MS Dhoni’s (above) absence from the finals would have allowed Virat Kohli to face the pressure of leading the side in a final © AFP
By Dhananjay Devasper
Another India-Sri Lanka contest, another final in which these teams meet and yet another Indian victory which has sent the Indian fans into raptures. For die-hard Mahendra Singh Dhoni fans, it was a cause for double celebrations as he hammered 16 runs off Shaminda Eranga in the final over to seal the match and the tri-series. The aura is intact and in fact magnified for most part.
But one has to question the timing of many things in the entire tri-series. Dhoni had hobbled off with an injury in the first match against the West Indies and India lost two matches on the trot. Dhoni was ruled out of the tri-series. This meant that Virat Kohli got his chance to prove himself as a leader. He salvaged himself in the final two games of the series, to take India to the final.
And then came the news of a miraculous recovery that Dhoni “might” play in the finals. One has to question if it would really have mattered, if he sat out, and let Kohli face the pressure of the finals. Or was it that he could simply not leave it to the off chance that Kohli might actually win a tournament on his own. At a time when there are a few problems, waiting for him back home, a potential contender for his captaincy would be the last thing he needed. If India failed without him as captain, his aura would still be intact (Read – No Alternative to MS Dhoni). Was he trying to be indispensable?
And as fate would have it, Dhoni, did play the final and also made the decision to bring in Vinay Kumar instead of Umesh Yadav. The decision was spot-on as Yadav has been known to leak a few runs with his pace. Though a bit rusty behind the stumps, Dhoni did effect two very good stumpings and managed his bowlers very well. But it’s his batting that would be the talk of the town and have the last laugh.
As is customary to Dhoni, when he bats, the run-rate is inevitably gettable, and this time it was hovering around 3.3. And true to his style which is becoming more commonplace, the match went down to the wire. Once again it all came down to Dhoni, who put the finishing touches to India’s campaign and broke Sri Lankan hearts yet again.
While there’s no doubting Dhoni’s leadership abilities, since the man has done it all, one has to question the need for him to risk aggravating his injury and play the finals. Was the tri-series so important that he needed to step in and he could not risk a loss? As the famous saying goes — All’s well that ends well but for how long…
(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)