Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Low class cricketer
Dhoni-dom is not quite the stardom that we are used to in Indian cricket.
I am not refering only to the guy's cricketing skills here. MSD is a class apart, literally. He belongs to the lower class.
You'd know what I mean if you've seen the ads that feature him.
We have seen stars drink Pepsi or Coke (or Boost!), ride Santro, wear Mayur or Siyaram suitings, show off their Rbk (and RSS, of late), be part of the Samsung team, eat Chyavanprash.. Whereas Dhoni's larger-than-life figure is all over in the interiors of the country in billboards that target the labour and farmer class.
So unlike our "master"s, "Maharaja"s and "Wall"s, Dhoni comes out as the "common man" of Indian cricket.
(One does not forget an under-19 captain who brought home the world cup and later became part of the senior team, he had the common man appeal in him but he never became a sellable star on his own. Sehvag was another person who came close).
Coming from Bihar Ranji team (and later Jharkhand), MSD has a way of his own. In everything. (Ever heard of anyone from a Bihar team making it to the Indian team before?) And with his game, he makes sure he can't be ignored by anyone for long.
The Telegraph carries an opinion page article on Feb 15:
"What stood out from the beginning was Dhoni's confident poise, the fact that he played from the start like an adult.. Dhoni never looked the young debutant, he never seemed tentative. He seemed to know what his business was and went about it with a calm self-possession that contrasted nicely with the violence of his methods.."
The article tries to find the reason:
"This might have had something to do with his apprenticeship in first-class cricket, which was a relatively long one. He had played five years of first-class cricket when he was selected to represent India.."
One of the earliest articles I could find on the man says: "I am sure M.S.Dhoni would get his turn to play for India and if he can produce atleast 60% of what he had played against Pakistan A and Kenya, then my word is that this guy would be a resounding success in the near future.."
He lived up to those words. In style.
In a game that is dominated by the "whites" of this country.
Coming back to the Telegraph article, that calls him "part Bheem, part Ekalavya":
"Indian teams are organized around codes of deference: "junior" players behave a certain way around "senior" players.. Dhoni, like Sehwag, doesn't fit into that mould.."
Let us hope he stays -- as a dependable player, as a star, and as a common man.