India captain M.S. Dhoni seems to have the Midas touch. His exploits in the one run win over Bangladesh in Bangalore on Wednesday exhibited the focus, spark and spunk with which he can script impossible victories.
It's no fluke that M.S. Dhoni is the only captain to have won both the 50 over and 20 over World Cups in the history of the game. He has also been instrumental in making India the No.1 Test side in the world. Apart from statistics, it's Dhoni’s traits which help him to extricate India from hopeless situations.
This correspondent spoke to a host of cricket experts to ascertain the reasons why MSD is able to provide the cutting edge to Team India. We have been able to identify some of the traits which the Indian captain has exhibited and these traits remain very personal to Dhoni.
The first and foremost thing about MSD is the fact that he is able to remain cool and composed in the most difficult circumstances. A case in point was during the final over of Harish Pandya. Dhoni was ice cool despite the fact that Pandya had been hit for two successive boundaries and Bangladesh needed just two runs from the remaining four deliveries. “At this stage, one would expect some sort of panic or lets say irritation on his (Dhoni’s) part. But the sheer calmness which he showed was something to be seen to be believed,” said a former cricketer.
If coolness is one of the cornerstones of captain Dhoni then his instinct is another factor which makes him one of India’s best captains. "I think Dhoni relies a lot on his instinct. More often than not , he does the unthinkable in crunch situations — his decision to take the wicket keeping glove in the final ball of Pandya’s over was one such move. He was able to correctly read the mind of the batsman that he would scamper for a single — this is what the Bangladeshi batsman did and Dhoni was able to run him out," said a former cricketer.
A former India batsman added: “Another instance of Dhoni’s instincts came to fore during the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. Dhoni who was not in his best form quite inexplicably decided to promote himself up the batting order after India had lost both Sehwag and Sachin quite cheaply early on. The rest is history as he single handedly destroyed the Lankan bowling."
The batsman quoted above felt that Dhoni’s instincts are not a fluke. "Rather I would say these moves come from the deep reading of the game. He is able to observe a 'team and his own teammates' like few people can. To my mind he is one of the best observers of the game. And based on this observations he is able to make some game changing decisions,” he added.
Dhoni has gained the maturity to involve himself as a leader over the years. “I think we keep missing the fact that M.S. Dhoni has matured into a leader —someone who can inspire youngsters. He started off his career as an aggressive wicket-keeper cum batsman. But over the years he has matured into a motivational captain, one who can inspire the younger players in the team to give their best. Though he is essentially an introvert, he is able to inspire his team members into giving their best,” said a former wicket-keeper.
All the above mentioned traits make MSD one of India’s most successful captains.