Mahendra Singh Dhoni stunned the cricketing world by stepping down as the captain of the ODI and T-20. Dhoni had a stellar record as the Indian skipper in both the limited over and the T-20 arena.
He stands tall among the all-time great captains in the limited overs arena.Dhoni can proudly boast of having the ICC Treble in his kitty, many captains would dream of accomplishing.
The crowning moment of his captaincy was leading the Indian team to victory against SriLanka in the 2011 World Cup final. The icing on the cake was Dhoni sealing the title with a trademark six off Nuwan Kulasekara's bowling.
The Wankhede erupted with joy and so did the country whose long awaited for a second World Cup title ended. Those scenes of jubilance are very much alive in the minds of cricket fanatics and shall never fade away. Dhoni the finisher came to his fore and looked unfazed by the superlative effort.
Under his captaincy, the Indian team scaled lofty heights and turned into a formidable unit in ODI's and T-20s. He led the Indian team to 2007 ICC T-20 World Cup, 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy titles.Another important dimension about Dhoni's captaincy was India improving its record in multi-nation ICC Tournament and going the distance in winning major tournaments.
The unorthodox yet effective Mahendra Singh Dhoni has many facets to his captaincy. His cool and calm demeanour, his uncanny ability to read the game surely stood out but his ability to finish off games under pressure was his forte while donning the skipper's hat.
Unlike many of his illustrious predecessors whose batting got affected by the burden of captaincy, Dhoni blossomed into a world class finisher for the Blue brigade relishing the pressure of captaincy. MS Dhoni had a two-dimensional approach to his batting.
He could alter the tempo of his innings based on the requirement of the match. Attack was something which came naturally to Dhoni as the powerful hitter with raw power possessed a wide array of shots in his arsenal.
He could also play the accumulator role by playing those run a ball innings.Add to that, his lightning quick running between the wickets which was courtesy his supreme fitness levels.Indian cricket had been devoid of a finisher for a very long time.
The likes of Kapil Dev or a Robin Singh did some kind of justice to the finisher's role but India still needed someone of the pedigree of a Micheal Bevan or Lance Klusener who could finish off games on a consistent basis.One would be wrong in overlooking Yuvraj Singh's contribution to Indian cricket as a finisher.
The talismanic southpaw won big games for India with his graceful strokeplay but still there was a certain vacuum which needed to be filled in. The long wait ended when MS Dhoni catapulted his way into the international scene and cemented his place as a finisher by producing some whirlwind innings down the order.Dhoni and the word finisher became inseparable.
There was always a sense of calm when Dhoni walked into bat in the latter stages of the innings and finished off matches in the very dying moments of the game.
Dhoni became a household name with his charismatic 'Helicopter shots' and those tracer bullets like flat sixes over midwicket which resulted in some last over heroics and kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
It is said that the qualities of a captain get sunk into his team.Dhoni's batting also had a telling effect on his comrades.His Chennai Super King teammate Suresh Raina was second to none in finishing off games for India courtesy his destructive hitting ability.
Ravindra Jadeja also took a leaf out of Dhoni's book to take India across the line in many games.Dhoni truly has turned around the mental psyche of the Indian team which at one time crumbled under pressure. Dhoni's art of pacing his innings has also had a positive bearing on India's batting ace Virat Kohli who has excelled as a master-chaser for India, hunting down big totals with superlative consistency.
One can fairly conclude that MS Dhoni has left an impregnable mark in Indian cricket have his name shall be etched in the golden annals of Indian cricket as the man who pioneered the art of finishing games for India in the limited overs arena.