Dhoni is a cricketer with an enviable record, both as player and captain. And yet it is his modesty underscored by a steely confidence that leaves people in awe.
When Rahul Dravid gave up the ‘keeping gloves after the 2003 ICC ODI World Cup, India’s prayers for a genuine wicketkeeper batsman were answered in the form of Dhoni. In just his fifth ODI appearance (against Pakistan) he muscled his way to a score of 148 off a mere 123 deliveries. Not very much later he scored 183 off 145 deliveries against Sri Lanka that set up a handsome victory for India while chasing a target of 299.
After the senior members of the Indian team - Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly - decided to give the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup a skip, Dhoni was handed the captaincy. This marked the beginning of a new era for India as the team went on to win the first ever T20 World Cup, the 2008 CB Series in Australia, the Border Gavaskar trophy in 2008 and a historic Test series victory in New Zealand in 2009. Even the Chennai Super Kings have benefitted immensely with Dhoni at the helm – the powerhouse from Ranchi has led them to IPL and CLT20 victories in 2010.
Players respond to Dhoni because he backs them irrespective of the odds. Seldom does one find Dhoni in an animated state – he is a picture of composure on the field. As a batsman he has the ability to destroy any bowling attack on his day. But it is his evolution in the Test arena that has earned him plaudits. He has the rare ability to put his head down and bat out a difficult period in the game. This quality has characterised his wicketkeeping as well – he has made giant strides in this area too since his debut in 2004.
|Test debut||v Sri Lanka, Chennai, Dec 02, 2005|
|ODI debut||v Bangladesh, Chittagong, Dec 23, 2004|
|T20I debut||v South Africa, Johannesburg, Dec 01, 2006|
|IPL debut||Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab, Mohali, Apr 19, 2008|
|CLT20 debut||Chennai Super Kings v Central Districts, Durban, Sep 11, 2010|