The atmosphere was epic, and a sense of a breathtaking climax was upon us with 10 runs required on the last 2 balls. The largest cricket stadium in the world, the Narendra Modi stadium had turned yellow, as all fans had come to see one man lift the IPL trophy for the fifth time. Mahendra Singh Dhoni sat calmly on his seat in the dugout watching as Mohit marked on his run up to bowl to Ravindra Jadeja. Tension was palpable as the match was more in the hands of Gujarat Titans than CSK. But then came the moment of the tournament, Jadeja smashed the last two balls, one for six and the other for a boundary. The crowd went into a frenzy, unable to contain their joy. It was the legendary MSD who etched his name in history, steering the Chennai Super Kings to their record-breaking 5th IPL title. Dhoni, the hero, remained calm under immense pressure, leading his team to a glorious victory that will be etched cricketing folklore forever.
Credit: India Today
And then come the Iconic commentary lines, “Never Ever Doubt MS Dhoni and CSK”. The world’s largest cricket stadium, which had turned yellow and people celebrated like crazy. But, one man, the Captain cool himself, shows no signs of emotions for a couple of seconds. He too is letting this feeling settle in. As he gets up from his seat, he rushes to Ravindra Jadeja and we get one of the best MS Dhoni photos ever – he lifts Jadeja with tears in his eyes. This wholesome moment will surely be cherished by fans throughout their lifetimes.
All of this felt like a fairy tale a couple of deliveries ago. With 10 required off 2, it was only a miracle that could steer the match in favour of Chennai. It was the prayers of a billion people who wanted MSD to bring back that piece of silverware once again, before he said goodbye to this lovely sport. But why do people love him so much? Coming from a Dhoni fanboy, in this chapter of ZAP Legends, let’s decode the life of MSD, and how an ordinary guy, a ticket collector at one point in his life, became the most loved person in India.
MS Dhoni celebrates his birthday on 7th July and was born in the year 1981 in a small town in Ranchi, Jharkhand. We have all surely watched the movie, MS Dhoni-The Untold Story, and already know how a young boy, who was a goalkeeper in his school football team found his love in cricket. His skills were unmatched and his drive and work ethic all led him to where he is today. Quickly climbing up the ladders of the domestic cricket circuit, his performances were such that his selection for higher levels of the sport were inevitable. He was only a few steps away from making his debut for the National team.
International Career and Captaincy.
Captain Cool debuted for the Indian cricket team on 23rd December, 2004 against Bangladesh and had a haunting start to his career. Run out after playing only the first ball of his international career, and a series of low scores in matches that followed, many spectators had their doubts and considered him just a come and go player. But, his unorthodox batting technique who everyone thought could be a roadblock in his career, turned out to be a blessing for him. He was so effective with his batting style, that he could just flick his wrists to yorker length deliveries and throw the ball out of the park. The compilation of his helicopter shots is a beauty to watch. His sheer ability to power hit and smash the ball for sixes shown in his first ever century in Indian colours.
On 5th April, 2005 against Pakistan, he was promoted up the batting order to 3rd, Dhoni scored his first ever century and showed the world what he was capable of doing. His 148 off 123 and two catches behind the stumps helped India beat their arch rivals by 58 runs. He continued his form in the following series and only went forward in his career. Even though people might say that the former captain had lost his batting ability and could no longer help the team win, post the 2015 ODI world Cup, his batting average of over 100 runs per innings in successful run chases in ODIs, is a testament of how important he was for the team.
MS Dhoni’s Captaincy Record in T20s, ODIs and Tests:
Seeing his leadership qualities from behind the stumps and how he helped bowlers as a wicketkeeper, The BCCI entrusted MS Dhoni with the captaincy of the Indian team in 2007. Things couldn’t have been more difficult for him, as he was entrusted with this job just before the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa. A young squad, with an inexperienced captain leading the side, the hopes were less, but there was no one who was going to stop this team from playing freely, without any pressure. And this eventually showed in the performances we delivered, with some brilliant individual performances from players in every match. Be it the cameos from Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma, or the bowling performances from Harbhajan Singh and RP Singh. Or the famous, 6 sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh. The team showed the courage to fight and soon reached the finals of the tournament, to face the Arch Rivals, Pakistan. It needed a sprinkle of Dhoni’s magical touch for India to win the match. He called Joginder Sharma to bowl the final over, which many thought was a very risky move. But for the legendary skipper, it was just one of those gambles. India managed to restrict Pakistan and win the first ever T20 world cup.
Everyone knew that now the steering of the ship of Indian Cricket was in the right hands. Not just a single format. The team saw success in all three formats of the game. India attained the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for teams, which were first introduced in June 2003, on December 6, 2009, for the first time, under Dhoni’s captaincy. In 2011, came the defining moment of his career.
