Mahendra Singh Dhoni certainly deserves his moment of
fame as the current top ODI batsman in the world.
Dhoni is just one point above Australian captain Ricky
Ponting in the latest ICC rankings and with the ODI
series in Bangladesh round the corner, the Indian
sensation will in all likelihood be nudged out of the
Still, his rise from obscurity to world fame in less
than two years is surely one of Indian crickets most
heartening success stories.
Unlike some one-series wonders - the case of all-rounder
Vijay Bharadwaj springs to mind - Dhoni is surely here
to stay. His batting average is in the 50s, phenomenal
in one-day cricket, despite his flamboyance at the
crease which obviously increases the risk of getting
Public memory being so short, the image of Dhoni
falling out to an atrocious shot in the second innings
of the Mumbai Test last month is now all but forgotten
and forgiven by his adoring fans.
The last time a young cricketer captured the
imagination of a nation in this manner was when Yuvraj
Singh burst on the scene so dramatically in Nairobi in
The Indian one-day team has succeeded this season
largely due to the mighty hitting of Dhoni and Yuvraj
and the solidity of captain Rahul Dravid, backed up by
a young and eager bunch of medium pacers led by the
ever-improving Sreesanth. Off spinner (and useful bat)
Ramesh Powar too deserves a special mention.
Quite apart from individual achievements, with Yuvraj
and Dravid also making it into the ICC top 10, it has
been the ODI record of the team that is most
Coming back to win the second ODI against Pakistan at
Abu Dhabi on Wednesday after a disappointing first
match (what a pity there was no decider!) epitomises the
resilience of this squad.
It means since October 2005 India have played 26 ODIs,
winning 18 and losing six (two abandoned) which is an
outstanding record and has catapulted them to third in
the ICC ODI rankings behind Australia and South
Africa. And remember, when coach Greg Chappell took
charge two years back India were ranked way down at
number seven. Surely a lot of credit for this meteoric
rise should go to Chappell, even accounting for the
team's slide in Test cricket.
The best barometers of India's success has been the
fact that the batting has not suffered one bit in the
absence of Sachin Tendulkar. In fact it is his injury
that saw to it that Suresh Raina got an extended run
and what a revelation his batting and fielding have
Except for certain pockets in the country, the coachs
spat with ex-skipper Sourav Ganguly has now been
pushed to the background.
Of course, Indian cricket being so unpredictable there
is still the chance of Ganguly making a comeback when
the team for the Test series in the West Indies is
The ODI team announced on Thursday does not contain
any surprises and that too is an indication of how
successfully the nucleus of a winning outfit has been
formed over the last six months.