Gargi Raut ∙ Sep 22 2022, 11:00 AM

What if... MS Dhoni was never made the Indian captain?

image-l8cyuymmMS Dhoni is the most successful Indian captain in history 

An outsider who took the world by storm. Complex yet surprisingly simple, someone who doesn't talk much but says a lot, a persona no one had witnessed in cricket before. A player that hit the world with his silence and his patience. Somehow he always knew what to do, even in the most difficult of times; an alien of sorts. Lauded for his genius, a mind that never stopped deciphering an opponent, a master and a legend; MS Dhoni. 

MS Dhoni started his journey from a small town, deep in the hollows of Jharkhand. Making his way to the top, Dhoni was named the ODI and T20I captain in 2007, taking the reins from Rahul Dravid. He was named the Indian Test captain the following year. 

But what if MS Dhoni was never made the Indian captain?

We wouldn't have witnessed Rohit Sharma's opening brilliance

MS Dhoni's captaincy was filled with head-shaking decisions and critiques. The legend took one such decision during the 2013 Champions Trophy when he decided to promote Rohit Sharma at the top of the batting order. And the rest is history. 

Sharma averaged inconsistently over the years as a middle order batter (stats below), but hit the gas pedal as soon as he was jumped up the batting lineup and since has been a force to be reckoned with. 

  • Most ODI runs by an Indian opener since his debut (7,316)
  • Joint-second-most international hundreds by an Indian opener (36)
  • Most runs in an innings by an opener (264)
  • Most runs from 4s and 6s in an innings by an opener (186)

In the 2019 World Cup, Sharma was the highest run-getter and scored a record five centuries. In 2019, he became the fastest to 6,000 runs as an opener in ODI cricket. He currently has 9376 in ODIs. 

We wouldn't have these superstars 

Dhoni has always been the kind of captain that puts his team first. The skipper has been a voice for emerging talent, paving the way for young guns, Dhoni's captaincy catapulted more than a handful careers into super-success. 

  • Virat Kohli: The former skipper has time and again credited Dhoni for his success, in the dawn of his career, Kohli received immense support (even when there was a pool of talent available besides Kohli) and countless opportunities to bat at number 3. Even when Kohli was pushed out of the squad, Dhoni was the sole 
  • Ravindra Jadeja: The all-rounder was in an awfully inconsistent form before 2013, when Dhoni trusted the left-hander with the ball in the Test series against Australia. Jadeja ended the series as the 2nd most successful bowler. 
  • Ishant Sharma: The tall fast bowler regularly credits MS for his success in international cricket, he received an incredible amount of support from the skipper. One such memorable incident being the 2013 rainy Champions Trophy final in Birmingham, an otherwise expensive bowler in the match, Ishant was asked to bowl the 18th over where he scalped two wickets and drove the team to victory. 
  • Suresh Raina: A complete T20 player and the reason behind is MS Dhoni. Dhoni always rated the UP cricketer highly and backed him throughout his career, even through injuries. Dhoni made the effort to save Raina a place in the playing XI. 
  • Ravichandran Ashwin: MS Dhoni was a vital component in Ashwin's early career. Early in his days, even when he was not effective, Ashwin was asked to bowl all of his ten overs in international cricket. Under Dhoni's leadership in Chennai Super Kings Ashwin emerged as a match winner and ended up in the limelight. 

We wouldn't have India's most successful captain

The tales of Dhoni's captaincy will be passed down like folklore. There's not a soul in the cricket sphere who isn't aware of Dhoni's colossal success as captain; his impact and his charm. Dhoni, like heroes in fairytales built a mammoth legacy, one that will remain untouchable. India's most successful captain in history, Dhoni has a long list of historical achievements to his name. 

  • Most matches played by any captain across all the formats
  • The most international sixes by a captain (204)
  • Most matches played as captain in T20.
  • Most matches played as captain in Tests for India
  • Most successful captain in T20 (20 wins in 33 matches) as captain

And the most remarkable and the most memorable of them all:

The only captain to have won all the three major ICC limited-overs tournaments.

Also Read: Behind the Click: When Virat hand moulded his destiny at Mohali