As India was busy celebrating their 73rd Independence Day, one of the nation’s most celebrated cricket captains called it quits from the international circuit. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who lingered around the lines of retirement for a fair bit of time, finally bade adieu to the sport, snuffing out all speculations for a remarkable comeback to entertain the masses.
It was the drawing of curtain on one of the most glittering international careers that stayed witness to the first-hand rise from being an ordinary hard-hitter to one of the most extraordinary finishers of the sport. He gave India a lot of things that we didn’t hope for in the first place and now that he has stepped down, it will be a good deal of challenge for the Indian cricket team to find a replacement for all those incredible facets which became a regular thing for them.
We will look at five things which Team India will dearly miss in the absence of Mahi.
1. Crazy stumpings
From being a sluggish stature behind the stumps to being a crazy athlete who forced his partners to run that extra mile under challenging circumstances, Dhoni set a new precedent in wicket keeping.
His ingenious presence of mind laced with his inhuman agility gifted the world with a few lightning-fast stumpings which set the batsmen on their toes. Forget madness, one moment of distraction and the next thing you would know is that you are walking to the pavilion.
His most likely contender, Pant is good but he is nowhere close to Dhoni and his wicket-keeping flair is still to face the most important test of time.
2. An adept finisher
One of the most crucial aspects of a team in the shorter format of the game is a proper finisher. Without someone to help a team cross the line on a consistent basis, it becomes extremely challenging to win crucial matches.
It was Dhoni who helped India to stabilise their innings after an early landslide and helped them to cross the finishing line on numerous occasions.
He meant a beacon of reliability to the Indian batting line up as his presence always meant that the top-order had the license to fire without worry as a mountain of stability stayed in the end.
With him gone, India will have to look for another Mr Reliable who can provide the platform of stability to the Indian batting line up.
More to his batting and finishing ability, the most dazzling prowess that Dhoni had up his sleeves was his leadership ability.
A man who never failed to hide his emotions in the most trying circumstances, MSD set a precedent which no other captain in India could.
From being one of the coolest cricketers of all time to a man who would not hesitate to reprimand his players whenever they botched things up, Dhoni was one of the finest leaders of all time.
Though Kohli has been a successful captain in his limited stint as the Indian skipper, he had significant help from Dhoni in perfecting his leading ability. He never had to worry on the field as Dhoni always shared a word of wisdom with Kohli whenever India’s run machine needed one.
Time will tell if Kohli can be the perfect successor to the monumental Mahi.
4. The helicopter shots
Like Sehwag popularised the uppercut, it was Dhoni who introduced the helicopter shot to the world. Following his trend, we all started emulating that famous shot on every single occasion we batted even in our local games.
It became a vestige of Dhoni in the nostalgia that will now follow whenever we will talk about the long-haired nondescript fellow from Ranchi.
5. A living DRS
Keeping the wicket for a staggering 13 years, he grew a sense of anticipation better than any other cricketer on the field. In more than 99 per cent of the times he wanted to review the umpire’s decision he was right.
This gave him India an edge as they could use those reviews until the end without losing them. This comes from long-grown expertise behind the stumps that keeps on growing in your mind.
Now with him out of the equation, India will have to go by the manual trial and error method that may see them losing out on reviews more frequently than you would expect.