MS Dhoni is not God.
There, we said it.
It may be an unpopular opinion, but the IPL Final well and truly revealed Dhoni’s humanity. Turns out, Thala is fallible after all.
After months of immense hype, with crowds across India losing their minds every time the 41-year-old veteran’s face was shown on the big screen, let alone walked out to bat, Dhoni finally caved to the pressure in the IPL Final.
Maybe it was the big Dhoni-centric light show. Or maybe the temptation of the moment was simply too much.
Either way, Monday evening revealed that Dhoni is a lot more like you and I than we like to believe.
Dhoni in the IPL Final: The most alpha move in sporting history
With 22 runs needed off 14 balls, MS Dhoni executed what was quite likely the most alpha move in the history of sport.
Typically, Dhoni bats as the last recognised batter in the Chennai Super Kings’ line up. This is usually No 7 or 8, depending on how the impact player is used. However, when Ambati Rayudu got out halfway through the 12th over, Dhoni made a decision to elevate himself up the batting line up.
Forget Ravindra Jadeja, or Moeen Ali. This was Dhoni’s moment.
Out walked Thala, to the absolute ecstasy of the Ahmedabad crowd.
And back walked Dhoni one ball later, gone for a golden duck.
Dhoni’s judgement clouded by ego
MS Dhoni has never been one to hog the limelight. In fact, he’s much loved for doing the exact opposite—leading teams from behind the scenes, putting others ahead of himself and being the man with ice in his veins, who can stay cool in the sheds.
It’s something that Dhoni has had immense success with, leading CSK to five IPL titles, as well as India to duel white ball World Cup crowns.
However, on Monday evening, Dhoni’s ego got the better of him.
Loyal fans will say that this was all a calculated strategy, and Dhoni was taking one for the team by elevating himself up the order.
The reality is, this was undeniably a selfish, ego driven decision. Dhoni wanted to have the glory. With 22 runs needed off 14 balls, he could see the opportunity to go out with one last hurrah, hitting the winning runs off his own bat to send the crowd wild.
And yet, just as Dhoni was likely surmising to himself what the commentators would be saying about his winning runs, he struck a weak first ball straight to David Miller at point.
Just like that, the Dhoni-bubble popped. He had failed. Not just to score runs, but to resist the urge to let the hype get to him. He allowed his judgement to be clouded by ego, and it very nearly cost his team.
Dhoni to return in IPL 2024: Is this the right call?
None of this makes Dhoni a bad guy. It simply makes him human. A bit more like you and I.
This begs the question: Should Dhoni be returning to the IPL in 2024? The CSK captain has committed to providing fans with one more year if his body allows, but will this be beneficial to the team?
Don’t get us wrong—Dhoni is an incredible leader. But the days of him contributing meaningfully to any cricket team are over. Dhoni is a few weeks short of 42 years old, and far from the batsman he once was. Yet fans and commentators continue to elevate him to an elite-status far above reality.
Perhaps he’s not the iceman we’ve all made him out to be.
Perhaps he’s not God.
Perhaps Dhoni is just human after all.