A symbol of his famous obstinacy. A man would lurk perennially at leg slip in overseas Tests whether or not the attack, or the situation, required it. It led to furious head-scratching among commentators but Dhoni didn’t care a hoot.
Dhoni’s wicketkeeping gloves seemed to be inspired by the military. They were always Army green or navy blue, with the camouflage pattern conspicuous. Perhaps it was an ode to the Army. After all, he is an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment.
Wicket-keeper captains are a rarity, and Indian fans will miss the quiet mutterings of an exasperated captain.
“Jaag ja jadeja (Wake up Jadeja),” or “Ek line pakad ke daal (pick a line to bowl)” (to Umesh Yadav), “five wickets chahiye toh thoda mehnat karna padega Ojha (if you want five wickets you will have to toil Ojha),” are among the things he’s been heard saying. The quiet insight into the world of captaincy will be missed.
It can still be done in T20Is, but the magic of stumpings on the dustbowl pitches of India were something else. The hands never moved back an inch – there was no cushioning in the take. 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 would push it to extremes. At times, even with a 8-1 field, to play with the minds of batsmen. It seemed as if he really relished setting such fields that gave him the control that he sorely missed when playing abroad.
Searching for an all-rounder
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 it was quite a sight. The chutzpah was amusing. Where else have you seen a wicketkeeper remove his pads and gloves and roll his arm over when the match interestingly poised?
A sign of his defensive captaincy overseas. He would drop a deep point so early that it baffled observers. 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 had said.
Along with a sense of meandering seen during his captaincy in overseas Tests, a defensive push while batting, that inevitably led to a catch in the slips, was a constant feature. A lunge forward, bat way ahead of the body, and the edge … all seemed inevitable until he successfully managed a turnaround in the last series in England.
And RP Singh
Dhoni’s go-to man was on a Miami beach when he got an SOS call from the skipper to turn up at the Oval. RP ambled onto the field and the first new ball reached keeper Dhoni on the first bounce. Indian fans will (hopefully) be spared such a deeply scarring sight in the future.
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