By Dawood Peer
Two-time World Cup-winning former Indian Captain MS Dhoni retired from international cricket on Saturday, ending over one year of suspense and also an era during which his often unorthodox leadership and finishing skills became the stuff of legends. The 39-year-old’s last outing in India colours was during the lost World Cup semifinal against New Zealand. One of the best runners between the wickets was run out following a hard-earned 50 in that tense game, shattering Indian hopes and leaving him in a state of disbelief.
The reticent man from Ranchi will, however, go down as one of the finest to have played the game for India, turning up for the country in a whopping 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20 Internationals. The last leg of his career was, however, marred by a drop in form, prompting several critics to question his resolve to continue. But he nevertheless signs off as an ODI legend with 10,773 runs, averaging more than 50 despite batting between No.5 and 7 for a major chunk of his career. However, runs are not the parameter on which Dhoni’s career can be truly judged. Considered a punter by some and a master strategist by several others, it was Dhoni’s captaincy, wondrous reading of match situations and the jaw-dropping hand-speed behind stumps that had the cricket world mesmerised. A leader even after he gave up the official tag of the leader, Dhoni will be remembered as the nonconformist, who made risks look like well thought-out strategy.
Of course, he will be missed. His calmness, his dignity on the field. But when the time comes to write a similar story when he finishes with limited overs cricket, we will grow far more wistful. There, he is the poker player, in his element with the cards he holds close to his chest. Oh there, he is a legend, almost incomparable. What Dhoni achieved though, goes way beyond the numbers he produced. He told young Indians in small towns that they could conquer the world. To them he was the beacon, he was the dream that maybe they could achieve too. He showed the way. It is a substantial, and wonderful, thing in life to do.
It is said that it is difficult to climb to height, but it is harder to stay at that height! Of course, our country is moving forward in the world of sports, but how should our brand be managed by staying away from disputes, away from factionalism, avoiding wasteful evils (drugs, etc.). In this field, Dhoni has done the work of guiding the players in every field. Those people who get a little fame, wealth get lost, while Dhoni kept his feet on the ground despite being at the height of wealth and fame!
Obviously, if there are so many qualities within a single-player, only then can he achieve the feat of success both inside and outside the field. If we can implement some of these qualities of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, then we will be able to bring revolution in our lives, there are no two opinions about this!
Dawood peer _ the writer is activist associated with JKSA . (firstname.lastname@example.org)