Wednesday, 18 February 2015

#Dhoni : A farewell most unfair

Dhoni took India to heights with very well known successes.For it to be repeated or reiterated would be pompous, ironically, by his own standards.His love and hate relationship with the the current day commentators  on radio or television or news media has swung in favour or otherwise has an uncanny resemblance with the recent ding-dong fortunes of Mr Srinivasan vis-a-vis the Courts.

Dhoni has been his own man.He eked out a style of commandeering that was in many ways different or the opposite to that of his most successful predecessor Ganguly.He was quiet, self effacing(read against the very expressive and voluble Ganguly) yet, remarkably authoritative in his studied and phlegmatic silences.He showed a consistency and fitness both physically and mentally much unlike that of Ganguly and would easily be the best Indian wicket-keeper by many a mile.He led in all forms of the game for quite a while with distinction and victories to boot.

One quite easily would fall into the trap of seeing him as a neo-Kapil .Very impulsive and rustic as against the thinking, suave and clipped- sophisticate that Ganguly passed off as.Ganguly in one of his motivational talks at Bhubaneswar reluctantly admitted that Dhoni's reticent, unflappable and quiet style of captaincy perhaps was the result of his complete confidence and foreknowledge of the way forward.Hence, he was not the one who talked or discussed much at team meetings ,Ganguly grumpily added further.To Dhoni's end it may also be appreciated that the biggies like Sachin, Rahul,Laxman,Ganguly had overstayed their presence in Indian Cricket by a good two years.Added to this he had a fading Sehwag,Unmystical Kumble,a half-fit Zaheer with the two celebrity brats like Harbhajan and Yuvaraj making their mark in tinsel town more than on the turfs where they culled their fame from..Which Indian Team could Dhoni have made for the future then?Yet the Team 20-20 was quite his own making in which mercifully most of these leaden footed, much fed waistlines were found not photogenic enough to merit places in the Indian side.

Dhoni was becoming richer.Much more than the Sachin's Gavaskar's and Shastri's.And imagine this upstart of small-town  not even consulting the ruling and pristine deities,the mammoths who claimed proprietorship of the cricketing urban jungles.Ganguly, provided the intellectual angle to the fast declining fortunes of a Dhoni and the more commercially shrewd Mumbaikars Bhogle's and Manjrekars included only thrust in their crude knives of cricketing wisdom (sic)and made Kohli the immediate and imperative alternative.Mr Shastri was the new whiz kid and theorist blowing the new found Indian nationalist bugle of self-assertion and aggression.(Read the resurrection of a neo brat-pack.)

Cut to the murky sequence of events.....

Dhoni hesitates to visit Australia and does not arrive for the first Test.Kohli talks and talks.Makes faces too alongwith most of the new and young Indian side to scare the Kangaroos.Alternate halloween .Not honeymoon.Leads India in the second and third test only to lose.Dhoni helplessly sees another India on the field with Kohli the new 'Sikhandi' and the CEO cum Director of Cricket squeezing Dhoni or lecturing on the new found nationalism and braver ideas.Duncan must have been busy filing his transport and hotel claims.A Sandip Patil tweaking a thing or two at the Selection Committee Meetings, albeit an edgy ride with the BCCI.(what with all being on their payrolls and the conflict of interest bogey).The wily Kauravas had finally checkmated their more illustrious and very popular people king.The pretenders had arrived.The massive Dhoni hate campaign on his retirement only confirmed our worst fears.

It is sad therefore that a proud man called Dhoni preferred, perhaps unbecomingly many would imagine, a hurried exit and decided to bid goodbye to Test Cricket without the usual fanfare.Drama ensued expectedly.Cucumber cool Dhoni takes India to safety with a draw.A Test is still to go. He returns to the Dressing Room and rings up for the BCCI heads.The Secretary Shetty hears of his decision to say thank you and bye.Grimly, he accepts on behalf of the powerful BCCI.Now only, does Dhoni share his decision with his team mates.Some must have known already, some guessed, some surmising from shrugs and muffled protests and dissents seen and hidden in the shadows of silent corridors and some for the very first time.No waves, claps or shrill cries of disbelief for him from the grand stands.No Press Conferences.No lining up of players of both Teams.Into the sunset did the strong Dhoni for once, walked thus ! And it is these conspiracies, not made public but only hinted at that Tom Alter wades into.It is quite another thing, though that the Gang of Five : Gavaskar,Ganguly,Dravid,Manjrekar,and Bhogle are commentating with new found inspiration and gob-smacking glee to celebrate the blossoming of a new politics of sport, power and control.

Star Sports Zindabad ! Welcome the new Cricket-corporation-in-charge.

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