07 Jul 2020
Happy Birthday MS Dhoni: Unfurling his inspiring journey
Over the years, a number of legends have represented Team India.
His peculiar, yet uncanny outlook about the game puts him in an altogether different league.
We take a look at his inspiring journey as India's most celebrated captain turns 39.
Dhoni was handpicked by former skipper Sourav Ganguly
The lack of a permanent wicket-keeper forced Rahul Dravid to keep wickets on various occasions.
Although the team management introduced several wicket-keepers in Test arena, none proved effective.
This led to the arrival of a long-haired Ranchi boy, who was drafted by then-captain Sourav Ganguly for the 2004 Bangladesh tour.
However, Dhoni's international debut was marred by an untimely run-out.
And Dada continued to back Dhoni
The former skipper sensed something special in Dhoni's quirky technique and kept backing him until he broke the shackles against Pakistan.
Ganguly's formula to promote Dhoni at number three worked well, as the latter smashed a blistering 148 in the Visakhapatnam ODI.
Months later, Dhoni announced himself as the quintessential batsman by posting an unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka.
Dhoni stamped his authority as a marquee wicket-keeper
In the next two years, Dhoni stood out as a mainstay wicket-keeper across formats.
His consistent run against Pakistan, England, Australia, West Indies and South Africa made him indispensable.
During that era, his long-standing partnerships with yet another legend Yuvraj Singh continued to make headlines.
Notwithstanding, his spot was questioned following a disastrous World Cup campaign in 2007.
The beginning of Dhoni's captaincy
The inaugural edition of World T20 handed Dhoni a chance to silence his detractors, once and for all.
In his first-ever tournament as captain, he led by example.
Right from making non-regular bowlers deliver the historic bowl-out to giving Joginder Sharma the ball in the final, Dhoni made his presence felt by his audacious moves.
This marked the beginning of Dhoni's era.
Team India scaled new heights under him
Following Anil Kumble's retirement, Dhoni was given the charge of all the three sides.
Captain Dhoni immediately shot to success in 2007-08, leading India to CB series victory against the mighty Australians.
The next few years saw India dominating the ICC Test Rankings and winning several laurels in multilateral tournaments.
His own batting numbers also escalated during that period.
India won World Cup, Champions Trophy under Dhoni's leadership
In 2011, his gigantic six at Wankhede ended India's quest for a second World Cup trophy (after 1983).
Despite a phase of dejection, wherein India lost consecutive overseas Tests, the Dhoni-led side managed to clinch the Champions Trophy title (2013).
Over a year later, Dhoni silently took an exit from Test cricket before passing the reigns of the captaincy to Virat Kohli (in 2017).
A look at his monumental records
MS Dhoni is the only captain in world cricket to have won all the three ICC Trophies.
Three years after leaving captaincy, he still remains India's most successful captain in limited-overs cricket with 110 ODI and 41 T20I victories.
As far as his batting is concerned, he is among India's top five run-scorers.
He has amassed 17,266 international runs from 538 matches at 44.96.
Dhoni will be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers
Amid all the talks about Dhoni's surreal legacy, his composed demeanour always stands out.
His approach of constantly highlighting the process signifies there is much more to him than cricket.
Even though he hasn't been around international cricket since the completion of 2019 World Cup, one could only hope that Dhoni finishes off in style, one last time.