MS Dhoni stepping down from the ODI and T20I captaincy generated a tremendous amount of Dhoni nostalgia. It also made me re-visit some of the best Dhoni articles that I’d read. Here’s a quick selection.
‘Two events within the space of a few months in 2007 left a lasting impact on Dhoni the captain and player. In April, he had to stay put in Delhi because his home was being attacked by angry “fans” after India’s ignominious exit from the World Cup in the West Indies. A few months later when he came back from South Africa having won the World T20, it was the adulation, the mobbing, that kept him away. He tells his friends that he realised then that he couldn’t afford to take what happened on the field seriously and be defined by it.’
No MS Dhoni compilation is complete without this masterpiece by Sidharth Monga in the inaugural edition of Cricinfo’s The Cricket Monthly. Dhoni’s media-averse persona makes him a difficult subject to research, but Monga has done a great job here.
I might be a little biased here, but I loved this anecdote.
‘There had been some hype about Dhoni, and he more than lived up to it, coming in at No. 3 and plundering 148 at a strike rate above 120. Flowing red-tinted hair framing a strutting mien, he cut a captivating figure, giving off the smell of a future Indian great. It is a smell that we in Pakistan know only too well. It fills us with dread.’
Don’t mean to come off as a Cricinfo mark, but some of the best Dhoni pieces have been from that website. This one’s particularly interesting – Saad Shafqat on being a Pakistani Dhoni fan.
‘Chance milega kya?” Dhoni asked Banerjee. “To hum karenge”—If I get a chance, I will do it. He was in class six. Banerjee, taken aback by such confidence, invited him to nets practice that winter. By the time Dhoni graduated six years later, he had broken more than one windowpane in the school building with his lofted sixes.’
The Caravan analyzes a decade of Dhoni. This piece isn’t as cricket-heavy as the Cricinfo pieces, but digs a little deeper into the IPL, and how Dhoni deals with adversity.