Dhoni out of Tri-nations series. India crushed to a 161 run defeat by Sri Lanka. Coincidence?
Henry Cavil may have played Man of Steel in Snyder's summer flop, but in the cricketing world few would argue against MS Dhoni's Superman-esque prowess. Majority of professional cricketers in the modern game bemoan the workload endured during any given season. But compare that to Dhoni's schedule and things are put into perspective.
Since making his debut back in December 2004 Dhoni has played more International cricket than anyone else in the world. Bringing together his tally of Tests, ODIs and T20 Internationals the total comes to a staggering 344 matches. The closest any English player comes to that is Kevin Pietersen on 263. Year after year he's powered on missing virtually no games. The busiest season being 2007 when he played a back breaking 53 International matches in a calendar year, including 37 ODIs, 8 Tests and 8 T20s. It's not just the sheer number of matches he's played that's commendable, but the fact he's done it whilst skippering all 3 formats since December 2008. That's like running a marathon whilst juggling, and winning. The fact he's managed his heavy schedule without injury until recently, speaks volumes of his fitness and dedication to his craft.
This subject is additionally worthy of discussion because perhaps even the greatest cricketer ever can't compete with these numbers. If you compare Sachin Tendulkar's career(1989-1998) in terms of International appearances with Dhoni's , the little master comes in very short at 269 matches. And that's not even taking into account the IPL in which Dhoni hasn't missed a match in anger since its inception. (That's nearly 100 matches skippering Chennai Super Kings!)
So having established the fact that MS Dhoni has done some serious work for his national side, perhaps it's time India look after their hero a little better and invest in large quantities of cotton wool. Now aged 31, it perhaps was only a matter of time before age caught up with the workload Dhoni continues to take on without complaint. Such is the power of the influence he's built over his tenure as India's pillar, his side virtually melted against Sri Lanka recently without him. Having been ruled out of the Tri-nations series it's more than likely therefore that India rest him for the Zimbabwe tour. That might be wise and something the pragmatic Dhoni will be pushing for.
Because despite achieving virtually everything there is to achieve in the game, Dhoni will be looking to the 2015 world Cup as a swan song tournament with which to perhaps end his career. If he does win it all the hard work will have secured him as the best Indian captain ever to have played the game.
MS Dhoni's incredible career
- Three Decembers bring three debuts. ODI debut December 2004. Test Debut December 2005. T20I debut December 2006.
- World Champion in no time. In September 2007, in only his 8th T20 International, 7th as captain wins the ICC World T20 final against arch rivals Pakistan. Becomes a legend overnight, receiving India's equivalent of a knighthood (Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna) and sets the IPL wheels in motion with India's success in T20 cricket.
- The mighty enemy crushed in October 2008. Leads India to historic Test match success with a mammoth 320 run triumph over Australia (India's biggest run victory, ever!)
- More records tumble in 2009. Success continues in 2009 when India amass their highest ever total ever, making 726-9 with Dhoni 100*. India won the series 2-0 and for the first time in their history topped the Test rankings under his captaincy.
- Record breaking captain in Test history by 2010. Since making his debut as Test captain Dhoni's 11 match undefeated (8 wins, 3 draws) run was the best by any captain the history of test cricket.
- ODI World Champion 2011. Not only did Dhoni lead India to their first ODI World cup win since 1983, he did it in style with a match winnings innings of 91*, hitting a six to win the most coveted trophy in world cricket.
- ICC Champions trophy winners 2013. With India going through a transitional period with the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman retiring from ODIs and T20 competitions, 2011-2013 was a difficult period for Dhoni's team. They suffered with Test defeats against Australia and England and confidence was down. Dhoni however led a revival in 2013 with a squad of several young promising cricketers. India emphatically won the competition remaining unbeaten throughout the tournament.
- IPL Beast. Dhoni was the original poster boy for the IPL being contracted by The Chennai Superkings for a cool $1.5 million. He's led the franchise to two IPL titles and a Champions League title in 2010. In 84 innings he's scored 2243 runs at a eye popping strike rate of 141, with an impressive average of 38. He's arguably the most valuable player in IPL history.
image: © Matt Dawson Photography