up the moolah.

And now that Dhoni is going to take a holiday, I wonder what people gunning for him are going to do — send him a questionnaire on his business holdings or celebrate him for two title wins abroad? Indeed, cricket makes our vision short-sighted at times and we tend to forget the follies of the man now being hailed as Magnificent Mahi. When the brash man was at the receiving end for losses abroad in Tests, he kept quiet.

Dhoni has embarked on the task of building the team for the 2015 World Cup quietly. I would now like to see the skipper bring in the same self belief in the Test squad which faces its first big test in South Africa. If he is able to do that even partially, there is nothing much else left for the cerebral skipper to achieve.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »