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MSD – Makes Smart Decisions

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MS_Dhoni_India_cricketThe irony isn't lost on anyone. The Final of the Champions Trophy, a 50 over tournament, was reduced to a T20 game. For all intents and purposes, it was a 'face saving' T20 final for the ICC. Putting the dumb in a dumbfounding decision, cricket's governing body failed to see the need for a reserve day in England, where the rains wait for no season. Fortunately for the ICC, the cricket overshadowed their stupidity.

Yes, Shikhar Dhawan played well. Virat Kohli batted beautifully. Ravindra Jadeja converted a few more non-believers. R Ashwin bowled like he never left home. But among these performances, MS Dhoni's captaincy stands out. Captain Cool defied the codes of sanity and gave Ishant Sharma the 18th over. Sharma had figures of 3-27-0 at that point. His previous over had been taken for 11 runs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar had an over left. Umesh Yadav had 2 left. Yet, MS went for the long-haired bloke whose every delivery was ravaged by doubts. The second ball was carted for six. The third was a wide and the next, a confirmation of Ishant's ability to bowl wides.

As he lifted his head up and saw the ball go for a wide the second time once his hair cleared from in front of his eyes, Sharma looked at Dhoni. Dhoni clapped and gestured 'to keep calm and bowl the next one.' No signs of anger or frustration at the bowler. On the next 2 balls, Ishant Sharma responded by taking the wickets of Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. Dhoni's gesture may have altered the invisbile neon patterns of the karmic cycle or Sharma was just lucky. Either way, Dhoni's response to Sharma's inept bowling instilled a bit of confidence in Ishant Sharma. In times of doubt, it's reassuring when someone else bestows belief in you. That's exactly what Dhoni did and any bowler would agree, that's exactly what they need.

His Test credentials still leave a lot to be desired. As a batsman and as a captain, Test match cricket is something he hasn't mastered. But in limited overs, he can keep, bat, captain and bowl. He is better than Ganguly or any other Indian captain. We can call him lucky or the man with a Fairy Godmother flying around his head, but there's no denying his brilliance as a captain; again, in the limited overs format.

He keeps his facial expressions hidden under his greying beard and emotions covered by his milk-guzzling exoskeleton. But it was visible that this victory meant a lot. MS Dhoni jumped up and down like a school girl once the final ball was bowled. It was as if he wanted to do this for more than just himself. He wanted to do this for a country that felt betrayed.

The only way to redeem oneself is through actions and winning the ICC Champions Trophy is as redeeming as it gets. The win not only improves his brand value but makes everyone forget or not care about the conflict of interest issue. After this, he can be forgiven for a few deeds influenced by human nature. After all, he is human.

He's street-smart, calm and the best captain in world cricket right now.



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