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The process is still on, so why do I need to write about Mahendra Singh Dhoni, icon of modern India, who happened to be right man at the right time in the right place. Hyper information is the word that defines current times, too much information is floating around for M S Dhoni in support and arguments, criticism. Here, I have tried to focus how M S Dhoni achieved that every youth ever thought of, in his own way. Dhoni have provided the spark that everyone needs to learn to be able to successful and carry that success without being arrogant. This story takes you through early life, career, achievements and a captain who always seized the moment to achieve goal when everyone thinks you are down and out. We often like surprises and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the one big surprise that yet needed to understand, only wait is the answer till then read on…
Early life and career start
Big occasions, the team & The Instinctive Captain
Few Interesting Facts of M S Dhoni’s Career
Life outside cricket
And to be contined...
Mahendera Singh Dhoni, face of modern India, is a wicket keeper batsman who often carries himself, team and the Nation aggressively without being brash, successful and arrogant. He possesses uncanny character that excels in pressure situations with his calm composures, whether being on sports or in real life. MSD as famously he is known around the world is the best finisher in the game of cricket who carried Team India and India as nation where nobody imagined and showed the way how the things are done, always!
2. Early life and Career Start
Mahendrasingh Dhoni was born on 7th July 1981 in Ranchi, Bihar (now in Jharkhand- Eastern India State) to Pan Singh and Devki Devi in modest family. Father used to work at junior management level in MECON Engineering. Mahendra is the third sibling, other being, sister -Jayanti Gupta and brother-Narendra. Studied at DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali Ranchi, always a shy student showed interest in sports in early days of life. He grew up playing football as a goal keeper mainly. His story of introduction to the game of cricket is very well known, spotted by Keshab Ranjan Banerjee while keeping goal post at school, Mr. Banerjee was impressed by Dhoni’s saves and thought of trying him as a wicket keeper for school’s cricket team. Impressive at club cricket level he was picked up for Vinoo Mankad Trophy U16 Championship in 1997/98. Once he completed 10th standard schooling he focused more and more playing cricket, but didn’t get many chance to play at state level due to bureaucratic disorganisation. He worked for Indian Railways during 2001-2003 as a train ticket examiner at Kharangpur Railway Station in West Bengal where he presented Railways in cricket and polished his skills.
In early domestic career he represented Central Coal Fields Ltd team. He performed well for Bihar U19 in state tournament in 1998/99. In one of the match against Punjab during 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy he presented Bihar U19 team scored 84 but his team lost. Dhoni’s contribution was enormous in Ranji Trophy that year, scored 488 runs in 9 matches consisted 12 innings. He made maiden first class century against Bengal in 2000/01 but again ended up season with losing side. Onwards 2002-03 season Dhoni started gaining recognition for his lower order contribution with hard hitting batting style. He made quick half centuries in Deodhar Trophy and scored century against Assam as a part of Jharkhand Cricket Team. Being part of East Zone he scored 244 runs in 4 matches. In the year 2003 BCCI’s small town talent spotting initiative Dhoni acquired attention by PC Podar, captain of Bihar during 1960s. He quickly made his transition into India A team that toured Zimbabwe and Kenya. He showed his great wicket keeping skills by taking 7 catches and 4 stumpings in one match combining both innings. He continued to flourish in batting by scoring down two back to back centuries in back to back matches. He scored 362 runs in 6 innings at average of 72.40. It was this performace, which tuned the heads of then India captain Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri.
3. International Exposure
India was facing problems with a good wicket keeper batsman since 2000; saw three name changes within three years like Rahul Dravid, Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik. But somewhere in the process all three could not provide better service for the cause they have been assigned in one way or the other. At last with Dhoni showing good performances for India A side he was picked up for the tour of Bangladesh in 2004/2005.
