MS Dhoni: We would be lying if we said that we don’t get goosebumps every time we see MS Dhoni’s six that won India the 2011 World Cup. Over the years, Indian cricket has seen some of the best players to have graced World Cricket. These include the likes Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, and so on. However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni truly revolutionised Indian Cricket during his reign as a player, captain, and wicket-keeper. MS Dhoni has led India to 27 Test-match victories in 60 Tests, and 107 ODI wins in 194 ODIs as a captain. His impeccable record is the reason why he is the most successful captain for India to date.
Therefore, let’s dig into the life of MS Dhoni and trace his journey right from his early days
Hailing from a typical middle-class Jharkhand family, MS Dhoni initially used to play as a goalkeeper during his school days. Surprisingly, Dhoni never had any interest in cricket growing up. The majority of his interest inched towards football and badminton. However, Dhoni’s life journey towards the world of successful international cricket career had not been an easy one. Nonetheless, his struggle life can definitely inspire any budding cricket fan.
Baby-Steps Towards The 22-Yards
It was because of the insistence of his football catch that Dhoni finally decided to give cricket a go. Accordingly, he was drafted into his school’s cricket team purely as a wicket-keeper. He was able to perform wicket-keeping especially well, which allowed him entry to the Commando cricket club, where he played from 1995-1998
Dhoni’s interest in cricket began to peak gradually when he started as a spare for his school’s cricket team. Having impressed behind the stumps, the little boy from Ranchi had now started showing some explosive performances with the bat. Mr Prakash Poddar, TRDO and once captain of Bengal in the 1960s, was greatly convinced about Dhoni’s potential. As a result, Mr Poddar decided to recommend his name to the National Cricket Academy.
He was selected to the Bihar U-19 squad the very next season. His improved batting and keeping performances led him to be selected to the Bihar Ranji Trophy squad for the 1999/00 season. As a result, MS Dhoni made his debut against the Assam team by scoring an unbeaten score of 68.
He scored his first century the next season but was only able to score at an average of around 40 per game by the 2003 season. In 2003, he was selected to the India A team to tour Kenya to play a tri-series tournament with Pakistan A as the third team. In the series, he scored 362 runs at an average of 72.40 with back to back centuries against Pakistan.
Dhoni was recognised for his efforts in One-Day format in 2003-04 and was picked for a tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya. Against Zimbabwe, he picked seven catches and four stumpings. He scored 362 runs in 6 innings, and his performance received attention from Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri.
The India Call-Up
His performance across India’s domestic circuit quickly brought MS Dhoni under the spotlight. It was only a matter of time before the Indian call-up came a calling. On the back of his sterling performances in domestic competitions and international tours, he was given a place in the ODI squad to tour Bangladesh in 2004/05. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a horrific debut for Dhoni as the latter was run out in his first game in International colours. Similarly, Dhoni wasn’t able to impress the spectators in the next four ODIs as well.
With his faith hanging in the balance, Dhoni’s future seemed uncertain for sure. However, the man from Ranchi bounced back hard with a superb 148 against Pakistan in the 5th ODI. In November 2005, while chasing a stiff target of 299, he scored 183 off 145balls to take India to victory. He won the ‘Man of that Series’ award for top-scoring in the tournament with 346 runs.
First Stint As Captain
When a young MS Dhoni was keeping, his slip quadrant was filled with the likes of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Having observed him closely, Sachin Tendulkar was convinced that Dhoni was the right choice as India’s next captain. Accordingly, MS Dhoni was made the captain of the limited-overs squad before the ICC World T20 2007. He immediately impacted as he led the team to win the inaugural World Cup T20 in South Africa.
He was made the captain of the ODI team in 2007 and the Test team in 2008. In 2009, he scored 1198 runs in 24 innings at an average of 70.43 to be the highest scorer of the year in ODI’s. As a result of his impressive performances, he was conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2007. In 2009, he was awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian honour Padma Shri. In 2018, he was honoured by India’s third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan.
Dhoni Finishes Off In Style…
Following India’s amazing performance in the T20 World Cup of 2007, Dhoni had his eyes set on the 2011 ODI World Cup. In between, MS Dhoni led India to series wins in New Zealand and West Indies after 2008. In 2009, he led the Indian team to the number one position in ICC Test rankings for the first time. Had been declared the captain of the ODI team in the year of 2007 and had ensured a position that people will look back and compared to with all his successors.
For the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni played a major role in carving out a winning squad. India started its 2011 World Cup campaign in style, beating Bangladesh in its first CWC 2011 encounter. It was smooth sailings from there as India went on to beat Ireland, Netherlands, West Indies, Australia, And Pakistan to reach the finals. The T20 champions were up against Sri Lanka, the team that made it to the finals of 2007 CWC. Sri Lanka was eagerly determined to get their hands on the trophy after losing it marginally to Australia back in 2007.
However, Dhoni and the company had other plans. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli stabilised the Indian innings after early wickets. Promoting himself up the order, MS Dhoni walked out at 5. His brilliant knock of 91 and the match-winning six helped India win the World Cup after 28 years.
MS Dhoni: Major Milestones
Following India’s heroics in the 2011 World Cup, the team now had their eyes set on the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. Accordingly, the team defeated England in the final to win the Trophy. This made Dhoni the only Indian captain to have won all the three major ICC trophies in a row. It was with Dhoni at the helm that Team India reached No 1 in the ICC Test Ratings. Dhoni’s 224 is the highest score in a Test by an Indian captain, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar’s 217.
As a wicketkeeper, he completed his ‘Double’ (4000 runs, 100 dismissals) in just 114 innings. He’s the sixth in the world to do so and the youngest one by far to have achieved that feat. After winning the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, Dhoni became the first and only captain in international cricket to claim all ICC trophies.
MS Dhoni: Stats
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