• Writer's Collective

A heartfelt tribute to MS Dhoni as he announces his retirement from the International Cricket.

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

"Aur thoda ho sakta hai!"

MS Dhoni is behind the stumps. The bowler is a very ordinary one, Shadab Jakati. Jakati hails from Goa and he's not known for anything before CSK buys him and Dhoni has him in his team. Jakati is trying to spin it into the stumps and the game is in progress in South Africa where the IPL has suddenly shifted because of an election in India. It's 2009.

Dhoni says the phrase and points to a spot. The bowler is getting into a rhythm. He is warming up to what is being shown. You can watch the game now in slow motion. The next ball whizzes out of Jakati's left hand, lands perfectly, the wicket is bouncy and so the ball is going to be somewhere in the ribcage. The batsman knows that and he lunges out to smother the spin. It's just that much short and the batsman checks his shot. The ball looms up. Mid on rushes in. He's out.

The batsman is Sachin Tendulkar.

Dhoni knew his apparent weakness against left arm spin. Jakati had gone for 21 runs in the first two overs opening the bowling. Dhoni stopped his bowling and brought him on again in the middle overs.

Then, a classic thing happened. Jakati prised Sourav Tiwari out and Pollard who had come in got a strange field. Long on and a wide mid on. In one line nearly. And that line that Dhoni pointed to. Pollard swung and the long on took it coming in.

Stuff of folklore.

All through Dhoni kept looking at Jakati's eyes and Jakati, the able team man kept looking at Dhoni, eyes blazing. Adrenaline drunk! It was as if Dhoni was bowling it but through Jakati's hand.

And then they win and Dhoni makes a strange hand gesture to someone in the team.

The index finger rotating in the air.

Bang! I am reminded of someone.

Krishna in Mahabharata!

It's who regroups five disheveled brothers. It's he who shows his strength to Duryodhana. It's he who makes a vacillating Arjuna understand the meaning of Kartavya. It's he who stays the charioteer and does not take credit for anything that happens on the battlefield.

And that rotating finger with the Sudarshan chakra!!

The surprise weapon to win a battle.

There's another player who retired yesterday. Suresh Raina.

He bowled many an over under the captaincy of Dhoni and yet Dhoni wouldn't use him on some pitches at all. You would think it's strange. Here's a man who's usually wicket to wicket. Keeps it soft and low. Why doesn't he use him to dry up the runs? And maybe get some wickets?

But he didn't. He had five mainstay bowlers in the team and he lent his belief to them and usually, normally, they responded very well.

Notice, we are not discussing about his batting or wicket keeping.

It's because, you can have such players again but where will you get such a selfless and humble leader again?

A leader who softly suggested things and allowed the team to take the space and perform. Whose intelligence was in thinking ahead. Who could plan in peace while the others delivered around him.

That calm, that belief and that acumen.

Am sure there is more to Dhoni.

This was just an inning.

- Indraneel Majumdar

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