MS Dhoni is a titan of Indian cricket. He is the one who led India to ICC World Cup glory in 2011, the only time India has won the World Cup. He is the only captain to win all three ICC trophies. He won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 and the ICC World T20 in 2007. He led India to the number one spot in Test cricket for more than two years. He has led the team in 49 Tests, 89 ODIs and 65 T20Is. In Tests, he has won 24 and lost 11. In ODIs, he has a win-loss record of 34-16 and in T20Is, he has a 26-12 win-loss record.
But those are just numbers. And numbers don't reflect everything. For example, in ODIs, he has won 34 games and lost 16. But look at the kind of players he had to work with. In the 2007 World T20 final, he was playing with the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan. All three have played over 300 ODIs and are with the team till now. All three had a great impact on the final. In the 2011 World Cup final, he was playing with Yuvraj and Sachin Tendulkar. Yuvraj was the Man of the match in the final and Sachin was Man of the Series. In the 2015 World Cup, he had to make do with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan, all of who have played over 100 ODIs. He was playing with the likes of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami. There have been many other players who were not at their best when he was leading the team.
Coming from Jharkhand which never had a cricket superstar, the odds were against him. His father was a train driver, his mother was a housewife. But he wanted to be a cricketer. As a 10-year-old, he would run back and forth from the railway station to the ground, so that he wouldn't miss practice. He used to study in the train, while travelling from Ranchi to Bokaro. He was not a great student. But he was focused. He wanted to play cricket. At the age of 21, he was selected for the Jharkhand Ranji team. In the Ranji Trophy semi-final, he scored a century, and got a call from the Indian team manager. He made his debut in the year 2004.
He wasn't just good with the bat, he was also a brilliant fielder. He was the fastest in the side, and could cover a lot of ground. He was aggressive with the bat, and always wanted to be the best. He was a great teammate, always there for his teammates and encouraging them. He was a good captain too. His strategy in the field was brilliant and his energy levels never dipped. He was a true professional.
He was a great ambassador for the game. He loved the game. He wanted the game to grow. He wanted to be part of the game forever. He has played the game with passion. His innings of 183 against Australia in 2008 was pure art. He was an inspiration to millions of people. A true role model.
If you want to explain Dhoni in a sentence, its very simple.
He is a winner.
He is a legend. And he is a champion.
The never say attitude he imbibed the Indian team with is a true reflection of the man he is.
I wish him all the best for his future. I hope he continues to be a part of the game. I hope he gets the respect he deserves. And I hope he is always loved and liked by everyone.
There have been very few who have changed the game like he did. He is a true leader. A true champion. Virat Kohli is a great captain. But Dhoni is a titan.
And is he better than Sachin Tendulkar? There is no right answer to that question. All I know is that Dhoni has given the country so much. And he will continue to do so. Dhoni is not just a cricket champion.
He is a people's champion.