If you give one reason to dislike him, we will give you 100s to like him. Yes, I am talking about the former Indian skipper MS Dhoni here.
Today in this post we will reminisce one of the most memorable instances we have of Mahi from one of the matches he captained for India. Let’s take you to the flashback, it was the 10th match of the first ever World T20 tournament between India and Pakistan. The match became iconic chalk it up to the history bowl-out that took place in that match.
Though iconic, the bowl-out session which took place after Pakistan tied India’s score of 141 runs became much of a hype as it was the happening second time during an international match (first international bowl-out in a Twenty20 match took place on 16 February 2006, when New Zealand beat West Indies 3-0 in Auckland) and first time on Television.
It was a big moment for the Indian team as they won the match in the bowl-out session after the tie but only a few were able to point out MSD’s contribution in that victory. As brilliantly noticed by author Bharat Sundaresan in his book “The Dhoni touch: Unravelling the Enigma That Is Mahendra Singh Dhoni”, it pointed out that very particular instance.
Author Bharat revealed many unknown traits of captain cool in his book but this was a major highlight amongst them. The incidence revolved around Mahi’s presence of mind and situation handling tactics.
MSD was leading the India team for that tournament and no wonder it turned out to be the best decision for him and the whole Indian team.
The match tied after Pakistan’s innings ended on the same score and as per the rules of that time, the match proceeded to a bowl out session. Now the result of the match will be decided by sudden death as which teams pick the most wicket, both given 3 chances.
When Pakistan chose their best bowlers, MSD took an unusual call, he picked just one full-time spinner Harbhajan Singh and two part-time bowlers Virender Sehwag and Robin Uthappa for the bowl-out.
Any other captain would have blindfolded gone with his regular bowlers but the first sign of a genius came into notice here. This is not the end of the story, there’s more to come:
How MSD made a difference?
Unlike today’s super over, the bowl-out session was totally dependent on the bowlers’ ability to hit the wickets and there was little or no role for anyone else to play on the field.
Despite having no major role to play than just collecting the ball if the bowler misses the stump, MS managed to make a big difference for his side. If you forgot what happened in that bowl-out, here watch it once again:
— ICC (@ICC) September 14, 2017
I know you would have noticed what I am going to mention here. See the position of Kamran Akmal and MS Dhoni behind the wickets. You’ll notice a major difference. And Mahi’s wiseness behind the wicket was beautifully explained in Bharat Sundaresan’s book.
“He’s kneeling right behind the stumps but not too far or too close to them. It’s perfect distance where his width and those of the stumps seem congruent when seen from bowling end. So, for Sehwag, Harbhajan and Uthappa, Dhoni doesn’t play the role of keeper but adds almost an extra dimension to the target in their sights. In this position, he also ensure there’s no distraction for the bowler. it’s geometrical marvel”
On the other hand, observe Kamran Akmal’s position to understand MSD’S brilliance in this. Akmal takes his normal position. Both Gul and Arafat ended up bowling deliveries for right-handed batsmen which went away from the off stump.
This incident truly that MS Dhoni presence in the team alone is more valuable than any other thing for Team India.
I must say, they don’t call him the best for no reason. This moment surely increased my respect for the legendary Indian cricketer. And I recommend watching the moment once again to know what makes Dhoni special than any other player in the world: