Post-Kumble, Indian cricket enters Dhoni era

Indian cricket ushers into a new era where Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brand of captaincy will extend to the longer version of the game as well.

updated: November 02, 2008 15:16 IST
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New Delhi:

As Anil Kumble walks into the sun set, Indian cricket ushers into a new era where Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brand of captaincy will extend to the longer version of the game as well.

Dhoni, already in charge of the Indian one-day and Twenty20 teams, have been waiting in the wings for a while and Kumble's retirement clears the decks for his anointment as the Test captain as well.

The stumper-batsman has already impressed with his leadership qualities, leading the team to ODI tri-series triumph in Australia and the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

The Jharkhand player rose to glory in a quick time and in the last few months has earned a reputation of being a leader with a cool head on his shoulders.

More than anything, he has been credited for infusing a never-say-die spirit in the team and he seems blessed with a Midas touch that can help India toppled Australia from the ICC charts in both Test and ODIs.

Dhoni had a meteoric rise and his scintillating knock of 148 against arch-rivals Pakistan at Vishakapatnam in 2005 was an indication of what he was bringing to Indian cricket.

Sixth months later, Dhoni took on the Sri Lankans, with a dazzling unbeaten 183 to surpass idol Adam Gilchrist's record for the highest score by a wicketkeeper in one-dayers.

He was made deputy to Rahul Dravid for the England and Ireland Tour in 2007 and subsequently given the reins of the Twenty20 team for the World Championship in South Africa.

Under his leadership, India annexed the title and his skills as a leader made him an automatic choice to lead the one-day side too and the flamboyant Dhoni responded with India's first tri-series win in Australia.

With Anil Kumble struggling with injury and slump in form, the clamour to hand over Test captaincy was only growing and Kumble's retirement only expedited what was pretty much on the cards.

Accordingly, he will now lead the team in the fourth and final Test in Nagpur and even if India manages a draw there, Dhoni would have the honour of lifting the Border-Gavaskar trophy there.

Since making his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Chennai in 2005, the 27-year-old Dhoni, 'Mahi' to his friends, has so far scored 1614 runs in 32 matches with the help of a century and 11 half-centuries.

Dhoni, who made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in 2004, has an even more impressive record in the 50-over game. There the swashbuckling batsman tallies 3793 runs from 120 matches, which include four centuries and 24 fifties, besides an amazing strike rate of 91.30.