With Dhoni at the helm, India touched great success in ODIs. Since the late 2000s, India have occupied the No 1 spot in the ODI Rankings many times. Earlier, they would often fall behind Australia and South Africa.
From the young dasher with long locks, Dhoni has evolved into this calm figure who has helped India cricket touch dizzying heights. The decade-long journey has seen its ups and downs, but it has been largely successful and rewarding. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks ten achievements by Dhoni that speak of his contributions to Indian cricket.
1. Leading India to victory in ICC World T20 2007
This was Dhoni’s moment of reckoning. As the senior pros had opted out of the inaugural edition of the World T20 in South Africa, Dhoni was handed the reins with a young team at his disposal. No one had expected India to lift the cup, but Dhoni’s fearless decisions suited the format well. In tough situations, he was unafraid to take a game, none more important that the final against Pakistan when he handed the ball to Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over. India beat Pakistan by only five runs in the final to reshape its history. Dhoni was born as captain.
2. Leading India to No 1 spot in Test cricket
When India beat Sri Lanka in the Test series at home in 2009, they were crowned as the No 1 side in Test cricket. It was a great moment as the era of greatness in Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had touched the sky. They had begun their groundwork in the company of Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble, but achieved it during Dhoni’s tenure, with him adding the finishing touches.
3. The crowning glory – ICC World Cup 2011
The dream of a billion-strong nation was fulfilled. Since Kapil Dev’s men had won the 1983 World Cup, India hoped for another title. Having come ever so close in 2003, the national yearned for it more than ever. Tendulkar symbolised those hopes and was India’s mascot for the campaign.
Dhoni’s men started off on a shaky note but were unstoppable through the knockouts. And in the final, he promoted himself up the order to take on the challenge head on. His innings of unbeaten 91 won India the World Cup and he fittingly won the game with a trademark six over long-on.
4. Smashing 183 not out in an ODI
In the early 2000s, India searched for their wicketkeeper-batsman. The lack of viable options pushed India to hand the gloves to Rahul Dravid. But, Dhoni’s emergence in 2004-05 changed things. When he smashed 148 against Pakistan in a One-Day International (ODI) at Visakhapatnam in early 2005, the world took notice of him. However, his 183 not out against Sri Lanka in Jaipur later that year was even more brutal. The Sri Lankans were put to sword as Dhoni hammered 15 fours and 10 sixes to help India chase down a target of 299 with ease. It remains the highest score by a wicketkeeper batsman in ODIs.
5. Winning the ICC ODI Player of the Year twice
Dhoni is already amongst the best ODI players in history. His finishing skills in particular are enviable. Give him the most difficult task and he will, more often than not, finish it with ease. In 2008 and 2009, he was named the ICC ODI Player of the Year. In 2013, he also won the People’s Choice Player of the Year.
6. Smashing a record-breaking 224
During the Chennai Test of 2013 against Australia, Dhoni carted 224. He was in brilliant touch and smacked the ball to all parts. His stand with the tail helped India put up a huge score and was an innings that turned the tide in India’s favour and crushed the morale of the touring Aussies. His 224 is the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper batsman in Test cricket.
7. Leading India to No 1 in ODIs
With Dhoni at the helm, India touched great success in ODIs. Since the late 2000s, India have occupied the No 1 spot in the ODI Rankings many times. Earlier, they would often fall behind Australia and South Africa. Under Dhoni’s leadership, India began to translate belief into performances.
8. Winning ICC Champions Trophy 2013
In 2013, the Indian team underwent a change with the old guard making way for the new. Despite that, Dhoni fashioned an encore of 2007. This time it was the 50-over format when he led a new-look side to victory at the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
9. India’s most successful captain in Test cricket
Dhoni’s Test captaincy has come under fire in recent times considering India’s poor away performances. That apart, he remains India’s most successful Test captain with 24 victories. Sourav Ganguly had been India’s most successful skipper with 21 wins. In his first three years as Test captain, Dhoni had won a Test in New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
10. The Chennai Super Kings double
In 2010-11, Dhoni led a juggernaut in the form of Chennai Super Kings. His team clinched the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League T20 (CLT20) in 2010 to become the first team to complete the double. He won the IPL again in 2011 and CLT20 in 2014.
(With inputs from Cricket Country, Pics: CC, BCCI, ICC, Twitter. Vedio: YT, INDIA TV . Prepared by @shivamdixit_17)
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