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My career was built by MSD: Joginder Sharma

By Nilabh Aole -

Every Indian cricket fan is aware of MS Dhoni's unorthodox decision to give last over to medium pacer Joginder Sharma in the semi-final and final of World T20 2007. These incidents had proved that Dhoni has that unusual approach towards cricket. 

Dhoni's decision in the World T20 gave a kick-start to the career of Joginder Sharma. After hearing that MSD has stepped down as the captain of Indian cricket team for the limited overs cricket as well, Sharma has come up with his views on that decision. While talking to The Hindu, Sharma said, "My career was built by MSD. What a player! What a captain!"

Joginder accepted that Dhoni is a packet of surprises as he said, "I have known him from close and yet I could never read him fully. He was a packet of surprises. He was a player’s captain, a bowler’s best friend, and a batsman’s best guide. What more would one want, especially if you are a newcomer from a small town wanting to make a place in international cricket? It did not matter to MSD where you came from. Each member was important. I relished that privilege when I played under him."

Describing his first meeting with Dhoni, Sharma said, "I remember my first meeting with MSD. It was at Gurgaon in a Ranji Trophy match (December 2002). It was a dream debut year for me. I was confident with my seam and swing bowling. MSD was opening for Bihar and got a flawless 85."

Talking about Dhoni's brilliant captaincy skills, Sharma said, "As a captain, he was a master. He precisely knew each player’s good and bad points. He could read the situation brilliantly and, believe me, create the role to be played by each individual. Many players learned to carve their individual role in the team through MSD."

Speaking of the World T20 final, Joginder said, "That World T20 final against Pakistan is well known. I bowled the last over and we made history. I had bowled the last over in the previous match against Australia. But this one was different."

He further elaborated, "Pakistan needed a mere 13 against 22 for Australia. We were under pressure. But not MSD. He just told me, “You have six deliveries to make history. Bowl what you have in mind, what we had planned, yorkers outside off-stump. Just stick to the plan. Don’t worry, if we lose, it is my responsibility.” His words changed my approach, gave me confidence, and we made history!"

Joginder suggested that Dhoni has given the perfect direction to Indian cricket, he said, "MSD has done his job of giving Indian cricket the right direction. He has also done his job of instilling the desired faith in Virat Kohli. You can see the difference in Virat, who has grown from watching MSD from close. Their respect is mutual and huge. It makes an impact in the dressing room and this is the area where MSD has always scored."

Dhoni has been known to have full faith in his players and justifying that Sharma said, "As a captain, MSD encouraged individuals to make decisions since he knew his players inside out. He would assign them specific roles and silently enjoy their success. He would absorb your pressure and if you struggled he would absorb that struggle too."

He further added, "He commanded the faith of every player and did not show disrespect to anyone. I did not see him dominate the team meetings just because he was the captain. Individuals had the freedom of expression. He welcomed criticism."

Sharma shared an incidence when Dhoni got pissed off, he said, "There was a rare show of displeasure, during the IPL in South Africa, when he said he was not happy with our intensity when fielding. This after we had won the match. And this with a sense of feeling for the players. He was not at all curt. “Fielding mein intensity nahi thi,” was all he said."

Joginder concluded by praising Dhoni for his amazing sense of giving value to an individual. He said: "MSD was a leader who valued every individual in the team on the same scale. He has taken the right decision because he wants to serve the team in his best capacity. That’s the MSD I have known from the time I first bowled to him in 2002."

Nilabh Aole

I am genuine cricket fan, who respect the game as well