Indian Cricket: The Youth that Promises!!

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Productive Evolution has adhered Indian cricket over the past decade. The fitness levels have gone unmatched, the batting and bowling skills have developed efficiently, the hpower standards have raised bars and the balance amidst the team has been restored. This transformation however has its base rooted deep in India’s domestic institution. The number of First class Matches played not only in the country but also abroad has evidently increased. Be it the renewed Ranji trophy format, domestic limited over tournaments or the frequent India ‘A’ tours, cricket in India has been richly benefited with talent and growth. The U 19 and women’s tours have also attracted attention from the cricketing fraternity.

BCCI’s initiative to give the deserving and talented a chance to prove their worth has amassed praise over the globe. New leaders in form of Manish Pandey and Karun Nair have emerged from recent first class tours to Australia and South Africa. Apart from boosting the confidence of these youngsters, BCCI has also ensured a pool of in-form players to choose from. Rising up to the occasion since MS Dhoni’s retirement in test cricket, Wriddhiman Saha stands a perfect example to how these domestic matches have lent India worthy match-winners. Likes of Pruthvi Shaw, Shubham Gill and Abhishek Sharma are few others coming in to fray from India’s junior cricketing circuit. The tours have benefitted the batsman to learn absorb pressure and bowlers to adapt to the foreign conditions.

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Sarfaraz Khan and Rishabh Pant have been a shining glory in junior circuitry.

Under the watchful eyes of Shashank Sharma, mentored by Rahul Dravid both the U19 as well as the India A team has also embarked success in recent past. Venkatesh Prasad and BCCI have done a stupendous job to identify the talent and shower them with opportunities. Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav have made a cut into the national side across formats and they un-hesitantly owe it to the Rahul Dravid School of coaching. Emergence of gutsy, confident and skilful players like Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Shreyash Iyer have also signified a certain Indian dominance in future. IPL too plays an influential role in shaping up of these youngsters with Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan being an ideal example. Playing with the overseas legends, they have got acquainted to various cricketing cultures from around the globe helping develop their skills more efficiently. Stepping up when needed, leading the way from the front and implementing innovative ideas with firm basics has been a trump for all these players. Taking a leaf from Indian Captain Virat Kohli’s book, these youngsters are also seen striving for fitness and attaining required agility. The eager to play and win games for the country and the hunger to express freely on the cricket field has rubbed off from the senior players to these impressive toddlers.

With India all set to play another home season along with a short South African tour, these youngsters would surely look to make a cut.

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Virat Kohli has been a driving force in shaping the youngsters along with MSD.

They will certainly look to make the experience and the exposure count. Not only them but the domestic players will also look to make inwards to the first class sides proving their worth in the newly inducted Ranji Trophy format. World cricket today has reached a phase where it’s not only about consistency, hitting power standards or the skill of the players but also about the adaptability of the nation’s domestic institution as a whole to cater to all needs. India however ensures to have enough flare to build up to a glorious 2019 WC campaign.

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Seven Incidences which inspired Rules in Cricket

 

Cricket has been under continuous evolution ever since the beginning. Here are a few incidences that took the world by surprise and influenced a significant change in rules:

1) Bodyline:

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Australia was all set to host the 1932-33 Ashes and Don Bradman by now was an extra-ordinary force in reckoning. Post a miserable defeat at home in 1930, the England (then, MCC) cricket team searched umpteen ways to tackle Bradman’s brilliance. A thorough research under Captain Douglas Jardine brought about the concept of “Bodyline attack” into fray. Bradman’s vulnerability to the short ball was made a prime target. An array of fielders behind square on the leg side was designed to materialize the possible air-borne half-chance. The helmet-less batsmen were made to fear for their life more than their wicket. The plan helmed success as English took back the Ashes 4-1. However bodyline hampered the Aussie game-plan and shocked the world manifold. MCC made amends to the rule book by restricting the number of  fielders behind square on the leg side to 2 and The “Intimidatory short pitched deliveries” were also checked by stating the maximum number of bouncers allowed. The modern ICC rule against bouncers and beamers is derived from the same.

2) Sorry, you are Late!

