When MS Dhoni took over from the legendary Anil Kumble at the helm of the Indian Test side, many critics doubted his ability to succeed in the longest form of the game. With Test cricket being incredibly technically challenging, the naysayers were right in claiming that MS Dhoni perhaps didn't have the skills on paper to have a successful career.
However, what he lacked in technique, MS Dhoni made up for in exceptional hand-eye coordination and unrivalled determination. With his brute power also coming in handy towards the latter stages of any innings, the wicket-keeper went on to represent India in 90 Test matches, scoring just under 5,000 runs at a respectable average in the high thirties.
MS Dhoni announced that he would never don the whites again in December 2014, but hung up his boots with various enviable records to his name. In this article, we take a look at 5 incredible records held by MS Dhoni, who turns 39 on July 7, in Test cricket.
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#5 MS Dhoni has the second-highest strike rate among Indian batsmen in Tests (min. 2500 runs)
MS Dhoni is one of the most destructive batsmen to have ever played the game, so this record might not come as a big surprise to many. But given the former Indian captain's technical limitations, it is incredible that he has been able to utilise his power to the best of his abilities in the most challenging form of the game.
MS Dhoni has a strike rate of 59.11 in Test cricket, only behind the swashbuckling Virender Sehwag, who boasts of an insane strike rate of 82.21 (among batsmen with over 2,500 Test runs).
Although Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Vinod Kambli, and Rohit Sharma have higher strike rates on paper, they have not scored enough runs to be taken into serious consideration for this record.
#4 MS Dhoni has the highest score by an Indian wicket-keeper in Tests
In the 1st Test of Australia's tour of India in 2013, the tourists put up a challenging first innings score of 380, only to see themselves blown away by the MS Dhoni show at his adopted home of Chennai. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain took the Kangaroos' bowling attack to the cleaners, recording a career-best score of 224 off just 265 balls - an innings studded with 24 fours and 6 sixes.
Virat Kohli also scored a century in the first innings as India's massive score of 572 laid the platform for them to restrict the Aussies to a lead of just 50, a score they chased down with 8 wickets to spare in the fourth innings.
MS Dhoni's score still remains the highest by an Indian wicket-keeper in Tests, and the third-highest overall, only behind Andy Flower's 232* and Kumar Sangakkara's 230.
#3 MS Dhoni has captained the Indian team the most times in Tests
In the period from 2008 to 2015, MS Dhoni led the Indian Test side in 60 matches, with 27 wins, 18 losses, and 15 draws. His successor Virat Kohli is next on the list, having captained the national side in 55 Test matches.
MS Dhoni also became the Indian Test captain with the most wins during his time at the helm, before Kohli overtook him (and currently stands at 33 Test wins).
#2 MS Dhoni has recorded the most dismissals by an Indian wicket-keeper in Test history, as well as in a calendar year
Having been behind the stumps around 10 years, it comes as no surprise that MS Dhoni has recorded the most dismissals by an Indian wicket-keeper in Test history. However, the stumper holds a plethora of other keeping records, such as the most dismissals in a calendar year, an innings and a match.
With 294 dismissals in 90 Tests, MS Dhoni is well ahead of second-placed Syed Kirmani, who has 198. The man from Ranchi also recorded 50 dismissals in 2011 in only 12 Test matches, and also holds the 2nd and 3rd places on this list - 48 in 2010 and 44 in 2006.
Interestingly, MS Dhoni shares two keeping records with the legendary 1983 World Cup-winning keeper. Both have affected 38 stumpings in Tests, and both have recorded the most dismissals in an innings with 6.
#1 MS Dhoni was the first Indian captain to take India to No. 1 in the Test rankings
In December 2009, India won a 3-Test series against Sri Lanka to reach the summit of the ICC Test rankings for the first time in their history, led by the mercurial MS Dhoni. The ICC Test Championship had first been introduced in 2001, and for the first 8 years of its existence, it belonged only to heavyweights Australia and South Africa.
After losing the #1 spot due to humiliating overseas defeats to Australia and England, India would reclaim it 7 years later under new captain Virat Kohli. Kohli's new-look national team held the position for 4 years until April 2020, before Tim Paine's Australia scaled the pinnacle of Test cricket's team rankings earlier this year.
However, it was MS Dhoni's astute leadership that paved the way for the current team's success. Although the former skipper didn't have a quality pace attack at his disposal, he managed to get the best out of his spinners to achieve what no Indian captain had before.