A few months after the disastrous performance in the 2007 World Cup under his captaincy, Rahul Dravid stepped down from the role. Incidentally, the day when he announced this decision, MS Dhoni was leading India at the inaugural World T20. After MSD won the trophy, he was assigned the responsibility in the ODI format as well. In this article, we take a look at the playing XI when MS Dhoni captained for the first time in ODI cricket.
The World Cup and Champions Trophy-winning captain’s first assignment was the home seven-match series against Australia. On 29th September 2007, MS Dhoni captained for the first time in ODI cricket at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. While this game ended with no result, Australia eventually won the series 2-4.
Openers: Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar
India’s highest run-scorer in the 2011 World Cup final, Gambhir was one of the openers when MS Dhoni captained for the first time in ODI cricket. The second innings of this encounter was interrupted by rain and hence, the Indians did not get a chance to bat. Gambhir, though, had got a boundary to his name before the rains.
Sachin Tendulkar was the other opener in this XI. Under Dhoni, Sachin was in top form as he made 972 ODI runs in 2009 and then, in 2011, he got 513 runs in eleven games. It was MS Dhoni who eventually helped Sachin fulfil his dream of winning a World Cup for Team India.
Middle-Order: Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni (C&WK)
After being six years at the helm of affairs, Ganguly got relief from captaincy so that he focus on his batting. The current BCCI president was part of the XI that played when MS Dhoni captained in ODI cricket for the first time.
It was the first game for Rahul Dravid after announcing the decision to quit captaincy. Barring the disaster at the 2007 World Cup, Dravid had a decent stint as a captain, winning 42 games from 79 encounters.
While the decision to appoint MS Dhoni as captain of the T20 squad was considered baffling, he did not take long to prove that the choice was indeed correct. A man who won over 100 games as the ODI captain of Team India, Dhoni had a quiet debut series as a skipper. In this particular game, he produced a stumping and made good use of his bowling options.
All-Rounders: Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan
Many felt Yuvraj Singh would be Rahul Dravid’s natural successor as the captain of the team. However, Yuvi’s inconsistency did not allow him to get the responsibility. The Man of the Series at the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj was part of the playing XI when MS Dhoni captained for the first time in ODI cricket. He also picked up a wicket, that of Brad Haddin, using Dhoni’s help, who pulled off the stumping.
Irfan Pathan played under Dhoni at the World T20, and he was one of the spearheads of the bowling attack of this XI. While his colleagues were leaking runs, Pathan had a good game, conceding 38 runs from 8 overs, when the oppositions scoring rate was 6.14.
Bowlers: Ramesh Powar, RP Singh, Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth
Although a few consider him an all-rounder, Ramesh Powar was used more as a right-arm off-spinner by Team India. The current coach of the Women’s Cricket Team, Powar had a tough outing in this game. The Aussie batsmen took him on, and Powar conceded 50 runs in just six overs.
A good friend of MS Dhoni, RP Singh was part of the moment when the wicket-keeper batsman took over the reins of ODI captaincy. RP had also done well at the World T20, which India won. Zaheer Khan was the third left-arm seamer in this XI. Zaheer and MS Dhoni’s combo produced a World Cup for India, and Zak was also amongst wickets in this encounter. He collected two scalps, although he was expensive with an economy of 6.4 in ten overs.
S Sreesanth, despite his infamous relationship with MS Dhoni, did well under his captaincy. In fact, in this game, he was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets and conceding 55 runs in ten overs.