Has Dhoni lost the Midas touch?
The aura of invincibility that surrounded Dhoni has been broken; it's as if he has forgotten how to win.
The same captain who inspired India to a World Cup win not long ago followed by the IPL trophy for his franchise. He was the captain magnificent, leading from the front and was always calm in the face of the storm, thwarting it to achieve sometimes improbable wins.
However, those days seems to be long gone.
Six months after what were surely the best moments of his life, his world has come apart. Once the euphoria of the trophies wore off and Dhoni and his team came up against test champions England, they were crushed!
Dhoni’s own form with the gloves and the bat was nothing to write home about and India wasn’t able to win either the test series or the ODI series. It was one of the worst tours for Team India in recent memories where they couldn’t win any international matches. Dhoni was a man out of ideas towards the end of it and the mental fatigue that comes with non-stop playing showed. He looked to have aged considerably!
Come Champions League T20 (CLT20) and everyone thought we would see a revival of Dhoni, the captain and the batsman. Alas, that wasn't to be.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the defending Champions League champs and a team that had made 4 of the last 5 finals of CLT20 and IPL, crashed out of the tournament unceremoniously last evening when they lost massively to New South Wales. David Warner took the CSK's attack apart with a brutal innings that saw the ball fly over the rope eight times and each one drove a dagger through Dhoni’s heart and one more nail into the CSK coffin. His 135 is the highest individual score in CLT20 history and left the Super Kings befuddled as he often switched hands to bat right handed. There was nothing that Dhoni could do but scratch his head and admire. He didn’t do anything special with the bat either and had to see his team knocked out before the semi finals.
Dhoni, the keeper and batsman, had a lean tournament before this match. He fluffed a simple stumping chance that allowed Lasith Malinga to pull off a heist and against Trinidad and Tobago he crawled while batting managing a strike rate of only 32 per 100 balls - his team lost by a small margin of 12 runs. Here, Dhoni, the captain, was out of ideas and couldn’t reign in Warner. His bowlers didn’t do him any favors either.
The aura of invincibility that had surrounded Dhoni for sometime has broken. It is as if he has forgotten how to win as a captain. For India’s sake one hopes this is a temporary blip and a well deserved rest would herald a resumption of the cricketer's winning ways. But, for now - in the words of Dhoni - everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.