The Indelible story of Captain Cool

SIDRA SUHAIL

“It’s important to learn and not repeat the same mistakes. What’s done is done.” 

– Mahendra Singh Dhoni 

 

MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, 15th August, bringing down the curtain on his over 15-year career as an Indian player. 

 

I sat in my room, hearing stories of the former captain and his indispensable role as a part of the Indian cricket team. I saw my father sitting in the living room, flipping through channels on the television, and all I could hear from my room was, “MS Dhoni announces retirement.” I, just like the million other Dhoni admirers throughout the nation, felt heartbroken by this news as I processed the fact that my favorite batsman had announced his retirement from International Cricket. As I think about this announcement, I get reminded of his captivating journey and my first day as a fan of Indian Cricket and MSD. Let us go down the memory lane and reminisce over some of the unforgettable memories M.S. Dhoni has given us.

 

A 9-year-old girl, along with her father, watched cricket for the first time; India was chasing 275 runs and had lost 2 big wickets in the beginning. At 114 runs, India happened to be 3 wickets down. The eyes of that 9-year-old were filled with appetency while her father lost all hope of India winning the World Cup. But there came this man from the dressing room; sporting the number seven along with the hopes of billions of fans on his shoulders, he went on to score 91 runs from 79 balls and led India to a historic win. Little did I know that this player would turn out to be my favorite among the lot. That man was none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni, an icon who inspired millions not only in his home country but globally. 

 

2 million likes on just a 4-minute-long video within an hour of it being uploaded bears testament to the love Indians have for him in their hearts. The manner in which he conducted himself both on and off field and how he got things done without even breaking a sweat or making a fuss simply stands out. 

 

What are the magnificent moments of MS Dhoni’s playing days? 

In a career that spanned through the time when India got knocked out of the World Cup after suffering a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, to the one when a triumphant sixer in the 2011 Final ended the wait of a billion Indians, Dhoni – a player and also the captain, experienced it all. Dhoni, who made his ODI debut in 2004, transmuted the face of Indian Cricket with his halcyon mien, sharp understanding of the game and astounding leadership skills.

 

MS Dhoni started his career as a ticket collector in the Indian Railways and ended his it as a trophy collector. Despite experiencing numerous ups and downs throughout his career, he is the only captain to win all three ICC trophies. Dhoni captained Team India’s white-ball team from 2007 to 2016 and remains the only captain in International cricket to have led his side in all six T20 World Cups so far. He has led India to victory in 21 home Test matches, the most by an Indian captain. 

 

Dhoni holds the record for playing the highest innings by an Indian wicketkeeper in the longest format. The first Indian cricketer to be conferred the rank of an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, he’s a magnanimous entity with such finesse that has made the entire country proud. For many, MS Dhoni is not just a cricketer who played for India and captained the team so successfully, but instead, he is a symbol of the possibilities for young people from small cities who dare to dream big. It is a reminder that aspiring to achieve something big is not a sin, and destiny permitting their immense passion and hunger for success alone will decide how much they achieve in life. 

 

That evening at Wankhede, when India won their second world cup, excitement poured into the ground from the packed stadium in echoing waves of anticipation; the atmosphere sweltering with the concentrated focus of the entire nation, running in with five runs to win. The scene plays over and over in the euphoric memories of any Indian Cricket fan. And then down came willow, the impetuous swing reverberating with the momentous occasion, and the white ball streaked through the night sky, soaring over long on, into the ecstatic crowd. After a 28-year wait, India had finally won the World Cup.

 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always acted like a father figure to every person on the field. We have witnessed him giving up his chances of scoring centuries numerous times in order to let senior players make new records or to let the new guy make another boundary. For a man considered as one of the greatest runners between the wickets, his career began and ended with runouts. Such is the irony of life. He will always be known as a cultural phenomenon in the cricket world for his immense contribution in taking cricket to another level. His leadership qualities are unparalleled and very much adaptable in everyone’s daily life too. His presence of mind, calm nature and his way of handling even the worst situations are inspirational to millions. He is not only a cricketer or a captain; he is a warrior with whom the old ways have joined the new. 

 

From the phrase ‘Dhoni hasn't yet played, we can win the match,’

To the coolest captain we have ever seen,

To the countless nail-biting finishes he has given us,

To becoming a cricket fan just because of him,

To the goosebumps we all got while chanting, “Dhoni! Dhoni! Dhoni!”

Everything will always be missed. 

We’ll miss him behind the stumps; we will miss the jersey number 7. 

 

“Self-confidence has always been one of my good qualities. I am always confident. It is in my nature to be confident, to be aggressive. And it applies in my batting as well as wicket keeping.”

 – MS Dhoni

The time has come when legends like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina have to retire. Their immense contribution has resulted in the growth of a brilliant team and they will always be remembered in the history of cricket.

Optimism in adversity,

Calmness in tumult, and

Leadership in times of crisis

That’s what India learned from MS Dhoni, and that’s what we admire. 

Retired but ever present in spirit;

We will miss you, Captain Cool.

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