Cricket / msdhoni
Opinion: Let MS Dhoni retire on his own terms
Towards the end of the year 2004, India were playing against Bangladesh in an ODI match. A long haired guy from a less known town of Ranchi made was debuting for India. When he came in to bat, India were in a tricky situation at 180/5. Before debuting, he had made a name for himself as a hard hitter batsman in the domestic tournaments and on India A tours. However, his debut was not the one to be remembered. He ran himself out while trying to steal his first international career run. Over the course of next four matches, he barely lived upto his reputation. After he was dismissed for 3 runs in the first match of the home series against Pakistan in early 2005, time was running out for him. In the second match of the series, India were batting first. After the early departure of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly decided to send MS Dhoni as a pinch hitter. The next two hours witnessed the start of a new chapter in Indian cricket. Dhoni went berserk from the start and played a swashbuckling innings of 148 runs from 123 balls. The knock consisted of 15 fours and 4 sixes. In less than a year's time, Dhoni played yet another attacking innings of 183 runs off 145 balls. The knock consisted of 15 fours and 10 sixes. Before the start of the 2007 50 overs Cricket World Cup, Dhoni had sealed his spot as a permanent wicket-keeper in Team India's squad. India failed to live up to the expectations in the 2007 World Cup and Dhoni's performance was no exception. When the squad for the inaugural T2O World Cup, 2007 in South Africa was to be announced, the seniors decided to skip the tournament. Dhoni was handed the captaincy duities for the event. The 2007 T20 World Cup was a turning point in Dhoni's career. Dhoni's astute captaincy helped India to emerge as the eventual winners of the tournament. In less than a year's time, Dhoni was made the ODI captain too. In 2008, Dhoni captained India to the CB series victory. Meanwhile, in between all these limited overs success, Dhoni had been developing as a dependable Test match player too. Earlier in his carrier, he played a swashbuckling innings of 148 runs in a Test match in Pakistan. In 2007, when India were touring England, he helped India draw the first Test match at Lords. He played some good innings during the course of the series, Indis eventually went on to win the series 1-0. In 2008, when Anil Kumble decided to hang up his boots, Dhoni was handed the Test match captaincy duties too. In less than two year's time, he took Indian Test team to the pinnacle of Test match rankings. He was a captain who did not hesitate to ask the selectors to include youngsters in limited overs team at the expense of some of the 30+ aged stalwarts. The victorious CB series is a testament to that. After India's debacle in 50 overs World Cup in 2007, Dhoni had started building a team with a view to compete well in the 2011 edition of the tournament. And his team did do that. India went on to lift the 2011 edition of the 50 overs World Cup. After the World Cup victory in 2011, India were blanked by Australia and England in the Test series in 2011 and 2012. The senior players like Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman, Zaheer and Harbhajan were not performing upto the expectations. A change was needed. After eight successive overseas Test match loss, any captain would have preferred the easiest of the path and would have chose to relinquish the captaincy duty. However, Dhoni decided to keep continuing as a captain and nurture and nourish the upcoming generation of players. The likes of Vijay, Kohli, Rahane, Ashwin and Shami grew under the leadership of Dhoni. Dhoni gave them the time and backing to develop as an international cricketer. In 2014, in the overseas Test series against Australia, Dhoni decided to quit playing Test matches. The decision was a sudden one. No one had expected it coming. After the 50 overs CWC in 2015, Dhoni's struggle with the bat started. The team was not performing well under his captaincy too. Subsequently, in a years's time, Dhoni handed over the captaincy reigns to his heir Virat Kohli. Although, even after relinquishing captaincy, Dhoni has not been able to perform with the bat. Of late, his lackluster performance with the bat has drawn a lot of criticisms. With the 2019 50 overs CWC just around the corner, his rough patch with the bat is hurting the team. However, one cannot deny the fact that Dhoni needs to be in the team if Indian wants to lift the upcoming edition of the cup in England. He is the perfect foil to captain Kohli. A player like him surely knows when to call it quits. We, as a fan, should be patient with him. We all have seen the players like Tendulkar and Ganguly breathing a fresh lease of life in their cricketing career when they were down and out. Let us hope that MS Dhoni does the same and we get to witness one final flourish from him in his cricketing career.