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ODI Career of Dhoni. Brown line indicates 10 match average while the orange line indicates career average progression.
The Indian ODI team in the early 2000s saw Rahul Dravid as the wicket-keeper to ensure that the wicket-keeper spot didn't lack in batting talent. The team also saw the entry of wicket-keeper/batsmen from the junior ranks with talents like Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik (both India U-19 captains) named in the Test squads. With Dhoni making a mark in the India A squad, he was picked in the ODI squad for the Bangladesh tour in 2004/05. Dhoni did not have a great start to his ODI career, getting run out for a duck on debut. In spite of an average series against Bangladesh, Dhoni was picked for the Pakistan ODI series. In the second match of the series, Dhoni, in his fifth one-day international, scored 148 in Visakhapatnam off only 123 deliveries. Dhoni's 148 surpassed the earlier record for the highest score by an Indian wicket-keeper, a record that he would re-write before the end of the year.
Dhoni had few batting opportunities in the first two games of the Sri Lankan bilateral ODI series (October–November 2005) and was promoted to No. 3 in the third ODI at Sawai Mansingh Stadium (Jaipur). Sri Lanka had set India a target of 299 after a Kumar Sangakkara century and, in reply, India lost Tendulkar early. Dhoni was promoted to accelerate the scoring and ended the game with an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls, winning the game for India. The innings was described in Wisden Almanack (2006) as 'Uninhibited, yet anything but crude'. The innings set various records including the highest individual score in ODI cricket in the second innings, a record that still stands. Dhoni ended the series with the highest run aggregate (346) and was awarded the Man of the Series award for his efforts. In December 2005, Dhoni was rewarded a B-grade contract by the BCCI
Dhoni bowling in the nets. He rarely bowls at international level.
India scored 328 in 50 overs with Dhoni contributing 68 in their first match of 2006 against Pakistan. However, the team finished poorly scoring just 43 runs in the last eight overs and lost the match due to Duckworth-Lewis method. In the third match of the series, Dhoni came in with India in a precarious situation and scored 72 runs off just 46 balls that included 13 boundaries to help India take a 2–1 lead in the series. The final match of the series had a repeat performance as Dhoni scored 77 runs off 56 balls to enable India win the series 4–1.Due to his consistent ODI performances, Dhoni overtook Ricky Ponting as number one in the ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen on 20 April 2006. His reign lasted just a week as Adam Gilchrist's performance against Bangladesh moved him to the top spot
Two cancelled series in Sri Lanka, one due to the withdrawal of South Africa from the Unitech Cup due to security concerns and the replacement three-match ODI bilateral series against Sri Lanka washed due to rain, was India's prelude to another disappointing tournament –DLF Cup 2006-07. Dhoni scored 43 runs as the team lost twice in three games and did not qualify for the finals. India's lack of preparation showed in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy as they lost to West Indies and Australia, though Dhoni scored a half-century against West Indies. The story of the ODI series in South Africa was the same for both Dhoni and India as Dhoni scored 139 runs in 4 matches and India lost the series 4–0. From the start of the West Indies ODI series, Dhoni had played 16 matches, hit just two fifties and averaged 25.93. Dhoni received criticism on his wicket-keeping technique from former wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani.
Preparations for the 2007 Cricket World Cup improved as India recorded identical 3–1 victories over West Indies and Sri Lanka and Dhoni had averages in excess of 100 in both these series. However, India unexpectedly crashed out the World Cup after losses to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the group stage. Dhoni was out for a duck in both these matches and scored just 29 runs in the tournament. After the loss to Bangladesh in 2007 Cricket World Cup, the house that Dhoni was constructing in his home-town Ranchi was vandalised and damaged by political activists of JMM. The local police arranged for security for his family as India exited the World Cup in the first round.
Dhoni put his disappointing performances in the World Cup behind him by scoring 91* against Bangladesh after India were left in a tight spot earlier in the run-chase. Dhoni was declared the Man of the Match for his performance, his fourth in ODI cricket. He was also later adjudged the Man of the Series after the third game of the series was washed away. Dhoni had a good Afro-Asia Cup, scoring 174 runs in 3 matches at an average of 87.00, with a blitzkrieg 139 not out of 97 balls, a Man of the Match innings, in the third ODI.
Dhoni was named vice-captain of the ODI team for the series against South Africa in Ireland and the subsequent India-England seven-match ODI series. Dhoni, who received a 'B' grade contract in December 2005, was awarded an 'A' grade contract in June 2007. And also he was elected as captain of the Indian squad for the World Twenty20 in September 2007. On 2 September 2007, Dhoni equaled his idol Adam Gilchrist's international record for the most dismissals in an innings in ODI by catching five English players and stumping one. He led India to the ICC World Twenty 20 trophy in South Africa with a victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in an intensely fought final on 24 September 2007, and became the second Indian captain to have won a World Cup in any form of cricket, after Kapil Dev. During the series between India and Australia, Dhoni hit an aggressive 124 runs in just 107 balls, in the second ODI, and a measured knock of 71 runs in 95 balls, along with Yuvraj Singh, saw India home by 6 wickets, in the third ODI. Dhoni took his first wicket in international cricket on 30 September 2009. He bowled Travis Dowlin of the West Indies during a match of the 2009 Champions Trophy.
