When we talk about the pillars who led India to 2011 glory of the World Cup two names definitely pop up for us- Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. These two were among the most important to not only the success of 2011 but for Indian cricket. They have been the most priced gems for the national team and have been of great service. Both these players came into the national team at around the same time and have been historic, to say the least. It’s this comparison that we will take a look into today. The contributions of these two cannot be undermined but we’ll try! A note for the readers – we encourage you to learn more about these two great individuals rather than get involved in arguments!
MS Dhoni is a household name for several reasons- all good. The poster boy for India after his historic captaincy in the 2007 T20 World Cup has been India’s most successful captain and that cannot be argued. He’s won more for India than anyone else combined. He’s done it all to be honest ! He’s won 3 ICC tournaments with the national team – ICC World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy. On top of this he’s also taken India to the the number 1 position in Test matches. That’s something! When we speak about Dhoni, we speak about his power hitting at the end of the innings and his capability to keep a cool head in impossible and strenuous conditions. He has taken India across the finishing line several times from situations where it seemed like the match had slipped away. His demeanor cannot be questioned both on and off the pitch. He’s a wonderful human being and is a great ambassador for the sport for the younger generation.
Yuvraj Singh – the lion of Punjab. One of the most elegant players India will ever produce has faced so many challenges both off and on the field that there’s s much to learn from him. He teaches us resilience and how to tackle great adversity with courage and calmness. Yuvraj has been one of the best all-rounders for India – a strong hitter of the ball, his exploits with the ball are not ordinary, to say the least. The man of the series trophy in the 2011 World Cup proves that he was as effective with both bat and ball. Plus his exceptional fielding was of great encouragement for the next generation of Indian cricketers. India was never known to be great in the field but Yuvraj’s athleticism brought in a new wave for Indian fielders. There’s hardly been better players than Yuvraj in terms of pure class and hitting the ball with the utmost ease. His battle with cancer and to play for the country even with such excruciating pain teaches us to always put our motherland before us. He endured all the pain to ensure his services were available.
Now that we’ve given a basic coverage of Yuvraj and Ms Dhoni we’ll move towards drawing up a comparison article between them. We’ll look over a variety of factors such as domestic performances, international cricket, IPL and overall impact.
Debut and prior domestic performances
Yuvraj Singh had created quite a name for himself when he started out in the domestic circuit with his explosive style of play. Yuvraj went on to represent India U-19 in the ICC Cricket World Cup which was held in Sri Lanka- he won the Player of the Tournament award for his brilliant all-round contributions and earned a call to the national side. He was also among the first batch of players who were admitted to the NCA (National Cricket Academy) in its inaugural year.
Yuvraj represented Punjab in the Ranji trophy and got his big break in the year if 1997. His dominance was such that in u 19 events at the Cooch Behar invitational tournament he scored 358* runs in reply to Bihar’s total score of 357. This epic performance is also shown in the autobiography of MS Dhoni: The untold story.
Compared to Yuvraj, Dhoni had a much more difficult time to break into the Indian team. Dhoni made his debut in the Ranji trophy for Bihar in th 1999 season and scored his maiden first class century against Bengal. He then played Ranji trophy for Jharkhand and had to struggle initially.
His first impressive performances came in the India A tournament at Zimbabwe where he got 7 stumpings and 4 catches in a match at Hatare. He continued to impress and scored back to back centuries (119 and 120) . Thus encouraged then Indian captain Sourav Ganguly to try him out.
Both Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni made quite a name for themselves in the international cricket community- both have played dominant roles in their respective domains. While Dhoni is considered among the finest lower-order batsman, India is still grappling to cope with the absence of Yuvraj Singh in the lower middle order. This speaks volumes about their caliber.
Yuvraj Singh made people take notice of him in the 2002 NatWest series in England wherein he won the man of the match in the first match against England (3/39 and 64*) and his pivotal partnership with Mohamad Kaif of 60 runs. He later would return to the same situation with Kaif ok the final at lord’s when India was chasing 325 ok the final. Another splendid partnership would ensure India lifted the title.
When we speak about Singh’s dominance in international cricket how can we not mention anything about the 2011 World Cup! The man of the tournament was incredibly consistent throughout the series- a century against West Indies in the group stages, brilliant batting display against Australia, bowling of the highest quality against Pakistan in the semi-final, and topping it off in the final. We’ll leave it there!
When we talk about Dhoni’s international career we talk more about his captaincy – Dhoni is talked more about his captaincy rather than his batting and wicket keeping but he’s noted for providing the ending flourish in the innings. Dhoni as a captain has taken many bold decisions throughout his career- from giving the final over of the 2007 world cup to Joginder Sharma to bowling Ashwin a spinner in the penultimate over of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy! He’s kept us on the edge but turned out successful.
Similar to Yuvraj, his penultimate performance came in the final of the 2011 World Cup finals – coming out to bat at such a dicey stage and not be flustered is a great achievement. Dhoni scored 91* in an innings that saw India lift the cup after 28 years and ended with him lofting the ball over long-off.
Dhoni has had an illustrious IPL career to say the least – he’s been associated with the Chennai Super Kings for a long time and has continued to win laurels for them. His explosive hitting is widely acknowledged by the supporters and us lovingly called ‘Thala Dhoni’.
Yuvraj Singh has had a long-standing history with the IPL having started out with the King’s XI Punjab and then going on with a variety of teams- he represented the Mumbai Indians and then went on to play for the Royal Challenger’s Bangalore each time for a record fee !
Dhoni and Yuvraj have both had shining times for both India and their respective franchisees – they are widely respected. They have been file models for so many players of the current generation and leave behind a string of good memories.