A career in pictures – MS Dhoni is not only India’s but cricket world’s GOAT

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Jharkhand, a state which was not known for its cricket talents, earned glory as an outstanding wicketkeeper-batsman. He is one of the greatest captains in the game. Dhoni became the only Indian captain to win all three major International Cricket Council events. He won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, ended India’s 27-year wait to win the World Cup by steering India to a World Cup triumph on home soil in 2011 and also lifted the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Dhoni was a fine goalkeeper for his school’s football team in Ranchi. He had excellent flexibility and agility and so his coach suggested Dhoni’s name to a cricket club which wanted a wicketkeeper. Dhoni impressed everyone with his agility behind the wickets which also prompted him to take up cricket seriously and went on to play all age groups.

Dhoni worked as a ticket examiner for Indian Railways but continued to play cricket. A long-haired Dhoni emerged as a fearless cricketer scoring heavily in all domestic matches and reached the India A team. He hit back-to-back centuries against Pakistan A team to catch the attention of then captain Sourav Ganguly.

In December 2004, Dhoni made his One Day International debut under Ganguly’s captaincy against Bangladesh. In the 2005 Sri Lanka tour, he went on to hit 183 runs chasing Sri Lanka’s target of 299 to record the highest score by any wicketkeeper. Dhoni never looked back after this and went on to shatter records with regularly intervals. He holds the record for most stumping in international cricket. He has produced 38 stumping in Tests, 128 in ODIs and 34 in T20s.

In 2007, after a player of the match performance against Pakistan during the third One-day match in Lahore, Dhoni won the approval of the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who commented that he looks good with the hairstyle and should not cut it. Dhoni gave one of his rare interviews to Gulf News with his long hair and said: “The adulation from the fans is my biggest motivation. They keep reminding me that I have to work hard and perform at my best all the time.”

Dhoni went on to emerge as the best finisher through his batting skills. He used his trademark helicopter shot to full use and won matches and the hearts of the fans. He even won the World Cup by reaching the target through a six off that shot. Once he told Gulf News the secret of his helicopter shot. “It is something that I learnt when I used to play tennis ball cricket on the streets of India. It is a difficult shot which I used to play in tennis ball cricket but I realised it is tough to implement it in a proper cricket game.”

Dhoni took over Indian ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid 2007. In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test ranking and retained it for 18 months. In 2013, under his captaincy, India became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series.

Dhoni emerged as one of the most successful captains in the Indian Premier League as the captain of the Chennai Super League. He led Chennai Super Kings to IPL title triumph in 2010 and 2011 and 2018 and Champions League T20 titles in 2010 and 2014.

In December 2014, Dhoni retired from Test cricket soon after the third Test in Melbourne. He had scored 4876 runs at an average of just over 38 with six hundreds. He had also captained India to more Test wins — 27 — than anyone else. He erased Ganguly’s record of 21 wins.

On July 4, 2010, Dhoni married Sakshi Singh Rawat, his schoolmate and in February 6, 2015 became a father to a baby girl named Ziva.