The accolades are flowing in torrents for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Indian skipper has been showered with the best of cricketing adjectives after his 52-ball 45 not out helped India clinch a nail-biting win against Sri Lanka in the final of the tri-nation series in Port of Spain in the wee hours of Friday (Indian time).
The latest to join the Dhoni admirers list is Sunil Gavaskar, who says it is impossible to decipher the captain's real character and intentions. Almost everyone is making an opinion on the Indian captain, who smashed his way past hapless Sri Lanka pacer Shaminda Eranga to score 16 runs off three deliveries as India won a humdinger with two balls to spare.
Dhoni is winning the debate of "who is the best finisher in the game" hands down as the Indian captain keeps providing his muscular touch to many a coveted Indian win. Dhoni's nearest competitor is former Australian batting all-rounder Michael Bevan, but with a far superior strike rate (89.63 to Bevan's 66.42) in successful chases in ODIs, the Indian captain seems to be only competing against himself.
After suffering a hamstring injury, Dhoni was a doubtful starter in the final against the Lankans. But India's 2011 World Cup-winning skipper surprised many when he walked in to toss with Angelo Mathews. "MS Dhoni was not even supposed to be fit for the final. There is no cricketer who has got India back from impossible situations so many times," wrote Gavaskar in his newspaper column on Saturday.
Gavaskar says it is impossible to understand the real Dhoni. "Perhaps even his closest buddies don't know him as well as they think they do," said Gavaskar, who then goes on to pay a rare tribute to a professional sportsperson. "If tomorrow he has to say goodbye to all the trappings of fame, Dhoni will calmly get on his motorbike and go away. He is that rarity who treats both those impostors - wins and losses - in the same way. He simply plays the game," wrote Gavaskar.
On Friday, Dilip Vengsakar paid rich tribute to Dhoni, saying his composure under pressure is simply unique. As for the man himself, Dhoni will be on a richly-deserving holiday with wife Sakshi, probably somewhere in the Americas.
Story first published on: Saturday, 13 July 2013 11:46 IST