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A known incidence traces back to 97 years to a county championship game between Somerset and Sussex in 1919. With scores tied, Arthur Heygate was supposed to fill in the number 11 shoes. However, injured Heygate took quite a long to step onto the field. With mutual consent, umpires therefore decided to declare him OUT and marked him to be ‘Absent Hurt’. Later, the inclusion and amendments by MCC and the ICC have now staged a 3-minute cushion for players to be there on the ground after the fall of a wicket.

3) 10 boundary riders:

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During a match against West Indies in 1979, English captain Mike Brearley known for sharp cricketing minds pulled out a master-class. Defending 3 of the last ball, he stationed everyone including the wicket-keeper back on the fence to stop the boundary. To no surprise, 10-boundary riding England signed the match off with a 1-run win. The ploy was well within the rules then and was caught amidst a juggle of praise and criticism. However, the incident lead to the introduction of field restrictions in cricket. After well thought off and discussed strategies, 30-yard circle was deduced and the number of players compulsory within the circle was fixed. The modern day power-play regulation also traces its origin to this famous incident.

4) Under-arm Bowling:

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The underarm bowling incident in the Benson & Hedges series Cup of 1981 not only transformed the rule books but also revolutionised New Zealand cricket to a great extent. Needing 6 of the final ball, Captain Greg Chappell deduced a disappointing technique to ensure the win. Trevor Chappell bowled a grounding underarm delivery to Brian McKeanie who threw the bat away in frustration. Though the action was permitted then, it was widely considered against the spirit of the sport. World took notice and lead to major transformations. Today, after numerous alterations there are guidelines and limitations to the actions of a bowler with the ICC maintaining a strict watch over all international and domestic bowlers.

5) Mankading:

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Though it was just a written statement in the rule books, this kind of run-out was never witnessed. Amidst the 1947 India tour of Australia, Indian stalwart Vinoo Mankad ran out Bill Brown after a brief preceding event of him warning Brown for stepping out of the backup crease even before the ball was bowled. Umpires were quick to display their decision and furious Brown was asked to depart. Mankad was flaked with criticism and the Aussie media even raised questions over his dedication towards the game. This infamous incidence is so far-stretched that even today, this kind of dismissal is referred as “Mankading”. ICC’s recent updation states that, “ Before the delivery stride is completed, the bowler is permitted an attempt to run-out the non-striker. Irrespective of the result, the ball goes down as a dead ball.”

6) Leg Before the Wicket (Lbw):

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Leg Before the Wicket is one of the oldest and complicated forms of dismissal in cricket. Often surrounded by controversies, it was first introduced in the nineteenth century in the English county when batsmen started using their pads for guarding the ball. Untill then, only the umpires had the right to dismiss the batsman for “standing unfair to strike”. Shrewsbury was one of the devoted follower to obstructing the ball with the pad to get rid of the swinging deliveries. Later, elections were held over the inclusion of the rule and finally it was inducted into the MCC rule book in 1902. Batsman was given OUT when he tried to protect his wicket by not only the pads but any of his body part. The only condition then was the ball should be in line with the stumps. Fair to say, LBW has been one of the most transformed rules in Cricket. One of the bitter memories for Indian cricket fans would surely be Sachin Tendulkar’s Leg Before Wicket dismissal against Glenn McGrath during the 1999 Australian tour. Hit on the helmet ducking to a short delivery the umpire adjudged him LBW to everyone’s surprise. It’s still regarded as the most unusual wicket by many.

7) Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (D/L/S method)

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Raingods have mercilessly played a spoil sport to the game of cricket resulting either in a washout or truncation. Since the induction of ODI cricket, the average run-rate method was put into practice for truncated affairs. In 1992, when “Most Productive Overs” rule was utilized, cricket witnessed one of the most unfortunate incidences. Needing 22 of 13 in a World Cup semi-final against England, heavens opened up for a short 12 min interval. What followed was one of the most unfortunate events in cricket history.
rules6SA was given an impossible target of 21 from 1 ball after the MPO method. Post this event, MPO faced flak and amassed loads of criticism. The search for a new and efficient method went underway until 1999. Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis designed the D/L method for a better all-round justice. Post a few alterations and changes the current D/L/S method was finalized for all ICC matches. All said and done, the world still awaits more accurate calculation systems.

