For years he was “Captain Cool’’. The sobriquet fitted Mahender Singh Dhoni admirably for he never betrayed his emotions on and off the field of play, he handled the bowling changes adroitly and his field placings were uncannily right. Under his calm demeanour Indian cricket went from one triumph to another. The world T-20 was in the bag, then the No 1 spot in Test rankings and finally the World Cup triumph of 2011. The enduring image started changing as the Indian team’s fortunes changed after a long and successful run. The twin disasters in England and Australia in 2011-2012 also marked a change in Dhoni’s moods. He became “Captain Irritable’’ or “Captain Moody’’ as testing questions were asked in matters of strategy and tactics. This could be faulty bowling changes, poor field placements and incorrect selection of players. The batting order too came in for criticism and Dhoni himself came under fire for not being the “Great Finisher’’ anymore. The helicopter shot had disappeared from his armoury, the big hits were getting fewer and fewer and his personal popularity too took a nosedive with the emergence of Virat Kohli as the new superstar though perhaps this was not reflected in the ad revenues and endorsements. Dhoni has remained one of the richest sportsmen in the world and still one of the most marketable in this country but his cricketing prowess had started to wane as indeed it happens to the greatest of sports personalities.
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