The role of a captain is perhaps the biggest in cricket compared to all other sports in the world. An innovative fielding set-up, an inspired bowling change, a shuffle in the batting-order, calculative approach – there are numerous ways a captain can change the course of the game. The game of cricket has seen some stalwarts who have done the same with a great deal of success over the years. From Clive Llyod, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Steve Waugh to Ricky Ponting, Sourav Ganguly and Graeme Smith – the list goes on and on. It can be a herculean task to single out one captain as the greatest. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was asked to do the same and according to him India’s two-time World Cup-winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is arguably the greatest captain ever.
When asked, Pietersen said it would be difficult to argue against Dhoni’s greatness. “It will be very difficult just with the weight of expectation to go against MS Dhoni because of what everybody expects from him, how he has to live his life and what he has been through captaining India and then captaining the CSK,” Pietersen, who played 104 Tests, and also captained England’s Test side for a brief period, told Star Sports.
India tasted huge success under Dhoni, winning the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup at home. India also won the 2013 Champions Trophy under ‘Captain Cool’, who has not played any international cricket since India’s semi-final exit from the ODI World Cup last July. Under Dhoni’s leadership, India also became the No.1 side in Test cricket for the first time. With 27 wins in 60 Tests, Dhoni is also India’s second most successful Test captain. He was overtaken by current India captain Virat Kohli last year.
Dhoni, who has also been leading IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, has been a successful captain there also, winning the cash-rich T20 league thrice in 2010, 2011 and 2018. Only Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma has more IPL titles – 4 – than Dhoni.
The wicket-keeper batsman, who is also regarded as one of the best finishers of the game, was supposed to make a comeback to cricket after a gap f more than 8 months, was eyeing a comeback to the Indian side for the T20 World Cup later this year.
But with the IPL postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen how Dhoni tackles this phase and comes back stronger.