The men’s international season is now well and truly underway, brightening up some bleak English winter mornings for me. Here’s five talking points from the first and second ODIs between Australia and India.
The ball, soaring high in the air, was being watched by millions of people all over the world, who were glued to their TV sets.
Spectators at the stadium – legends of the game, VIPs and other – were on their toes, biting their nails and holding their breath.
And then there was a collective sigh of relief when the ball cleared the boundary.
Yes, he has done it. The long wait was over.
The frenzied crowd cried in ecstasy. A legend was born.
This was a scene from the World Cup final at Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai, on 2 April 2011. The man who sent the ball in the air was none other than MS Dhoni.
Dhoni, the blue-eyed boy of Indian cricket, celebrated his 39th birthday on 7 July.
Born in Ranchi, a small village then in the state of Bihar, now Jharkhand, Dhoni, a boy with no formal coaching in cricket in his formative years, made India proud by taking home the World Cup that had been eluding the cricket-crazy India for 28 years.
MS Dhoni played cricket on instinct and gut feeling, and he scaled to dizzy heights doing so. It was a Midas touch for Dhoni, who has annexed so many trophies from the ICC in his time.
An astute leader with a cricketing brain, he marshalled his arsenal of lesser-known players to achieve success.
Dhoni’s brand of cricket is par excellence. So many youngsters have taken to cricket because of him.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a great addiction for so many people, especially the youth of this generation. The tournament is a great money-spinner for the coffers of Indian cricket.
After the phenomenal success at the inaugural T20 World Cup played in the Rainbow Nation, the bigwigs at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, especially Lalit Modi, floated this idea of the IPL. It has been one of the cricketing world’s major successes, with so many international cricketers going under the hammer.
The credit goes to MS Dhoni for the birth of this league-style tournament in India. He’s a great ambassador for this brand of cricket around the world.
MS Dhoni first embarked on his international cricket journey way back in 2004 in an ODI and later in a Test in 2005, and he is still hungry for runs in this great game.
The IPL is his pet game. He was the most sought-after player in the inaugural auction. Every franchise vied to get him onto their team. And Chennai Super Kings bought him for a whopping ₹60 million (A$1.14 million) in 2008.
He still rules CSK today, having won titles for them thrice – in 2010, 2011 and 2018 – and helping them to a Champions League title in 2011. Dhoni is an adopted son of Chennai.
So here’s to MS Dhoni, one of world cricket’s all-time greats.