Generally the perception about MS Dhoni is that he was a good on-field captain, but he didn’t build the team by himself and just got advantage of the team that was built by his one of his predecessors Sourav Ganguly.
However, that’s not entirely true. While the players developed by Ganguly did help Dhoni win some major tournaments, Dhoni himself also built a team on his own after 2012 and developed some quality players who are now benefiting his successor Virat Kohli.
Here are the 5 match-winners MS Dhoni gave to Virat Kohli –
#1 Rohit Sharma
Before the Champions Trophy 2013, MS Dhoni made a huge decision of dropping two of India’s highly successful ODI openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. However, when Sehwag and Gambhir were dropped, Rohit was not picked as a potential opener. He was picked to bat at no. 4.
But, in the practice games ahead of the Champions Trophy, another middle order batsman Dinesh Karthik scored back to back hundreds and secured the no. 4 spot.
While, Dhoni gave the no. 4 spot to Karthik, he still didn’t drop Rohit and surprised everyone by sending him out to open in the first game of the Champions Trophy on the place of the specialist opener Murali Vijay.
Once Rohit started opening, it’s been a different story altogether for him. He is still scoring heaps of runs under Virat Kohli’s captaincy.
#2 Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan was another opener whom Dhoni tried in the Champions Trophy 2013. The Indian team went into that tournament with a completely new opening pair under testing conditions and it was not only Rohit, but Shikhar also lived up to Dhoni’s expectations.
Out of the four ICC ODI tournaments that India has played since Champions Trophy 2013, Shikhar has been the highest scorer in three of them. He had started wonderfully well in the World Cup last year as well with a hundred against Australia, but a thumb injury, unfortunately, ruled the southpaw out of the tournament.
Shikhar is still India’s first choice ODI opener under Virat Kohli.
#3 Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja was another player who, according to many people, was overrated and people raised questions when Dhoni decided to hand a Test debut to Jadeja rather than Ajinkya Rahane in the fourth Test match between India and England in 2012.
The critics thought Jadeja was neither good enough with the bat nor with the ball and rather than slotting him at no. 7, Dhoni could have slotted Rahane at no. 6 and himself at no. 7 which would have strengthened the batting. But, Dhoni went with his gut call and played Jadeja as an all-rounder.
Jadeja has been one of India’s biggest match winners in Test match cricket in the last 5 years.
#4 Ravichandran Ashwin
It was Dhoni who made the decision of dropping Harbhajan Singh for Ravichandran Ashwin back in 2011 and Ashwin has never looked back ever since, as far as Test cricket is concerned.
While Ashwin has not been as successful in overseas Test matches as he would have liked to, the rate at which he has taken wickets in home Test matches is commendable.
Ashwin has already grabbed 365 Test wickets and he has quite a few years of cricket still left in him. There is no doubt that he will finish as one of India’s greats in Test match cricket.
#5 Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma was another player who struggled a lot with his inconsistency in the earlier parts of his career, but the trust that Dhoni showed in him during the tough phases is the reason why Ishant has been able to become the kind of bowler he is now.
Ishant is only three wickets away from completing his 300 Test wickets which is a rare feat for Indian fast bowlers because of the pitches on which they play for most parts of their careers.
Ishant has easily been India’s most consistent Test bowler since 2018.