MS Dhoni took over as the Indian skipper in 2007 and in a span of six years he has taken the team to great heights especially in the shorter formats of the game, even as India have had a rough ride under him at times during this phase. Here’s a look at some of the major accolades that have come India’s way under Dhoni reign.
2007 World T20: These were tough times in Indian cricket. Just a few months back, India had crashed out of the 2007 World Cup in the first round following losses to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The move to hand over the T20 captaincy to Dhoni back then seemed more like a hopeful one than one arrived at by logic. But, Dhoni immediately made a difference, leading India to the World T20 title in South Africa in 2007, his first major assignment in a multi-nation tournament. While India had the players to do the job, the most impressive aspect of Dhoni’s captaincy was his innovative thinking. His decision to give the last over of the pulsating final to Joginder Sharma turned out to be a masterstroke.
CB series 2007-08: It had been nearly two decades since India won a one-day tournament Down Under, but India did achieved this rare feat under Dhoni’s leadership in 2007-08. Having piped Sri Lanka to enter the final, India surprised everyone by winning the first two matches of the best-of-three final, and thus not even needing a third final to ascertain their supremacy. Sachin Tendulkar obviously played a big role in India’s historic win, scoring a hundred and a ninety in the two finals, but Dhoni had an impressive presence out in the middle as a leader, which also made a major impact on India’s fortunes.
Number one in Tests: This is one achievement that seems hollow since India got the ranking by winning most of the matches at home, but it is a feather in Dhoni’s cap nonetheless. India became the numero uno Test side after they defeated Sri Lanka 2-0 in December 2009. They also trounced Australia at home 2-0 a year later. They then drew the series in South Africa 1-1 in late 2010 before going on to defeat the West Indies in West Indies in 2011. Once they landed in England though, Dhoni’s magic faded away, and India lost the number one ranking.
World Cup 2011: At home, India were expected to do well. The only question was whether the weak bowling could withstand the pressure. Even with a team that was not devoid of flaws, Dhoni marshaled his resources extremely well, and guided India to a memorable triumph. He, in fact, led from the front with a magnificent unbeaten 91 in the final.
Champions Trophy 2013: Ruthless is the perfect word to describe the outfit that won the Champions Trophy on Sunday. Dhoni’s men did not drop even a single game, and this includes the practice matches, en route to winning the trophy for the second time. In the final, when India looked down and out, Dhoni worked his magic as leader again, with some innovative captaincy, to clinch yet another honour for his side.
--By A Cricket Analyst