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An open letter to MS Dhoni on his decision to step down as skipper

MS Dhoni Indian captain
MS Dhoni. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Dear MS Dhoni,

Words are not enough to express your contribution to Indian cricket. You have undoubtedly been the pillar of Indian cricket for the last decade or so and your success is just a proof of your sheer hard work and dedication. You have given each and every citizen of the country uncountable moments to cherish but during all these time your humility has set you apart from your peers.

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The way you have handled the Indian team for the last decade and the way you have backed your players deserves special mention. Now after you have decided to step down from the limited-overs captaincy, I want to thank you for all your contributions and taking Indian cricket to a whole new dimension.

You have been an immensely inspirational figure and people from all walks of life can be inspired by your life story. From a ticket collector to a World Cup winning captain within 5 years is nothing more than a fairytale mate. I have been inspired by your life in each and every way and the amount of hard work you have put in through these years.

The way you handled a young bunch of players in the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 and made them a world beating force is still etched in golden letters 10 years since. I remember being as an 11-year-old watching your whirlwind 148 against Pakistan in 2005. What a mind boggling innings it was. You literally toyed with the star-studded Pakistan bowling line-up in just the 5th match in your ODI career and the signs were evident for a bright future.

You again stepped up the gas within few months, this time registering the highest individual score by a wicketkeeper in ODIs. The way you blasted the listless Lankan bowlers all around Jaipur was simply mesmerising. Your approach towards the game was an instant liking and I have remained one of the greatest admirers of your game ever since.

I must admit that sometimes your decisions baffled me as the rest but you have been able to rise above despite the criticism and have taken decisions following your gut yet rationally. To give the final over of the 2007 World T20 to Joginder Sharma will perhaps remain one of the most iconic decisions you have taken in your career. Captaining your nation in a World Cup for the first time and with more experienced Harbhajan Singh in the wings, you opted for an inexperienced Joginder and it paid off. It needed guts and as they say “Fortunes favours the brave”, it was evident on the night of 24th September 2007.

Also read- O Captain! My Captain – MS Dhoni

To give us a first ODI series triumph in Australia was a big moment for Indian cricket and to follow it up with the No.1 ranking in Tests was the icing on the cake. There have been discussions in the past of your preference of choice of certain cricketers but you have proved that backing those players has helped Indian cricket immensely in the long run.

There was a time in 2009-10 when Kohli was not scoring runs but was still picked in the Playing XI. Now if you look at the current scenario, he is arguably the greatest batsman of the modern generation. Perhaps if it wasn’t you, then we might not have seen the Kohli what we see today.

From a swashbuckling batsman, you changed your batting approach for the sake of the team and became arguably the greatest finisher of the game. One thing we were certain that if you were at the crease during a run-chase then you won’t return without winning the match for India. Maybe your form has dipped in the last few years and maybe you are not the same MSD you were 3 years back but you are simply magnificent even today and can give any youngsters a run for their money as far as fitness is concerned.

It won’t be fair to not mention the most iconic decision of promoting yourself above Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup final despite Yuvraj being the one in the best form. It once again paid rich dividends and India was crowned World Champions after 28 years. Perhaps the proudest moment for every Indian.

The World Cup success was short-lived as India lost 8 back to back Tests overseas. You were criticised by all and sundry but what I believe is a captain is as good as his team. When the batsmen are unable to stitch together partnerships and if the bowlers are not getting you the wickets then it not possible to beat a quality team in Test cricket and that what exactly transpired during that time.

Also read: You will always remain my captain MS Dhoni says Virat Kohli

You helped the team rebuild after the retirement of stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman. You were there with the youngsters and have helped them become better cricketers. Another iconic decision which will stand out for me will be backing Yuvraj’s selection in the 2011 World Cup despite the selectors remaining reluctant to pick him and the rest is history.

The critics will always be there but what you have given to Indian cricket cannot be matched by anyone else. You are the best white ball captain according to me and your contributions will be etched in golden letters many years beyond your retirement. You have been a role model to so many youngsters in the country.

In the beginning, I had mentioned that words are not enough to describe your contribution to Indian cricket and I would like to repeat that again. You have undoubtedly been one of the greatest servants of the game and to step down after captaining your nation in 199 ODIs shows the sort of man you are. Records haven’t meant anything to you. You came, made a lasting impact and left with all the great memories.

Thank you MS for being the selfless cricketer you are and for taking Indian cricket to greater heights. You will undoubtedly remain the greatest ever captain India cricket has been lucky to have. Thanks again for all the memories.

Yours sincerely,

MSD Fan

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