It's time we stopped trying to understand Mahendra Singh Dhoni

It's time we stopped trying to understand Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Imran Tahir, the ever-so-zealous, fist-pumping wicket digger that he is, his Tarzan-esque hair flying in celebratory gay abandon, was galloping next to the pitch like a girl who had been asked out to prom by her crush. His international teammate, a schmaltzy superhuman, had just been dismissed off a cunning plan.

MS Dhoni, silently having orchestrated the prized move, gathered his gloves and gently walked across towards the rambunctious huddle, not a single soul around him.

Shane Watson quietly sped past, shaking his hands as he jogged ahead.

The rest of the joyous bunch was jumping in ecstasy. Dhoni silently entered the gang and was dissolved in the blob of yellow.

Exactly twenty-five overs later, the previously mentioned Australian, two Englishmen and an unusually animated South African, along with the rest of the joyous bunch, had broken out into the middle of the pitch, led by a Sardar who was brandishing his bat like a Scimitar sword.

A mop of funny hair sitting on his serene visage (the 'whack' haircut must appeal to the millennials, I believe), Dhoni, the centre of the hullabaloo this time, but just as deadpan as before, let them engulf him in cheers.

He had choreographed an ineffable chase, an incredible 207-run heist, stage-managed after almost half the side had gone back inside ten overs.

How can he be so numb, yet so immersed in the game he discreetly controls? Does he not have enough acetylcholine in his neurons?

It's time we stopped trying to understand Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Moments before being jostled by his delirious teammates, Dhoni had read a hapless Corey Anderson's mind, hopping half-a-step to his right and thudding a full delivery for six, to his most-favoured space on a cricket ground.

It was one of seven, a number stapled to the legacy of the 36-year-old. It was like a series of mega-hits that the superstar kept belting out, but how they were spaced out and interspersed, is what made all the difference.

It started off with Pawan Negi's bowling. It almost ended Pawan Negi.

At 79-4, Dhoni had ambled out, long-sleeved for edition No.11, shadow-practicing his oft-employed defensive pushes. It was the end of over nine, and a certain Yuzvendra Chahal was laying out landmines on the surface. Dhoni ticked him off his list.


He lay his eyes on Negi - not to prod or nurdle like he usually does to get a feel - he smoked him over midwicket off the second ball he faced, to hit Negi right in the feels. The gantries had been removed and the rocket was ready to take off.

The rows inside the Press Box at the Chinnaswamy are woefully narrow, a six almost broke through the transparent enclosure. We could see a gentleman, in green, stumble in his chair. Poor guy wouldn't have had any space to move for cover. Life must have certainly flashed in front of him.

Chahal was setting bridges on fire at the other end, serving swerving deliveries all this while. Dhoni decided not to hang in his crease: he was always on the front foot, negating the spin with the huge stride out, playing the ball around to keep the scorer occupied.

He did not get down even once to sweep. Chahal was untouched. The rest of them were macerated and smeared across the wall.

Corey Anderson's dross received uncouth treatment, he was feeding him overpitchers that Dhoni kept hammering away. He was unrestrained, a real-life Hulk inside a Helicarrier, previously chained, tickled by the loudmouths, now picking each puny mortal by the neck and flinging them away.

By the end of the evening, Mohammed Siraj lost all his bearings, he might need two days of sleep to return to sanity. From the video analyst to Kohli himself, each would have coaxed him into believing that 'wide outside off' was Dhoni's Achilles heel.

Loaded with the idea, he bowled just that, and Dhoni pulled off the most outrageous of strokes.

Full, low and wide, it was hurtling past Dhoni, when out came his bat, scooping it out, not muscling it, but peeling the covering off the mango, slicing a full-toss off the end of his bat over the deep backward point boundary. Sinewy, supple wrists. Siraj might have cried a little inside.

He became a frozen bowling machine post that, his tape stuck on one melody. Three consecutive wides and he was clutching his sides at the start of his run-up, being comforted alternately by AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli at long-off and long-on respectively to somehow get done with the over.

Dhoni wasn't in the mood to brood. It was all romantically brute.

He had strode out to engineer the chase, to clean up the crumbs he had left in Mohali. He came out wearing his heavily-armoured, missile-propelling suit, one that had gathered dust through all these years. He has a wardrobe full of them, he wishes to use them when he wants to. Who are we to know why.

It's time we stopped trying to understand Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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