Happy Birthday MS Dhoni: India's very own star turns 40
Four decades of 'Captain Cool'. Former India captain MS Dhoni celebrates his 40th birthday on Wednesday. The Jharkhand-born cricketer, who may not have envisioned becoming the player he did, was truly destined for greatness. As a young boy, he loved football but a couple of decades later, he ended up as one of the best players from India to have graced the 22 yards of a cricket field. Such has been the life and times of MS Dhoni.
With long locks, pure zeal, and an infectious smile, the Railways player entered the international arena in 2004. He faced a few initial hiccups at the start of his run in the Indian team, his 148 against Pakistan in Vizag in 2005 showed the world the talent that he possessed. But it was just the beginning of the storm.
His big-hitting abilities helped him seal a spot in the Indian team across formats as he carved his own place in the sports as 'the finisher'. Even before we realized, all of India found themselves pinning all their hopes on the young shoulders of Dhoni, expecting him to bail India out of trouble. More often than not, he delivered as he transitioned into a senior player.
Dhoni guided the 'Men in Blue' to the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup title, helping more than a billion people recover from the 2007 ODI World Cup debacle only a few months back. He was special. Always was. Then came the 2011 World Cup, when Dhoni 'finished it off in style' to hand his country the moment they were waiting for the past 28 years. He, along with his colleague, gave batting great Sachin Tendulkar the perfect parting gift.
If that was not enough, under his leadership, India clinched the 2013 Champions Trophy on English soil. Sweet, right? Unfortunately, things didn't quite remain the same since. His side went down to Australia in the 2015 World Cup semifinals followed that "that" Dhoni run-out ending India's residual hopes of victory against New Zealand during the 2019 CWC semifinals.
Eventually, on August 15, 2020, Dhoni announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, bringing down the curtains on an illustrious career.+
During his 15-year-old career, Dhoni played 90 Tests, in which he amassed 4,876 runs at an average of 38.09. He also played 350 ODIs, scoring 10,773 runs at an average of 50.57. In 98 T20Is, the swashbuckling batsman scored 1617 runs at a strike rate of 126.13.
Dhoni was not all about the 'Helicopter Shot' and his big-hitting. He was an absolute star behind the stumps. He was the epitome of lightning-quick reflexes to complete catches and initiate stumpings. Batsmen were out even though the rest of the world thought there were safe. But not Dhoni. He possessed a special eye, which was why he was extremely efficient with DRS. If Dhoni appealed and walked towards the bowler with his head look straight at him, somewhere, they all knew that the batsmen was out.
Be it the 'Dhoni Review System' or lightning-quick hands behind the stumps or the quirky ways to interact with his teammates on the field, there are more than 40 reasons to remember, celebrate, and cherish the four decades of the enigma of MS Dhoni.