Chandresh Narayanan charts Dhoni's smooth and rocky journey in cricket's traditional form
. Long handle effect, 2005-06: At Faisalabad, India were struggling at 281-5, still 307 runs behind Pakistan. MS Dhoni walked in and fought fire with fire, bore the brunt of a rampant Shoaib Akhtar stroked 148 off just 153 balls and India inched ahead. India went onto lose the series 0-1 in the decider at Karachi.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
. First salvo, 2007-08: Hosts India were trailing 0-1 against South Africa under regular captain Anil Kumble. On the morning of the deciding Test at Kanpur, Kumble pulled out and Dhoni stepped up to lead for the first time. He struck gold immediately winning his first Test in charge by eight wickets. The Dhoni Midas Touch was alive and kicking.
. Away glory, New Zealand, 2008-09: It was a new era for India in Tests under Dhoni as a full-time captain. India won a Test in Hamilton, their first in New Zealand since 1975-76 to claim the series 1-0. This was India’s first Test series win in New Zealand since 1967-68, though he opted not to push for a 2-0 win with a ‘safety first’ approach in third Test.
. Retaining Numero Uno status, 2010-11: India became the No 1 Test side in 2009-10, but they faced the biggest test in holding onto it on the 2010-11 tour to South Africa. India lost the first Test at Centurion, but fought back brilliantly to level the series with an impressive 87-run win. India returned from South Africa with a 1-1 series result and the number-one rank intact
. Double whack, 2012-13: India were in a familiar tight spot in Tests in Chennai at the start of the revenge series against Australia. Dhoni smacked 224 in 265 balls to help India take a 192-run lead. This was to be Dhoni’s highest Test score and the highest by an Indian captain against Australia. India went on to win the Test by eight wickets.
. Whitewash, 2012-13: India was under a siege in Test cricket returning poor results overseas. At home, India were up against Australia and then it was time to take revenge. Dhoni led from the front as Aussies presented a divided house and India won the series 4-0 to wrest back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
. Karma, Barbados, 2010-11: India were leading 1-0 in the series after having won the first Test in Jamaica. The visitors were in the driver’s seat in the final seat and could have won the series 2-0. But chasing 180 in the final innings, India were at 94-3 with at least another hour to play and Dhoni decided to shut shop surprisingly. India did not win an overseas Test after that till Lord’s 2014.
. Slide begins, 2011: India were in England as the No 1 ranked Test side and were up against the challenger, England. Strike bowler Zaheer Khan broke down on the opening day of the series and things were not the same. Dhoni tried everything, took off the pads and bowled. But the constant injuries to seniors and the abject overall failure led to a whitewash.
. Slide continues, 2011-12: India toured Australia with their ‘strongest’ ever combination. But what followed was yet another abject surrender. Australia’s line-up toyed with India and Dhoni was left a broken man after India’s eight successive away losses.
. Failure vs England 2012-13: India started off with an impressive win in the first Test, but thereafter they were beaten into submission by a disciplined England side. England won the series 2-1.
. Blunder Down Under, 2014-15: MS Dhoni did not start the ongoing series in Australia owing to an injury. When he returned in Brisbane normal service resumed and once Captain Cool also let it out that there was ‘unrest’ over Shikhar Dhawan’s injury resulting in a typical Indian collapse. India were down 0-2 in the series and were once again chasing the ball overseas.
MS Dhoni in numbers
3454: The number of runs scored by Dhoni as Test captain, is the highest among Indian skippers. Sunil Gavaskar is next, with 3449 runs in 47 Tests as captain, while Azharuddin made 2856 in 47 matches
294: The number Test dismissals for MS Dhoni. This is the fifth highest among all wicketkeepers, and the best for an Indian. The next best is Syed Kirmani’s 198 dismissals in 88 matches
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