The Indian Cricket Team Dressing Room,
Old Trafford Cricket Stadium – Manchester.
Before you lift your SG bats and practice dummy shots, I would like to wish you a very happy birthday! I know it’s a little late for it, yet, many-many happy returns of the day to you!
It has been amazing to see you bat in this World Cup, even though some of my friends pass brash comments about your strike rate. How easily do people forget the “fireball wrapped in cool ice” that MS Dhoni is? It may sound a bit lame and derogatory for the country but I eagerly wait for a wicket to fall in the death overs so that I can get a glimpse of your batting and power hitting. However, every time I see Hardik walk down the aisle, my heart sinks to depths. But then I cheer myself up thinking that it might be your plan to prepare the team for the inevitable.
Mahi, irrespective of what people call you, you are and always will be a gem to the Indian Cricket fraternity and to India as well. I sincerely admire your grit and patience with time that has made you into such a fine player!
Jersey number seven is an emotion for me. Much more than yarn and stitches made with fine acrylic polyester.
Whenever people question your moves, I remind them of the beautiful innings that you’ve played for the country whenever the team needed the most. I know at the back of my mind that you’ve been troubled lately too and so I would like to remind you of them too! Remember your match winning partnership with Yuvi at the Gaddafi Stadium against Pakistan? What a match that was! And with Parvez Musharraf praising you, it made my heart sublime. Have you forgotten your defensive side of gaming when Sachin, Laxman and Dravid walked back towards the dressing room without contributing much in the Test Match at Lords in 2007? You took the team from a meager score of 180 for 5 to a draw and that too batting with the tail-enders! Should I also remind you of your last ball six that sailed over mid-on in the night of April 2, 2011 against Sri Lanka which gave India the Cricket World Cup it deserved after a drought of 28 years?
There’s so much to add- the Champion’s Trophy, the T20 World Cup championship, the best Test and One Day Team under your captaincy or even the IPL championship titles for three times! Words fall short while describing the marvel of a human that you are, both on and off the field.
There’s a reason a great man once said – “Oh Ji, Dhoni to Dhoni hai!”
You are different, MS! And far better than the rest of them, who criticize you for apparently no good reason. You’ve always let your blade do the talking. And I know you will do it again.
Mahi, you’ll be playing New Zealand in the semis and you’ll be doing best you’ve always done – standing and delivering when the entire team needs it.
I haven’t been going out lately. They say you’ll be leaving the Indian Cricket Team now, forever. My eyes well with tears. It’s unimaginable, disheartening and wrenching inside to see you walk on the ground in blues for one final time. Why can’t you play forever? Isn’t there some magic potion that I may reverse time and everything switches back to normal?
But remember, the day you hang your legendary jersey number 7 and take off your wicket-keeping gloves for the final time, my time shall pause, contrary to the stumping or running speed you have. I shall wave the tricolor and scream your name at the top of my voice even though my throat would choke and tears would have welled up in my eyes. You are the man who took cricket to an entirely different stage and brought India to the forefront.
I know you’ve got to go to the nets and hence will close my letter now.
It is the worst hidden truth that you would hang over your jersey after the ongoing World Cup extravaganza in England. You’ve been thanking your sponsors by changing your clubs every over, now and then. We deserve a final hurrah too! Wouldn’t you want a fan’s wish come true?
When the last ball of this World Cup is bowled and the innings would come to close, I would again love to watch the beast unshackled like the days of yore, pump my hands in the air, jump off my seat in delight and cry tears of joy as “Dhoni… finishes off in style!”
Your ardent fan,
PS – I love you 3000+7.