Mahendra Singh Dhoni will go down in the history books as one of the best captains of all time. The right-handed batsman from Ranchi showed the world that captaining a cricket team is an art that only a few players can master. Because of his incredible captaincy skills, India won the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 ICC World Cup, and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
Although he gave his position to Virat Kohli soon, Dhoni has continued to wow everyone with his captaincy while playing for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Speaking of his captaincy, here’s a list of his top five on-field masterstrokes.
Removing gloves against Bangladesh in T20 World Cup:
The 2016 T20 World Cup will always stay close to the hearts of the Indian fans because that was the only occasion when India hosted the tournament. Although the hosts got off to a disastrous start against New Zealand, they showed character and reached the semifinals. During the group stage of the tourney, they faced Bangladesh in a nerve-wracking encounter. The match had come down to the final over and the Bangladeshi team required just 2 runs off 3 deliveries.
The silliness of the middle-order batsmen cost them big time as they lost two wickets off two balls while their batsmen tried to play aggressive shots. On the last ball, MS Dhoni took his gloves off so that he can execute a run out quickly. As per his plan, the batsman missed the ball and then he beat the non-striker in a race to win the game for India.
Asking Ishant Sharma to bowl bouncers in Lord’s Test:
The Lord’s Test win is Dhoni’s biggest Test win outside India as a captain. India had been winless on their previous major overseas tours. Thus, the Indian team was under immense pressure when they reached England in 2014. The visitors managed to draw the first Test and scripted a remarkable win in the 2nd match.
Ishant Sharma was the hero of the match as his 7/74 helped India record the victory. Very few fans would know that Dhoni had told him to bowl short-pitched deliveries to the English batsmen, a majority of them lost their wicket while playing those bouncers.
Giving the final over of the T20 World Cup to Joginder Sharma
MS Dhoni had shocked the world in the 2007 T20 World Cup final when he decided to give the final over of the game against Pakistan to Joginder Sharma. The Haryana-based player was inexperienced as he had played little international cricket before the World Cup final. Also, Pakistan’s Misbah Ul Haq was well set on the opposite end.
Joginder came under pressure when he bowled a wide and then Misbah hit him for a six. But, Dhoni went to him and advised him to stay calm. His words helped Sharma get his line and length back as he dismissed Misbah and won the game for India. The right-handed batsman attempted to use the pace of the ball, but since Sharma was a medium pacer he could not clear the man standing at fine leg.
Backing Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup
A majority of the fans remember Yuvraj Singh for his explosive performance in India’s World Cup wins. However, not many would know that the left-handed batsman from Punjab was struggling to find form before the 2011 World Cup. There was a question mark over his place in the team. However, MS Dhoni backed him.
To ensure that Yuvi gains his confidence back, Dhoni used him as the team’s fifth bowler. The all-rounder performed superbly with the ball. Having gained his confidence back, he even shone with the bat as he won the Man of the Tournament award in that tourney.
Promoting himself in the 2011 World Cup final
Another story related to the 2011 World Cup is about the final game of the tournament. Mahela Jayawardene’s ton had powered Sri Lanka to a competitive score in the first innings. India needed to pull off a record run-chase to win their first World Cup at home. Although the hosts lost their openers early, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli steadied the boat for them.
When Kohli departed to the pavilion, everyone expected the man in form Yuvraj Singh to come out in the middle. But, MS Dhoni shockingly promoted himself to number 5 in that game. It is worth noting that Dhoni had not played a single match-winning knock in the 2011 World Cup. However, he backed himself and played an inning of 91* off just 79 deliveries as India lifted the World Cup after 28 years in the Wankhede Stadium.