A maverick who destroyed every opposition and managed to look unflappable while he was at it — that’s how West Indies great Michael Holding remembers former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in international cricket, a stint which ended on August 15. Dhoni, the only captain to have won all the ICC trophies, retired from international cricket more than a year after he last played for India — the lost World Cup semifinal against New Zealand –, announcing the decision on social media. Holding, like others, only had effusive praise to offer for the 39-year-old.
“When Dhoni first started to play ODIs for India that long flowing locks that we call it in the Caribbean, he looked like a maverick. He looked like someone who came out there just to destroy whatever comes in front of him and he pretty much did that,” Holding said on his youtube channel.
Dhoni sported many different hairstyles in his career but it was his long mane of the early days that became a the talk of the town.
Hailing his big-hitting prowess, Holding said, “Throughout his career he hit 229 sixes (in ODIs). When you think of those numbers you must be think he must have played for 40 years to have hit so many sixes and fours. But that is the nature of the man.”
“As he grew some grey around his temple area then he had to tone it down a bit and he was lot more controlled with his batting. Anyone watching MS Dhoni in the middle would know he was always in control, unflappable, never ever he looked out of control,” he added.
The stumper-batsman, who led India to victory in the T20 World Cup, the ODI World Cup and the Champions Trophy, is widely considered one of the greatest captains in international cricket and earned respect for his foresight on the cricket field.
“What a captain he was, how successful he was…When he was captaining, you never saw him get excited,” said Holding, a member of the famous pace quartet of the West Indies in the 1970s.
“If things seemed to be slipping, he would call his players, have a chat calmly and then they would go back to wherever they were and things would automatically change, that was the kind of influence he had.”
In 98 Tests, Dhoni scored 4,876 runs with 256 catches and 38 stumpings, while amassing 10,773 runs with 321 catches and 123 stumpings in 350 ODIs.
In T20Is, he aggregated 1617 runs with 57 catches and 34 stumpings.
He scored six centuries in Tests and 10 in ODIs.
Holding said it is “commendable” that Dhoni could score nearly 5000 Test runs and also do justice to his keeping job throughout his career.
“What a career this man had, a fantastic one. This man made almost 5,000 Test runs and remember, he’s not a pure batsman, he’s a wicket-keeper. Over such a long career, to be able keep wickets and do such a fantastic job is commendable,” said the 66-year-old.
“To be bending down for so many years, keeping himself fit through all these years. He has close to 11,000 runs in ODIs…,” said Holding, one of the most respected voices in international cricket.