What’s the story?
MS Dhoni’s days as an international captain might be over, but he will always be remembered as a skipper who had things well under his control with instances of him losing his cool few and far between.
Umpire Sudhir Asnani recalled one such incident in which he was in the line of fire as Dhoni’s temper flared during an ODI between India and England at Mohali in 2013. Angered by the umpire’s decision to turn down an LBW appeal after Ishant Sharma’s delivery had struck the pads of Kevin Pietersen, Dhoni walked up to the umpire and asked him to justify his decision.
A visibly shaken Ansari replied calmly that he thought the ball was missing the off stump but Dhoni’s sharp reaction had clearly left an impact.
“I was really shaken by his disagreement. As nervousness got the better of me, I lost track of the happenings in the game," he said.
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Dhoni, statistically India’s greatest ever skipper across all formats, has often been referred to as Captain Cool for his calm demeanour on the field, be it as a skipper or when he is leading a run chase for his team.
There have been a few instances however where even Dhoni has vented his frustrations out on the field when things haven’t gone his way. Most recently, one of his Jharkhand teammates had revealed how Dhoni had lost his cool when his side failed to beat Bengal in the semi-final of the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare trophy.
Having lost the Test series 2-1, Dhoni was desperate to avenge the disappointment by coming out on top in the 50-over format against the English side led by Alastair Cook.
Heading into the fourth match of the 5-match series leading 2-1, the home side were looking to seal the series with a win at Mohali. Batting first, England had made a good start with now bitter enemies Cook and Kevin Pietersen threatening to build a big partnership.
Eager for a wicket, Dhoni felt he got the breakthrough when Ishant Sharma’s delivery brushed Pietersen’s pads ever so slightly with the Indian side appealing in unison.
Much to the disappointment of the home crowd, however, umpire Asnani turned down the appeal leading to the angry reaction from Dhoni, something which was totally uncharacteristic of the then Indian skipper.
The matter was sorted soon after with fourth umpire Anil Chaudhary, who came out to the field during the drinks break, giving the thumbs up to Asnani for making the correct decision. An alert Dhoni overheard the conversation between the two match officials and made it a point to congratulate the umpire with his remark, “One plus, Sudhir.”
Asnani fondly remembers the incident as a once in a career moment as he had never seen a captain apologising in that manner to an umpire.
Dhoni’s calm and composed style of captaincy completely contradicts the fiery approach taken by current Indian skipper Virat Kohli and while the former may have his fair share of critics for not being too animated on the field, the way he managed to handle the immense pressure in such an assured way deserves credit.
There may have been instances like this one where he lost his cool for a moment, but he always made it a point to correct himself whenever he was in the wrong and that’s exactly why he holds such a special place in the hearts of so many cricket fanatics across the globe.