Since the time the gentleman’s game started around 17th century various cricketing phrases have come into being such as the ‘Game of glorious Uncertainties’, ‘Catches win matches’, ‘it ain’t over till the last ball’, etcetra etcetra.
One from the same book is “Cricket is a great leveller“. If Mahender Singh Dhoni didn’t know it existed he must have realized it by now. Realization however couldn’t have been harder. The man from Jharkhand who couldn’t put a foot wrong is suddenly finding himself in completely wrong shoes. What’s worse, not many would like to be in his shoes either. That in spite of him endorsing one of the biggest brands available.
All this sounds really really strange because even his harshest critics, if any existed before this tour started, couldn’t have written a better script. He has looked a pale shadow of himself in all the three departments vis-a-vis Wicketkeeping, Batting and being a captain. Not that the other two are not vital but it is his (in)effectiveness as the leader of the pack that’s proving fatal.
Leave alone outsmarting his counterparts, he has not been able to marshal his own resources properly. He has twice allowed England to recover from a hopeless situation to that of supremacy. England were 106 for 7 in the second innings at Lord’s and 124 for 8 in the first innings at Trent Bridge and on both the occasions Dhoni allowed the lower order batsmen to take the game away. MSD is perceived as a smart cookie and to commit the same mistake twice in a row doesn’t gel with his past reputation of being a street smart cricketer. He is the same guy who trusted his instincts to secure two world cup triumphs (case in point Joginder Sharma in T-20 final and promoting himself in the ODI world cup). Apart from several other traits of the skipper, the two which have stood out for him include, catching the opposition unaware and going for the kill once its down and out. Sadly he has been found wanting on both the occassions in the current England Series.
The only time he caught the opposition by surprise was when he decided to bowl at Lord’s. Something which only added to the growing list of criticism against him.
So what is it? Is the law of averages finally catching up with Dhoni the captain because as a batsman he is anyways non contributing for some time now. If one leaves that world cup final innings out, has the captain cool lost that halo which protected him from succumbing to panic situations? Or it’s simply too much of cricket as Dhoni presented perhaps as an excuse in a recent press conference. This has been used with so much frequency these days that next time anyone mentions it, I would like to throw a towel and pillow on his face. Go take a shower and rest.
Paradoxically I could’t have agreed more as well because endless cricket like anything endless simply grinds you down but why was it not mentioned before or it was supposed to be used only at the time of sheer distress? The cricketing schedules are drawn much in advance so if anyone had any inclination that it might cause exertion, the person could have opted for rest. No one would have questioned Mahender Singh Dhoni if he had refused to wear the yellow jersey of Chennai Super Kings after leading the blue brigade to victory in Mumbai. But he chose to continue playing like many others perhaps underplaying the importance of a marquee series such as this. The series is not yet lost nor the No1 status if gone.
But, both are hanging by with a lot of prayer and a little hope. Hopefully all the English players will start suffering from dementia. Hopefully Ithe ndian Prime Minister would give Stuart Broad Indian citizenship with immediate effect and he too would accept gleefully as he loves bollywood and playing cricket for India gives you an access to anything which is bollywood.
Hopefully Sachin Tendulkar will realise it’s hightime he should finally score that much awaited 100th ton. Hopefully ICC comes out with a ruling that in the wake of bell-o-drama, irrespective of whatever is the result of this series, India will still be No1 forever because of that “sportsmanship” shown by the Indian team. And last but not least, hopefully the Indian team will finally play to its true potential. However the latter seems almost impossible at the moment but one should always hope. Hope is a good word.(Shaw Shank Redemption).
On a more serious note Dhoni would do well to remember one more phrase. This time from the books of life. “When the going gets tough,tough gets going.” This might be the series which could put an end to that debate about MSD being a lucky captain forever. If he can square the series that is. If Mahi can turn around a tired, abysmal and pathetic looking team to once again play like world beaters he would definitely be given that tag which all aspire but only few achieve. That of legendary greatness. (The Likes of which have been given to folks like Gabbar Singh!)
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