“Dhoni finishes off in Style, India lifts the World Cup after 28 years”
With 4 required of 11, he smacked the full length delivery over long-on and won India the 2011 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup, a trophy that had been evading India’s trophy cabinet for 28 years. In 2013, he once again led the team to victory in the ICC Champions Trophy, and became the only captain to win all three major ICC trophies. Such was his charm over the team and the nation as a whole. His calm demeanor and tactical acumen made him a respected leader, and he became the embodiment of the team's success. Since he stepped down from captaincy role in 2017, it has been only downhill for the Indian team. We have failed to win any major trophy for 10 years in a row now.
MS Dhoni’s IPL Career:
Seeing his success after the 2007 T20 World Cup, CSK broke the bank and bought MSD for a staggering $1.5 M, making him the most expensive player in the first edition of the IPL. But, it was all worth it, as CSK soon started dominating the league, playing in 11 playoffs of the possible 13. CSK has played the finals of the IPL 10 times, in the 15-year history of the tournament, winning it on 5 occasions. Such was his domination in the league.
As he comes to the end of his career, the one question that always troubles everyone is whether Dhoni will play the next season’s IPL or not?
The answer is up to him, but we all wish he plays forever, even when on a wheelchair!
MS Dhoni Records:
Here’s a list of the top 10 records that the legend has set, making him one of the greatest in the sport:
- The record for the most ODI dismissals by an Indian wicketkeeper belongs to MS Dhoni, who has 444 (321 catches, 123 stumpings).
- MS is the 2nd ever wicket-keeper to reach 10K runs in ODI, and the first batsman to cross 10K runs with an average of more than 50.
- The former India captain became the fastest batsman to achieve No. 1 on the ICC batsmen ranking. In just 42 innings, he moved up to the first position.
- As a wicket-keeper in Test cricket, MSD has captained 60 matches, which is the most ever.
- When CSK won the IPL 2021 championship, MS Dhoni set a record as the competition's oldest captain. The 40-year-old who crossed the 39-year-old Shane Warne and the 37-year-old Adam Gilchrist who won the tournaments in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
- In the IPL, Dhoni has led 226 games, more than any other skipper, and holds the IPL record for most games won as captain: 121 games.
- The Commonwealth Bank Series in 2007–2008 saw 21 dismissals from the wicketkeeper, making him the first Asian to record 20+ in an ODI series.
- He is the only wicketkeeper in Indian history to surpass 300 runs in an ODI series. He achieved this in the Commonwealth Bank Series 2007–2008, where he amassed 347 runs.
- The CSK skipper is the first player to score more than 4,000 runs while serving as an IPL captain.
- Dhoni, who bowled nine times in international cricket, is at the top of an odd list of wicket keepers who bowled the most frequently.
Retirement and Life After:
India getting knocked out from the Semis of the 2019 ODI World Cup was a big blow for all the supporters of the team, but it was a bigger heartbreak for Dhoni than anybody else. The game required a thrilling finish, which is MS’s forte, with India needing 35 off the last two overs. MS had won so many of such matches, but not that day. He gets run out in an attempt to steal a double, as his career completes a full circle. He starts his Indian Career with a run out and ends it in the same manner! People who had not seen him express any emotions saw him shed a tear as he walked towards the dressing room of Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. Everyone’s hearts and hopes were shattered as India choked once again.
Captain Cool was nowhere to be seen for the next covid struck year. And then on August 15, 2020, dropped a message on his socials that he’s ending his international career and taking a retirement from playing for the National Team. The belief that all Indian supporters had, that Dhoni Sambhal Lega, whenever the team needed him was over. And since that day, no player has been able to make that mark for the team…..
MS Dhoni Bike and Car Collection:
Since his retirement, MS has been living a life away from all limelight and comes out seasonally to play at the IPL. The man has worked enough and deserves some time of rest and peace with his wife Sakshi and daughter Ziva Dhoni.
One More thing that everyone knows is that Dhoni is a huge fan of bikes and cars. He has a bike collection of more than 70 two wheelers and multiple four wheeled vehicles. Videos have surfaced of him enjoying his bike rides on Jharkhand roads, something he loves doing.
MS Dhoni’s history and life suggests how a person from a small town can achieve what even seems impossible. Growing up in a small town, going through multiple failures to become a ticket collector to becoming the most loved cricketer in India, his story is insane. It’s all his simplicity, his humility, the way he is grounded to his root, his calculator-like brain and his witty on field commentary from behind the stumps that make us all fond of him. He led by example, still giving away the IPL trophy and standing in the corner to celebrate championship victories. His contribution to the ICT is invaluable and can never be replicated by anyone. In fact, there’s for me, a MS Dhoni fan boy, he is the greatest ever cricketer that India has ever produced and there’s nobody who can match what he has done for the sport!