Inspiring the inspirational: 5 things MS Dhoni is yet to achieve in his cricketing career

Author : Nayyar Abdul Rasheed

MS Dhoni: What more can this man achieve?

Having won every single multi-national trophy on offer, there’s hardly any CV in cricket better than MS Dhoni‘s in the world.

India’s most successful captain, and the most successful leader in world cricket currently, is just 32 years of age. At a time when his seniors have played on till the end of thirties, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Dhoni has a good 6-7 years of cricket left in him.

Dhoni is not a man known for planning for far ahead. His plans are in place only till the next over, the next match, and the next series. After that, it’s hard to say where Dhoni may end a couple of years down the line.

In 2011, he created a furore by hinting at his retirement from Test cricket two years down the line.  On being asked about defending the World Cup 2015, he said,

“It is series by series. If you see 2015, you know, still three, three and a half years to go. I don’t really know where I will stand. Everything needs to go off well, and then by close to 2013, I will have to take a call whether I can really 100% be available for the 2015 World Cup, because you don’t want a wicketkeeper in the side who has not played at least 100-odd games, at least close to 80-100 games, going into the World Cup.”

2013 is more than half-way done and Dhoni is looking unstoppable in his current form. With series against South Africa (possibly), New Zealand, England and Australia lined up away from home, it’s extremely unlikely that there’s any question over Dhoni’s future in Test cricket.

In Tests, Cheteshwar Pujara has started finding his place in the team and will need a couple of more seasons to really step up to the mantle which seems to have been marked for him. In limited overs, Virat Kohli has created his own legacy of sorts, but at the helm, he’s only just begun.

Dhoni definitely has the 2015 World Cup in his mind. It’s a line which would be crossed under Dhoni’s leadership, but on the other end, a new face is bound to emerge, possibly two or three if India is open to the concept of multiple captains in the future.

So, in this period of 5-6 years, what does Dhoni have in mind for the Indian team of the future? What more can he give to Indian cricket before his departure and what can inspire him enough to carry on playing post the 2015 World Cup?

A list of speculations does have its drawbacks. After all, it’s full of speculations. But these are 5 things that can keep Dhoni on his feet and provide the push to the inspirational captain:

5. Improve overseas Test record

Australia v India - Fourth Test: Day 5

Say NO to whitewashes, inflict one every now and then

Dhoni provided India the coveted World Cup, and twice at that, but in Test cricket, he failed to inspire the same success which his predecessors did.

Yes, India did become the No. 1 Test side, but the only tours outside the subcontinent under Dhoni’s reign in that period were to New Zealand and West Indies, both won 1-0.

The team which toured South Africa in 2010/11 was the last strong Indian Test side which played outside the subcontinent. Post that, it’s been a steep decline in India’s Test form overseas.

Under Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, there were inspirational victories in England, South Africa, Australia and West Indies. Under Dhoni, there was the ’0-8′. It remains a frontier which the man from Ranchi hasn’t conquered yet.

Even Dhoni’s Test form, before the 224 against Australia was questioned openly.

Dhoni’s place is permanent in Indian cricket history, but for him to surpass the legacy of the likes of Ganguly and Dravid, when it comes to leadership, he has to win in England, in Australia and in South Africa comprehensively.

4. Grooming a successor

Virat Kohli would do a world of good to himself and Team India if learns from MS Dhoni

Virat Kohli has been Dhoni’s understudy for quite some time now and though the team led by the Delhi lad won against Zimbabwe 5-0, Kohli is nowhere close to being the finished product he has the potential to be as a leader.

His temperament is still questionable and Dhoni’s lessons to Virat will decide how India’s next captain shapes up to the challenge of being the most scrutinised cricketer, past or present, in India after Sachin Tendulkar.

Cheteshwar Pujara has been marked as the future leader for India in whites and though Kohli’s future isn’t under doubt in India’s Test team, Pujara fulfills the requirements to the T if India are looking at the option of multiple captains for different formats.

