Criticism is a part and parcel of every sportsman’s career. There has been no athlete who hasn’t faced criticism in his career. Sometimes it has been due to his inability to perform to his potential and sometimes due to his actions and behaviour outside his profession.
It is the fans that make the players so special and it is always their love, devotion and support for which the players strive for. However, whenever the players go through a rough patch in their career, some fans support these players and some fans start criticising them; thus venting their anger and disappointment openly in rage.
However, sometimes this sort of criticism takes the form of disrespect and that has been the case with former India captain MS Dhoni.
Dhoni has given us numerous joyous occasions to celebrate over the years. Be it leading India to win the inaugural edition of World T20 in 2007, the 50-over World Cup in 2011 or the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 – this man has done it all.
Yet, it seems now that these things don’t matter anymore to some of the fans and critics as they think it is only a thing of the past. However, one thing they forget is that this is his legacy and it is going to live forever.
The past couple of months has been a rough time for Dhoni. First, he was sacked as Rising Pune Supergiant’s captain and was asked to play under Steve Smith. And what followed afterwards was a saga of harsh comments from the co-owner of the RPS franchise Harsh Goenka himself.
Goenka took to Twitter to express how Steve Smith is the ‘King of the Jungle’ and how his appointment as captain turned out to be a superb move for the franchise after their victory in their opening game of this edition of IPL against Mumbai Indians.
He later took it down following outrage from Dhoni’s supporters, who had an idea what this man had given to Indian cricket and why he should be respected.
Goenka didn’t stop there and went on to further insult him as he tweeted a list of RPS players who had the best strike rates, indirectly saying that Dhoni had the lowest strike rate.
Not only him, there were other people too, who had some harsh things to say against the legend.
However, champions are those who take adversity in their stride and rise against all odds to pick themselves up again. And Dhoni silenced all his critics and haters with a match-winning knock of 61* off 34 balls against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Such was the class of the knock that it even forced Harsh Goenka to change colours and come out with a tweet praising him.
Goenka is just a representative of all those people who act like this with almost all players on a regular basis whenever they go through tough times. Criticism is healthy but disrespect is certainly not!
Real criticism is something that Sourav Ganguly made about Dhoni.
I am not too sure if Dhoni is a good T20 player. He is a champion ODI player but when it comes to T20 cricket, in 10 years, he has got one fifty and that’s not the best record.
Sourav Ganguly to India Today
Ganguly’s comments were purely based on his performances and statistics. Moreover, he didn’t draw any insulting and unnecessary comparison with any other player to bring him down. That’s what criticism is all about – it should motivate the player to perform better, it should act as a mirror to his past performances and should be able to give him the belief to set his record straight.
However, there is still a long way to go in this edition of the IPL and Dhoni has a big role to play with the bat if the RPS has to qualify for the play-offs.
(This article was originally published in The Quint on April 25,2017)