ICC Champions Trophy 2017: The INDIAN CHALLENGE

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Indian Cricket over the recent past is on a recent high and has showcased a mesmerizing display of skill, grit, aggression and passion. Be it the switch in the captaincy, the variations in the approach or the adaptability to the conditions, Indian cricket has embraced each change and moulded it in its favour. After a long successful 2016-17 Home season and after an exciting couple of months of IPL T20, India is set to return to Cricket’s most evolved format: the One Day Internationals. Ranked 3rd in the ICC Rankings, India will have their Champions Trophy 2013 title at stake as they take on 7 other top ranked countries in this fortnight long tournament.  Played across three venues in England and Wales, the unpredictable weather adds an extra challenge.

Be it the pre-tournament favourites England, the World champions Australia, the epitome of consistency South Africa or the under-dogs  Bangladesh, given the recent form they are in, the world awaits a belter of a contest. This tournament is also known as an exception to all the exceptions. It’s the only ICC Title, the “Chokers” could ever achieve (1998) and the only ICC Tournament in which Pakistan could get better of India, not once but twice (2004 & 2006). Inducted to fame in 1998 as the ICC Knockout Trophy, the 7 previous editions have witnessed different shades of cricket. From all nail-biting finishes to few easy fruitful wins, from disastrous failures to stupendous performances and from the worst of cricketing nightmares to the best of it’s memories, it’s been a tournament which has evolved a lot in all aspects. India in Champions Trophy has stood out ever since its inception, co-winning the tournament in 2002 (After the final against Sri Lanka was washed out) and reigning supreme in 2013. Coming in with most number of wins and the most successful team ever in Champions Trophy history, India would aim glory for the record third time.

An aftermath of long home season with injuries, the infamous BCCI spat with the ICC and after the criticism faced for exemption of a few deserving senior players, India is finally set to stage its best possible team to shoulder the utmost responsibility. From the young and enthusiastic Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah to the experienced Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik and MS Dhoni, the skipper Virat Kohli and his newly appointed deputy Rohit Sharma have all their bases covered. However, this team still has a tough nut to crack.

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Fear the Pace, Fear the swing!!


Facing a problem of plenty, India will find it difficult to pick the best eleven and will look to formulate a few concrete strategies at the earliest. Probably for the first time in cricket history, Indian seam bowlers possess a huge threat. Pace, swing, consistency, accuracy, strength!! The quadrant of Bumrah-Bhuvi-Shami-Umesh has everything that makes them absolutely lethal. The spin twins in Ashwin and Jadeja will also hold key on flat pitches with overhead conditions. They say the English weather is one of the most unpredictable theories in the world, but rest assured India surely holds trumps against all baffling conditions.

Virat Kohli quoted, “It is important to play freely, express ourselves and enjoy from the word go which we did the last time around. The hunger to win and the ruthlessness that we have been carrying throughout the test season is something we will be taking along in pursuit to produce the desired result”

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The most awaited cricketing rivalry!

Opening the campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4th, the match also holds a strong political importance. India is also joined by Sri Lanka and South Africa who are also eager to leave their trail in this tournament. The other group comprising of Australia, New-Zealand, England and Bangladesh is flared enough to be termed as the ‘Group of Death’. Though a knockout qualification seems most likely, India would look to reciprocate their previous performance and continue their unbeaten run with higher implications. High scoring thrillers and a few mind-boggling run-chases might well dictate a few newspaper headlines soon. Rightly put into words, ‘This Champions Trophy isn’t only about those bitter rivalries, isn’t only about winning and losing, isn’t only about playing high-spirited cricket, but it’s also about reaching out loud to people and making a sport triumph above all wreckage.’

Started from the Top, now here….

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“RCB!! RCB!!!” The loud cheer that greeted India’s most loved team last year faded exponentially this time around.  A forgettable 10th season hindered the Royal Challenge from Bangalore. 3 all-outs and 2 <100 scores too emphasize the statement. In a competition where every team tried to strike balance in the squad, more than 25 squad changes in 13 matches is evident to justify the contrasting purple for Kohli and his team.  RCB was always considered a front-runner for the title. In turn, a discouraging start with the bat against the Sunrisers seemed a dress rehearsal of the misery which awaited them.

