Abhijit Chowdhury
As any legends would have, there are many records that MS Dhoni holds in a 16-year-old career that came to end on August 15, 2020, as he announced retirement from international cricket. His greatness in Indian cricket is absolute. In the long trail of records, Dhoni achieved milestones both as a cricketer and captain.

Dhoni was not leveled up as the best finisher while he was playing. He is the fastest batsman to grab the No. 1 ODI ranking. He owns the record of finishing matches with the most number of sixes and hitting most sixes in ODI as a captain.

MS Dhoni, a veteran of 350 ODIs, is the first batsman to join the 10,000 ODI run club with a 50 plus batting average. He is also the sixth-fastest in the list led by Virat Kohli. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly sit at the second and third position on the list. Dhoni took 273 innings to enter into the exclusive league of 14 players.

MSD, as we fondly call him, is a catalytic agent of not just Indian cricket but changed modern cricket over the last decade. In 2007, in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa, at the age of 25, the Ranchi boy scripted history by winning the pinnacle of the shortest format of the game. The WT20 at Johannesburg’s Wanderers Stadium on September 24 saw the rise of a leader who would become a legend in the coming years. It was India’s first major ICC trophy after 1983 when India won its maiden ODI World Cup.

It was Dhoni’s first assignment as a captain, and he was successful. Since that World T20, he led India in 72 matches and won 41 that made him the most successful captain in T20 cricket history.

Dhoni’s T20 brilliance didn’t limit to international cricket alone. He is also the best captain in the realm of IPL. Since the inception of IPL in 2008, he won three trophies as a captain that made him the second most successful captain in the tournament history when it comes to trophy count. But in terms of wins, nobody can match Dhoni’s record. He has won a whopping 104 IPL matches with 66 winning percentage. Dhoni is also the first captain to cross the 100 wins mark in IPL.

Dhoni as a captain also completed the circle of winning all three ICC trophies at Edgbaston, Birmingham when India beat England in the 2013 Champions Trophy final. In 2007, he won T20 World Cup, in 2011 the ODI World Cup, and in 2013 the Champions Trophy. When he handed over the Test captaincy baton to Virat Kohli during the 2014-15 Australia tour, the idea of ICC World Test Championship had not come yet. And hence he did not have the chance to win it for India.

Though Dhoni didn’t get a chance to win World Test Championship, as a captain he achieved another first for India in 2009 when India became World No. 1 Test side on ICC Test rankings. He was also the first Indian to lift the ICC Test Championship mace. Dhoni captained India in 60 Tests and finished his captaincy career with a 27-18 win-loss ratio which is the record for any Indian skipper in the longest format of the game.

Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India posted successful Test series victories home (England 2008) and away against New Zealand (2009) and Sri Lanka (2009). Throughout his first five years as a Test player, India had lost only two away series, a record which helped them top the Test rankings.

But unlike Sachin or Sourav, who were spoken much about in their younger days, not many had heard the name of MS Dhoni until he was 23 when he blasted two centuries in a triangular 50-over tournament for India A in Nairobi in 2004. India at that time was looking for a wicketkeeper-batsman who could also act as a dasher. An Adam Gilchrist-inspired Dhoni was drafted in 2004 to solve India’s wicketkeeper-batsman crisis after the completion of the Rahul Dravid experiment.

His start was nothing that could be termed as legendary, as he got out for a duck. It was his fifth outing at home against Pakistan in 2005, where he stroked a blistering 148, making everyone sit up and take notice. Ganguly sacrificed his batting position at number 3 to hand Dhoni a chance to show his potential which the Jharkhand-born grabbed with both hands. A mammoth 183 to chase a high Sri Lankan total later in the year reiterated his value. By the end of 2005, Dhoni donned the all-whites to earn a Test cap against Sri Lanka.

The biggest accomplishment of his career came in 2011 when he powered Team India to a remarkable World Cup victory with his extraordinary leadership skills. It was after 28 long years that India won the Cup, He played a captain’s innings in the final against Sri Lanka, where his brilliant unbeaten knock of 91 not out sealed the most memorable victory for his team and country.

The Ranchi born-cricketer Dhoni also led India to the finals of the 2014 T20 WC in Bangladesh, in which India lost to Sri Lanka while also leading the Men in Blue to the 2015 World Cup semifinal, where they lost against Australia, effectively ending India’s 11 match winning streak in World Cups.

Dhoni was last seen donning the Indian jersey during India’s semi-final exit against New Zealand in the ODI World Cup last year. Since then, he made himself unavailable for the national team selection despite not announcing retirement. He was expected to get back to full swing for the 2020 Indian Premier League but coronavirus has put all the sporting activities on halt which also delayed MS Dhoni’s return to the game.

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