Bengaluru, March 7: It is not easy being the captain of the Indian cricket team. Every move of his is scrutinised. He always wears the crown of thorns. He can never play without pressure.
In recent times, limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has gone through a lot of unwarranted criticism. And "Captain Cool" has, in his own style, answered.
Sunday night (March 6) was another example of Dhoni's reminder to the doubters that he is far from being done at the top level. (Dhoni saves self with last-over six)
Dhoni added another silverware to his already outstanding resume. And he did it in style. The right-hander smashed a six to seal India's sixth Asia Cup title, against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
The Asia Cup T20 final in Mirpur was reduced to 15 overs per side due to rain. After the hosts had posted 120/5, India successfully chased down the target in 13.5 overs.
Dhoni applied the finishing touches to the contest by smashing a 6-ball 20 not out (1x4, 2x6). The captain's six reminded the fans his similar act to clinch the 2011 World Cup at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, against Sri Lanka.
At 34, Dhoni may be in the last few years of his international cricket career. However, he is still good to lead the team in both ODIs and T20Is.
After last night's exploits with the bat and his captaincy, critics need to stop targeting the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Dhoni has been India's greatest limited overs leader. He has always led from the front. He has soaked in a lot of pressure since making debut in 2004.
After lifting the Asia Cup, Dhoni told the media that India losing the final makes big news rather than winning against Bangladesh.
"India losing a final is a bigger headline than India winning a final. It's like putting in a lot at stake: if you win then they say 'nothing really'; if you lose to Bangladesh, say people 'oh, you lost to Bangladesh?'
"You're supposed to win. It's like a game where a lot is at stake but when you win, you actually don't take anything forward," Dhoni said in Mirpur.
He also mentioned that in India it is easy for everyone to have an opinion on cricket.
"I believe, in India, everyone has an opinion on issues and especially on cricket. There is freedom of expression and everyone is entitled to an opinion. Play like this, play like that, do like this, do like that. The problem is cricket looks a bit easier on television than when we play it at the ground," Dhoni said.
Last month, Dhoni told his critics not to ask for his retirement just becase he is not hitting sixes.
"I cannot be asked to retire just because I'm not hitting enough sixes at the moment. If I do manage a couple of them, there are still people who'll keep wanting me to retire. It's not been like that with other players," Dhoni said last month.
With his trademark "Helicopter Shot" not seen often these days, Dhoni had the perfect justification for it.
"See you cannot fly a helicopter under the ocean or in a submarine. In the same way, you play the helicopter shot to a certain delivery. I can't hit it off a bouncer. May be if I stand on a stool and go for it. With the current opposition strategy, it's very hard to play that shot," Dhoni had said.
As India are in top form in T20Is, they are burdened with the favourites tag for the ICC World Twenty20 2016. This could be Dhoni's swansong as far as ICC event is concerned.
Whether India wins the World T20 trophy next month or not, Dhoni needs to be respected for his achievements and immense contribution to Indian cricket.
For now, there is no place to hide for the critics of Dhoni.