In his tribute to MS Dhoni the captain, Wisden India editor Dileep Premachandran looks back at his journey as a leader from the time he was appointed as Rahul Dravid’s deputy to hitting that six at Wankhede in 2011. The writer compares his numbers to other captains, and what makes Dhoni so special.
The ball that entranced Eduardo Galeano, the Uruguayan writer, was a good deal bigger than the cork-and-leather one. But when you think of MS Dhoni, who has played out his career in the sun while preferring to live in the shadows, it’s Galeano’s words about empty stadiums that come to mind.
In Soccer in Sun and Shadow, Galeano wrote: “At Wembley, shouts from the 1966 World Cup, which England won, still resound, and if you listen very closely, you can hear groans from 1953 when England fell to the Hungarians. Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium sighs with nostalgia for the glory days of Uruguayan soccer. Maracanã is still crying over Brazil’s 1950 World Cup defeat.”
If you’ve ever stood in the middle of the Wankhede Stadium, deserted after a practice session, it’s April 2, 2011, that the mind summons up – that six from Dhoni high into the dark night and the Ravi Shastri soundtrack that is as integral to the memory. Long after his career is over – and it isn’t yet – and the biopic is forgotten, it’s that one stroke that will define Dhoni’s legacy as a leader of men.