Monday, February 13, 2012

MS Dhoni - Ice Cool or Massive Fool?

And so India have something to sing about. Sharp bowling, another impressive fielding performance and an Indian top order that finally looks comfortable. It was a slick run chase that was more or less sealed in the 35th over.

Until Dhoni lost the match... and then won it again for himself.

Message boards everywhere are flooded with Dhoni praise, hailing Captain Cool and showering him with love and worship. This match will be solely remembered for that last over six and will probably feature in many a highlights reel to come.

But the truth is, it was staged. It was thunder stealing drama that was created from nothing, it was a match winning shot that never should have been. Dhoni manufactured a false situation from which he could become the hero.

Consider the events on the night:

  1. Gambhir more or less wins the match with an easy controlled innings and able support from Kohli and Sharma. 
  2. Dhoni comes out and slows the match to a grinding halt. He refuses to attempt any risk taking shot, chewing up balls nonsensically and dumping the entire load on Suresh Raina, whose crucial boundaries are the only thing that keeps India in the game.
  3. Raina and Jadeja lose their wickets picking up the slack of Captain Freeze. The Australian fielders are suddenly in South Africa mode and are fumbling all over the place, missing run-outs and conceding valuable overthrows.
  4. Thirteen off the last over required when the last over should never have come. Dhoni after inching along in a boundary free innings  hits that six, then receives a gift of a waist high no-ball (off which he was out caught!) and the rest is history. 
I'll Take That!  © AFP

Dear reader, this is exactly how Dhoni has managed to maintain an ODI average of over fifty and earned his title of 'the finisher'.  He doesn't do the real work, letting all of his pawns fall around him while ensuring he remains not out in the last over before having a hit-or-miss swing at victory. The truth is he is no Michael Bevan, who had the ability to resurrect a dead innings rather than kill an innings first.

This time it paid off and he successfully stole every shred of credit, while earlier in the tour he single-handedly ruined what should have been a possible Twenty20 victory using this same method. And of course it doesn't work at all in test matches.

Its incredibly shrewd and wily, its earned him a world number one ranking in ODI cricket, and at the same time its unbelievably selfish and built on sheer dumb luck. Who here even remembers Gambhir's top scoring effort in the World Cup final? He was forgotten then and he will be forgotten now.

Opinion is wildly divided on this man but my stance is perfectly clear. Dhoni is simply a pretty coat of paint on an otherwise perfectly working machine.


  1. Your point of view on MSD can be true once in a while, but it wont be true every time and the man hasnt got 1000+ runs in successful chases without hard work!!

    1. I don't disagree that he is a decent limited overs cricketer who has won matches for India. He just seems to stall or promote himself up the order to have the 'last word', boosting that batting average.

      He has something like 50 ODI not outs... roughly one in four innings!