Dhoni batting against South Africa during the group stage match of 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
Dhoni topped the ICC ODI Batsman rankings for several months in 2009. Michael Hussey from Australia replaced him at the top spot at the beginning of 2010.
Dhoni had an excellent year in ODIs in 2009 scoring 1198 runs in just 24 innings at an astonishing average of 70.43. Dhoni was also the joint top-scorer in ODIs in 2009 along with Ricky Ponting, but the latter having played in 30 innings.
On 12 February 2012, Dhoni made an unbeaten 44 to guide India to their first win over Australia at Adelaide. In the final over, he hit a monstrous six which traveled 112 metres off the bowling of Clint McKay. During the post-match presentation, he described this six as more important than the one he hit during the ICC World Cup final in 2011.
On 2 November 2013, Dhoni became the second India batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to aggregate 1,000 or more ODI-runs against Australia.
Test Career of Dhoni. Each bar indicates a single innings and the red line indicates the progression in his career batting average.
Following his good one-day performance against Sri Lanka, Dhoni replaced Dinesh Karthik in December 2005 as the Indian Test wicket-keeper. Dhoni scored 30 runs in his debut match that was marred by rain. Dhoni came to the crease when the team was struggling at 109/5 and as wickets kept falling around him, he played an aggressive innings and was the last man dismissed. Dhoni made his maiden half-century in the second Test and his quick scoring rate (half century came off 51 balls) aided India to set a target of 436 and the Sri Lankans were bowled out for 247.
India toured Pakistan in January–February 2006 and Dhoni scored his maiden century in the second Test at Faisalabad. India was left in a tight spot as Dhoni was joined by Irfan Pathan with the team still 107 away from avoiding a follow-on. Dhoni played his typical aggressive innings as he brought up his maiden Test hundred in just 93 balls after scoring the first fifty in just 34 deliveries.
Dhoni at fielding practice
Dhoni followed the century up with some prosaic batting performances over the next three matches, one against Pakistan that India lost and two against England that had India holding a 1–0 lead. Dhoni was the top scorer in India's first innings in the third Test at Wankhede Stadium as his 64 aided India post a respectable 279 in reply to England's 400. However Dhoni and the Indian fielders dropped catches and missed many dismissal chances including a key stumping opportunity ofAndrew Flintoff (14). Dhoni failed to collect the Harbhajan Singh delivery cleanly as Flintoff went on to make 36 more runs as England set a target of 313 for the home team, a target that Indian were never in the reckoning. A batting collapse saw the team being dismissed for 100 and Dhoni scored just 5 runs and faced criticism for his wicket-keeping lapses as well as his shot selections.
On the West Indies tour in 2006, Dhoni scored a quick and aggressive 69 in the first Test at Antigua. The rest of the series was unremarkable for Dhoni as he scored 99 runs in the remaining 6 innings but his wicket-keeping skills improved and he finished the series with 13 catches and 4 stumpings. In the Test series in South Africa later that year, Dhoni's scores of 34 and 47 were not sufficient to save the second Test against the Proteas as India lost the series 2–1, squandering the chance to build on their first ever Test victory in South Africa (achieved in the first Test match). Dhoni's bruised hands ruled him out of the third Test match.
On the fourth day of the first Test match at Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua during India's tour of West Indies, 2006, Dhoni's flick off Dave Mohammed to the midwicket region was caught by Daren Ganga. As the batsman started to walk back, captain Dravid declared the innings when confusion started as the umpires were not certain if the fielder stepped on the ropes and Dhoni stayed for the umpire's verdict. While the replays were inconclusive, the captain of the West Indies side, Brian Lara, wanted Dhoni to walk off based on the fielder's assertion of the catch. The impasse continued for more than 15 minutes and Lara's temper was on display with finger wagging against the umpires and snatching the ball from umpire Asad Rauf. Ultimately, Dhoni walked off and Dravid's declaration was effected but the game was delayed, and Lara's action was criticised by the commentators and former players. Lara was summoned by the match referee to give an explanation of his actions but he was not fined.
Dhoni scored two centuries in Sri Lanka's tour of India in 2009, a series of three matches in which he led India to a 2–0 victory. With this feat, India soared up to the number one position in Test cricket for the first time in history. India scored 726–9 (decl) in the third match of this series, which is their highest Test total ever.
He played his last series in the 2014–15 season in India's tour of Australia captaining India in the second and third tests; losing the second and drawing the third, trailing the series 2–0 before the Sydney Test. Following the third Test in Melbourne, Dhoni announced his retirement from the format.In his last Test, he effected 9 dismissals (8 catches and 1 stumping), and in the process, went past Kumar Sangakkara in the record for stumpings with 134 (in all three formats combined) and also broke the record for effecting the most dismissals in a match by an Indian wicketkeeper. He finished his last innings unbeaten making 24 runs.
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