Former BCCI President and the current head of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar, on Sunday, revealed how Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar suggested the name of MS Dhoni for the leadership role of Team India back in 2007.
Team India was knocked out of the 50-over World Cup in early 2007, post which the then captain Rahul Dravid came in for scathing criticism from the cricketing folklore.
Dravid retained his captaincy for the summer’s tour of England where India scripted a historic Test series for the first time since 1986. Dravid, however, did not want to continue in the role as he felt that leading the team was severely affecting his batting, revealed Sharad Pawar.
India lost the succeeding ODI series against England by a margin of 3-4 post which Dravid had revealed to Pawar that he wanted to step down from captaincy.
The T20 World Cup was just around the corner and all the senior cricketers had decided to not participate in the competition. Pawar revealed that after Dravid had communicated his decision to him, he asked Sachin Tendulkar to take over the reins of the team.
Tendulkar, however, refused and instead suggested the name of MS Dhoni as India’s new captain, revealed Sharad Pawar.
“I remember India had gone to England in 2007. At that time, Rahul Dravid was the captain. I was there in England then and Dravid came to meet me. He told me how he no longer wanted to lead India. He told me how the captaincy was affecting his batting. He told me that he should be relieved from the captaincy. I then asked Sachin Tendulkar to lead the side, but he refused the role,” said Sharad Pawar to ANI.
“I told Sachin that if both of you and Dravid do not want to lead the side, how will we go about things? Then Sachin told me that we have one more player in the country who could lead the side and his name is none other than MS Dhoni. After that, we gave the leadership to Dhoni,” he added.
A month later, MS Dhoni-led his young team to the pinnacle of the shortest format of the game as India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan to win the inaugural T20 World Cup.
When Dhoni was leading the team in the T20 World Cup in South Africa, back home Rahul Dravid relinquished his leadership duties and the wicketkeeper-batsman was given the responsibility of leading the ODI team while Anil Kumble was appointed as Test captain.
The rest, as they say, is history. Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, Indian cricket scaled unprecedented territories as he became the first and only captain to win all three ICC Trophies- T20 World Cup 2007, 50-over World Cup 2011, and 2013 Champions Trophy.
Dhoni was appointed Test captain following the retirement of Anil Kumble in late 2008 and under him, Team India went on to become the No.1 ranked Test team for the first time in history in late 2009.
Dhoni relinquished his responsibility as Test captain during the 2014 tour of Australia in 2014/15 while he did the same in the white-ball format of the game in 2017. Dhoni-led India in as many as 332 International games [60 Tests, 200 ODIs, and 72 T20Is] across formats and won 179 of them while losing 120, 15 ended in a draw, and six in a tied affair. The legendary skipper called time on his career on Independence Day 2020.