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MS Dhoni: What Makes This Old Warhorse A Key Ingredient In India's Title Dreams At The World Cup

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MS Dhoni is too old to still be playing for Team India. He can no longer hit the ball at will. The finisher that once enthralled fans is finished now. Just look at the number of deliveries he eats up in his innings. He's surely a liability for the Indian team. Dhoni is just occupying a Team India spot which can very well be used to accommodate a player that actually deserves it. Surely, we can't win the ICC World Cup with Dhoni in the side.

All these comments haunted the former Indian captain in 2018, making it almost imperative for Dhoni to call it quits. But, there is a reason why this man is called 'Captain Cool'. The Jharkhand cricketer is one of those rare breeds of cricketers who thrive under pressure. You knock them down, they get right back up. You push them back, they come forward with rediscovered strength.

For someone who remains India's most popular and definitely the most scrutinised cricketer (barring Sachin Tendulkar), Dhoni was out of form and sorts before he travelled to Australia for the three-match ODI series earlier this January. With the critics watching his every move, waiting for him to fall, right before embarking on 'we hate Dhoni' bandwagon; the 37-year-old had everything to lose - his career, place in the side and, more importantly, a chance to play the 2019 ICC World Cup.

But, in the past four months, Dhoni has not only managed to silence his critics with a brilliant showing, but has rightly made the World Cup spot his own. More recently, his exploits in the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) almost powered Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to their fourth title, if it wasn't for a rampaging Mumbai Indians (MI) brigade.

Apart from a rediscovered form in his batting, Dhoni has so many other roles in the team which makes him a vital cog in India's dreams of capturing their third World Cup title. 

Here's a look at what makes Dhoni a key ingredient in India's title aspirations at this year's World Cup:

Middle-Order Stability 

Unlike the T20 version, the ODI format is an extension that cannot be dictated just by hammering the ball out of the park. It demands the batsmen to rotate the strike and stitch crucial partnerships in the middle overs before launching the all mighty attack on the opposition bowlers in the final stages of the game. While India might boast of a strong batting line-up, no one is best suited to stabilise the innings than Dhoni.

The Jharkhand cricketer might not be the finisher we once knew, but, as India's batting line-up evolved over the years, so did Dhoni's role. From being the most consistent finishers in the sport, Dhoni has now adapted to his new role of being a sheet anchor for the team. The new-age MSD allows the batting to revolve around him as he holds the fort at the other end. And, once the game nears its end, Dhoni swaps his role and the finisher takes over.

Going into the World Cup, India have thrived on the form of their top three, with the middle-order yet to be tested, which makes Dhoni's presence furthermore crucial for Kohli's men in England & Wales.

Lightning Quick Glovework 

Cricket, like other sports, is a game dictated by rules and there are numerous ways in which the coaches emphasise on its importance across the globe. Technique does not end with batting alone, as noticed with wicket-keepers who are equally expected to follow certain guidelines to reap better returns. 

Amongst others, one major rule related to wicket-keeping or fielding, in general, is inertia. With the ball travelling to the fielder's hands at a rapid pace, a cricketer is expected to catch the ball and let it slide with the momentum for some time before resisting the motion. The idea is to absorb the momentum of the ball slowly in a bid to avoid chances of it popping out of their hands.

While most wicket-keepers follow this tactic against seamers and spinners, Dhoni follows a completely different ideology. He believes in attacking the ball and throwing his hands at the stumps as quickly as possible. When he keeps to the spinners, Dhoni moves his hands towards the ball and - without moving his hand back for even a second - guides it to the stumps. So what does he achieve by doing that? As noted on one of his stumpings, a reaction time of a staggering 0.38 seconds.

When it comes to run-outs, Dhoni has evolved from traditional techniques even more. While the age-old wicket-keeping technique would state that a keeper needs to be behind the stumps to collect a throw, the Jharkhand cricketer feels otherwise. Rather than standing behind, Dhoni stands right in front and flicks the ball onto the stumps using the momentum of the throw. That technique might not be listed in any rule book, but the Indian wicket-keeper has made it work over the years.

Setting Up The Field 

A wicket-keeper enjoys the luxury of having one of the best views on the field. And, Dhoni makes the most of it with his shrewd awareness behind the stumps. Keeping a close watch on the contest between the bowler and the batsman, Dhoni is often seen setting up the field according to the situation.

Such has been his know-how of the game that Dhoni, almost like a seer, ends up predicting the shots which are yet to be played by the opposition batsmen. There have been numerous instances where, after anticipating the batsmen's shot selection, the former Indian captain's field settings have led to a breakthrough. And, that added skill-set is likely to come in handy for India in England & Wales.

Guiding The Bowlers 

The close proximity of a wicket-keeper with the bowlers allows them to pass on vital information about the batsman's play. If the batsman falters in footwork, the wicket-keeper is probably the first one to notice and advise the bowler to use it to his own good. And, Dhoni is no different.

The Indian wicket-keeper has been the guiding force behind the rapid rise of Indian spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and YuzvendraChahal in limited-overs cricket. The stump-mic chatter from numerous ODI games India has played in the past has been a testimony to how Dhoni has helped the Indian spinners to get the better of the Proteas.

"From behind the stumps, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) always keeps advising you. He knows what the batsman is going to try. It makes it easier for us," Chahal has been quoted as saying in the past.

