In cricket, even the smallest of decisions can affect the course of a match. Right from a no-ball to a wrong call for a single by the batsman. But when these decisions are taken deliberately as a part of a plan, they can make all the difference between winning and losing. Our very own captain, M.S. Dhoni is famous for taking such crucial match-winning decisions.
Here are 8 times when MSD showed us all why he's rightfully called ‘Captain Cool’:
1. When a tactically aware Dhoni asked Ishant Sharma to bowl bodyline deliveries to the English batsmen.
Match: 2014, 2nd Test match, England v/s India
To go for the kill on the last day of the test match, M.S. Dhoni turned to Ishant Sharma and asked to stifle the English batsmen by bowling bouncers. This ploy of his paid off as the lanky seamer ripped through the English batting line-up taking 5 prized scalps.
2. When Dhoni trusted his own abilities ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh to save his wicket.
Match: 2011, World Cup Final, India v/s Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka piled up a total of 274 runs for the Indians to chase. He backed himself and came in at number 5 instead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh, a move that raised a few eyebrows. However, 79 balls later, he created history by hitting a match-winning six over long-on!
3. When a clever decision to remove his right-hand glove proved to be a masterstroke.
Match: 2016, T20 group stage match, India v/s Bangladesh
Bangladesh needed 11 runs to win in the last over. And after a couple of boundaries, they required just two off the last ball. MS Dhoni then spoke to Hardik Pandya and asked him to bowl a "back-of-length" delivery. Well aware of the fact that the batsman will anyway scamper for a single, he decided to remove his one of his gloves beforehand. The result? This epic photo finish that all of us will never forget!
4. When the calculated risk of selecting part-timers paid off really well!
Match: 2007, T20 World Cup group stage match, India v/s Pakistan
Both teams finished the match at 141, resulting in a famous bowl-out between India and Pakistan during the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007. Recognising that selecting fast bowlers wouldn't be the correct choice, the quick-witted captain selected Harbajhan Singh and two part-timers (Robin Uthappa & Virender Sehwag) to bowl during the bowl-out. All of them hit the bullseye and India went to win the match!
5. When a wise decision to move Cheteshwar Pujara up the order turned the match around.
Match: 2010, 2nd Test match, India v/s Australia
In the second test match, Cheteshwar Pujara was given a chance to prove his talent by the captain MS Dhoni. Having failed in the first innings, Dhoni believing in his batsman's capability, decided to promote him up the order and sent him at number 3, ahead of Rahul Dravid. A brilliant knock of 72 which justified this decision and also helped India take an unassailable lead in the test series.
6. When he was mentally strong enough to take a decision in the spirit of the game.
Match: 2011, 2nd test, England v/s India
Just before the stroke of tea, Eoin Morgan had flicked the ball down the leg side and while fielding, Praveen Kumar tumbled and somehow managed to stop the ball going over the boundary. The batsmen had successfully taken 3 runs and were unsure if they ball had touched the rope or not. The two batsmen went out from their crease and started to chat, during this, the Indian wicketkeeper Abhinav Mukund collected the ball from the fielder and took the bails off to dismiss Bell.
Initially given out, Bell was recalled by our captain courageous after lunch as he figured out that this decision might not go down well in the spirit of the game. Captain courageous after lunch as he figured out that this decision might not go down well in the spirit of the game.
7. When Dhoni's gutsy decision to give Sharma the penultimate over won India the Champions Trophy.
Match: 2013, ICC Champions Trophy Final, India v/s England
During the final, the Indian batsmen who'd performed wonderfully well throughout the tournament failed miserably and could only manage to put up 129 runs on the board. Dhoni to counter this cleverly used his bowlers and kept the pressure on the English side. Ishant Sharma was perhaps the only one who was turning out be an expensive option. But Dhoni, who has always believed in himself and his bowlers, took a bold decision of getting him on for the 18th over. Sharma bowled beautifully and picked up wickets of both Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara and turned things around for India.
8. When he assessed the situation exceptionally well and made just the perfect change in the batting line-up.
Match: 2015, ICC World Cup group stage match India v/s Pakistan
Team India was pumped up for this match as the record of being unbeaten against Pakistan in World Cups was on the line. Any other captain would have gone according to a set plan and made no changes to it. Unlike Dhoni, who took a risky yet smart decision of promoting Raina up the order. The left-hander didn't disappoint him and made a worthy contribution of 74 runs to the total.
If this doesn’t tell you that Dhoni is Captain Cool, then nothing else will. His decisions making in cricket is second to none. This helped by the fact that not only is he physically fit to take the strain, but he mentally ready and alert to face any challenge that might arise. Revital H helps us maintain that very edge so that we fit – both mentally and physically.