IPL+WC+number 1 ranking in test+number 2 In odi(number 1 for a brief time)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Captain extraordinaire
His surname has delighted advertising copy-writers and headline writers over his six-year career. From the immensely popular 'Dho Dala' campaign to the headline given to this article, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's surname lends itself to a wide variety of puns, thus making it easier to wax eloquent about his exploits as, arguably, one of the greatest captains India has ever had.
As Dhoni turns 29 today, it's almost alarming to see how quickly time has flown by. In 2005, just five years ago, Dhoni was called in to replace a lacklustre Parthiv Patel, thanks to Rahul Dravid's reluctance to don the gloves during the tour of Bangladesh. While Dhoni failed to impress in that series, he fired big time in a following match at Vishakhapatnam - against arch-rivals Pakistan, no less - with a blitzkrieg 148 off 123 deliveries. Dhoni's innings erased the earlier record for the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper, a record that would be rewritten by him before the end of that year.
That, by the way, was only his fifth one day international match.
In a relatively short career, Dhoni's exploits have become the stuff of legend. From premature-but-inevitable comparisons with Adam Gilchrist to leading the Indian team to glory in the form of the T20 World Cup and the number one ranking amongst Test teams,
Dhoni has emerged as the perfect antidote to a team that was struggling with over-dependence on senior players. At the time he came in, the Indian team was under the Greg Chappell regime, still smarting from the departure of Sourav Ganguly, the injuries to Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag's inconsistent form. However, thanks to his flamboyant style of batting, willingness to adapt, and a down-to-earth attitude, Dhoni achieved iconic status within no time.
It helped that he was good-looking, of course. The Dhoni phenomenon only escalated as he continued to win matches for India, and endorsed all kinds of brands. While women drooled over his toothy grin and his straightened, stylishly long hair (which he later chopped off to resemble his favourite actor, John Abraham), the men grew their hair long and envied Dhoni's collection of cars and super-bikes (one Hummer, four cars and 23 bikes, at last count).
Dhoni has come a long way from his hometown in Ranchi, both literally and figuratively. The son of Pan Singh, an employee of MECON Ltd, Dhoni excelled in sports such as badminton and football in school before turning his attention to cricket. Interestingly, Dhoni might never have become a cricketer had he not been a talented football goalkeeper. The NIS football coach at DAV School in Ranchi, Kesava Ranjan Banerjee, was impressed with Dhoni's goal-keeping skills and he wanted him to play a sport which would provide him a wider exposure and better prospects.
The limited circumstances under which Dhoni learned cricket has provided him with the grit, strength and determination to overcome all odds. In his early years, Dhoni played cricket with canvas balls as cricket balls and even tennis balls were beyond his reach, and friends and family fondly recalled how his long sixes would destroy glass windows. In a career that is only one-fourth as long as Sachin Tendulkar's, Dhoni enjoys a level of fame and adulation that is astounding. His captaincy has been lauded by fans and critics alike, and an astounding number of his decisions, be it backing a certain player or end-game tactics, turn out to be spot-on.
Of late, Dhoni has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, from India's humiliating exit from the T-20 World Cup earlier to being replaced as captain by Suresh Raina for the Zimbabwe tour. His recent marriage to 21-year-old Sakshi Rawat, a Kolkata-based hotel management student, has dominated headlines of late. However, 'Captain Cool' Dhoni, rejuvenated from the recent Asia Cup win that he led the team to, is sure to reach that high again.
Highlights of Dhoni's career:
- On 31 October 2005, Dhoni scored 183* runs of just 145 balls against Sri Lanka at Jaipur. The innings featured 10 Sixes, the most by an Indian in an Innings, and the second highest in ODI cricket.
- Dhoni also holds the records of the most dismissals in an innings by an Indian wicketkeeper in an ODI (with Adam Gilchrist) with 6 dismissals (5 catches and one stumping) against England.
- In Tests, Dhoni's maiden century against Pakistan in Faisalabad (148) is the fastest century scored by an Indian wicket keeper. Only three centuries by two players (Kamran Akmal and Adam Gilchrist - 2) were faster than Dhoni's 93-ball century.
- He also holds the record for most catches by an Indian player in an innings. He achieved this feat by taking six catches during the first innings of the third test against New Zealand in Wellington, thus equalling Syed Kirmani's record.
- Under Dhoni's captaincy, India reached their highest test score of 726-9 (decl) during Sri Lanka's tour of India in 2009. Their 2-0 victory in the series took them to the number 1 ranking in Test cricket for the first time in history.
- Under Dhoni's captaincy, India had never lost a test match until the first test versus South Africa in Nagpur in Feb 2010
I think we can say that MS Dhoni is the best captain in the world right now.