India's Go-To-Man For DRS 

With the advent of the Decision Review System (DRS), the cricket teams have an option to challenge on-field decisions. While most teams have struggled to properly use the review, India seems to be doing pretty damn well - thanks to MSD. Such has been his awareness behind the stumps that he has developed a knack for getting the review right, almost every time.

His impeccable judgement on the DRS has aided Team India on multiple occasions in the past. While many of his teammates, including captain Virat Kohli, have struggled to identify a potential opportunity, Dhoni has made DRS his own forte. In the modern era of cricket, where every opportunity is crucial in the bigger scheme of things, that is one additional skill a keeper needs and Dhoni leads the way, yet again.

posted May 21, 2019 by Naveen Kumar

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the most loved men in the Indian society both as a cricketer and as a common man. His love and admiration for the Indian Army and special forces are second to none and have been well documented throughout the veteran's professional career. 

In the ICC World Cup 2019 debut for the Men in Blue the former Indian skipper and World Cup winner, decided to pay homage to the nation's Para Special Forces in the most unique manner by proudly sporting their distinguishing insignia which honours the Parachute regiment, on his wicket keeping gloves. 

The emblem represents the struggle and intense training a member of the regiment goes through before officially getting inducted. Considered to be one of the most difficult regimens, a candidate gets exposed to extreme environments which includes being exposed to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, humiliation and various mental and physical tortures to make their resolve unbreakable. 

Even after going through so much, the candidates do not officially get inducted until they complete what is known as the 'Balidan Padh' wherein, once their training is complete, they have to spend a year in a hostile zone, actively being involved in operations. It is only after that one year that they are honoured with the 'Balidan' insignia. Such is the importance and value of the sign. 

It did not take too long for the Indian fans to take notice of Dhoni's silent gesture and they did not hold back in showering the legendary cricketer with love: 

This man shows his love for the nation and army.
A Regimental Dragger(BALIDAN) of Indian Army Para Special Force on MS Dhoni Gloves. #IndianArmy #Balidan

— Sachin Joraviya (@SachinJoraviya) June 5, 2019

Salute & respect to MS Dhoni who printed insignia of 'Balidan' on his wicket keeping gloves.


Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a lot of things, and being generous is one of them. 

During Team India's second warm-up game ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 in Cardiff, the former Indian skipper was on a roll like he used to be on a constant basis back in his prime days. 

After a disappointing start to the Indian batting innings with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan getting dismissed off the pitch early on, Mahi alongside KL Rahul gave India a second chance when they picked the game up after 15 overs. With no traces of nervousness on his face, Dhoni's steady stance, precision with the bat and otherworldly strength in the shoulders enabled him to send the ball flying for longer shots, beyond the boundary. 

With 8 fours and 7 sixes, Dhoni scored a ton in just 73 deliveries with the 100th run coming of a massive 90m six above the bowler's head. As the batsman raised his bat to celebrate his achievement, captain Virat Kohli showed some love in the 'classic Virat Kohli' way.

But despite the hammering, the giving nature of Dhoni's forced him to stop the bowler Sabbir Rahman in the middle of his runup because he wanted to help the Mashrafe Mortaza-led side set up a better field than before. 

Asking the opposing to consider moving his fielding who was basically lingering around at mid-wicket, Mahi asked Mortaza to place him to square leg, where he would have been of a lot more use. 

Finding sense and logic in the legendary wicket-keeper's observation, the Bangladeshi skipper obliged. 

Twitter was quick to react to this extremely rare yet valuable moment in the world of cricket:

While it was only a friendly match where the end results did not matter, the fact that there is absolutely no one who has helped their rivals set up the field shows how much Dhoni cares about enjoying a good game of cricket rather than making it all about winning or losing.

He may face a lot of criticism when he struggles with the form but it is because of things like this that the nation continues to love and support the veteran. 


At the end of the day, we have won the trophy. It doesn’t matter who holds it: MSD

India’s most successful and charismatic leader MS Dhoni recently shared one his secrets which every fan wanted to know. Dhoni unveiled the suspense of handing over the trophies to the youngsters after every series win throughout his captaincy career. He suggested that the lovely gesture works as an appraisal for young talents who have performed well in the series.

Over the years, Dhoni has achieved it all when given the major responsibility to lead the team which consisted of both seniors and youngsters. He has all 3 prestigious ICC Trophies in his kitty which every captain all over the world craves for.  He also has always supported the youngsters in the teams and has his own unique ways to motivate them to contribute to their highest levels.

Every player’s performance should be valued

After every series win, we have seen MS Dhoni standing in one corner and giving the opportunity to the youngsters to hold the coveted trophies. His thought behind the graceful gesture is to provide the valuable respect and motivation which the players have earned after great performances. He also admitted that at the end of the day the trophy will come back home and does not really matter whoever is holding it.

“It’s just that, if there is any youngster in the team who has performed well in the series and you hand him over the trophy, it works as an appraisal for him. You are appreciating what he has done. It gives them a lot of confidence. At the end of the day, we have won the trophy. It doesn’t matter who holds it. But if I hand it over to some youngster and I’m getting benefitted that he could perform better in future by this gesture then it’s a win-win situation for us,” claimed MS Dhoni according to a video by Aaj Tak.

The trend has not changed

India’s iconic batsman Virat Kohli was handed over the captaincy duties after MS Dhoni decided to step down as the skipper from the limited overs format. And Virat has undertaken his duty with a lot maturity and has led the team very well in the last one year. However, the trend of giving trophies to the youngsters has not changed as Kohli also stands in one corner to let the younger talents hold the trophy.