The real vows for RCB started even before the tournament began. Administrative issues had to be sorted and a few major reformations drafted in. Some serious efforts ensured that the franchise was upheld throughout the season. One blow was followed by another. Long cricketing season had cost many players dear and a plague of injuries worsened the cause.  Mitchell Starc, AB De Villiers, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Sarfaraz Khan, Sachin Baby, Samuel Badree were set to miss at least a few matches. Tymal Mills bought in as a replacement for a whopping 12.5crores also ended up pulling his hamstring by the end. Likes of Travis Head, Pawan Negi, Billy Stanlake, Aniket Chaudhary, Vishnu Vinod were brought in as a try to attain the desired stability. Coach Daniel Vettori despite all initial deep waters was keen on swimming efficiently against the tides. However, the new signings never lived upto the expectations, the head never cropped up, the juggernaut never went rolling as RCB continued to sink into the rock bottom even after winning 9 out of the 13 tosses. The only two wins of the season which came against the Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils were also criticized as nothing but a stroke of luck.

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The team always banked upon the Top 3 to fire but that wasn’t meant to be the case this year. The Gayle-storm which took everyone by surprise then; never arrived, the Kohli Classics which the world experienced last year went diminishing, and so did the ABD mayhems RCB often resided to. An irresponsible batting display from the senior squad members amassed pressure to which the inexperienced middle order succumbed astonishingly. Shane Watson, another senior experienced campaigner didn’t live upto the expectations either. Unstable opening combinations, inefficient bowling attack and frequent shuffle in the batting order hampered team’s performance to a huge extent. Though a few individual performances did stand out in certain encounters, the entire unit never struck the required octaves. Days when bowlers fared extremely well, batting fizzled out its stay. And similarly, when batting did wonders, the bowlers reached all corners of the ground. Be it those crucial Pawan Negi contributions, the valiant single-handed AB DE Villiers’ 89* against Punjab or Samuel Badree’s hat-trick against the Mumbai Indians, RCB could never capitalize on confident starts and could never get the momentum swing their way.

A team which could never make the #PlayBOLD
A team which could never grasp a strong hold.

M Chinnaswamy Stadium in the heart the garden city too went wayward with its 22 yards. An uncharacteristic pitch with a lot of turn and no pace handed the team a Royal Challenge in itself. Home conditions seemed deserted and it jolted team’s confidence manifold. 1 win from 7 home matches highlights the fact that 2017 is RCB’s worst season ever. A team known for hitting massive sixes could not even manage to match up the average, perhaps the only thing RCB would immaterially take away from this competition is Head’s 109m six, the longest of the tournament. Unlike other franchises, youngsters failed to step up and deliver for the last year finalists. RCB’s rock bottom was exposed when they were bundled out for mere 49 runs at the Eden Gardens against KKR, the lowest score ever in IPL history. Meanwhile, as Virat Kohli reciprocated the devastated feeling in every post-match presentation, RCB re-displayed the same performance every match. Lack of intent, poor execution of skills, uncalculated risks and impatient play could never make the play BOLD.

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With a loss comes misery; with a miserable defeats come criticism and what follows criticism is the social attack.. While it went on being horrifying for the fans, the players too stepped up and posted bold support-appreciation and apology messages on twitter. A fan quoted “RCB is not just a team, it’s an emotion! An emotion that reverberates through every single chair at Chinnaswamy and an emotion that runs through every fan.We are sure of rising back from the ashes next year.”

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The spirit amongst the fans is commendable and somewhere between a forgettable season and social torture, the fans still stand winners. Starting from scratch next year with a whole new bunch of players, RCB will look to make inwards to the title overcoming all their flaws.

 

DECISION REVIEW SYSTEM

Mind the ‘T’

Science, today, has found home in any field you name, and cricket wasn’t left behind. With a view to curb umpiring blunders and to promote a fair game, ICC introduced the Umpire Decision Review System (DRS) in 2008. Today 9 years post the inclusion, there still exists confusion over its conclusive and decisive use in international cricket. Hotspot, ultra-edge and the hawk-eye assisting systems were timely transformed and corrected but the resulting confusion led India to restrict its use in home seasons for 5 years. Today, when India eventually has the technology in use, Virat’s ability and choices to avail the facility is under immense criticism.


MS Dhoni mastered the art of reviews in the ICC Tournaments he led India in. Firm confidence, strong intuitions and ample of cricketing sense made him a captain of grit, determination and apt results. Be it ICC Cricket World Cups or Champions Trophy, the recent triumphs India has experienced owe a significant credit to DRS. Virender Sehwag was the first ever batsman to be given out after a DRS aid in 2008. Since then, DRS has also had it’s share of controversies and trolls with ‘Brain Fade’ and ‘Dharamshala Review System’ being the most recent.

Here’s an insight to DRS system:
The captain can challenge umpire’s decision on behalf of the team. With just two unsuccessful reviews permitted per 80 overs, they need to be used cautiously.
The process:
1) Checking the legitimacy of the delivery:

A routine front foot and bounce check of the ball to confirm the legitimity of the delivery is a compulsion.
2)Checking for an edge using Snicko: With appeals for a bat-pad, caught behind or LBW, ultra edge technology is put in use where the change in pitch of the snickometer on impact provides a conclusive evidence of ball hitting the bat. However a benefit of doubt is given to the batsman on indecisive calls

3) Hotspot: Being a rare French connection, Hotspot was found in Paris and first adopted in local cricket by Australia. Along with snicko, hotspot is also used to determine the interaction between the bat and the ball.  Evolving from the theory of friction and infrared sensors, hotspot is one of the most controversial inclusions in the DRS. Infact, even the ICC now plans a deduction or modification of the method. VVS Laxman being accused for coating his bat with Vaseline in the 2011 tour.
4) Hawk eye: Ball tracking as it is also called is used to trace the path of the ball. It stimulates the possible trajectory taking all external factors into account. The condition of the pitch, bounce, spin, weather, pitch and all other factors are well calculated before the result. It follows the LBW rules and righteously assists the umpire. A flaw in the 2.5m rule in DRS was effectively removed post the 2011 world cup due to varied glitches.
5) To check if catch is clearly taken: Review can also be asked to check if the catch is cleanly taken. Generally umpires would refer a close call but the batsman also has a right to ask review if he’s confirm of a bump ball or any such case.

6) To simply try his luck: An important team batsman or a last-wicket tailender uses DRS as a last throw of dice to hope his wicket is overturned.

DRS is certainly an aid to cricket even with all its flaws and conflicts. In this Cricketing  revolution, amidst all controversies and speculations, DRS still perseveres in its endeavour to promote a fair and clean game.

Tale of a Tail

            India has been on the brisk of an unassailable success marathon right from the start of 2016. The famous Aussie whitewash triggered India’s winning streak which never succumbed to any opposition. Beating the Windies in their own backyard and then reigning supreme over the Kiwis and the Englishmen in all formats, Indian cricket left no leaf overturned. Be it the finesse in bowling, the exuberance in batting and the confidence in fielding, a balanced performance sought great praise. However a stood out throughout the season was the batting contribution from the lower order batsman.

             Kapil Dev had garnered India to be technically sound in all dimensions and Azharuddin had helped gain stability. Sourav Ganguly then further spurred the initiation of an all-round development leaving it to Ms Dhoni for being a torch-bearer to the purpose. As cricket matured to be more competitive, bowlers were burdened with multiple duties. Be it going in as a night-watchmen in tests, saving the game in crunch situations or supporting a well-set batsman contributing a cause, batting was a prowess even bowlers needed to master. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh in latter halves of their career enjoyed a lot of success, an exemplary to many budding talents. The 2016 season was a revolution with hope. TAILENDERS as they are often called kept India’s tail wagging for long in crisis situations. Apart from the victories, the responsibility that they displayed with the bat was striking.

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                 Contributions from Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant Yadav were instrumental in blanking out the Kiwis. With India recording the most number of international runs scored in 2016 by tail-enders, the sense of optimism engulfed the team. Sensible strike rotations, gutsy hard hits and timely delicate touches, batting standards improved manifold throughout the season. Sanjay Bangar, India’s batting consultant deserves praise for the confidence he instilled and the techniques he developed. Apart from the spinners, even fast bowlers in Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami have grown extensively to be someone team could rely on for support.

