Home > Features >

MS Dhoni’s class of 2007 and the batch of 2014

from being the long-locked MS Dhoni to the grey-bearded commander, he has matured along with the shortest format of the sport © Getty Images
from being the long-locked MS Dhoni to the grey-bearded commander, he has matured along with the shortest format of the sport © Getty Images

MS Dhoni has evolved as a captain and a player since India lifted the ICC World T20 2007. As India made it to their first semi-final at the World T20 since that victory in South Africa, Nishad Pai Vaidya looks at how Dhoni’s men have set things right this time.

Go back to the year 2007, when the first edition of the ICC World T20 was held in South Africa. Twenty20 was a baby, with an unknown potential and undiscovered excitement. But seven years down the line, it is a serious sport with different leagues taking shape all over the world. And if you ask Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he can tell you all about it! “There are more media people over here you know, compared to there (in South Africa in 2007). There nobody came,” Dhoni said amidst a few laughs! Seven years since India won the inaugural T20 championship, this is the first time his side have made it through to the semi-finals.

When compared to the Dhoni of 2007, the man today is different, although he has the same composure and calm. Back then, he had those long locks that became a rage and today, he is wiser and older. “Yes, I have changed a lot. When I see a mirror, I see a lot of grey beard,” Dhoni said with a mischievous smile. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Dhoni all these years in the shortest format at the international level. In 2009 and 2010, India lost all their games in the Super Eights. In 2012, they won five out of their six games, but that one defeat cost them a spot in the semi-finals. But, this time, they sailed through and in some style: winning all their four games.

Dhoni looks back at the magic of 2007 with nostalgia. Yes, he has gone on to lift the ICC World Cup 2011, the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and the No 1 spot in the Test rankings. However, the first one is special as he led a young brigade to South Africa with no one giving them a chance. Dhoni said, “India had played only one T20 International (until then). Half the team came from England and the other half came from India. We did whatever we thought was the right way to do, to the extent that we used to practice bowl outs. It was fun and we ended up having bowl out at the time.”

Now T20 cricket is a different ball game as people are looking to win it. “In 2007, T20 was taken more in the joking way. They said, ‘Ok, have fun.’ They used to mic up players, talk to them. Now it is more intense. You don’t see people enjoying it. You play to win and batsmen play shots that nobody has heard about so far.” So, Dhoni’s fearless approach may have been complicated over the years with all those theories coming in to get the gameplans right. Then, it was to go out and enjoy and now there are talks and discussions about every intricate detail.

It isn’t that Dhoni lost the plot in T20 Internationals, but things just did not work for him in the World T20s. He already boasts of two Indian Premier League (IPL) titles and one Champions League T20 since then (with Chennai Super Kings). But, there is a different touch to it when you talk about playing for India. Dhoni did admit that the pressure is intense! Here is someone who doesn’t normally say that. The fans want nothing but victory and when it comes to T20 cricket, it isn’t all that easy as games change in a matter of overs.

As T20 cricket has evolved over the years, India perhaps did not fit into the mould at the highest level. There were a few chinks in the armous that always exposed them. This time, Dhoni has done well to use the conditions to his advantage. Playing the three spinners is a good strategy and how much has Amit Mishra’s inclusion changed things? It is with that positive mindset and momentum that India would move into the semi-finals.

Whenever India have been written off, they have roared back to stun critics. The World T20 2007 is a classic example and just last year, Dhoni’s men won the Champions Trophy with no one giving them a real chance. It was the same coming into this tournament with woeful form to back it. But, by winning four games, India have said they mean business and are two steps away from the big prize!

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 2 — All matches: Yuvraj Singh scores 2nd century in his 2nd Ranji game this season

Shahid Afridi, please do not take the innocence away from cricket

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Is Jason Holder a captain or a stooge?

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Australia India Interviews Moments in history Ricky Ponting

ICC World Cup 2015: Stuart Binny optimistic for mega-event after gain in pace

Shahid Afridi among players issued with show cause notice for shooting commercial without permission

Akshar Patel: Very happy to be selected for the next two Test matches

Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Kerala vs Hyderabad: Kerala trail by 91 runs

Ranji Trophy 2014-15 Round 3, Tamil Nadu vs Madhya Pradesh: TN finish at 112/4 at stumps on Day 2

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

ICC World Cup 2015: Will India’s trend of performing against expectations continue?

Moin Khan: Pakistan must carry momentum in ICC World Cup 2015

West Indies tour of South Africa 2014-15: One-sided encounters may suck interest out of series

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can Australia make it 12 wins in a row at home?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here