Throw in Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma in the mix and Dhoni has the responsibility to find the ideal person for the job. The prospects of Raina and Sharma decrease when considering that neither is a certainty in all forms of the game.

3. Focus on his batting

England v India - 4th Natwest One Day International Series

Why does India’s best batsman comes in at No. 7?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently India’s best batsman, at least in the limited overs format. And it’s an opportunity wasted at No. 7 in the batting order.

Quoting him again from the same interview,

“…I will have to take a call whether I can really 100% be available for the 2015 World Cup, because you don’t want a wicketkeeper in the side who has not played at least 100-odd games, at least close to 80-100 games, going into the World Cup.”

MS Dhoni can’t be expected to keep wickets, be the pillar in the batting order and lead India in all the formats come 2015.

The easiest job for Dhoni to leave, is his wicket-keeping. Dinesh Karthik, Parthiv Patel, Wriddhiman Saha and even Manvinder Bisla have tasted success in domestic cricket in various forms of cricket, but Dhoni’s multi-tasking has kept them out of the side.

It’s high time Dhoni relinquishes his wicket-keeping gloves in Tests and T20s and get that much needed breather. In ODIs, Dhoni’s place behind the stumps remains crucial for his chakravyuh to work in the most unlikeliest of scenarios and it’s important for him to retain that role.

With the added pressure of wicket-keeping reduced, someone like Dhoni at No. 5 or even No. 4, if I may be so bold, can provide him ample time to play his masterpiece innings more frequently – consolidate patiently and bring down the fires of hell in the finishing overs on the bowlers.

2. Winning back fans’ trust

Chennai Super Kings Captain MS Dhonu (L)

To leave the game clearner than you found it

To be honest, this is not Dhoni’s job. But irrespective of whether it’s his problem to tackle or not, it’ll play a big hand in how respected his legacy is (though it’s highly doubtful someone like Dhoni gives an iota of thought to what his image is in the media and fans).

Dhoni’s association with CSK, the most successful Indian T20 franchise so far, has dragged his name too into the mud. His closeness with N Srinivasan hasn’t been one of the most profitable in earning him a clean chit amidst all the mess surrounding domestic T20 leagues.

But that’s where Dhoni can be more than just a successful leader. He can be a motivator who inspires a clear thinking on the part of youngsters, and pushes them to rise above petty and small-term gains.

Indian cricket, with all its success, isn’t the most respected one for its ethical codes and financial transparency. The least Dhoni’s team can do is become cricketers who not just win the matches for the team, but do it without giving it a bad name.

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble are highly respectable names in world cricket. MS Dhoni and his team has earned accolades many a times, but earning respect will be a major challenge for the Indian skipper.

1. 2015 World Cup

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Official Launch In Melbourne

2015 World Cup – the ultimate prize

Indians are in the game to be global leaders in cricket and nothing less, and it’ll be the ultimate prize for that domination.

The 2011 squad had Sachin Tendulkar and veterans like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan, the finished products of the Ganguly era. It was not a team made by Dhoni by any stretch of imagination.

But without a doubt, the 2015 one will be. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, are all men who have earned success under the leadership of MS Dhoni.

Though Dhoni left his stamp in 2011 with that memorable six over long-on, irrespective of who provides the finishing touches for India on 29th March, 2015 in Melbourne, it’ll be Dhoni’s World Cup without a doubt.

The planning has commenced already with a plethora of A-tours and U19 series being planned left, right and centre. Such frenzy involving so many domestic Indian cricketers hasn’t been witnessed in some time and the race to feature in the plans for 2015 is on.

If achieved, this will be the crowning jewel in Dhoni’s enormous list of successes.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Hyderabad vs Rajasthan

On Now: Hyderabad vs Rajasthan

Rajasthan stumble in 134-run chase at Abu Dhabi. 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 »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

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 »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen 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 »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »