MS Dhoni’s achievement as a cricketer is surreal, to say the least. In particular, he has etched his name in the history books as one of the finest captains ever.
Dhoni is the only skipper in the world to have won all three ICC trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. The veteran wicketkeeper has also led India to the pinnacle in Test cricket while he has captained Chennai Super Kings to three IPL titles and two Champions League trophies.
While cricket fans and pundits are aware of his shrewd cricketing brain, former CSK spinner Shadab Jakati recently narrated how Dhoni’s tactics won Chennai their maiden IPL title in 2010.
Left-arm spinner Jakati was one of the trump cards for Dhoni in that IPL. He used Jakati mainly in the first 10 overs throughout the tournament with positive effects. But in the final against Mumbai Indians in 2010, Dhoni held Jakati back bearing MI’s right-handers in mind.
“I had gone for 21 runs in my first two overs. With left-hander Abhishek Nayar batting, Dhoni told me I’d now bowl in the middle overs, keeping me for the right-handers – Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard. We had done our homework against MI’s right-handers, who were potentially weak against left-arm spinners,” Jakati told Wisden India.
Dhoni’s plan worked out brilliantly in the final as Jakati dismissed the legendary Sachin Tendulkar (48) and Saurabh Tiwary (0) in the same over to trigger Mumbai’s collapse.
It was the same game in which Dhoni plotted the dismissal of Kieron Pollard, who was threatening to take the game away from CSK, by placing a mid-off as well as a long-off.
“In that particular match, he got Pollard out placing [Matthew] Hayden right behind the bowler. He did quite a few things. He used to know which bowler to bring on at what time. Basically, he was a captain who knew how to get the best out of the players at the right time,” Jakati said.
Defending the total of 168/5, CSK eventually won the final by 22 runs at the DY Patil Sports Academy in Mumbai.
Shadab Jakati, who finished with the figures of 2 for 26 in three overs, hailed lauded Dhoni for his instincts.
“He never attended any bowlers’ meeting,” said Jakati. “[That’s] purely because he backs his own instincts and gut feeling at that particular time of the match. He gave us freedom to choose our fields, and if it didn’t work, he’d use his brains. But the first preference was us.”