M S Dhoni made his international debut in one day internationals for India as wicket keeper batsman against Bangladesh, scored zero to start with. However he was given one more chance in next series against Pakistan and where he scored 148 in 123 balls his maiden century and won accolades. He followed up this form and broke his own record by scoring 183 in 145 balls against Sri Lanka in 2005 where he promoted to No3 position; also a record for team player batting in second innings. He carried this form in to series followed up in Pakistan and ICC Champions Trophy 2006.
As Team India performance were going down in successive series against South Africa, 2007 World Cup & Bangladesh his own understanding of game increased and sooner he was made vice captain of Team India in 2005. Subsequently T20 cricket arrived on International stage, Dhoni was to lead India at T20 World Cup 2007 in South Africa, an unknown territory. M S Dhoni surprised the whole cricketing world by winning that World Cup Trophy, a first one in the game of cricket after Kapil Dev for India. Following this triumph and quality leadership he was awarded captaincy of Team India in ODI from 2007 onwards.
He showed his own style of batting and wicket keeping qualities against Australia tour down under and winning the CB series, contributing heavily with bat. Dhoni topped ICC world rankings as a batsman by end of 2009 and being seen as one of the best finisher of the game since Michael Bevan.
His test journey had a terrific start but not so good ending. Dhoni was selected to play in Test Series against Sri Lanka in 2005, replacing Dinesh Karthik. The match was curtailed due to rain as he scored 30 in his first ever test innings. He scored his first fiery fifty in the second test. Soon after this series Dhoni made his maiden century against Pakistan in Faislabad, in Jan 2006. He followed up his unconventional batting display against England, West Indies in 2006, Sri Lanka in 2009. In the process he became the only India captain to take Team India with the help of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Laxman, Kumble and Dravid to numero uno position for the brief period of 18 months.
4. Big Occasion
The Evolving Team and Instinctive Captain
M S Dhoni was made captain of side when India walked in to unknown territory of T20 cricket. All of sudden there were curiosity and questions why he? But having won the T20 World Cup 2007 in South Africa all questions were put to rest.
Soon after this triumph he was made captain of ODI team that toured Australia in 2007, he made his mark as a wicket keeper/batsman captain who won the seven match series 2007. Ruthless with bat, calm and collected as captain and an instinctive keeper who gauged the situation as per requirements. Once Anil Kumble retired from test cricket; Dhoni, already captaining India in limited overs, was handed over Test captaincy. Dhoni didn’t disappoint in this job too. Having the side with full of test greats who can suggest and implement what is required, saw team India presiding over as No1 Test team for 18 months long period. However M S Dhoni struggled as a captain and as a batsman in later part of his Test career, especially overseas tours where his team lost to England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand where he didn’t able to work things around the given conditions and the personnel that could attack to the opposition team. Dhoni often criticised for the way India went about the game on overseas tours.
Nothing was expected from the team after their shocking 2007 world cup exit, when Dhoni was assigned to lead India in T20 World Cup. Unknown what was coming their way in the process the team consisting new and experienced gelled well as unit under remarkable captaincy of M S Dhoni who made the decisions on his own understandings and not going by cricket text books. He rejuvenated winning and attacking abilities of the bowlers and batsmen in particular Yurvaj Singh, who hit unforgettable six 6s in an over against England, hammered Australia in semi final. Out of woods; India were playing biggest final involving Pakistan. India didn’t bat well but Dhoni with his uncanny tactics held the nerves and composure combined with team effort to win the first T20 World Title.
Leading to 2011 World Cup held in Asia, India, were one the favourites but they had wayward start to the campaign although winning group games, but losing to South Africa exposed their vulnerability on home conditions. Dhoni equally vocal about the failure of Team rejuvenated the depleted bowling attack to work their winning ways in quarter final against Australia and semi final against Pakistan, booked the final spot against Sri Lanka at Wankhede in Mumbai. After Sri Lanka scored 274, India innings were tottering as soon as sehwag and Tendulkar departed. Dhoni played masterstroke by moving up the order to bat at No4 instead of man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh (took everyone by surprise). He scored 91 from 79 balls, innings of his life and hitting six over long on to lift the World Cup for India after 28 years!
