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From ticket collector to trophy collector
Rewind back to early February and just before the world cup began, all prominent bookies had put their odds in favour of Dhoni & Co and how well the team has responded. The big question on everybody's lips then was whether MSD would enact Kapil Dev and the answer is there for all of us to see.
There were at least five to six occasions during the world cup when Dhoni was slammed by critics for his captaincy. Nehra ahead of Ashwin? Sreesanth ahead of Ashwin on a turner like Wankhede? Why the hell is not taking the batting powerplay (against South Africa)? Why isn't Dhoni setting attacking fields at all (against England)?..... Not that the critics were wrong with their apprehensions but if in sport it is the end result that matters, Mahi sure has the last laugh. It is almost like that Sachin's match-winning inning against Pakistan. Easily one of the scratchiest in the little master's 453-match ODI career but who cares as it was a match-winning one.
Dhoni is a great gambler and so far all his moves have been paying off. From the time he gave the last over of the T20 world cup in 2007 to little known Joginder Sharma to the latest one, he can come up with one tantalising move every game. The one move, which stood out was when he promoted himself up the batting order in the final at Wankhede and set the tone for a famous win. If only Dhoni had got out early after promoting himself in the batting order, critics would have been waiting with razor sharp knives!
He is that kind of a captain, isn't he? He will never be a textbook captain but he is the great gambler of sport, who can almost predict with ease what could happen next. And at this moment, we should attribute this 2011 triumph to his gambling abilities (purely on the field).