Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dhoni on the cusp of greatness in this WC.|world cup 2011| cricket world cup 2011| dhoni| ms dhoni.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in line to become India's most celebrated cricket captain if he wins the World Cup 2011 as fans of this cricket-crazy country of 1.2 billion hope.

Expectations have risen with a balanced team and a powerful batting lineup that give India a chance to improve on the two previous World Cups held on the subcontinent in 1987 and 1996, when it made the semifinals.

Though India has won the World Cup before, in 1983 under Kapil Dev, Dhoni stands to go one better if he can lift the trophy in Mumbai on April 2, having already won an international title for his country at the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

Despite the inevitable tension, Dhoni has been relaxed in his approach. And his side has responded with convincing wins in practice games over Australia and New Zealand, and a similarly impressive victory in its World Cup opener in Group B last Saturday against fellow co-host Bangladesh.

"There is pressure if you win, pressure if you lose," he said ahead of the game against Bangladesh. "I would have told you the exact figure (of pressure) if I had a machine to measure it."

Such a situation is inevitable given that India is both a co-host and a tournament favourite, when it was neither in 1983.

Dev led an unfancied team which shocked favorite West Indies in the final at Lord's, triggering a process that eventually made the country the financial epicenter of the game.

Now, Dev is bullish about the current team's prospects of hoisting the trophy again for India.
"Dhoni should do better than me," he said recently. "He is a very fine cricketer, a fantastic captain and I hope he can achieve everything he wanted."

"The Indian team for the World Cup is the strongest batting lineup we have ever seen in world cricket. It looks a balanced team, though the bowling is a bit weak. So if they can play to their abilities they can emerge world champions," he said.

The batting lineup led by the world's highest-scoring batsman Sachin Tendulkar also has names like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and captain Dhoni himself, who have all proved themselves over the years.

With Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan also going into the tournament in fine form, it is a batting lineup envied by rival captains.

Just as the landscape of cricket has changed since the last World Cup, with the advent of Twenty20 cricket, so Dhoni's stature has risen significantly in the intervening years.

India found a new leader when, with the country virtually in mourning after its shock exit from the 2007 World Cup, Dhoni led a young side to victory in the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.

He then gradually took over as captain of the one-day and Test teams with success.

Dhoni has led India to victory in 14 of 24 Test matches and 53 of 94 one-day internationals, with seven no results. His Twenty20 win-loss record for India stands at a humble 12-11 by his standards, but he has also led the Chennai Superkings to title victories in both the Indian Premier League and the Champions League.
Sourav Ganguly, who is the most successful India skipper in Tests with 21 victories and who also led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, has only praise for Dhoni.

"I think he (Dhoni) backs his players and gives them opportunities consistently, which is very important," Ganguly told Hindustan Times in a recent interview. "He takes risks, which is also crucial for a captain because as a skipper you cannot just do things in the typical stereotyped manner."

The 29-year-old Dhoni is already an inspiration for a generation of cricketers from smaller cities as he hails from the state of Jharkhand, considered the backwaters of Indian cricket.

Now, he is only one step away from upstaging top Indian captains like Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly.

No comments:

Post a Comment