5 instances when MS Dhoni showed he is a ‘street smart cricketer’

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Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one such cricketer who gets the maximum amount of love and respect after Sachin Tendulkar in India. There is no doubt that the Ranchi-born has taken the Indian cricket to great heights, and millions of cricket followers are his admirers.

Dhoni achieved enormous success in both international and domestic circuit. He is the only captain to win all ICC trophies. Under MSD’s leadership, India won the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 Cricket World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy.

When it comes to the Indian Premier League (IPL), Dhoni won three IPL titles for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – second-best in the history of the lucrative league after Rohit Sharma.

Apart from his captaincy sensations, Dhoni is known for his calmness and composure, and that’s the reason why he is called ‘Captain Cool’ in the cricketing world.

On many occasions, fans have seen Dhoni pulling off miracles in the captivating game. Even, current skipper of Team India, Virat Kohli, who himself got nurtured under Dhoni never misses any chance to heap praises on the Jharkhand cricketer. During a chat show hosted by sports presenter Gaurav Kapur, Kohli had claimed that Dhoni is the best cricketing brain out there.

As Dhoni turns 39 on Tuesday (July 07), let’s have a look at five instances when he proved why he is a ‘street smart cricketer’.

1.) Removing one glove in key moments

Dhoni is known for applying strategies according to the situation in the game, and this is something which he does more often than not, especially whenever he stands behind the wickets. There have been many instances when fans have noticed Dhoni removing his gloves in crucial moments of the game.

One such widely popular episode took place during the 2016 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup game against Bangladesh. In that match, India was stuck in a situation where the ‘Tigers’ needed just two runs to win from the final ball. But before Hardik Pandya ran in to bowl the final delivery, Dhoni dropped a glove from his right hand in order to grab the ball quickly.

The plan worked in his favour, as the Bangladeshi batsman missed the ball and decided to take run off the byes. Then Dhoni charged in and instead of throwing the ball from his position he came near the crease and dislodged the stumps with the ball in his hand. After the incident, the batsman was declared run out, and India won the contest by just one run.

2.) Putting a fielder behind the umpire

This incident happened in the IPL 2010 final, which was played between CSK and Mumbai Indians (MI). During the game, MI batsman Kieron Pollard was in golden touch and was taking the innings forward. Then, Dhoni came up with a plan to stop Pollard.

The Caribbean all-rounder was continually trying to clear the straight boundary and producing quick runs. However, Dhoni placed a fielder right behind the umpire, which forced Pollard to change his plan.

Then, while trying to score runs in some other directions, Pollard ended up hitting the ball straight to a fielder and got out. The brilliant move by Dhoni helped CSK to win their maiden IPL title.

3.) Rebuking Khaleel Ahmed in the middle of the pitch

Although Dhoni is famous for his composure and calmness but in some crunch situations, he did lost his cool. One such incident happened in an ODI game against Australia in Adelaide. India was out to chase a big total, and the pressure was on the ‘Men in Blue’.

Dhoni was batting alongside Dinesh Karthik. With a few overs to go, the two batsmen asked for drinks. Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal were not playing in that match, so they came in the middle with drinks. However, during this, Khaleel made a mistake by walking onto the pitch. As soon as he did that, Dhoni scolded Khaleel for his irresponsible behaviour.

The reason why Dhoni had a go at Khaleen was the match situation and the batting track, which was a bit challenging already. By walking on the pitch with spikes on, Khaleel could have provided roughs on it which would eventually help the bowlers. That’s why Dhoni said a few words with anger to Khaleel. However, later, India successfully chased down the given target and won the match.

4.) Taking the ball from the umpire post the match

Dhoni was known for applying different strategies and making extra efforts in order to improve the skills of his bowlers. One such example was seen in an ODI against England in Headingley. Post the match, Dhoni went to the umpires and asked them for the ball which was used during the game.

Mahi explained the reason later when he spoke to the media. Dhoni said that the balls which were used in the match could be taken by pacers to practise reverse swing. The former Indian captain meant that already used balls could mock the situation of the final stages of an innings.

“I requested the umpire for the ball and gave it to our bowling coach and said we need to work on it so that we can get a bit of reverse swing going. That will help the fast bowlers get those yorkers or wickets towards close or after the 40-over mark. That will help us restrict the opposition in the last 10 overs,” Dhoni had said.

5.) Made players practise bowl out before the match

During the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup, arch-rivals India and Pakistan met in the finals where India had won the game. Before that match, both the nations played a league contest where the scores were tied, and the result of the game was decided by a bowl out.

Pakistan chose Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat and Shahid Afridi for their first three shots at the stumps. But Dhoni went with his part-time bowlers, Virender Sehwag and Robin Uthappa, along with specialist spinner Harbhajan Singh.

The move of Dhoni worked as India won the bowl-out 3-0. Pakistan missed every shot while Indians hit each one of them. The reason behind India’s success was Dhoni as he had already asked his teammates to practise the bowl out in the nets before every game. This rule was new for everyone and bowlers should have been used to it if the situation comes in the tournament.

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About the Author:
Akshat is just another cricket fan who’s grown up watching the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Cricket runs in his veins. Cover drive is his favorite sight, and a ball meeting the middle of the bat is his favorite sound. You can write to him at akshat.gaur@crickettimes.com or aks333.in@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin.