London: Marvelled by his amazing ability to win matches from nowhere, a British newspaper has likened Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the great Michael Jordan and said there was no better candidate than the Indian cricket captain for the sportsman of the 21st century award.
Dhoni has wielded his willow tremendously under pressure to win matches for not just India but also for his side in the Indian Premier League.
Astonished by his ability to score winning runs in dying moments of the matches, Telegraph writer Simon Hughes says that if Michael Jordan was the greatest sportsman of the 20th century, Dhoni was an early candidate for 21st century.
The sports writer first remembered how Jordan won matches in dying seconds for Chicago Bulls in NBA and his rivals watched helplessly and then narrates how Dhoni does it for India and Chennai Super Kings.
"I thought of Jordan when watching MS Dhoni win yet another match for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL on Thursday night. He left it late. He usually does. His team needed 46 from the last four overs, two of which were to be bowled by Dale Steyn, the no.1 bowler in the world.
We wondered this time if he had left it too late. But no. Steyn’s first ball was manhandled over deep mid wicket for a big six, and his second, a fast bouncer was deposited over long on for another with an extraordinary forehand smash.
.....He had scored 41 of those 46 to win from just 12 balls faced," Hughes wrote. Hughes writes that the way Jordan's rival teams watched him crush them helplessly, Dhoni is doing the same to his opponents consistently.
"As a one off it was remarkable enough. But the fact is that Dhoni keeps doing this - in one-day internationals, in IPL matches, even in world cup finals, and the stage doesn’t get any bigger than that. You watch him and marvel at his skill and bravado and unrelenting consistency.
"There is this total certainty in his body language, intensely reassuring to his team-mates and utterly demoralising to his opponents.
"Like Jordan, there is an inevitability in what he is going to do. All who oppose him know exactly what his intentions are. And yet they seem inert, and he is unstoppable, almost invincible, fuelled as he is by the power of positive thought. And remember he keeps wicket and captains too, in all formats of the game.
"If you were looking for an early candidate as sportsman of the 21st century, look no further," he concluded.