The slide which started in April 2006 was not seeming to stop anytime sooner. Although it took a pause during the home series against West Indies where MSD scored a blistering 62 in a high-scoring match which India just edged by 14 runs on a Nagpur pitch which was a ‘graveyard’ for the bowlers. He had a couple of decent outings in the series against SL where he scored a match-winning half-century and along with Rahul Dravid took India to victory after the Indians made a heavy weather of the target at the start. But the ‘nadir’ was the 2007 WC in the Caribbean for India as well as Dhoni. India were being tipped as  favorites for the tournament  and on paper they were looking like ‘invincibles’ .But sadly the games are not played on paper. They played like ‘paupers’ on the field and were humbled by the minnows ‘Bangladesh’ in which ‘Mahi’ got a ‘blob’. With all due respect to Bangladesh, although having such wealth of talent they have not been able to harness their potential fully and still remain the team that can cause ‘upsets’  here and there. Given the format of the tournament India were suddenly in a ‘do-or-die’ situation and against Sri Lanka they capitulated unexpectedly under pressure and lost by a whopping margin leading to their ouster from the competition. Dhoni really had a ‘torrid’ time against Murali during his short stay at the wicket. Finally he was ‘put out off his misery’ when he couldn’t pick a doosra and was found plumb in front of the wicket. This ended little hopes India were ‘harboring’ of winning the match leaving Dravid stranded at the other end. Finally the writing was on the wall and India went out of the tournament. This triggered a backlash at home where people burned the effigies of the players. At Ranchi the fans went a step ahead, they not only burnt his effigies but also mobbed into his under-construction house and tore down the walls and pillars. They went a step too far for my money. Common it’s a sport not a war. This is the kind of  ‘extremism’ which is seen in India which I find it hard to understand. Whenever the team performs well they worship them like ‘God’ and whenever the team falters they treat them as if they have committed a severe crime like a rape or something. This was the most turbulent period in Indian Cricket. It was also the ‘Greg Chappell’ era which I am sure our very own ‘Dada’ would never like to be reminded of. But Indian Cricket should be thankful to Greg as he was the one who had ‘earmarked’ Dhoni as the future Captain. Greg was done away with, but his suggestion was taken seriously and Dhoni was made the captain for the T-20 WC which was going to be held in SA. The seniors had backed out of the tournament as T-20 was first thought to be a youngster’s game. This was the first litmus test for Dhoni as Captain. And It was the dawn of the ‘new’ era…..


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