During his time with the national team, MS Dhoni gave India many moments that seemed prophetic. Like, they are going to lead to something bigger, which they often did. Much like his life. It was all meant to be.
In a thread posted by The Random Cricket Photos Guy, we see how Dhoni booked a seat in the India squad, and how much the universe conspired to make it happen.
So, let’s roll back to 2003 when Dhoni was not having a great season at the Ranji Trophy while playing for Bihar. He had scored 214 runs in the entire tournament at a poor average of 26. Meanwhile, another young batter-wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, seemed to be doing everything right.
214 runs at an average of 26. Bihar’s campaign had ended even before the year began. Remember, at this point, he was 23 and had not played for India in the U-19 World Cup, as you must have watched in the 2016 biopic.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
Karthik, only in his 2nd season of the Ranji Trophy at the age
of 18 had 438 runs at an avg of 43.8 and was living up to the promise that he had showed in the years preceding it. He was part of the U-19 team that played the Asia Cup towards the end of 2003.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
But in January 2004, there was the Deodhar Trophy, a 50 over tournament between
However, Dhoni redeemed himself in Deodar Trophy, returning with good batting figures. Little did he know, though, that was going to happen over the course of 2 months.
The national team had a wicket-keeper crisis as Dravid was no longer up to the job, and Parthiv Patel, his successor, was not quite performing as well as expected. The Australia tour was not good for Parthiv and it was becoming a matter of concern.
England the previous year. But Parthiv didn’t have a single 50+ score in his first 12 Tests and when he did cross 50 in his 13th, his wicketkeeping in that Test almost cost India a historic series win in Australia. Yes, it was the Sydney Test of 2004. In ODIs, Dravid was still— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
format whenever he got chances, which, to be fair to him, were sporadic. Also, Dravid keeping brought a balance to the side that anyone else keeping couldn’t be achieved. A vacancy was developing.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
However, then came the India-Pakistan series of 2004. Dravid had a terrific series
But Parthiv, too, redeemed himself in the Pakistan series. Meanwhile, DK was emerging as one of India’s biggest talents in the U-19s.
He played really well in the World Cup and it seemed like if there was ever an opening in the national squad, it will go to him.
wicketkeeper for the Indian U-19 side that played the World Cup in the months of February and March. He even captained the side in the semi-final against Pakistan in the absence of Ambati Rayudu. In the same tournament, DK had played a DK kind of knock against Sri Lanka, scoring— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
70* from 39 from No. 6 to take India to 316 in a match India comfortably won.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
But captain Sourav Ganguly and Indian cricket team’s fortunes were to change dramatically post the high of Test and ODI series wins against Pakistan.
India lost the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka where keeping
He was named in the India A Squad for Zimbabwe, along with MS Dhoni, who wasn’t a part of the bigger picture for the selectors at this point.
proved extremely taxing for the 31-year-old Rahul Dravid. Parthiv even played a couple of matches of the tournament which India would go on to lose to Sri Lanka in the final on 1st August.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
Interestingly, on the day when the squad for the Asia Cup was announced, another squad
players to watch out for. Among the other names in that squad was the name of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In the first match of that tour, DK plays and scores 96. Dhoni isn’t in the XI. In the next match, Dhoni is the wicketkeeper and he replaces DK at the crease who got out for a— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
Now, Karthik gave an amazing performance, again and was given a chance to represent the country in the Europe tour that consisted of 2 ODI tournaments, including the Champions Trophy.
still in Zimbabwe with the A team. Karthik’s rapid rise was now complete. He had a good Ranji season for Tamil Nadu. He impressed everyone with his game at the U-19 level and now his performances with the A team had booked his ticket to the highest level at the age of 18.+— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
And this is when it gets REALLY interesting. While Karthik went for national duty, Dhoni was made the official wicket-keeper of the India A-Team that was going to play Pakistan and Kenya.
the elder brother of Shaheen Afridi and the most successful fast bowler of the U-19 World Cup that year. With 362 runs from that tournament, which included two centuries against Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan A side, Dhoni had made it hard for the selectors to overlook him.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
MS shined in the tournament. As for DK, he could play only 2 matches in the whole tour, so there wasn’t much chance to showcase his talent.
The whole tour was pretty much a nightmare for India as we lost every series, and then got evicted from the Champions Trophy.
DK would play only 2 ODIs on the entire tour which proved extremely dismal for India as they lost the tri-series, the ODI series against England and didn’t even make it to the semis of the Champions Trophy.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
The Test series against Australia was also lost and Patel’s fumbles
Ultimately, when the BCCI had to choose a keeper for the Bangaldesh tour at the end of 2004, they gave Dhoni the gloves for ODIs, and Karthik, Tests.
The rest is history.
of his strong and difficult to ignore performances in the tournament in Kenya.— TheRandomCricketPhotosGuy (@RandomCricketP1) June 18, 2022
In hindsight, it’s slightly strange that the tournament which DK didn’t play because of his selection to the national side proved to be the springboard for Dhoni’s Team India career.
All these years later, when all the events are put together, it sort of creates a map of events that one can look at and go, “That was a bigger plan, wasn’t it?”. It was indeed.
MS Dhoni, 3 years after his debut, was promoted to the role of the captain, and brought home the debut T20 World Cup trophy. He never had to look back again. Though I do think that maybe, he revisits that map sometimes.
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