MS Dhoni quits CSK captaincy to show his art of 'perfect timing' remains intact

MS Dhoni left his limited-overs captaincy in 2018 to give Virat Kohli enough time for 2019 World Cup, retired from international cricket on India's 74th Independence Day and on Thursday gave Ravindra Jadeja time for transition as the new CSK captain.

MS Dhoni file photo, (Image Credits:
By Samrat Chakraborty | Mar 25, 2022 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

A thought-provoking anecdote in noted journalist Bharat Sundaresan’s book — The Dhoni Touch — gives an insight to the 2011 World Cup winning captain’s mindset. It goes back to 2008 when Dhoni asked his teammates to not  exuberantly celebrate their win over the dominating Australian side in an One-Day International (ODI) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in 2008.

The story, as explained in the book, goes like this: “In February 2008, India were chasing down a facile total of 160 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was only the fifteenth ODI as captain for MS Dhoni, and he was at the crease with Rohit Sharma. With 10 runs to win, he called for a needless change of gloves. In cricket, it’s generally with a pair of gloves that you see information arriving from the dressing room. Dhoni was doing the opposite though. He was sending a poignant message back to the pavilion. ‘Nobody will celebrate on the balcony once we win this match. 

“Meanwhile, in the middle, Dhoni was handing down instructions to Rohit, on how the youngster should conduct himself while shaking hands with the Aussies once the match got over. He wanted it to be as tepid as possible. ‘When they give their hand, just firmly hold yours out without folding it like an obligation, but don’t overdo it. And just stare blankly at them without any hint of excitement.’ This was Mahi’s way of saying it’s no big deal. My bowlers got them all out for 160 and we are chasing it down, usme kaunse badi baat hai (there’s no big deal in it). If we celebrate wildly, the Aussies will be vindicated in their belief that this was an upset. We wanted to tell them that this is not a fluke. This is going to happen over and over again. The Aussies simply couldn’t handle it. They were shaken,’ a player from that tour revealed much later.

“This was back when the Australians were still at their indomitable best. Beating them meant a big deal to any opposition, that too in their own backyard at the mighty MCG. It was a period when Ricky Ponting’s team believed that every loss was an ‘upset’ and not just a win for their opponents. India had dominated this particular match from the beginning. Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan had gathered nine wickets between them and shot out the hosts for just 159. India had more or less cruised to their target and now Dhoni the rookie wanted to give his all-conquering, world-beating counterpart his version of the cold shoulder.”

His mindset could well be crafted into a case study for success while his knack of showing little or no emotions on the pitch under testing circumstances remains inspiring. The long-haired boy from Ranchi showed that nothing is impossible and continues to set a benchmark for his successors to follow. 
And there is more to be pondered upon! 

READ MORE: MS Dhoni steps down as captain; Ravindra Jadeja to lead Chennai Super Kings 

MS Dhoni quits CSK captaincy 

Two days before Chennai Super Kings (CSK) take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL 2022 opener, Dhoni handed over the captaincy baton to the franchise veteran and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. It can be argued and well believed that the four-time IPL winning captain might retire from the lucrative tournament after the upcoming season with his current run of form, since World Cup 2019, not favouring him much. 

But his decision to quit CSK captaincy and walk into the cricket field for the first time in 14-year without the captain’s tag was a well-timed one. He wanted to give a smooth transition to Jadeja to take over the role and executed it to perfection. 

MS Dhoni’s perfect-timing: Not a first! 

However, it is not the first-time, when Dhoni showed that he is a strict professional and understands the nuances of the game beyond the 24-yard. He quit his ODI captaincy in 2018 to give his successor and former India captain Virat Kohli ample of time to build his squad for the 2019 World Cup. 

“I resigned from captaincy because I wanted the new captain to get enough time for preparing a team before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019,” Dhoni said on the sidelines of an event conducted by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in Ranchi. “Selecting a strong team without giving the new captain appropriate time isn’t possible. I believe that I left the captaincy at the right time.”

Moreover, it couldn’t have been a better date than India’s 74th Independence Day, for the servant of the Indian Army to call time on his international career. 

It is now upon the Indian cricket fans to give him a deserving farewell for his services to the nation and franchise in his last IPL match which could well be in this season. 

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