Since his debut ten years ago in 2005 you will be pushed to find any player who’s had as much impact on his side than MS Dhoni. There is no doubt that along with Graeme Smith he has been the best international captain of the last decade. Playing in a side where fans hero worshiped Sachin and Kohli it has naturally been a challenge to stand out, but Dhoni has made sure he stood out.
Being a massive fan of MS Dhoni I would say that he rightly deserves his place in the pantheon of Indian greats. His achievements particularly as captain should not be underestimated. There are four Indians who have changed Indian cricket and Dhoni is part of this illustrious group. Without these four players we would never have seen the likes of Sachin and Kohli.
Gavaskar the first of these, brought Indian cricket its first real hero. He stood up to the great West Indian side and brought a belief to India. Gavaskar was a big inspiration to Sachin Tendulkar. Who knows the little master may not have come to the fore without a hero like Sunil Gavaskar.
The next man to change Indian cricket has to be Kapil Dev, in my opinion Indian cricket owes all to him. He was the first Indian who could physically match the English and Aussies. His all action game took a mediocre Indian side to win their first world cup. That one match has changed the course of international cricket. Without that world cup win, would India have been as cricket mad as they are now? It would have taken a lot longer for the sport to fully develop.
In terms of the next most important man, it has to be Ganguly. This man brought the much needed aggressive side to Indian cricket. He proved to many that we will not be bullied by teams. His sides were exciting to watch and played an attacking style of cricket. Ganguly stabilised the Indian captaincy at a time where Indian cricket could have potentially gone backwards.
Dhoni is next on this list. His role as captain over a period of time has been the most successful in the countries history. The transition of India becoming a cricketing superpower was under Dhoni’s captaincy. Off the field politics and corruption are just one of the challenges he has had to overcome. Another challenge was to guide India in a period where legend after legend retired. Despite this his record is second to none, having won the T20 World Cup, World Cup, IPL on numerous occasions and guiding India to Test World No 1.
In my opinion the four above named players have laid the foundation to India becoming the side they are. They have allowed players to flourish and become superstars. Honourable mentions have to go to Sachin Tendulkar who himself has inspired a generation mainly due to natural talent and hard work. Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Signh and Virat Kohli who will all join the Indian Hall of Fame. Despite having not seen Dhoni’s legacy it is safe to say he like the others has all changed Indian cricket. The next question is to see it Kohli can make it onto this list?