Dhoni, I feel, is the Modi of Indian cricket. No one polarizes opinions as much as he does. You either hate him, or you love him. When it comes to Dhoni, sitting on the edge is just not allowed.
I am a ‘lover’. I love the way he plays his cricket. The way he captains the side. The way he reacts to wins and losses. However, here I would like to examine why the ‘haters’ hate Dhoni so much, despite him possessing such an impressive CV, both as a player and as a captain.
I’ll take different match scenarios, and try to explore the arguments ‘haters’ make for not liking him. I’ll be dealing with limited overs cricket only, as that is where despite being at his best, he ends up getting a lot of stick.
- Scenario 1 – Team loses. All batsmen flop, including Dhoni who bats at no. 6.
Reasons to hate – Didn’t come up the order to take the responsibility. Is a flat track bully. (It has been found that these type of ‘haters’ are mostly Mahela Jayawardene fans, whom they consider as ‘one of the legends of the game’)
- Scenario 2 – Team loses. All batsmen flop, including Dhoni who bats at no. 4 (Comes up the order!!)
Reasons to hate – His dismissal exposed the middle order. No experienced hand left at the end. (No rewards for guessing, most of the ‘haters’ from this set and the above set are the same)
- Scenario 3 – Team loses. All batsmen flop, except Dhoni who plays till the end and scores an unbeaten half-century.
Reasons to hate – Bastard was playing for average. Never tried hard enough to accelerate. (Generally what happens — He scores around 70* off 50 balls, in a team total of 225)
- Scenario 4 – Team loses. Dhoni comes up the order and scores a century.
Reasons to hate – Didn’t gave ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’ the chance to perform. Wasted too many balls in the middle overs. Should stick to his role as a finisher. (It’s not that these ‘haters’ like ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’. They don’t even care whom this ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’ are)
- Scenario 5 – Team loses. Batsmen perform. But bowlers give away the runs
Reasons to hate – Was too defensive in the field. Should have chosen ‘x’ (here x is a variable, depending on who was in the squad, but not in the playing eleven).
- Scenario 6 – Team loses chasing a huge score. Dhoni stays not out till the end.
Reasons to hate – Was playing for average. Picked the wrong bowlers in the side. (Interestingly empirical evidence has shown that, according to the ‘haters’, when bowlers perform poorly its Dhoni’s fault, while the other way round is not true)
- Scenario 7 – Team wins a close game. Dhoni scores the winning runs.
Reasons to hate – Shouldn’t have left it so late. Others (Here ‘others’ refer to some imaginary players. No ‘hater’ clearly specifies whom these refer to) would have finished 5 overs back. (Most common scenario)
- Scenario 8 – Team wins. Dhoni doesn’t perform
Reasons to hate – Non-performer in crucial matches. Wins because he has a good team at his disposal. (However, according to the ‘haters’, this argument doesn’t stand when the team is losing)
- Scenario 9 – Team wins an important match. Dhoni plays a crucial hand coming up the order. Finishes it with many overs to spare.
Reasons to hate – F***** wants to gain all the attention. Should have allowed the regulars to finish it. (Eg. 2011 WC Final)
- Scenario 10 – Team wins. Batsmen flop. But bowlers bowl well.
Reasons to hate – Was plain lucky. Why wasn’t he playing this attack for the past 6 months? (It generally turns out that he was playing the same attack for the past 6 months, maybe except 1 bowler, whom the ‘haters’ point out as the ‘x factor’)
- Scenario 11 – Team wins comfortably. Both batsmen and bowlers perform.
Reasons to hate – Other team didn’t play well. This is how he improves his winning percentage. (Well, nothing to say)