Dear Mr Dhoni,
I would like to take this opportunity to greet you on your wonderful career. With a captaincy record of 45 percent wins in the whites and almost 55 percent wins in ODI, you’ve reached a higher level altogether as one of the most successful Indian captains.
You have not only been a wonderful player or a successful captain but for some of us you have been a source of hope, a light that wades in the deepest waters, who brings serenity even in the most difficult of the situations and a saviour who thrives to take his team past the winning line. You have always chosen to be placid, have been remarkable in orchestrating victories in the most uncanny ways, stood beside your players and have nurtured them to succeed.
There can’t be a better reader of the game, who senses the momentum and remains a step ahead of the opponent. There is something that makes you the very best in your area of strategy. You somehow have a penchant to make those game changing decisions. And then it’s you as a player who completes the side and gives it so much more of that required appropriate balance. You take up that ideal no. 5, no.6 position in the side who can finish the games or who can come out and stave off an innings collapse in case of a top order failure. And then your presence behind the stumps ensures that the team can go for an all-rounder or an extra bowler. You may not be so as by the books as others, but you sure carry the temperament to perform on the biggest of stages. It’s more like an artist put to work, which tweaks some chord, tries to work on those little things and let the bigger outcome take care of itself.
Being an Indian captain is no walk in the park, but you have smiled through the difficult times and believed in your instincts to usurp the opposition. 2007 T20 World Cup was indeed special, not only because it was a long awaited title, but also because it brought you into light, one of the best captains who have ever played the game.
And there you were, gifted with a Midas touch, and your ascendance pervading through the globe, winning matches, glorifying your trophy cabinet, breaking records till you ended up with the biggest of them all; The ICC Cricket World Cup.
Soon you became the only captain to win all the ICC trophies. You were no longer a captain of 15 players; you became the face of 1.25 billion people who believed that infallibility is your forte. But you chose to rebuff the hype, made sure you cash on the best times, and register maximum no. of wins. You were all the more different in many ways, you had people who have served the country for almost a decade, the biggest names of the cricketing nation, and then there were young players like Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli. To bring them under a consonance was never be an easy task. As the Indian Cricket team’s Captain, your decisions would always have some critics, you would be scanned for the smallest of mistakes, and there is always a controversy ready to be concocted about the dressing room. And that’s where you have demanded reverence, Skipper. You have arranged every flower accordingly, only with the intention of having the best of the bouquets in display. Understanding who can win you a game in different situations, and selecting and acting accordingly.
But nothing lasts forever, not even the best captain of his time. The ennui of the niche started to catch up, the winning graph continued plunging and the whimpers of the critics became the most valid of the points. A player who seemed to have always managed to be a step ahead of the opponent soon started wandering in the vacillation. Every decision seemed either too bizarre to be correct or just to defensive to win, and soon the inevitable happened; you finally chose to relinquished from your job in the longest format. But every one believed it would make the lion all the more menacing in the limited formats, who could enjoy his hunting again.
But Superman, Cricket is a funny game, it’s a matter of belief and character that’s infused in you to make those boldest of the decisions and to believe in it till the end. And I now think that confidence is battered away, and my dear captain I can affirm you, these words are of the staunchest sect of your supporters. You seemed to have been absorbed by the cumbersomeness of the job, playing it safe and working on pre-planned ideas. Since when did our captain started to plan before taking up the field? Wasn’t he thriving on his instincts and reacting on the match situation? The ennui seems to have suffused into the limited format too sir. The way you handle our fast bowlers, the changes in the batting order, the selection of the team, nothings gives us the impression of the captain we were accustomed to. And the sad part is we are not learning, whenever we lose a game, we try and change just for the sake of change, trying to paper over out loopholes with some quick remedies. The vision to create a pool of talent who can really come in and win games seems to be lacking.
We know sir, that’s it’s not you entirely, you can’t be the only one on whose direction the flak needs to be directed, but as your supporters, Sir, I think we deserve the right to dwell upon the wrongs when we were there to talk out loud about your achievements. And as a true Indian Fan sir, we request to ponder over the decision of giving up on captaincy because we believe that it is finally time to bid adieu to the biggest responsibility. Make no mistake our veteran, we don’t want you to hang up your boots and give up to the criticism. We want our best man to again make that bold decision; to let young Kohli delineate the role of captaincy, share some of the burden and to play like you have nothing to lose. Because nobody can argue that you indeed are the best wicket-keeper batsman in the nation and India cannot have a better finisher of the game than Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I know it’s harder said than done, it gets you back to the scrutinizing eyes of the selectors and it’s difficult to let go off the perks you enjoy as an Indian Captain. But we believe it can only get you better, the pressure can make you perform better than anyone and that’s seems to be the right way to refurbish the battered image and to get the world predisposed again with those amazing helicopter shots.