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                    It all started with the Australia tour in 2013. A certain MS Dhoni motivated Bhuvneshwar and Shami to generate the required resistance in the lower order. Player’s captain as he’s known for, knew all the limitations but utilized the resources quite well. The slogs transformed to proper cricketing strokes, the impatient hooks were now patient placements and the suicidal wickets now adored a valuable price. Even the legends in J Srinath, E Prasanna, Bishan Singh Bedi failed to replicate their bowling highs with the bat. With the current generation enabling it even in such a limited cricketing exposure, their perseverance, dedication and determination is commendable. Building up on establishing an invincible legacy in world cricket, the balance these lower order batsmen bring into the squad goes unmatched. Also it allows the skipper to play 5 specialist bowlers and adapt to his policies according to the conditions. For all facts, it’s just a start and there’s a steep slope towards success. But with such control, skill, talent and credibility, Indian tailenders assure a certain promise!

The MSD era of Indian Cricket!!

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“No,I’m on national duty, everything else can wait!”

Said Dhoni during the 2015 world cup when asked about meeting his newborn daughter. A career marked by selflessness and an incessant national spirit, MS Dhoni played cricket at its professional best. Dilip Vengsarkar, the selector of Indian cricket team in ‘07, thought Dhoni was the right person to shoulder the team’s responsibility. Criticism never seemed to leave his back. However the Jharkhand-born wicketkeeper was keen on his tactics and firm with his intuitions. After India’s disappointing end to 2007 WC campaign and after the seniors opting to bow out of the inaugural WT20 2007, Dhoni was selected as a captain over many others. Little did anyone know about his supremacy over the game, captaincy also aspired his cricketing skills and India overcame the status of being the underdogs to be crowned champions.
Taking over the reigns in the longer format, MSD guided India to be number one in the test rankings for the first time since it’s incision. In his short stint as a captain till then, what stood out was the win against Australia by 320 runs in 2008, India’s biggest in terms of victory margin. Also the CB series win in 07-08 was a golden feather on Dhoni’s cap as India had won a series down under after over two decades.

“A true captain is a one who steps out of his comfort zone when team needs it.”

Post the Greg Chappell phase, the atmosphere in the dressing room persisted to have mixed emotions. MS Dhoni as a captain along with the newly appointed coach in Gary Kirsten combined in well to set up a friendly environment. Dhoni’s calm influence was rubbing off on all his teammates. Cricket was under continuous transition and since the birth of the shortest format, fielding gained much more importance. Owing to achieve high fielding standards Dhoni held ground, boldly stating the insignificance of the presence of a few senior slow-to-move players. It raised questions and many heads cropped up with disgust. Dhoni didn’t seem affected. He had his plans in place and India was now under a transition setting up aims on regaining supremacy.
Captaincy helped him mature into a fierce, confident and an intelligent batsman. Dhoni was never seen succumbing to pressure. Even under national responsibilities, he had his apt judgements in play and captaincy often bought out the best of him with million hopes across the globe fueling the cause.

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Anchoring the innings till the end and unleashing the attack onto the opposition when required, MS Dhoni is arguably world’s best finisher. His staggering average of over 50 in ODIs, with the fact that most of his batting came lower down the order is worth many accolades. His athleticism is still an inspiration to many. Indian team was shaping up well and with an even balance of experience and passion, Dhoni stepped into the field for 2011 WC trying to reciprocate the 28-yr old glory. India had a few initial hiccups including a tie against the English, but a masterclass of batting from Yuvraj and some inspired bowling from the veteran Zaheer Khan saw India in the finals against Sri Lanka. 2nd April 2011, Wankhede witnessed a miracle. Dhoni had surprisingly promoted himself up the order and a fluent 91* saw India clinch the title. Ravi Shastri’s “And Dhoni finishes off in style, a magnificent strike into the crowd! India lift the World Cup after 28 long years! It’s the Indian captain who has been absolutely brilliant on the eve of the final!!” Still reverberates in the ears of each Indian. The win symbolised Yuvraj’s dedication and  Sachin’s supremacy but somewhere it also dictated the birth of the MSD era of Indian cricket.

