When the inaugural T20 World Championship was to be played, no one gave India even a slender chance of winning the Championship. Some of the better-known names were missing from the Indian squad and Mahendra Singh Pansingh Dhoni was made the scapegoat captain to lead a team that would not lose face even if it returned without a single victory. What happened finally is history but above all it brought into limelight a new potential captain for the Indian cricket team.
Dhoni was no Samson with all his strength in his long hair but a captain who remained cool as a cucumber even under the most stressful situation. It was only a matter of time before M.S. Dhoni would be handed the reins of India cricket to be in the safest of hands. Dhoni appeared at the international arena in December 2004 when he made his One Day International debut against Bangladesh.
Perhaps the month of December had a special significance in Dhoni’s career; he made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in December 2005 and the following December, his T20 debut against South Africa.
Dhoni draws his ancestry from the District of Almora in Uttarakhand but was born in Ranchi, then in the State of Bihar and now in Jharkhand, the district to which his father moved for employment. Since the Bihar youth teams of various age groups were not all that strong, Dhoni had to put up outstanding individual performances to remain in the limelight. However, once in the Indian team, he remained an invaluable asset for the team in all the three forms of the game and once the leader, his achievements remained unparalleled.
In 90 Tests, Dhoni known lovingly as Mahi, scored nearly 5,000 runs at an average of a fraction over 38 but it was his efficiency behind the stumps that accounted for the 256 catches and 38 stumpings. However, Mahi’s achievements in the shorter version of the game remain enviable. In 350 ODIs, he scored 10,773 runs at an average of 50.53 with a highest score of 183 not out and a record number of victims behind the stumps; 321 catches and the number of stumpings with the integers reversed standing at 123; a total of 444 victims. In 98 T20 Internationals, Dhoni scored 1,617 runs at an average of 37.60 and accounted for 91 victims behind the stumps in the form of 54 catches and 37 stumpings.
Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar has been associated with The Teenager Today for more than 50 years; initially as a reader and later as a contributor on varied topics. Having worked in the Indian Air Force and in India’s oldest company, Forbes & Company Limited, he is now practising as a lawyer in Nainital High Court.