‘I lovingly told him to get a haircut’: When Aakash Chopra shared room with young MS Dhoni in 2004
As Dhoni celebrates his 39th birthday, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra recalled the time he had shared with a young Dhoni back in 2004 during India’s A tour to Zimbabwe and Kenya.Updated: Jul 07, 2020 14:00 IST
When Mahendra Singh Dhoni started his cricket career, much conversation revolved around his long hairstyle, apart from his cricketing skills. Many doubted whether the wicketkeeper-batsman is serious about making a mark in the sport. Dhoni, time and time again, went on to prove his detractors wrong as he kept on piling runs and winning matches for his side. By the time Dhoni went on to lead India to 2007 T20 World Cup trophy win, he had won hearts all over the world as fans across the globe were seen imitating the ‘Dhoni hairstyle’.
As Dhoni celebrates his 39th birthday, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra recalled the time he had shared with a young Dhoni back in 2004 during India’s A tour to Zimbabwe and Kenya.
“I have seen a lot of cricketers in my cricket career of more than two decades, some from close quarters and some from a distance. While some had their focus on the game, others were interested in the fame. While some climbed up the stairs of success, others only had their collars up. Some were crazy about cricket while others were struck by fashion. But this guy [MS Dhoni] was unique,” the cricketer-turned-commentator recalled in the latest video uploaded on his Youtube channel ‘Aakash Vani’.
“He had long golden hair, white sunscreen on the face and branded goggles over his eyes. If you glance at him, you would ask him to move aside as this was a cricket ground and not a Bollywood set. But here only he surprises you, like he did to me, his own roommate,” the former batsman said.
“The incident is from 2004, India A’s tour to Zimbabwe and Kenya when me, Aakash Chopra, a Test opener, and my junior MS Dhoni were sharing a room. When I would ask what he would like to eat, he would say whatever I wanted to order. When I would ask when he would sleep, he would say whenever I would switch off the light,” the former batsman went on.
“To say frankly, I had not expected such cordiality from this long-haired cool dude. I had thought he would say - ‘You leave it, I will only order’ or ‘I sleep late, you can put the bedsheet on your face and sleep’. It is said that greatness starts from simplicity. Simple life, high thinking.
“You will think simplicity means underconfidence. Not at all, we are talking of MS Dhoni. Inke dikhane ke daant aur khaane ke daant kuch aur hain (His appearances are very deceptive).”
Chopra further recalled the time he asked Dhoni to get a haircut as people might not consider him a serious cricketer. “When I told him lovingly to cut his hair as people may not consider him seriously, he responded back saying - ‘I am not cutting my hair, probably people might grow their hair after seeing me’,” Chopra recalled.
“It is said that Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf had also asked him not to cut his hair. We bow to MS Dhoni, to his talk and his confidence. Nowadays in every nook and corner, we see MS Dhoni’s haircut,” the former batsman added.
Dhoni, in his career, has played 90 Tests in which he amassed 4,876 runs at an average of 38.09. He has also played 350 ODIs in which he has scored 10,773 runs at an average of 50.57. Dhoni, formerly known as ‘captain cool’ during his captaincy days, has also played 98 T20Is for India in which he has scored 1,617 runs at an average of 37.60. He also remains the only captain to have won all three ICC trophies - 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.