Adieu to World Cup Winners
In a country where cricket is dubbed as a religion, fans expect team India to win every single game. So, amid all the cheers in the stands, players walk to the crease with immense pressure. Some players succumbed to this pressure, some excelled, while a few fell as quickly as they rose to fame because of letting success enter their heads. They are praised to heavens during good times and criticised in the same measure during bad times. But it’s part of the game and fame. Mahendra Singh Dhoni handled all these with calm and poise, taking both praises and criticisms in his stride, excelled in the sport and became one of the most prominent figures in the cricket world during the course of his 16-year career. He did almost everything in the right time, be it his famous helicopter shots, finishing the game, quick running between the wickets, or retiring from international cricket. Fans will want him to continue playing for some more years but then he knew the best time to hang his boots. He knew over-staying in the dressing room won’t serve good to him as well as his team. His decision has to be respected. After all, the boy from Jharkhand had done what he had to do in the sport till his last match. He is no doubt one of the most successful India cricket captains — led the team to World Cup victory in 2011 after 28 long years, won World Twenty20 and several other trophies. He also led the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League to three victories so far. The captain cool from Jharkhand juggled the roles of a captain, batsman and wicketkeeper superbly like no other. He was usually seen in the corner or the back row during winning ceremonials of his team’s victories, letting his boys celebrate the moment and hog the limelight. It speaks volumes; an attribute of a leader. We may not see much of him on the field (except in IPL) from now on, but we can expect him to do great things off the field.
Interestingly, Suresh Raina too joined his captain by announcing his retirement from international cricket on the same day. He made his international debut for India a year after Dhoni and the duo became good friends, playing together not only for India but also for Chennai Super Kings. He was instrumental in taking India to the ICC World Cup finals in 2011 and eventually lifting the cup. His retirement could be overlooked by many as it coincided with the announcement timing of his captain but his immense contributions — with the bat, ball and fielding — to Indian cricket during his career spanning 15 years will be remembered. Despite calling it quits, cricket fans can see the captain cool and his deputy (Raina) in action in the upcoming IPL. Maybe the duo is destined to enter and quit international cricket at around the same time. Every youth should learn a lesson or two from them – importance of friendship, accepting victory and defeat, hard work and sportsmanship.