MS Dhoni slammed his 3rd fifty-plus ODI score in Chennai (Image courtesy: IANS)
MS Dhoni slammed his 3rd fifty-plus ODI score in Chennai (Image courtesy: IANS)

Criticisms were needling from everywhere. We always have one foot fixed in future and the other in past. Will MS Dhoni be a part of the 2019 World Cup? Can he be the Dhoni of the past? What about the present? Thankfully, that s where our cricketers live. It s one of those wonderful feelings as a journalist where you write on a subject and you see your thoughts being executed in real.

My article concluded, When I read Amish Tripathi sImmortals of Meluha and try to visualise the character of Shiva, it s Dhoni for some reason that crosses my mind. That s maybe because of the way he topples the odds, and take unpredictable decisions beyond sane logic but, in hindsight, they are masked with rational thoughts.

He is probably the best thing to happen in Indian cricket after the turn of the century. At the same time, all great things come to an end. Let us cross our fingers as the warrior steps out for another battle against time.

The warrior did step out, and stepped out to battle at a favourite coliseum. The locals call him their thala. One supreme God, 33 crore Hindu Gods and, when it s Chennai, add two more to the list. Apart from Rajnikanth, they also worship the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper (not using former), Dhoni.

He has gifted them runs, wins, stumpings, catches, 2 IPL titles, 2 Champions League titles, his only double hundred and much more

India are playing an ODI in Chennai after almost 2 years. Australians had reduced them to 64 for 4 in the 16th over when Dhoni walked out to the cheers. Soon India lost half their side at 87.

Cometh the crisis, cometh the man.

He had a blueprint in mind. He ensured Hardik Pandya followed it. His first boundary was off a top-edge, but he had played 66 balls by then and entered his 40s. Pandya accelerated, slammed a brilliant 66-ball 83. When Pandya fell in the 41st over, Chennai s thala took over. He fell in the final over, but not before enthralling his devotees with 4 fours and 4 maximums, and crafting a fine 79 from just 88 balls. He finally got out, first time in over 2 months, July 9 to be precise.

The sinking ship was harboured to safety. India got to 281 for 7.

A year before CSK came into existence, Dhoni first played here for Asia XI. He started with a 33, followed it with an unbeaten 139. He scored a century here against Pakistan in 2013 and now comes the 79.

He is also Chennai s own Bradman. The stats say so

At Chennai (ODIs) M R Ave SR HS 100s 50s
MS Dhoni 6 401 100.25 101.8 139* 2 1

Now it s all up to Indian bowlers to counter the David Warner, Steven Smith and gang. Australia, you still cannot afford to relax. Beware of the man standing behind the stumps.