Monday, April 6, 2009

The 'D' Factor of Indian cricket

Cricket is a team game but there have always been individuals around whom teams have revolved. Be it Sir Richard Hadlee who turned around Kiwi cricket or Grant Flower who was like pillar in the Zimbabwean batting line up individuals have shaped teams. For long Sachin Tendulkar had not only the best batsman in the team but a psychological advantage too. But now Dhoni seems to have taken over this burden from the Master Blaster's shoulder. He is now the 'D' Factor of Indian cricket.

The importance for MS Dhoni can be studied from India's test series versus New Zealand. After winning the first test convincingly Team India struggled in the second test without Dhoni on the field. They looked a complete different team and managed to force a draw after following on. Enters Dhoni in the third test and the scene changes again and New Zealand have been set a target of more than 600 runs to level the test series.

When he made his debut for the Indian team in Dhaka in 2004-05 the entire country rejoiced. Finally we had an wicket keeper who could play slam bang cricket lower down the order. In the recent past most of the Indian wicket-keepers had been additional baggage when it came to batting so much so that Sourav Ganguly had to make Rahul Dravid don the gloves to have a seven men batting line-up. Dhoni entry meant we had a full fledged wicket-keeper and a hard hitting batsman down the order.

It was one morning in 2005 during Pakistan's tour to India in Vishakapatnam that Dhoni's fate changed for ever. Sent up the order Dhoni slammed 148 of 123 balls to stamp his authority on the international level. His innings not only demoralised India's arch rivals but also gave a glimpse of the talent the man possessed. Many people termed his innings very un-Indian and compared it with the West Indian legend Sir Viv Richards.

When he took over the captaincy of the ODI and the T20 teams just before the T20 World Cup some pundits raised their doubts. All were put to rest by the man for Jharkhand who made sure India won the inaugural edition of the tournament. When he stepped into the big shoes of Rahul Dravid as the ODI captain Dhoni did no disappoint others. Dhoni commands huge respect from his teammates in spite of the fact that most of them are more experienced then him.

In a short span of time MS Dhoni has seen a lot of success as a captain. Be it winning the T20 World Cup or taming the Aussies in their own den Dhoni had led his men with honour and pride. And now on the verge of winning a Test series in New Zealand for the first time in 41 years will surely be a prized feather in his crown. MS Dhoni is surely the driving force behind Team India and surely the 'D' Factor its success.


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