Dhoni the goldfish

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has evolved as a captain and as a cricketer.-PTI

The country will continue to celebrate the title triumph till the next time Team India takes the field, but in the intervening period the fans will get to see their heroes in action in IPL 4. While most of the players from the triumphant team will look forward to enjoying the carnival that IPL is, Dhoni will have to work towards retaining the IPL trophy for Chennai Super Kings.

If there is one quality that separates Dhoni from some of his predecessors, it's the courage to take decisions and the willingness to put his head on the block. The Indian skipper walked out to bat in the final at a time when things were a little bleak for Team India and given his form in the earlier games, Dhoni's decision must have surprised many. But the “iceman” of Indian cricket displayed the street smartness that is synonymous with him to fashion a facile victory and in the process rewrite history. It was rather fitting that Dhoni completed the final rites with a nonchalant six down the ground and in the end he laughed the best because he laughed the last. It must have been a rather annoying period for Dhoni since every decision of his was dissected as though the National security was at stake in the wake of a war. However, Dhoni went by his own gut feeling and the remarkable aspect about him is that he does not blink an eye in admitting his mistakes. It is no wonder that he has improved progressively as a captain and as a cricketer. I say this because often a high profile individual is caught up in his own world allowing his ego to get the better of him, but Dhoni has demonstrated that he prefers to even dream with his eyes open.

The triumph has pitch-forked Dhoni into a select group of captains and Kapil Dev now has some company after a long wait of almost three decades. It is a great temptation to compare the two victories, but I am going to desist doing so but what one cannot ignore is the fact that Dhoni's dashers handled the pressure extraordinarily well. The ability to handle pressure situations has more or less become second nature to the current team as was demonstrated in the last couple of seasons but most importantly it peaked at the right time. The great start at Mirpur re-enforced the beliefs of a billion people that India was the favourite, but the form dipped during the league phase, especially against the Englishmen and the South Africans. However, the scratchy journey served the Indians well to be at their best mentally during the knock-out phase and the victory against Australia was the turning point. After that victory against the reigning champion, Team India would have felt that nothing could stop it from winning the World Cup.

There were several key performers at different times during the tournament but one shudders to think what India's plight would have been had Yuvraj Singh not responded as well as he did. It is common knowledge that he is a match- winner with the bat, but the way he filled in the breach with his left-arm spin made the biggest difference. But for his consistent display with the ball, the Indian attack would have been short of a bowler which in turn could have totally altered the team composition. Here again the credit must go to Dhoni as the skipper had decided much earlier that Yuvraj would be one of his main bowlers.

Dhoni was aware of the limitations are far as bowling was concerned and his faith in Yuvraj paid off handsomely. The gambler in Dhoni got it right by backing Yuvraj to provide the back up and it has to be mentioned that Chawla and Pathan were a big letdown. Chawla is young and he can only get better, but Yusuf Pathan has to find the balance as he cannot expect to get runs in internationals by only playing on overdrive. Hopefully, he would have picked up a few lessons on how to mix caution with aggression watching Yuvraj and Dhoni in this tournament. Raina acquitted himself well towards the end of the tournament and young Kohli shaped up well too.

The triumph will go a long way in fuelling this team to raise the bar and with the T-20 coming up in one year's time, Dhoni will set his sights on getting that back to Mumbai as well. But in a few months time, Team India will have a new set up as Kirsten has made it clear that he will not reconsider his decision of quitting after the World Cup. Team India rates him highly and it is amazing to see Kirsten make such a huge impact in so short a span of time. The country will continue to celebrate the title triumph till the next time Team India takes the field but in the intervening period, the fans will get to see their heroes in action in IPL 4. While most of the players from the triumphant team will look forward to enjoying the carnival that IPL is, Dhoni will have to work towards retaining the IPL trophy for Chennai Super Kings. As they say, there is no hiding place for goldfish and in Indian cricket, Dhoni has to come to terms with the fact that the spotlight will be on him no matter what he does — be it playing on the field or racing away on his motorbike.