An ode to a warrior
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
I am your greatest fan. I call myself the greatest fan without a doubt because, I don’t see you as a different individual. I see myself in you. Both of us have a similar thinking mind, probably I adapted it from you, after all, I grew up watching you. Each time I feel stressed at work, I look at your photo once and it calms down my mind. Before taking every decision at work, I always give a moment and think, would Dhoni take a similar decision, had he been in my place!
I hail from a small town and I never had the privilege of watching a live cricket match on television set before 2005. People who followed cricket since long-time call Sachin sir as the God of cricket and the Greatest Of All Time, probably because they started watching cricket when Sachin was in his best form and they continued watching cricket to see him bat. I carry a similar emotion with you, I watched cricket to see you bat, and win games for India. You told in many interviews that you worship Sachin, but I worship you as my God of cricket.
Dhoni bhai, you are a part of my life in many ways. I still remember my first cricket match on television, in 2005, when you scored 183 against Srilanka. I didn’t know then that you would influence me to this extent. I started imitating your helicopter shot in gully cricket. I imitated your long hair style despite getting beaten up by my dad. My mom used to give me milk daily, because I believed in the rumors those days that you consumed a lot of milk each day for your power hitting ability. I read all the articles that came about you on newspapers and collected your photos and started pasting them on my bedroom walls. You eventually became my style icon and role model to such an extent that I used to say that I would become Dhoni after I grew up.
My memories of the 2007 ODI world cup are still fresh and I remember the pain all the cricket fans went through when India got eliminated in the league stage. They say leaders emerge out of situations; I believe God created this situation just to give a leader like you to team India, who could win all three ICC trophies like a boss and who could lift India to the number1 position in tests. The decisions you took in the 2007 T20 world cup are nothing short of wonders. As I understand cricket better now, I feel really amazed that who would even think that Joginder Sharma would bowl the last over of a world cup final, except M.S. Dhoni, the genius of Indian cricket!
I was studying my intermediate when India was playing the 2011 world cup. I failed in exams, just watch you play and lift the world cup for India and I still don’t regret it. When the 2011 world cup started in India, I read a lot of stories about the 1996 world cup when Indian fans lost their control in the semi-final match. In India, cricket is not just a sport, it’s a culture, religion; cricket is life! People said, a young captain like you couldn’t handle such intense pressure both from the opponent and from fans. But, if the coolest captain of the world cricket couldn’t handle it, who would ever!
Sunil Gavaskar said - “When I die, the last thing I want to see is the six that Dhoni hit in the 2011 World Cup final.” But you know what, I would watch your batting in the final of 2011 World Cup final, all my life!
I couldn’t learn handling big emotions from you. December 30, 2014 – This is when I had my biggest heart break, when you announced your retirement from test cricket. I locked myself in a room and didn’t come out for a couple of weeks. Like millions of other fans, I couldn’t control my emotion. After all, I am not MSD to take an IPL final loss by one run with a smile!
I understand that there are things that even you can’t take with a smile, like winning for India. One such rare instance happened in Ind vs NZ semifinal match of 2019 world cup. We know you tried your heart out but couldn’t finish it for India. The painful expression you had on your face after missing the crease by an inch, gave tears to every Indian cricket fan. I didn’t see you bat after that. Each day you are staying away from cricket is giving me nightmares of another heart break approaching soon. I know that one day it will definitely come, but I am not ready yet. Not just me, none of your fans is ready at the moment.
We know MS as the team man, he does whatever the team needs. He will forego milestones, records, at times his own position in the team for the team’s cause. With the T20 world cup around the corner and after the whitewash in ODI series with NZ, we strongly feel that the team needs you. Though KL is handling the gloves well, we need you to guide and march the bowlers against the opposition. Though Virat is brilliantly leading the side, he is missing your guidance and experience, especially during the critical moments of the game. Even Virat must be missing the DRS (Dhoni Review System).
I want to see you play in one last big tournament and lift it for India before you retire from the international cricket. The young Indian side needs to learn how to lift these big trophies from you. We, the fans are dying to see you play in blue jersey again, probably one last time.
Please come back Mahi! Ab hamare paas bahut time nahi hain!