What followed was the darkest phase of MSDs career. The world ODI champions India crumbled like a house of cards in England and unlike any other horror story, this curse never seemed to fade. One whitewash was followed by another and India were left low spirited post the Australia tour in 2012. It was a time when even the ‘Wall’ Rahul Dravid decided to step away from national duties. As it would often be, the loss was booked on the captain and MSD was again amidst controversies and criticisms.
The return test tour of England was also a nightmare. Meanwhile India somehow managed to maintain a consistent record in the shorter formats. Australia’s tour to India 2012-13 bought joy on the faces of many as India gave the visitors a taste of their own medicine. Dhoni’s mesmerizing knock of 224 in the first test at Chennai is still regarded as the best knock by an Indian skipper under pressure.

Dhoni by now was well versed in handling tactical paradoxes and crunched situations. His speed and accuracy also increased with age. Overall, an unorthodox but a matured leader stood right in front guiding the Indian ship. The summer of 2013 had a bright shine as India lifted the Champions Trophy with a supreme unbeaten record. A curtailed apparent T20 finale needed a MsD captaincy masterpiece in the 17th over to set the dice rolling in India’s favor. The 2014 T20 WC was no different. MS Dhoni mastered his troops exceedingly well as India’s performance stood out despite the loss to Sri Lanka in the finals. An impressive series win against Australia, England and Sri Lanka ensured a top notch in the rankings for MS’s men.
Letting everyone know their role in the team, motivating the youngsters to give their best and even guiding them through their descends, Ms Dhoni never let anyone down. He didn’t hesitate to promote anyone above him. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammad Shami and B Kumar are a product of the Dhoni school of teaching. He was not only riding the nation’s hopes on his shoulders but also nurturing the young talent to give their ecstatic best.msd2

Giving up to an extensive schedule of cricket, a deteriorating form and an out of touch batting, Dhoni eventually decided to step down as India’s test captain. But little would he seem Dhoni if surprises weren’t multiplied. Dhoni also hung his boots midway through the Australia series in 2014. Virat Kohli standing in as captain in absence of injured Dhoni in the first test had shown signs of aggression and MS felt it was the apt time to pass on the long-format legacy to his able reigns.
The scenario did hamper his performance in the shorter formats. India’s campaign in 2015 WC was hurdled at the semifinals by Australia and the impressive start had a disastrous end. Rather than praising the dedication of father-to-be captain, as it had always been, MS was again under scrutiny for the loss. Shocking series defeats against Bangladesh and South Africa in the near past then fuelled the rumors of him bidding farewell. However as exprected, handling the media wasn’t much of a problem for him. He toned the press conferences in his favor with ease and was also upto the task of giving a tough reply when needed.
2016 was a high spirited year in Indian cricket. Whitewashing the Aussies in their own backyard, winning the Asia Cup in Bangladesh against a seaming Mohd. Aamir and then hosting the T20 WC, the start was no short of a miracle. The infamous WC beginning against New Zealand was neutralized with a win against Pakistan and Bangladesh. MS Dhoni’s last over intuitional captaincy heroics and the match-winning sprint laid all his credibility talks to rest. India did lose to WI in the semifinals but unlike any other tournament, team and the captain gathered more praise than criticism.
With the homecoming of a long test season for India, skipper Dhoni was on a break. However he rather pounced back hard on the comeback where India whitewashed the Kiwis.

In the 12 yr career, Dhoni has shaped up extremely well. Not only as a captain or a wicketkeeper but also as a player well aware of match situations.
“Nobody has seen form. It’s just a state where you are confident and you think positively.” Dhoni always played the sport in true spirits and his calm head also radiated positivity in the team.

“Dhoni is a great leader by example. Someone whom I’ve always admired for his ability to remain balanced and have the sense of equanimity about his captaincy”
-Rahul Dravid

The record 6-time captain of  ICC ODI Team of the Year, Mahendra Singh Dhoni spurred a revolution in Indian cricket. Describing a legacy left behind with words would not do justice to a man who never blinked an eye giving himself in for the country.His dedication is an inspiration and his prowess as a cricketer is unparalleled.