Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 9 – M.S. Dhoni

“Dhoni, Dhoni!!!!!! Dhoni, Dhoni!!!!!! If you can hear these words in the form of crowds shouting their hearts out to a man who has made this country proud, then you are a fan of a certain Cricketer from Ranchi who dared to dream big, and that’s what he did. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is the reason we won the 2007 inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the reason that led to the birth of Indian Premier League. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the reason we became number 1 in test rankings and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the reason we won the 2011 ICC World Cup. He is the reason India slept well on the night of April 2, 2011. Just the thought that we won’t be seeing him again in blue makes me emotional.

I got the opportunity to interview one of the biggest Dhoni fan and share his thoughts on arguably one of the greatest white-ball captain in cricketing history.

Thank You so much for your participation in this interview, When was the first time you saw MS Dhoni on tv? And when did you become a hardcore fan of him?

First of all thanks a lot for having me.

I remember him watching him in the game vs Pakistan when he scored his first century. I was 4-5 years old and my dad used to watch games on TV. I just remember a guy with long hair with aggression hitting the bowlers all around the park. So this was the first time I saw him.

I became his hardcore fan in the 2007 World T20….I saw his image in the newspaper lifting the World Cup and as a boy from Ranchi I can’t express in words how amazing that feeling was. And since then it’s been “Dhoni Dhoni” till the end for me.

How would you describe Dhoni’s captaincy in tests, in ODI’s and in T20s?

Exceptional. People say that he wasn’t a good captain in tests when compared to Limited Overs but I think he was a great captain in tests too. Results were not in his favour but he was a very good test captain and has lead the side in a phase when the veterans were going off and we needed to build a new team.

He was the best captain the world has ever witnessed in the Limited Overs format. His game reading ability and to be calm under immense pressure make him rank above everyone else.

Had MS Dhoni not demoted himself in the batting line-up from number 3 to number 7 in white ball format, do you think we would have still won the 2011 World Cup as well as Champions Trophy 2013? Do you think captaincy could affect him at that number 3 position?

MS has always been a team player. Scoring 10k runs at an average of 50 while batting at 5-6 shows how capable he is. India would’ve surely won the 2011 WC and 2013 Champions Trophy even if he had not demoted himself down. This shows how selfless he is, he could’ve played at top of the order but he demoted himself for other players.

And I don’t think captaincy would’ve affected him even if he was batting at 3. He has played as a captain for almost whole of his career and has performed in very tough situations. So I don’t think it would’ve been a problem for him.

Your thoughts on MS Dhoni as a finisher? Mention couple of your favourite knocks in the white ball format.

The best. We all know the impact he had on the game. Everyone fan had the confidence of winning even after a top order collapse because he was there “Dhoni hai na sambhal lega”.
As I’ve said before, His match awareness and game reading was exceptional. We’ve seen him taking the game deep and coming out victorious on a numerous ocassions. Dhoni has been the best finisher ever to play the game in my opinion.

My first pick will be the World Cup final in 2011. That inning was special in so many ways. He didn’t had the greatest of the tournament before that game and the way he came out with was absolutely Dhoni-esque and second one in the Celkon Cup Final in 2013 against Sri Lanka….He was injured and then did what he is known for, finishing the game in the last over. It was around 15 needed from 6 balls if I’m right. These two are my favorite MS Dhoni knocks.

Captaining an Indian Cricket Team is as tough as climbing Mount Everest. And when India weren’t doing well, there must have been tremendous pressure on him which may have affected his mental health too. Your thoughts on this?

It certainly is a very tough task to lead a team like India where everyone is an expert and you will get criticised even if you fail once and MS has been absolutely terrific. He is someone that doesn’t get affected by these things and he just focused on his what was best for the team. He has won all the three ICC trophies and everything one can win as a captain. So, I don’t think he was affected even a bit with these things.

What are the things that you learnt from MS Dhoni?

Stay Calm in every situation, never give up and be honest to whatever you are doing.

“Process is more than the Result”.

When MS Dhoni retired from white-ball captaincy in 2017, everyone thought we would see the old MS back, unfortunately it was the opposite of that. What was the reason behind this mindset in your opinion?

One can’t play the same way throughout his career and this was just a bad phase for him as a batter. He won the Man of the Series award against Australia, in Australia in the 2018-19 ODI series, if I’m not wrong. Also scored a hundred agaist England and made a good partenership with Yuvi. He certainly needed some time at the crease and he was batting low down the order but again that was the best for the team according to the management and he accepted that.

When you first read the caption of Dhoni’s post on Instagram – “Thanks a lot for your love and support throughout. From 1929 hrs consider me as Retired” what was going on in your mind?

Speechless. I expected that we won’t see him in the blue jersey again after he made himself unavailable for so long but I never thought it will hit so hard and it’ll be so so tough for me to digest it. It’s very hard to see someone going off when you had watched them all your life. Although he will play in the IPL but we all know not fot long… Cricket won’t be the same for me and it will take an eternity to sink this in.

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