Updated: July 7, 2020 12:24:09 am
A symbol of his famous obstinacy. A man would lurk perennially at leg slip in overseas Tests whether or not the attack or the match-situation required it. It led to furious head-scratching among commentators but Dhoni didn’t care a hoot.
Dhoni’s wicketkeeping gloves had a military touch towards them. Army green and navy blue were the predominant colours, with the camouflage texture conspicuously visible. Perhaps it was an ode to his love for army. After all, he is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the Parachute Regiment.
With wicket-keeper captains being such a rarity, we are going to miss the quiet mutterings of an exasperated captain. “Jaag ja jadeja,” or “Ek line pakad ke daal” (to Umesh Yadav), “five wickets chahiye toh thoda mehnat karna padega Ojha.” The quiet insight into the world of captaincy will be missed.
It can still be done in T20Is of course but the magic of stumpings on spinbowls in India with batsman barely tumbling outside the crease trying to defend were something else. The hands never moved back an inch – there was no cushioning in the take, a trait almost unseen in cricket before. The hands just moved forward- collect, and swoop down on the bails.
A symbol of his need for control. In Indian conditions, where he could trust his bowlers to exert some level of control, he will push it to extremes. At times, even with a 8-1 field, playing with the mind of the batsmen. It seemed as if he really relished setting such fields, and reveled in inherent control that he so sorely missed when playing abroad.
It’s been a constant lament of Dhoni that he hasn’t found a suitable candidate in Tests. At times, when he would survey the field as a captain, it seemed he was searching for one. And tired of the unsuccessful wait, he once threw his gloves off and bowled medium pace at Lord’s.
Dhoni, the bowler
The sight of him yanking off his gloves and bowling at Lord’s test match, even before lunch, angered the likes of Kapil Dev then but eh, it was quite a neat sight. The chutzpah was amusing. Where can you see another wicketkeeper remove his pads and gloves and roll his arm over when the match was in a competitive stage?
A sign of his defensive captaincy overseas. He would drop a deep point so early in the piece that it baffled the critics. Once, against an injured Kallis who had just reverse swept Harbhajan in Cape Town, he placed a deep point immediately and that Test went downhill from that moment. “The era of playing aggressive cricket and to have the mid-on up is gone. You don’t want to give easy runs in a bunch. If they take four singles, it’s ok,” he has said.
Along with a sense of meandering seen in his captaincy in overseas Tests, that defensive push that led inevitably to a slip catch was also a constant feature. A lunge forward, bat way ahead of the body, and the edge … all seemed a matter of time until he successfully managed a turn-around in the last series in England.
And RP Singh
Dhoni’s go-to man was chillin’ on a Miami beach when he got an SOS call from the skipper to turn up at the Oval. RP’s ample frame ambled onto the field and the first new ball reached keeper Dhoni on first bounce. Indian fans will (hopefully) be spared such a deeply scarring sight in the future.
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