Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Last Updated: Sat, May 14, 2011 12:09 hrs

Some people are consistent throughout a series and wilt under pressure towards the end or in the finals. Others simply thrive during those moments. Mahendra Singh Dhoni clearly falls into the second category. 

He had a relatively quiet World Cup and chose the final to smash a 79-ball 91 to help chase a record total. That's among India's most precious Man of the Match awards ever. 

Tendulkar to get Polly Umrigar Trophy in BCCI awards


Dhoni was a revelation in IPL 2010 too. Chennai Super Kings had to win the last match of the leagues to qualify for the semis. When Kings XI Punjab put up 192 batting first, most would have thought it to be curtains for CSK. 

Not Dhoni, though. He walked in at 89/3 and promptly smashed an unbeaten 54 off 29 balls to see his team home. He hit the winning six and displayed a burst of emotion rarely associated with him. 

He has done it again in IPL4. At a stage where any of the top 6 teams could make it to the qualifiers, two back to back performances put CSK on top of the table.  

First a 19 ball 41 that saw CSK thrash Rajasthan Royals by 63 runs. Then a 31 ball 63 that vanquished the Delhi Daredevils. Both were unbeaten knocks. Dhoni is a great finisher and on his day, you can't get him out. 


He insists on finishing things with a six! 

Across the four IPLs, Dhoni is definitely the most valuable player. He is a three-in-one: Great wicketkeeper. Great batsman. Great captain.    

It's finally IPL over India  

IPL over country? That was a debate for countries like West Indies, England, Australia and Pakistan. India had no such problem. The BCCI was smart and scheduled things in such a way that it was never IPL over country. 

But it has hit them pretty big in IPL 4. Four senior players--Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan--have chosen IPL over the West Indies ODI tour.  

Gabriella's departure was a pity

Some of them seemed OK to miss the Test series too, but the BCCI will definitely put down its foot there. 

But there will be no controversy. The World Cup winners deserve a break and can call the shots for now at least. 

The next level of leadership in the form of Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina will be tested out again. The Indian bench strength is emerging as the strongest in the world and this will be another test for the same.  

Talents like Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will get another chance to prove themselves. 

Low viewership blues 

IPL 4 is seeing one of the lowest TRP ratings. But then what else did you expect?  

For one, it is impossible to surpass the high of the ODI World Cup win. That was a once in 28-years event, unlike the annual IPL. 

Then there was the Prince William and Kate marriage coupled with the sensational Osama bin Laden capture and post-killing controversies. 

The Assembly polls also took place and the 34-year rule of the CPM ended in West Bengal during this period.  

Vijay, a surprise omission

While the current IPL ratings may be lower than other seasons, they are still much higher than many other regular serials. Some matches still manage to top the daily ratings. 

Online streaming for live matches, on the other hand, has doubled. That's some cheer. 

With the absence of controversy magnets like former IPL chief Lalit Modi, this was only to be expected! 

The Lalit Modi Award... 

...and the Lalit Modi Most Controversial Person Award goes to...  

Compatriot Shane Warne! 

Warnie is definitely the most happening player of IPL 4...  

Hollywood girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley in the stadium.  

Public displays of affection and kisses.  

IPL 2011

Washouts.  

Retirement blues and farewell speeches.  

Pitch fiascoes involving both high and low totals.  

Twitter tweets galore.  

A public spat with an official.  

A mini controversy with Sachin.  

Revelations that he was ready to walk out of IPL 1... 

He's been all over the place, giving TV interviews and even throwing his hat in the ring for the post of Team India coach, which eventually went to Duncan Fletcher. 

Modi would be proud and there's never a dull moment with Warnie around. 

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. 

He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/