MS Dhoni retired long ago, but after India’s T20 World Cup debacle, you miss him a tad more


It’s been more than three years since MS Dhoni last played for India. It has been more than two years since he officially announced his retirement from international cricket. It has also been more than nine years since he lifted India’s last ICC trophy and that, especially after what transpired at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, makes you miss the former skipper a hint more.

Before you all jump the gun, label this as some sort of propaganda, talk about how MS Dhoni is a credit-stealer, how he pays off media to maintain his image, try understanding the logic behind it. There is a reason India only won one (two if you want to count the shared Champions Trophy win in 2000) ICC titles prior to Dhoni’s ascent as skipper. And have not managed to win a single crown since he handed over captaincy to Virat Kohli.A captain, as many of you would have heard (although debatable), is only as good as his team. There’s also this notion that MS Dhoni was luckier than a lot of his predecessors and successors, in terms of the squads he inherited. Then, there’s also that narrative that Dhoni had things easier than most other Indian captains. Well, yes, he had things easier but only because he made it look easy.In his first six years as captain, he had added multiple titles to his trophy cabinet (both domestic and international). Winning the IPL and the Champions League with a strong Chennai Super Kings squad was not as big an achievement for some. But ensuring India’s 28-year wait for an ODI World Cup ended on April 2nd, 2011, certainly was a huge deal.Oh, and before that, he rocked up with what were cast as a bunch of misfits and greenhorns in South Africa, only to stand atop the pile. And in 2013, when the spot-fixing saga was running rampant, and he was panned for smiling away questions that he could (probably should) have answered, he masterminded an unprecedented ICC Champions Trophy triumph.A common theme in those successes, apart from Dhoni being at the helm, was how the Indian collective almost always seemed greater than the sum of its parts. There were some all-time greats in each of those teams.Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan at the 2011 World Cup. Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh at the 2007 T20 World Cup. Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli at the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.At no point, though, it seemed that India were just relying on moments of individual brilliance from these players – like it has been in their two most recent T20 World Cup campaigns. It would have been very easy to just sit back and hope for Sehwag or Yuvraj to carve open a game.

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