I clearly remember that day in 2005. I was in my college and had sneaked out to watch an India-Pakistan match, all excited. We didn’t start well, but then this guy (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) walked up confidently to the crease and I was told that he hails from Ranchi. I was instantly reminded about the hard work and belief that must have gone behind that walk, as I too was born in Patna and understood that it required the skills of a super human for a guy belonging to that city to break into the mainstream.
He scored a massive century and I have been his fan ever since. I followed him till he got us the 2007 T20 World Cup and somehow, in the same year, I got a picture clicked with him in Mohali, which I still cherish.
For a decade, Dhoni showed what a leader should be like, which is selfless. He led by example — aggressive, but with the calmness of a Zen master. I was and I will always be intrigued by how he thinks. After a few years, I was given the responsibility of knowing him personally and telling his story to
millions of his fans. My respect for him only grew exponentially. Today, I’m writing this with a heavy heart as he resigns from captaincy. And with a smile, reminiscing all the beautiful memories he has given us as a leader and made us immensely proud of ourselves as Indians. I fondly call him ‘Captain’ whenever I get a chance to meet him and trust me, no decision of his can stop me from calling him the same for the rest of my life.
Words can’t describe his legacy as the Indian captain. What he has achieved in terms of results, is more than incredible. I have played with him and under him, and I specifically remember my experience playing the first T20 match with him in 2007 — he made the entire team feel relaxed. He also took the right decision of eliminating too many meetings in the board room because many times it happens that such meetings become all about dwelling on the negatives. It affects the players’ morale and ultimately, you have to go out and play on the field. So, he would hold meetings for just five-ten minutes. I think he is the best decision-maker and he knows what he is doing and what will lead the team to a good win. We started off as underdogs in the T20 matches and he led the team in such a relaxed fashion that we won and focussed on the game.
It’s a great decision and I feel tremendous respect for Dhoni. He has set an example for other cricketers. He knows that Virat Kohli is heading towards a bright future. Very few captains have done this in the history of cricket. I can think of Rahul Dravid, who took a call like this at the peak of his career. Dhoni knows when to do what — he is a great decision-maker and one of the most able captains in the world.
I played with him in the first T20 World Cup and I must say that even at that young age and despite being new to the team, Mahi had a very calm demeanour. Though he was made the youngest captain of the Indian cricket team, he always maintained the equilibrium. The memories of the T20 World Cup are still fresh in my mind. When playing against Pakistan, we had a decent score but was under a lot of pressure. For a young player to handle such pressure, totally unruffled, was outstanding. That match stands out in our cricket history. He is undoubtedly one of the best one-day captains India has ever had. Another great quality that I can recall about MS is that as a captain, he has always stayed neutral and unbiased.
Other cricketers’ tweets
Congratulations to MSD on a wonderful career as a captain leading India to success in both T20 and ODI World Cups. Have seen him emerge from an aggressive player to a steady and decisive captain. It’s a day to celebrate his successful captaincy and respect his decision. Wish MSD the vert best as he continues entertaining us on the field with his exploits.
Even one of the greatest captains of all time decides enough is enough … Well done @msdhoni on an incredible leadership term .. #Dhoni
I will remember Dhoni as a captain, who got calmness of nerves & champion-like performance on the big nights to Indian cricket. #dhoni