2013 ICC Champions Trophy is no different story. India always had poor record in English soil. Dhoni was leading a young side this time around, full of energy. He was dead sure how to make them work as unit. And the young batsmen and bowler proved his belief right and bowled their way to Final against England by beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In rain curtailed final against England; England has had upper hand till last moment but Dhoni’s energetic team held nerves in the end and won the match in Final over. They snatched victory bite from England’s jaws!
Dhoni carried his captaincy into 2015 World Cup in Australia. Prior to tournament India were mercilessly defeated in ODIs and Test series down under by Australia. Team India were directionless. MSD once again able to infuse fighting spirits in the team especially bowlers who performed brilliantly until the semi final against Australia saw India knocked out of the campaign.
All these big occasion wins point out the facts that Dhoni is a master of reading the game, manipulating available resources, surprise the opposition by taking risks and back the bowlers once decided to bring them to the fore. Scoring runs in singles and doubles, rotating strikes in middle overs were the few tactics that has been now followed by other teams. His name is now synonymous to master run chaser who divides the game in to pieces and carries out attack when required. He had shown how the game can be taken till the last over when things go awry in the middle overs and bowlers can be hit outside the park, in a flash, his way- especially with his trademark- Helicopter Shot!
Apart from International Cricket, M S Dhoni is captain of Chennai Super Kings, IPL team who has carried his team with the same effect and affection to win back to back domestic title and T20 Champions league title.
5. Few Interesting Facts of M S Dhoni’s Career
1. Holds the record for fastest test century by an Indian wicket keeper 148 in 93 balls
2. Holds records of most dismissal 248 by Indian wicket keeper
3. Under Dhoni's captaincy, India did not lose a test match until the first test versus South Africa in Nagpur in February 2010. As a captain, he holds a record for longest unbeaten run in tests from his debut, 11 tests (8 wins and 3 draws).
4. Holds world record of most stumpings as a test captain
5. Dhoni has registered the highest score in Test history by a wicketkeeper-captain beating Englishman Alec Stewart’s 164 Vs South Africa in 1998
6. Dhoni is the most successful Indian Test captain with 24 Test victories, eclipsing Sourav Ganguly’s record of 21 victories from 49 Tests
7. Holds the dubious distinction of an Indian captain with most Test defeats overseas with 11 Test losses.
8. The only captain in the ODIs to score a century while batting at number 7. He did it against Pakistan in December 2012
9. First non-Australian captain to won 100 ODI matches, and first Indian captain to achieve the mark. He is also the third captain to won 100 matches, after two Australians, Ricky Ponting, and Allan Border
10. M S Dhoni is the only Captain in the history of Cricket, having won all three world titles; T20 World Cup 2007, World Cup 2011 ODIs & 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
6. Life Outside Cricket
M S Dhoni’s life outside cricket is quite interesting one. As he was active in football at early stage of his career, now owns a stake in Chennaiyan FC- a franchisee in Indian Super League. As an avid biker he is co-partner in mahi racing team part of superbike racing championship – a Super Sports World Championship.
His personal life is not far away from media attentions. May be he enjoys being in limelite himself, everyone happens to know about his marriage story with Sakshi, with her now they have been blessed with baby girl Ziva.
When you are Captain of Team India with three major world titles and few domestic titles, you are never far away from being brand endorsement contracts. Few big names Dhoni endorses are Pepsi, Reebok, Exide, Aircel, India Cements. Currently he is also in talk with movie makers about his biographical film.
7. And to be contined...
There were times that India as a nation needed a face that defines the 21st Century India. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of them, who by being himself, coming from rural part of India showed India & the world that if given a chance they will surprise you with their capabilities and qualities that are so robust to build legacy upon. Still active in One day international he may rewrite few more rules of the game of cricket by his surprising tactics. Even till today nobody really knows what his mind is thinking the very next second. Just like as we don’t know when his next Helicopter Shot will be on display!