14 June, 2021

This Is Not A Final Judgement

Considerate, aloof, disciplinarian, great finisher, reel that winds the rookies, caliph of cool. How does M.S. Dhoni go about his job?

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This Is Not A Final Judgement

The last five overs of Australia’s innings in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup—a match now perched high in the regret and infamy embodying all our missed chances—was as good a marker defining Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s personality as any. After seeing his bowlers restrict the hosts for much of the first half, Dhoni watched them come apart at the death. But unlike his Bangladeshi counterpart, who broke into expletives as his bowlers imploded, ‘Mahi’ with cool, almost zen-like poise, accepted it as  part of a pressure match and moved on. Before long, he was in the middle with a bat, shepherding the batsmen around in a usual, uphill hike towards a towering target.

If Dhoni were a painter, he would be a minimalist. Minimal lines and gestures, bold, primary colours. But as the curtain falls on the captain who did all in the maximum—taking India (nearly) to two consecutive WC finals, winning the T20 World Cup, making India (bri­efly) the No. 1 Test team, and repeatedly bailing it out through those helicopter...

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