Former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni with teammates during net practice ahead of Asia Cup cricket, in Dubai, Sept. 14, 2018. (Press Trust of India)
As India clinches the Asia Cup 2018 against Bangladesh, Sept. 28, let’s look at another record that was created in the earlier game between India and Afghanistan.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a date with destiny, Sept. 24, as he got to lead India for the record 200th time in ODIs, nearly two years after giving up captaincy on his own terms.
With skipper Rohit Sharma and his deputy Shikhar Dhawan being rested after four matches in six days, it was nothing but sheer destiny that India’s most successful captain walked out alongside match referee Andy Pycroft and Afghanistan skipper Asghar Afghan for the toss in their Asia Cup game.
Dhoni has never bothered about milestones and that is why he remained unfazed while calling time on his Test career with 10 short of 100 matches, a benchmark for any cricketer worth his salt.
It didn’t matter to Dhoni one bit even though he had no competition.
No wonder when the decision to quit ODI captaincy was announced in early January 2017, his fans were less surprised. It didn’t matter that he had a chance to captain India in 200 ODIs.
But then if destiny had made an elaborate plan, it was not in Dhoni’s hands to change the script.
“I was not really sure of where I am standing. I have captained in 199 ODIs, so this gives me an opportunity to make it 200. It’s all destiny and I always believed in that,” Dhoni said with a poker face when Russell Arnold posed the question at the toss.
Since numbers didn’t matter during his halcyon days, it was all the more expected that it would matter even less when he is in the twilight of his illustrious career.
“It’s not in my control, once I left captainship,” he said when asked if he ever thought that he would be able to complete 200 ODIs as captain.
Then came the usual Dhoni answer.
“Good to complete 200, but I don’t think it really matters,” he sounded business as usual.
But people who were used to see him lead for 10 years were happy.
“He is hundred percent the most popular Indian captain,” Sunil Gavaskar made the most telling statement.