Now that Jharkhand icon and arguably India’s greatest skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has announced his retirement from International cricket bringing to an end a spectacular career it is time that the nation stands up and applauds his immense contribution to the game .
Iam not going to dwell on how many trophies or runs and the finishes he had done for the national team over the years. But insist upon the need to give a fitting tribute to a once in a generation legendary wicket- keeper batsman for India. Let’s be upfront on this argument, If the ‘God of cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar can be allowed to choose his retirement and expresses his wish to play his 200th Test at Wankhede and the BCCI obliging by organising a two- match Test series in 2013 , then why not a final game for the skipper who had won two World Cups – T20 2007 and 2011 ICC World Cup?
After all Mahi is no ordinary player. In-fact he towers above Tendulkar in terms of achievement. He was a captain marvel and player who showed that nothing was impossible whatever be the target. Thanks to his fantastic finishing abilities and cool and calm approach in the middle . And a inspiration for players from small towns to make it big. It is indeed co-incidental that two of India’s World Cup winning Skippers were from small towns – The Haryana Hurricane , All rounder Legend Kapil Dev , 1983 Prudential World Cup winning skipper from Chandigarh and followed by Dhoni from Ranchi who broke India’s 28 year World Cup jinx in 2011 .
Moreover, Tendulkar should consider himself lucky as he was never dropped by selectors in his long 24 year- career. This was luxury he enjoyed right through. On the other hand many of his contemporaries and equally greats like Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis , Steve Waugh, Virender Sehwag found themselves out of the selectors favour due to poor form . But Sachin somehow termed as ‘special talent’ escaped the axe. This is is one of the prime reasons why he could prolong his International career and go on to play 200 Test matches for the country.
In the 50 overs format remember he burnt his figures with his two dismal stints as skipper in 1996 and in 1999 and he later quit in 2000 . In the much talked about ICC 2007 World Cup campaign in the West Indies , Sachin flopped miserably with the bat . And had forgettable scores of 7 against Bangladesh, 57 not out against Bermuda and 0 against Sri Lanka. Yet , despite the failure and the World Cup loss , he was allowed to pick and choose series so as to meet his long wish to win a World Cup . For the 2007 World Cup disaster head coach Greg Chappell was squarely blamed so too was Rahul Dravid’s captaincy.
It appeared as though only Sachin had the desire to win the World Cup and not the likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. Laxman in-fact to this date rues about not featuring in India’s World Cup squad and is unable to fathom how on earth a certain Dinesh Mongia was picked ahead of him for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Tendulkar under his belt has many records . No doubt a phenomenal feat but one must also acknowledge the support BCCI gave him to enable him to make such daunting records that will challenge the generation next .
Sachin went on to realise his dream when India won the in 2011 World Cup held in India by beating Sri Lanka in the final by six wickets at Wankhede . Skipper Mahi finished off the match in style sending a Nuwan Kulasekara delivery into the stands to make the whole nation get ecstatic and wild with joy.
Fast forward, ICC 2019 World Cup , India, loses in semis to New Zealand by mere 18 runs after the men in blue were reduced to 92/6 in 30.3. It was a blitz by Ravindra Jadeja ( 77) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni ( 50) that nearly saw India home. But unlike Sachin, Dhoni was made the fall guy. So why the special treatment for Sachin after World Cup exit in 2007 ? and just the opposite for Dhoni after 2019 ouster ?
Moreover, it must be noted Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly (2008 Nagpur vs Australia) and Anil Kumble (2008 vs Australia Feroz Shah Kotla) are the only trio who had the chance to play their final Tests. The likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina , Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh were not given proper farewell’s. This is certainly no way to treat players who had served the nation brilliantly and were part of several memorable victories.
Hence it is time the richest board with one of its finest skippers and now president Sourav Ganguly takes the initiative to see that Mahi gets a farewell game . One cannot have one rule for Sachin Tendulkar and another for others. This would be grave injustice and unfair. Or to be more precise humiliation.
Hemant Soren , Chief Minister Of Jharkhand , has requested the BCCI to host a match in Ranchi to honour Mahi . If this happens then it will be perfect to way to salute an icon. And meeting the fervent wish of his ardent followers. Great players when they bow out deserve respect and Captain Cool has every right to go out with a one last innings.