IPL-2021: The last of the MSDs?

The MSD of Indian and world cricket has been a phenomenon in terms of aggression but simple approach, skilful captaincy in all three formats of the game, unorthodox right-handed batsman with raw but powerful strokes, one of the best examples in wicket-keeping in Cricket world champion, one of the fastest runners between wickets and always smiling and serene on the pitch. Simplified MSD means the one and only Mahendra Singh Dhoni. On October 15, 2021 at the final of IPL-2021 (Indian Premiere League-2021 season) in Dubai, which was MSD’s 300th match, Dhoni led his CSK (Chennai Super Kings) franchise, since 2008, to their fourth championship title by defeating KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) convincingly by 27 races. Previous title wins under Dhoni’s captaincy were in 2010, 2011 and 2018.

There have been rumors in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) about the 40-year-old cricket star’s retirement after IPL-2021, which seems realistic now that he played the 300th match and also won the title, creating a moment of glory. on leaving However, the unpredictable, when it comes to retirement, the cricketer has denied all rumours, and has made it clear that if he were not to captain CSK, he would still be available as a player. After the final match of IPL-2021, MS Dhoni also said that with the arrival of two new teams for the IPL-2022 auctions, the best for CSK would naturally be considered and that the Indian cricket board , BCCI, would be the final authority to decide on his position or place on the team. If he really does retire, then we’ve seen the last of the MSD here in Dubai, and sadly we missed seeing him bat because it wasn’t necessary for him and there was also the rare drop of a catch behind someone who is never known for such lapses. But luckily , we had seen him again in the role of ‘finisher’ in Qualifier-1, where he scored the required 13 runs in the last over to take CSK directly to the final, defeating DC (Delhi Capitals), the better team. in the points table.

As for the IPL-2021 Final Dhoni, CSK all but sealed the match as their top four batsmen took KKR’s breath away, the batting explosion led by starter Faf du Plessis with 86 runs from just 59 balls and significant contributions from the starter Rituraj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali posted a mammoth total of 192 runs on the board. KKR, the team that performed brilliantly at the UAE stage of the tournament, basically consists of 5 or 6 contributing players: the two consistent starters of Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer, the three spinners of Narine, Chakravarthy and Shakib (a late addition in the absence of the unpredictable Andre Russel), and pacemaker Mavi, who was joined on occasion by slugger Rana. Everyone else, unfortunately, was more passive than active, including the most prominent KKR captain Eoin Morgan and goalkeeper Dinesh Karthik, his blatant inability to lead the team when needed. In the final too, despite an initial partnership of 91 runs in good time, the following batsmen all failed miserably, including Narine, who the team also relies on as a batsman. Also, the point to be mentioned here is that KKR played most of their matches in the relatively slow fields of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and won most of the low scoring matches, their trio of spinners and Mavi restricting oppositions to less than 150 most of the time. The high scoring match on an easy course, CSK’s total score was literally beyond KKR standards.

Going back to the MSD phenomenon, we still remember him as the long-haired young man from a small ranch in the city of Bihar, enthusiastically running around the field, hitting the ball very hard, keeping the wickets and even bowling on rare occasions. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was selected for the India team in 2004 for the shorter format (ODI) and made his test debut the following year. In 2007 he took over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid in the ODI format and also became event captain in 2008 replacing Anil Kumble. The disastrous result in the ICC-2007 Cricket World Cup when India was eliminated at the league stage was a major setback for Dhoni; but in the same year at the inaugural ICC T20 Cricket World Cup, named as its captain as well, Dhoni led the team to its first ICC World Cup by defeating Pakistan in the final. MSD played 90 Tests racking up nearly 5,000 runs with a healthy average of 38.6 centuries, a double century (his career-high at 224) and 33 years in his fifties. In 2013, under his captaincy, India became the first team in 40 years to have whitewashed Australia 4-0 at the Border-Gavaskar Trophy played in India. During his tenure, India ranked first in the ICC test rankings for the first time. He brought aggression to the team, changing the team’s usual paradigm from ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’ to ‘snatching victory from the jaws of defeat’.

In the ODI format, MSD played 350 matches and amassed over 10,000 glorious runs, the fourth Indian to do so, with 10 centuries, 73 half-centuries and an astonishing average of 50.53 (his highest and most memorable score of 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005 ). He also became the first goalkeeper in the world to complete 100 stumps. MSD raced to their second ICC World Cup by winning the ICC Cricket World Cup-2011 in India holding strong in the Final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai forming a winning partnership with Yuvraj Singh, and the ensuing ecstasy that we can never forget. Their third ICC World Cup came in 2013 when India won the ICC Champions Trophy -2013 played in England, first started by the ICC as a knockout tournament and called the Mini World Cup, after 2017 it was replaced by the T20 World Cup) , defeating the hosts in the final which were reduced to 20 overs each due to rain. MSD then became the only Indian captain to win all the ICC World Cups, apart from two Asian Cup victories. In the T20I format, Dhoni played 98 matches amassing 1,612 runs with a healthy average of 37 and two half centuries.

The MSD phenomenon has received high praise both nationally and internationally from famous cricketers. He has earned the title of ‘Captain Cool’ for his down-to-earth and easy manners on the field, and is also known for his ‘helicopter shot’ signifying his raw hitting power and unorthodox approach to the game. He initially started out as a lower-order hitter, but was promoted to the higher order thanks to his skill and utility, and then settled more or less as a middle-order hitter. He has had the honor of appearing in the ICC World Test IX 3 times as captain, a record 8 times in the ICC World ODI IX of which 5 times as team captain along with ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009 In India, the unassuming boy from Ranchi won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2007, the Padmashri Indian Civilian Honors in 2009, and the Padma Bhushan in 2018.

The MSD phenomenon has not been without its ups and downs, criticisms, controversies and unpredictable behavior. He suddenly relinquished his ODI format captaincy before a series in 2017 and is still available as a player. Most dramatically, he announced his withdrawal from Test cricket in the midst of a Test series in Australia in 2014-15, leaving everything in the hands of Virat Kohli. He retired from all formats of international cricket on 15th August 2020, perhaps motivated by his famous run against New Zealand in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019, for which he was unable to “finish” The match and the consequences. of his non-selection for international matches by the BCCI. Dhoni had also been criticized for his moves to oust the Team India stalwarts one by one bringing in new blood, of course apparently favoring some players, and lately for his inability to pick up the batting speed. In the aftermath of the World Cup-2007 disaster for India, Dhoni’s Ranchi residence was vandalized by perhaps disappointed fans. Their IPL franchise CSK was involved in a bitter match-fixing controversy that started in 2013 for which the franchise was banned for two years in 2015, with Pune buying Dhoni for a year after that. In 2018 he led CSK again and won the third Championship title that year.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains in the UAE for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup T20-2021, where he will play his role as a “mentor” or “mental conditioner” for the India team. No one could be better positioned for this role. He is known to be very close to India’s captain Virat Kohli (who recently announced his resignation as captain of the T20 format after the World Cup), with the latter winning immensely as captain thanks to Dhoni’s guidance on the pitch as it was MSD. he continues to play for the team in the shorter formats. In reality, no one would get tired of seeing the MSD phenomenon in some kind of role, playing on the field or otherwise. So is this cricketer who has continually been showered with love and affection all over India and elsewhere.

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