Let me start with a confession. In fact, it’s something that probably everyone who knows me has known. I was never a fan of MS Dhoni. I liked his keeping, his batting to a large extent, but always felt he was no good on tracks friendlier to bowlers. And his captaincy, I just thought he was at the right place at the right time. Tendulkar clicked and he won the VB series. A new India clicked as he won the 20-20 world cup in 2007. Chennai played well with firepower in the form of Hayden and Murali. He never really had to do much I felt. (I know people will complain about this, and there will be a lot of hate mail and hate chat over this.)
I might be a sadist, but there is a part of me that waits to see people fail. Not that it is a matter of immense pleasure for me watching people fail. I kinda feel failure brings out the best in people. Like Rahul Dravid, who after the 2007 WC loss, went off on a holiday and said its just a game. Loved it!
Well, coming to the topic. MSD failed with Chennai. He was open in asking his bowlers to step up and deliver! Even to the point of berating them on TV right after the toss. There was no holding things back, no hidden behind-the-scenes stuff. What is wrong is wrong. After all, people who follow cricket are no fools.
Then, there was the T20 world cup loss. There are many who say he made bad decisions and then there are some who say he was plain unlucky as T20 is a format where you can’t say what can happen when (in the same breath, will they agree that he was just lucky winning the last one?). For me the defining moment was when he was open enough to admit that he made a mistake holding back Yuvraj, and that they failed against the shorter stuff. Its a matter of much speculation what Yuvraj could/would have done against shorter stuff. But it shows a lot of courage from MSD in accepting his mistakes in public, especially in a country where most captains usually come up with a line about how it was a gamble and could’ve gone either way, and they’d have been lauded if it went right, blah blah blah. I know India will bounce back again for the Champions trophy. They will remain a force to reckon with even if they get ‘bounced’ out of tournaments. Only because there’s a man at the top who is honest enough to admit his mistakes and learn from them. Way to go MSD!