It was all like Dhoni. All brave and all unpredictable. No prior intimation and no drama. Typical of the man who is known to make bold decisions on the field, his stepping down from the captaincy was communicated by the BCCI. Last night, BCCI issued a press release about Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepping down from the second hottest seat of the country – captaincy of the National Cricket Team, and man, it spread like fire. A perfect time rather step down from the captaincy, when someone like Virat Kohli has already started overshadowing Dhoni’s hall and the wall of fame. There is no comparison indeed between the two, both are players with their own class and are known for their own bold moves. The good point being, Dhoni is still available as a player and Kohli can surely rely on his predecessor for leadership inputs.
More than those historic victories and the number of records he etched into the cricketing world – leading the Men in Blue in a record 199 ODI’s, winning 110 and in 72 T20’s winning 41 – remains is the self-belief and confidence he inculcated in the team. Until his leadership way back in 2007, we all used to get nostalgic only about the 1983 World Cup led by Kapil Dev’s men. Now we can boast about 2007- T20 World Cup, 2011 limited overs World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. Yes, Dhoni has made everything possible and he is proudly the only captain in the cricketing history to have won all three limited-overs ICC trophies.
While Dhoni was famous for sidelining some old faces from the team, he made sure that the newcomers got enough opportunities amid the other stars. Virat Kohli in Tests and Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina in limited-overs cricket owe Dhoni a lot for his faith in them when others were turning their backs. He is surely the last remnant of the golden era of Indian Cricket, the bridge between the times of Tendulkar and Kohli. Whether he was an extension of Sourav Ganguly or is a precursor to the coming years, only time will tell. He is the only connection between a glorious past and a foreseeable future, one that will remain forever.
And now around another new year, without any fanfare or explanation, in the days of this new superficial board, Dhoni has quit from the captaincy by intimating the BCCI. He could have easily gone on because India vs England ODI series is hardly anybody’s concern during the present times of Lodha and the turbulence in the committee. But that would be unlike Dhoni. Perhaps he just wanted to bat freely now in the remaining years of cricket in him. Maybe he wants Kohli to decide where he bats, or if he bats at all. He wants to see his successor taking his place more boldly and take calls no matter how big the player is. The new captain should see the highs and lows of the game and then step up for the big event, with his own team! Until then, let’s celebrate a truly unique cricketer and the best captain of the Indian cricket team. And as the saying goes – The legend never retires, his legacy always remains!