Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Controversial ex-Team India captain, the untold story
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has had an illustrious career winning two World Cups and the ICC Champions Trophy. But Indian cricket team’s most successful skipper also had his run-ins with the media and was questioned by the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee during the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing investigation
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has had an illustrious career as India skipper winning two World Cups (ODI and T20 formats) and the ICC Champions Trophy. He was known for his cool body language and the ability to keep his composure under intense pressure.
In recent years, however, Mahendra Singh Dhoni often lost his cool, snapping back at difficult questions during press briefings. With Virat Kohli often outshining him with performance, questions on his future angered him. Once an innocent Australian journalist was at the wrong end of Captain Cool.
Here’s a look at the controversial side of India’s most successful skipper
Not so cool
In recent times, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s not so cool attitude did not amuse many. Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman got an elbow in his ribs when he came in the way of the India skipper taking a single, something Dhoni had never done in the past.
Off the field too, he made fun of an Australian journalist -- Samuel Ferris -- who asked him about his retirement during the post match press conference after West Indies beat India in the semifinal of the World T20 at the Wankhede Stadium.
“I was hoping it was an Indian media guy because I can’t really ask you if you have a son or a brother who is a wicketkeeper. Do you think I am unfit, looking at my running?” Dhoni taunted a flabbergasted Ferris after inviting him to share the dais.
Conflict of interest
Rhiti Sports, which represents various business interests of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and at one point in time some other India cricketers like Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, may, in fact, be owned by the captain himself.
Doubts were raised about from where Arun Pandey, an Indian Airlines employee when he founded the company in 2007 and signed Dhoni for a Rs 200 crore three-year deal, got the funds from. Later it was reported that Dhoni had bought 30,000 shares in the company and sold them back a month later. Interestingly, Dhoni, Raina and Jadeja all played for IPL team Chennai Super Kings for years till the CSK were banned for corruption.
On Justice Mukul Mudgal’s radar
Dhoni’s views on the 2013 IPL spotfixing and betting case were taken by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel. The Supreme Court-appointed panel was probing the credentials of Gurunath Meiyappan, who had charges of corruption against him. It was reported that Dhoni had called Meiyappan, the son-in-law of then BCCI strongman N. Srinivasan, a “mere cricket enthusiast.” Meiyappan was a full-fledged team owner and according to IPL code of conduct, had put CSK in serious trouble for violating anti-corruption rules.
The 13 names in the sealed envelope lying with the Supreme Court are yet to be revealed but speculations are rife whether Individual 2, who met banned CSK official Meiyappan in his hotel room multiple times, is Dhoni himself. During the numerous hearings in 2015, the BCCI counsel had begged the Supreme Court not to reveal the names of the 13, saying their reputation would be damaged forever. The Bench respected that view since it did not have fullproof evidence.
No Mr Popular
Virender Sehwag mentioned Ajay Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble but not Dhoni in his felicitation speech at the Kotla in 2015. Ravichandran Ashwin did not mention Dhoni either in his speech after receiving the ICC Cricketer of the Year last month. Gautam Gambhir has had his issues with the former India skipper and what urged VVS Laxman to announce his retirement in ahead of the 2012 New Zealand Test at his hometown of Hyderabad is not in public domain. Dhoni, for his part , clarified that “you need to ask Laxman about it”.
Fact or propaganda
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s biopic released last year wasn’t without controversy. Irrespective of the money it made in the box-office, there were questions raised about the very few really ‘untold’ stories depicted in the movie. Rhiti Sports was party to the production of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
In fact, its legal team features ahead of the supporting cast in the end credits. Obviously, the film lacked the objectivity of an independent story teller. The faithful chronicling is what differentiates a ‘Raging Bull’ from an ‘Azhar’. And the Dhoni biopic played it with soft hands.