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Is M. S. Dhoni more popular than he deserves to be?

The question asks: Is M.S. Dhoni more popular than he deserves to be? (To vote, visit the link here.)
Question details: “He has a very strange technique, one that is different from the basic cricketing techniques. He forces games to go on till the slog overs, even if they could have been won many overs before (so as to become the hero). He plays with a good strike rate whenever it is not needed but plays really slow when it is needed. He seems to be more dedicated to CSK than India. He shows a huge disrespect to senior players of the team and kicks everyone out if the team who looks dangerous to his captaincy.”
My answer:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is popular enough among those who love him, but he deserves less haters.Being the Indian cricket captain is understandably one of the most stressful jobs in the world,  with continuous risk of loss of cool, loss of skill, and most importantly, loss of humility. MS Dhoni is the most overworked cricketer in cricket history, and yet he has maintained his calm, his level head, and his smile after six years of captaincy. The amount of work he does—win matches, get half-centuries with  remarkable consistency, and keep wickets every single ball for hours, along with controlling the field placements every single ball—is enough to command  respect and popularity even if he does all those things poorly. When the fact is that he does all those things effectively, I think the credit should multiply further.But no, someone spread the rumour that he is plain lucky. Common Man says, “Eh! How can a small-town guy be lucky when I am not!” Jealousy does the rest; and hence the subsequent hatred culture.

  • A very strange technique: The technique hardly matters in the context of a match. If you think he averages 50+ in ODIs because he remains not out often, then may I tell you that scoring 61* is different from scoring 5*: his not outs are more often of the former type: he has scored a half-century every <4 innings despite coming lower down the order. You are very dumb if you still hold that not-out argument when I say that he was the 4th fastest ever to complete 8000 runs in ODIs. That, while batting below no. 4 and 5. (He is not a good Test batsman and does not evidently like Tests. In fact, he sucks at Twenty20 as well—IPL 2013 has been probably the most consistent he has ever been in Twenty20 cricket. He is an ODI specialist, and it is not wrong to prefer one format over the others.) His haters say he scores poorly overseas. The truth is, he has scored poorly only on South African soil—a land where the performances of even the likes of Sachin, Sourav, Dravid has been below their capabilities. He is the master of the subcontinent, and has scored heavily in ODIs in Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, and was the Man of the Series for his batting even when the team itself lost 3–0 on English soil (2012). He decoded the mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis before many other batsmen did. That was about his impact and his performances—which ultimately matter more in the context of a cricket match than technique. Just go through the record books, and you will find that he has never been seriously out of form in ODIs ever since he made his debut, unlike the greatest of our cricketers. (UPDATE: Read this comment of mine on an answer)
  • Forces the game to go on till the end: You can interpret it the way you want. I do not think you do your college assignments on the last day to be a hero, but because that’s what you like to do. No one can change it if you’ve decided to interpret his playing nature as being one to “become the ultimate hero”. Everyone has their comfort zone, and if he is more comfortable settling down first and then scoring later, it isn’t wrong in my view if it’s winning matches. It’s you who is declaring that he does so “to become a hero”, which is a very ridiculous declaration; would have been more sensible if you expressed it as a possibility. We all know he has weird strategies.
  • Plays with a good strike rate when needed but doesn’t when it’s not: Usually, when a good strike rate is needed, it’s because the team is in trouble and he is dealing with tailenders (which happens quite often in ODIs). He has been dismissed quite often in trying to go for big hits when they are needed; but you’ll find that this usually happens when the team is in a good position. The conclusion should be that he tries when there is batting to come; does not when there isn’t. Let him do what he is comfortable with. Even Sachin hasn’t won every match he played for India; Dhoni is a much lesser mortal. The truth is, he does win us a lot of matches.
  • Looks more dedicated to CSK: I will show you the money and then ask you what you’d prefer. Anyway, I do not think greed is the issue with him. He performs for India much better than for CSK. As we have seen in recent years, he likes what he does best. He is not good at Tests; he doesn’t seem to like them much either.
  • Kicks everyone out of them team and doesn’t treat senior members well: Oh come on, that’s all media story-telling.

Do you want temperamentally unstable people to captain India? Most of our young stars are temperamentally unsound, who have learnt only one thing apart from excellent cricket: getting angry and swearing at people. Stability is a big thing in life, and more so in sport. Calm characters are hard to find; and as long as the calm character is also getting you runs and victories, I think it’s okay. Do not forget it’s one of the toughest jobs in the world.

Hatred for Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes from the same reasons that get him all the adulation: his calm temperament, work ethics, and determination. He is one popular cricketer who has too, too many devoted haters as well. The truth is, a person who is so calm and knows how to be emotionless and to-the-point in life  either gets fanatics or extreme haters. He believes in work, not talk or pointless action. Try that in your life. Some close people will love you for it; some others will hate you too: in both cases, it will be fanatical, and so it is for Dhoni.

To finish this, I suggest you read this:


[After winning the WC in 2011…] Dhoni let all the others yell and dance and hog the limelight. He stayed back and enjoyed it in his own quiet way. Only the most ungrateful people will bash him for any reason after he lifted an entire nation with that one magical innings and how coolly he led throughout the campaign, soaking up the pressure and  letting his players know what to do.

from Bala Senthil Kumar‘s answer to Cricket (sport): Why do many people hate MS Dhoni?

UPDATE: Wish to add this comment I read on Cricinfo:


1. Greatest Captain India has ever produced – Ganguly is compared. 2. Greatest finisher of the game – Bevan is compared. 3. Best WK Batsman of India – Kirmani is compared. 4. Captains all three forms of the game and plays and keeps in every  match, bats well too – AB Devilliers is compared (Although ABD himself  admitted captaining and keeping in all three forms is tough) 5. No other captain has all three ICC trophies 6. No other Indian captain took the test team to No.1 and stood there  for 20 months. 7. Best wicket keeper batsman in the world – Gilchrist is compared. So he is compared with Ganguly, Bevan, ABD, Kirmani, Gilchrist in their  respective fields. And he is only ONE person. That is what makes MS  Dhoni what he is. He may be a close second in every aspect of his game  but he is a close second in EVERY aspect. Hats off to MS Dhoni. Sad that  so many in my own country hate him so much.
(By Sughosh Veerambudhi, source: comments on the page MS Dhoni, the Atlas who doesn’t shrug)

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