Rated as one of the finest captain or an iconic leader to grace the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a phenomenon who has changed the face of Indian cricket across the world. It would not be an overstatement to say that – Dhoni acquired the cult status like no other in the 1.30 billion country and became the most popular figure after the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. From winning all the top accolades on offer in world cricket, Dhoni created a legacy for himself with his unconventional style of play, unique batsmanship, street-smart attitude and incredible keeping skills.
Born in a small town – Ranchi on July 7, 1981, the ‘Captain Cool’, as he is fondly called as evolved into one of the world’s biggest sport icons. From leading India to the famous World T20 triumph in the inaugural edition to lifting the coveted 2011 World Cup title at the buzzing Wankhede, Dhoni scripted many memorable triumphs for the Men in Blue in his illustrious 16-year-old career. His numbers and stats not only define his success at the world level but also speak volumes about his contribution in taking the Indian cricket on to the next level.
The ‘Poster boy’ from Ranchi used his cricketing wits and smarts to become the only captain in the history of the game to win top 3 ICC tournaments (2011 ODI World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy.). Despite making a forgettable debut on the world stage, Dhoni established himself as one of the best finishers in the sport. He registered a ‘golden duck’ against Bangladesh on December 23, 2004.
After failing to get going in the initial stages of his career, Dhoni found the backing of then-skipper Sourav Ganguly, who backed his talent. While playing his 5th ODI for India, Mahi scored a magnificent ton against arch-rivals Pakistan to announce his arrival on the international stage.
Captaincy comes as a surprise for Dhoni as he was chosen as the able successor of Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. He led India in 200 ODIs, of which the team won 110 matches. At home, Dhoni captained the side to 43 wins out of 73 matches. So far, Doni has represented the country in 90 Tests, 348 ODIs and 98 T20Is. He has scored more than 10,000 ODI runs and close to 5,000 runs in Test cricket.
Known for lightning quick reflexes behind the wicket, the Ranchi marauder also holds the record of most number of stumpings in international cricket – Dhoni has affected 123 stumpings. During India’s last World Cup league encounter against Sri Lanka on Saturday, ICC posted a video celebrating the wicketkeeper-batsman’s achievements.
“A name that changed the face of Indian cricket. A name inspiring millions across the globe. A name with an undeniable legacy, MS Dhoni – not just a name! #CWC19 | #TeamIndia,” ICC wrote on its official Twitter handle.
In the video, skipper Virat Kohli and ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah are seen talking about the calming influence of Dhoni on Team India.
“What you see from the outside is very different from how things happen within a person. He’s always calm and composed, there’s so much to learn from him. He was my captain and he will always be my captain. Our understanding has always been brilliant. I am always up for listening to his advice,” Kohli said.
“When I came to the team in 2016, he was the captain. He’s a calming influence on the team and he’s always there to help,” Bumrah said.
Over the years, Dhoni’s cool demeanour and poker face in extremely tense or pressure situations became part of cricketing folklore. His cool and composed nature made him an instant hit among India’s youth.
Currently playing in his 4th World Cup, the veteran ace has consistently drawn flak for his slow-batting and lack of intent while chasing targets. Considered one of the best finishers of the game, Dhoni has lately been seen struggling to find boundaries and accelerate the run rate at the fag end of the innings.
However, despite all the flaws and issues, Dhoni remains one of the most loved, respected and popular cricketer across the globe. His cricketing acumen, sharp skills and ability to read the situation makes him an invaluable asset for Team India in the limited-overs format.