Recently, the BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly explained why he opted to send MS Dhoni at No. 3, in what was only the latter’s fifth ODI. In his fifth game, Dhoni was sent up the order versus Pakistan, in Visakhapatnam, where he slammed a majestic 123-ball 148 to announce his arrival at the big stage.
“He (Dhoni) got the opportunity to bat at No.3 in Vizag, scored a superb hundred and whenever he has got a chance to play more overs, he has scored big. (Sachin) Tendulkar wouldn’t have become Tendulkar if he kept batting at No.6 because you get a handful of balls to play,” Ganguly told Sportstak.
“There was Challenger Trophy, he was scored a hundred for my team while opening the batting, so I knew it,” Ganguly said.
“A player is made when you send him up the order, you can’t make a player by playing him lower down the order. I always believe you can’t become a big cricketer by sitting inside the dressing room. The Kind of abilities, especially the six-hitting prowess he had, was rare. He changed his towards the end of his career but when the raw MS Dhoni arrived, it was very important to make him free,” Ganguly added.
Following his Visakhapatnam knock, Dhoni went onto play plenty of scintillating knocks, for instance, his 183* versus Sri Lanka in Jaipur in 2005, a couple of breathtaking knocks versus Pakistan in the 2006 tour, match-winning half-century versus England in the Lord’s Test in 2007, 2011 World Cup final unbeaten knock (91*), etc.
Dhoni ended his international career with 17,266 runs, 108 half-centuries, 16 tons, 359 sixes, 634 catches and 195 stumpings overall.