Who is a better cricketer: Sachin Tendulkar or M.S. Dhoni?

Recently I watched the entire one day series between India vs Sri Lanka which concluded on 3rd September 2017. The Indian team handed the Sri Lankans the worst drubbing ever and the series was a complete whitewash in our favor. However, in the second and third ODIs, India might have lost the matches, had it not been for the steely knocks of MS Dhoni, who saved us the blushes. After these matches I was forced to wonder that this guy who has played more than 300 ODIs and is continuing to go strong is probably India’s greatest cricketer (at least in one day matches). In fact, I will take a leap here and venture out in saying that MS Dhoni is even better than Sachin Tendulkar.

Now all you Sachin fans, before you go ahead and bash me, do take time to read the points below.

Arguably, Sachin is the one of the greatest batsman of all times. In fact, I will go on to say, that he is India’s best ever batsman. It’s an incredible feat to have scored 34000 international runs (not ignoring his 200 international wickets). However, numbers do reveal the whole story behind an individual’s success. Let’s have a look at the one day records of both the batsmen.

Matches Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
Sachin 463 452 18426 44.83 86.24
Dhoni 304 262 9745 52.11 88.53

Clearly Dhoni is no match in terms of Sachin’s batting prowess. The sheer number of runs that Tendulkar has scored is staggering. However, Dhoni has a better average and strike rate because of the number of times he has remained not out and finished the matches for India. Now let’s have a look at the captaincy records of both the players.

Period Matches Won Lost Winning %
Sachin 1996-2000 73 23 43 35.07
Dhoni 2007-2017 199 110 74 55.28

As you can see, Tendulkar fared badly as a Captain. In fact during this period, he himself experienced an acute loss of form. He was so traumatized that he finally gave up his captaincy and never took on the mantle again during his long and illustrious career.  When Dhoni took up the captaincy, the Indian team wasn’t in a good position either. They had just been booted out of the 2007 World Cup by minnows Bangladesh and the public at large was baying for the team’s blood. It was at that time when Dhoni led team India to an unbelievable 2007 T20 World Cup win with an inexperienced young squad. What followed was an instant revival of team India with unbelievable wins under the astute captaincy of MS Dhoni. Team India went on to win the 2011 World Cup and subsequently the 2013 Champions league Trophy as well.

Tendulkar being a better batsman has been scoring a lot of runs but not all of his runs are match winning scores. Dhoni, even though he comes lower down the order, has been a consistent finisher and a match winner. His batting is ugly but mightily effective. Most of the times, whenever Dhoni has scored high runs, team India won the match. His captaincy and wicket keeping is par excellence and he handles pressure situations far better than Tendulkar.

Today Dhoni is no longer team captain but he continues to remain a vital player. Team India under Virat Kohli’s captaincy has hit a purple patch and is right now the strongest one day side in the World. Dhoni has taken up the responsibility to nurture Kohli through his captaincy. While Dhoni is still making runs and leading Team India to victories, his behind the scenes contribution is very much responsible for the solid state of Team India today.

So it’s obvious that even though Sachin Tendulkar has been the best batsman for India, MS Dhoni is right now the greatest cricketer for India.

I invite all Tendulkar fans to provide counter arguments against Dhoni if necessary. Please do leave your views in the comments section below the article.

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