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Saturday, April 2, 2016

How Dhoni stumped the Press ~ that 112M hit ... thalada !!

MSD is a rare phenomenon … a shrewd captain, power hitter, great runner, Captain cool – the champion gloveman has effected 148 stumpings in International Cricket – has 89 in ODI and hopefully would end up with a ton here too.  After the Semi finals loss, he effected nonchalantly another one – this time off the ground. 

A frustrating question often surfaces ~ the same Press dare not ask this to a South African, Aussie or English Captain though.  This time, he welcomed to his adjacent a man with a warm embrace, a sympathetic arm around his  shoulder, a crisp white smile, the same smile millions have been seeing on a dozen commercials ~ that man was obviously nervous .. and some Press is trying to vilify that !

Today, Clint McKay has announced his retirement from Australian first-class and international cricket. The 33-year old fast bowler will continue to play for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and Leicestershire in the county championship. McKay ended an 11-year relationship with Victoria, for whom he had debuted in November 2006 and last played in February 2016.  The big burly pacer played a solitary Test  and six T20Is but his resume was stronger in ODIs - 59 matches, 97 wickets at an average of 24.37 and economy rate of 4.78.

Most of his success was a result of his accuracy and variations. He dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with a back-of-the-hand slower ball on ODI debut, and helped Australia to victory in a high-scoring game in Hyderabad in November 2009. In 2013, he became the fifth man from his country to take a hat-trick in ODIs when he dismissed Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root in Cardiff. McKay was named Australia's ODI cricketer of the year in 2013.  In 2013, when he toured India,  McKay was among the casualties, taking only four wickets at an average of 74.50. He played three more ODIs against England at the start of 2014, but with younger and quicker bowlers than him coming up the ranks, he did not play for Australia again.

Do you remember that match in Adelaide in Feb 2012, if not, please make a search and see it (the last over) in You Tube.  Australians made 269/8 with Hussey top scoring with 72.  Gautam Gambhir gave a good start making 92.  It was a supremely calm MS Dhoni who guided India to victory, with two balls to spare.  Dhoni's composure was best measured by how he paced his innings. It bordered on the statuesque early, before he raised tempo with swift running between the wickets.

In the last over unfolded a great drama.  13 needed – Clint McKay the bowler and Ravichandran Ashwin the batsman. 1st was a dot ball; 2nd a single; 12 needed off 4 – people were predicting an Aussie win.  A full length delivery was brutally sent over long on over 112 meters – it kept goin, goin, going. 4th was a waist high no ball, Dhoni clubbed, caught off a no ball, by which time, Dhoni ran two. Now 3 off 2 – Dhoni pulled, Warner dived at the boundary, cut it off, by which time Dhoni had run the required.

McKay crumbled under pressure and would ever remember that even after his retirement- that towering sixer. 

Now getting back to that post match interview, Australian scribe Ferris asked Dhoni if he wanted to continue playing after the World T20. "I thought it was a pretty standard question to be fair," Ferris wrote.  "When Dhoni shocked the world with his Test retirement out of nowhere after the 2014 Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), it caught everybody off guard. With that in mind, I was sure he would get asked again if he was going to retire from limited overs cricket," Ferris wrote.

Howsoever it was laced, it was a loaded Q, would you want the Captain who is now playing only ODI & T20 to retire because Indians lost the Semis – then by the yardstick, would be dare ask his Aussie skipper about his plans, having failed to qualify even !

Dhoni has achieved nearly everything that is to be achieved in limited overs international cricket - ODIs or T20s. He had led his team to the World T20 crown in 2007, the 50-overs World Cup title in 2011 and also the Champions Trophy in 2013. Dhoni pulled him by his side and told him that had he been Indian press, would have asked whether he had a brother or a relative, a wicket-keeper – an aspirant to Dhoni’s throne.  He queried whether he is fit to play for more time and asked him specifically to comment on the way he ran his doubles during the tournament.

Press will look to sensationalism – MSD, we adore you, and want to play for more time… thalada !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Apr 2016


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