Since I am an Indian at heart, cricket is my religion. I breathe cricket and live cricket. I am a huge cricket fan, follower, moderate level player in my prime and a critic. All these combinations have one thing in common – I am an MS Dhoni fan. He is a captain cool who took India to the epitome in every format that cricket is being played. However, I am as much a critic of him as much a fan.
A Fan to a Critic
I became his fan during the 2007 T20 world cup for his tactics, which he eventually won as a leader. It wasn’t till 2012 that I was his critic. However, for that comment of senior players being slow on the field, giving away at least 20 extra runs on large Australian fields. All that talk led to the unsettling of the Indian dressing room and India started losing. His point wasn’t wrong but he could have handled the situation in a much better fashion, just like his batting.
Resurgence of CSK
Since Chennai Super Kings was banned for two years, Dhoni played for Rising Pune Supergiants for those years but lived as a CSK man. Come 2018, RPS was closed and came back the CSK, and so does Dhoni in CSK. Now was the time for CSK and especially for Dhoni to rebuild the CSK, of course with Stephen Fleming as a coach. And what did he do? Selected a dad’s army (as they say to the aging Chennai team) in the auction with the tag of experienced players. This was contrary to his own views of 2012.
Though experienced, struggles of Watson, Raina, and Bravo (CSK’s code) were quite evident since they don’t play regular cricket except for T20 tournaments. Since Watson and Brave came immediately after PSL, they still had some game time to back themselves, but for Raina. Throughout 2019, it was for Dhoni to win the matches for CSK, since most of the batsmen struggle for consistency. The matches CSK lost were the ones where he couldn’t score big.
In 2018, players used their experience well and won the tournament. However, I was never in a doubt that the aging factor will catch up and may cost something big. And that’s exactly what happened a couple of days ago when CSK lost the IPL final by just one run. Any fitter team could have scored a couple of more runs quite easily, but for CSK. Even the run-out of Shane Watson is a piece of evidence.
At the post-match presentation on the Final’s day, he was a critic of the same aging players that he selected, for their struggles to perform consistently. Finally… finally in those presentation moments, the age caught up with CSK – Dhoni’s CSK.