Saturday, Oct 01, 2022
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M.S. Dhoni, Captain, Indian Cricket Team

Dhoni is iconic because his superstardom symbolises the arrival of small-town India. His onfield style—the celebrated cool—also stands for a confident young India.

M.S. Dhoni, Captain, Indian Cricket Team Illustration by Sorit

Spare a thought for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s doctor: what a harrowing time must he have whenever he tries to find the Indian cricket captain’s pulse. Nothing, it seems, can cause mortal palpitations that give away lesser mortals. Not a flurry of middle-order wickets, not a demoralising balls-to-runs ratio, not the size of the boundary he has to clear, nor the ‘hopes of a billion’. Then, spare a thought for where he is from. Since year one, Indian cricket’s great and good have come from Bombay and Delhi, Bangalore, Madras and Hyderabad. Who would have thought that the world’s No. 1 Test team, the world’s No. 1 ODI team, the World Cup-winning team, the T20 World Cup-winning team, the IPL champion, and Champions Trophy champion would, at one time or the other, be led by a man whose Aadhar card is issued from Ranchi?

Then, spare a thought for the leader. Traditio­nally, Indian cricket has more camps than a game reserve. Bombay-ites hang out with Bombayites. Kann­adigas hiss in Kannada. Look at the scorecard of the next match­—Kohli (Delhi), Raina (Kanpur), Ashwin (Chennai), Mohit Sharma (Bahadurgarh)—and ask yourself under whose tutelage did they earn their spurs.

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