A season starts, an era ends and life moves on for MS Dhoni

His last act as captain was to lift the IPL trophy. His most enduring work, destroying expectations

It happened quietly. A whisper in the sky. Just like it happened in 2014. And again in 2020. the end of an era. MS Dhoni’s last task as captain was to lift the IPL trophy. His most enduring work, destroying expectations.

A season starts

He made it seem like he had it all, from being an Indian Railways employee to becoming a cricket star, from being a multiple World Cup winner to being a multiple IPL winner and finally being a pure myth who was spending his Thursday evening peacefully playing volleyball with his feet up , is a straight line. ,
About two hours into this training session, it became clear that he had taken a life-changing decision (if not his, then at least Ruturaj Gaikwad’s). But here he was, throwing the ball at the other end of the outfield, his long hair blowing in the wind from back in the day.

A season starts, an era ends and life moves on for MS Dhoni

Two hundred and thirty-five games as captain of CSK. This is just two matches less than Virat Kohli’s entire IPL career. And even in all those matches, he always found a way to surprise. Heading back to that wild night in Dharamshala in 2010. Then there was a glitch in the system and the emotions came out. In the tournament’s 16 years there has rarely been a more intense celebration than the man known as Captain Cool losing and punching himself in the face. However, ten months earlier, when he had grabbed a grown man from his midst and lifted him up over his knees, leaving him completely shot, he might have topped himself.

Ravindra Jadeja was stopping Dhoni from coming to the crease during practice on Thursday. Clean hit down the ground and over cover and once again he got no applause. There were very few people on the grounds – maybe about a hundred – and they were only here for one person. He wears funny pads, begins sentences with “Okay, of course” and drops bombs without warning.

Finally his time to bat came and once again he dashed the expectations. Dhoni’s practice session in the IPL ends up being a kind of structural integrity test for cricket balls. He absolutely belts them. Here he started with Dokku (Chennai street slang for block). It was a reminder that he could still be kept quiet by middle lengths on and around the off stump.

The man playing the sidearm quickly read the room and shifted his line closer to Dhoni’s body and very soon those old shots crossed the leg-side boundary. A glimpse of the helicopter was visible. The one who flew above the ground. And secondly, it was a warning to anyone planning to bowl a wide yorker. Make sure they are the proper width otherwise you will be in the path of a missile coming straight at you.

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“It’s annoying, isn’t it?” CSK coach Stephen Fleming smiled while talking about Dhoni’s strengths. “It’s that simple. But no, I’ve been absolutely amazed by the way he has prepared and played pre-season. And I have every expectation that he will make a big contribution for us again in that role.” Order.

“But that’s one of the things we really admire about MS, his durability. Last year, he was working on a leg and he had recovery and rehab and a desire to come back again. Very strong. And it’s infectious and inspiring players when they look at his work and look at the skills that he still has. He’s got a sharp mind. He’s hitting the ball beautifully in the nets and still “He’s as determined as ever to contribute to the franchise. And that’s all I can ask for, and that his fellow teammates do the same.”

The change in captaincy was Dhoni’s idea and while he has a long history of making calls based on instinct, the most famous of which was at 114 for 3 on April 2, 2011, both he and the franchise did not take it Would. Lightly. Especially because the last time they tried this, it had the opposite effect. The problem with Dhoni being successful is that you are not just succeeding a person, you are succeeding an emotion, an event. When Dhoni had faith in you, it meant that an iconic hero, a World Cup-winning legend, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, had faith in you. This made you start playing differently.

So this change, like most others of its kind, will be painful and CSK will have to prepare for a tough short period. They will want to keep their new captain safe; Make sure that even though the outside world will judge him by an impossible standard, they themselves stand behind him and his vision. It seems they are better prepared for this. Fleming is already telling jokes.

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“There were tears everywhere. Everyone was crying,” he said, taking the opportunity to showcase his dry humor. “Yeah, no, it was generally low-key. Very low-key. And as expected, early on Ruturaj and the opportunity (he had) was celebrated. So the players accepted it well. Always a little It seems like there was a bit of a shock about it, but if we talk about two years ago, we are much more adapted to the times. And the players handled it very well, like the captain… the former captain announced this. “Handled it well while doing it. The team.”

That little slip of the tongue, where Fleming couldn’t help but call Dhoni the captain and then corrected himself, will keep happening. It’s going to take some time for it to feel real. For Fleming, for CSK and for the rest of us.

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